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What is a Wide Format Laminator?

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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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A wide format laminator is a machine designed to laminate large documents, posters, color graphics, color prints, or fabric. Lamination may be necessary for a number of reasons. If a poster will be exposed to harsh elements, for example, or if artwork will be displayed for a period of time, lamination can help preserve it. Whatever the project, lamination is designed to keep it protected. A wide format laminator is not, however, only useful for image enhancement and protection. This technology also mounts, as well as bonds, different types of polyesters or vinyl of various thicknesses to printed images.

A wide format laminator can range anywhere from 40 inches (about 1 meter) wide to up to 60 inches (about 1.5 meters) wide. In addition, a wide format laminator with high production capabilities includes advanced process control features like variable speed, temperature control adjustment, reverse roll, pressure adjustment, slitters, and cooling fans. There are numerous types of wide format laminator machines from which to choose. To determine which one is best for you, it is important to consider the job it will be used for. If vehicle graphics or outdoor displays need to be completed, for example, a wide format laminator makes it possible to add graphics with extra resistance to damage, including exposure to the elements and to the sun.

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Some businesses rely on mounting prints to stiffer materials, such as foam board or plywood, as is the case with sandwich boards. The wide format laminator can secure the images and make the project resistant to curling. Due to the size of these projects, a wide format laminator is the only way to get the job done.

One type of wide format laminator is a thermal laminator. Thermal laminators can function as high-speed transfer devices. This allows the transfer of thermal-resin and dye-sublimation prints to produce banners and other fabric-based graphics.

Wide format laminators are very large and, therefore, are sometimes prone to problems when it comes to applying adequate pressure across the entire width of a product. Manufacturers have tried to fix this problem by installing crowned rollers that are slightly wider in diameter in the middle than at the ends. This method works for some people. There are, however, still complaints from some users about this problem. Therefore, manufacturers are still working on a definitive way to fix the problem.

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