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Laminating vinyl - any tips?

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Post Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:45 am

Laminating vinyl - any tips?

Hi all,
I have been laminating prints to foamex, dibond and acrylic now for over 12yrs with great results but whenever I try to laminate long runs of vinyl without a carrier board underneath it ends up a disaster.
Anyone care to share any tips? How do others do it?
Cheers Paul.
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Post Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:05 pm

Hi Paul.

How are you laminating? By hand? Laminator?

What exactly happens?
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Post Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:44 pm

John,
I should of stated, I'm using a cold laminator. I have a Salmetal and a GMP Excellam and cant do it on either machine!
I usually start off sticking the overlam to a leader board and feed this into the machine and then tape the vinyl print to a leader board ie an off cut of 3mm foamex 100mm wide x 1400mm long so as I can feed the vinyl in to the laminator square.
The print will start to go though for the first metre or so fine and then starts to buckle and crease.
Over the years i have tried lots of different pressure/brake/speed settings with no joy.
I have a number of vinyl prints to seal which are longer than a board size. On a print up to 2400 long i would use a carrier board under the print and have no problems.
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Post Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:35 pm

laminating

Paul, when you say the print buckles do you mean the laminate buckles on the rollers? I cant see how the print would crease on its own. Lamination is a bit of a dark art at times. Make sure your leading edge is square on the prints. Also make sure the laminate is not to tight on the reel and that youve set up the pressure on the rollers to -2(or similar, not 0) and put a leader board thru it slowly.If you see any "waves" on the laminate lift the rollers and re-square the leader board and try again.
I feed about 2 or 3 meters thru before i put a print anywhere near it.
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Post Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:04 pm

I think the leader board may be your problem, I cant see why you need it.

If the laminate is square on the rollers, and the pressure is even over the full length, it should only take 150mm to see if all is running fine, before feeding in the print.

Peter
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Post Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:10 pm

Mark,
Thanks for the reply.
Yes the laminate eventually buckles and seems to go slack on the rollers at the edge, sometimes to the left sometimes to the right. I have tried zero pressure right up to the maximum pressure. also tried this with various brake tensions and same thing each time.
As i said previously, if I'm mounting a print to a board this wont happen??
Very frustrating (and expensive)
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Post Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:48 pm

get an engineer

Paul,
My advice is to get the laminator serviced and get the engineer to run some prints for you.Save you money in the long run.
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Post Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:08 pm

Sounds like you are not getting the correct pressure from your rollers,
ie. pressure problem and possibly misaligned rollers.
Put 10 sheets of A4 paper between the rollers on both the far left and far right positions on your laminator, put the pressure on gradually and see if it grips the paper evenly at both ends (try and remove the paper at one end then try the other)

Sympathies go with you and your work mates. ;-)
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Post Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:10 pm

I'm sure its not the machine at fault as I have tried to do this some months ago on a neschen laminator and failed! and on both of ours in house and failed.
Maybe I should have originally posed the question "How do you put your overlaminate on vinyl with a laminator ...step by step"

I tried the A4 paper test in the nip and it seems to be all OK with an even pressure at each end.
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Post Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:47 pm

Hi Paul, have you tried hinging the laminate to the print.

Lay out the print and cut off a piece of laminate slightly bigger.

Align the laminate on top of the print and hinge one end leaving a few inches of print film free.

Feed this few inches into the machine and set pressure.

Run this through to the start of the hinge.

Fold back the laminate over the top of the machine and peel backing off slightly.

Start rolling through the print, peeling off the laminate backing as you go.

Keep the laminate square and flat as you go.

Also, make sure the roll of print runs freely up to the roller.

Hope this makes sense and helps.

Regards

Vic
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Post Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:57 pm

Paul, I don't think I can add anything constructive to what has already been mentioned.

We have had wrinkles and creases in the past but these were, as suggested, down to incorrect tensioning on either the print vinyl or the laminate. This was mostly on the wider stuff, up to 1370mm, but that size is a fairly new process for us and we get less and less of it as we gain more experience. With 760mm vinyl we can more or less guarantee a perfect finish every time without any effort.

We don't use a leader board. We just start the laminator off on scrap backing paper saved from the laminate on the previous job. If we have set it up horribly wrong, as suggested by Peter Normington, it is obvious in the first few inches, but usually it just goes through a treat.
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Post Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:27 am

Paul,

I had a GMP laminater and at the end the only way to use it was with max tension on the laminate and then it could only manage a couple of meters before creasing. I was doing mainly exhibition graphics at the time and ended up using 300 micron paper instaed of 125 to minimise the problem.
I was told the main pronlem with the gmp hot and cold lams is that they have crowning rollers ie rollers that are slightly bigger in the middle so when the ends are pulled together the prerasure should be even, it does not work.

I bought a new laminater with the biggest rollers i could find 145m/m and it was best investment made.

What we also do is save the old backing paper to use to get a print started this sits as a roll under neath the feed table and must be used wax side down so it slides.

Regards

Russell.
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Post Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:05 am

You can send the vinyl away and get so one else to do it, it should only cost about £1 per meter.

(Please refrain from spamming this website and read our board rules)
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Post Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:58 am

Russell-H wrote:Paul,

I had a GMP laminater and at the end the only way to use it was with max tension on the laminate and then it could only manage a couple of meters before creasing. I was doing mainly exhibition graphics at the time and ended up using 300 micron paper instaed of 125 to minimise the problem.
I was told the main pronlem with the gmp hot and cold lams is that they have crowning rollers ie rollers that are slightly bigger in the middle so when the ends are pulled together the prerasure should be even, it does not work.

Hiya Russell.

Our laminator has crowned rollers, but we were told that the reason for them was to reduce wandering and help keep the material running through straight.

The problem we found with a high tension on the laminate, on the occasions we did it by mistake, was that it gave a curl to the print. If you have uneven tension between vinyl and laminate then I don't see how curling cannot occur. I would be worried whether, after a few months, that that curl would encourage the edges of the print to start lift from the substrate.

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