Lamination is one of the most popular and effective ways to protect and preserve prints of all sizes, from offset-printed business cards to large, digitally-printed posters. Though thermal lamination is the most frequently used style of lamination, not all printing methods or material types can stand up to the intense heat required to melt the thermal adhesive. For heat-sensitive media and inks, pressure-sensitive laminating film an excellent solution - providing the protective properties of thermal lamination without requiring any heat. In this post, we share an overview of pressure-sensitive lamination and learn more about its unique benefits.
Pressure-sensitive laminating film, also called cold laminating film, is specially designed film that uses pressure instead of heat in order to activate the adhesive and apply the film to the document. Because pressure-sensitive lamination does not require heat, it is an ideal choice for items printed using inkjet, electrostatic, laser, thermal transfer, or dye sublimation printing systems, which can degrade when exposed to high temperatures.
Cold laminating film has a factory-applied release liner on the backside, which prevents the film from sticking to itself on the roll. Not all roll laminators are capable of laminating using pressure-sensitive film, but those that are also include an additional roller that removes and winds the release liner as film is applied to the print.
Pressure-sensitive laminating film is made with solvent-based adhesives, which offer improved adhesion strength when compared to water-based adhesives. Furthermore, digital prints are known for being difficult to adhere to, which makes the aggressive adhesives used in cold laminating film an excellent choice for use with digitally-printed items. Like thermal laminating film, cold lamination rolls are available in a range of thicknesses and finishes, including matte, satin, and gloss. They are also offered in both UV-resistant and scratch-resistant (polycarbonate) varieties.
If your organization works primarily with digitally-printed materials (or uses other heat-sensitive inks or media), then pressure-sensitive lamination can provide the adhesion that you need without the damaging effects of heat. Although the cold lamination process requires specialized equipment and costs more than comparable thermal films, the investment is well worth it when compared with the potential cost of printed materials ruined by exposure to heat.