TruLam TL-320B 12 in. Pouch Laminator Demo Video

The TruLam TL-320B 12″ Pouch Laminator is a compact, easy-to-use desktop laminator that is powerful enough for office use yet affordable enough to fit into almost any budget. This feature-packed laminator has a user-friendly digital display and electronic temperature controls, four silicone rollers, and a reverse switch to aid in jam clearing. The TL 320B is capable of laminating with pouches up to 10 mil in thickness, making it an ideal choice for all of your laminating projects. This versatile model has a durable metal housing and features a one-year warranty. The TL-320B is compatible with all major brands of laminating pouches, including GBC, Fellowes, Universal, Purple Cows, and Lamination Depot’s own high-quality laminating sheets.

In a Jam? Here’s How to Clear a Jammed Pouch Laminator

If an inserted pouch does not come out the other side of your pouch laminator, it may have jammed your machine. A quick resolution is to run the machine in reverse and hopefully roll the pouch back out of the front of the machine.

Why is my pouch laminator jammed?

A few common ways an operator can jam a laminating machine include:

  • Running a laminating pouch at too high of a temperature, causing it to melt and wrap around the machine roller(s)
  • Inserting a laminating pouch with the end opposite the sealed edge first

If the pouch will not come out either end of the machine and you start to smell a burning plastic odor or see smoke, immediately turn off and unplug the machine. Wait for the machine to cool down completely before attempting to remove the jammed pouch or clean the machine interior.

How do I remove a jammed pouch that won’t come out when I press the reverse button?

Pouch jams are not often covered by machine manufacturer warranties. In the event a pouch is certainly jammed in the machine, you may be able to remove it yourself and clean the adhesive off the rollers.

Most models of office grade or professional pouch laminators have a removable hood, allowing you to access the rollers. If you cannot remove the jammed pouch from this angle, you may need to disassemble the machine to access the culprit under the bottom set of machine rollers.

How do I clean my laminator’s machine rollers?

Once the blockage is cleared, there will likely be an adhesive mess on the rollers. The adhesive can be cleaned by gently rubbing the rollers with a soft cotton cloth (like an old t-shirt scrap) dampened with odorless mineral spirits. Be careful: silicone rollers can tear easily.

Once you’ve cleaned and reassembled the machine, you may smell the remainder of the adhesive melting off the rollers for a while.

If your machine rollers have melted and the machine cannot be repaired, you may need to purchase a whole new machine.

How do I prevent pouch laminator jams?

Here are some helpful tips to lengthen the life of your pouch laminator:

  1. Referring to your machine’s operating manual, match the correct temperature to your pouch thickness.
  2. Use a pouch carrier to evenly distribute heat across the pouch and provide structure to thinner pouches (like 3 Mil & 5 Mil). Note: In some cases, you may need to increase the temperature by about 10 deg F.
  3. Always insert a laminating pouch into the pouch laminator with the sealed edge first! This way, the air is properly pushed out of the pouch as it goes through the machine, making sure the pouch doesn’t buckle during the process.

Finding a Replacement for an Existing School or Office Roll Laminator

If you’re looking to replace a broken roll laminator in a hurry and it is either no longer under manufacturer warranty or repair costs are too steep, here are some starting points before beginning your research and making a purchase:

“How frequently am I laminating?” Budget weighs heavily on decision-making, but it is also important to evaluate the return on investment: a roll laminating machine‘s price may initially be attractive, but not after it is replaced yet again in a short period of time due to heavy usage or high-volume workload. If your needs exceed your existing laminator’s capabilities, you might need to consider an upgrade – in some cases, maybe even a commercial-grade laminating machine.

“What kind of film am I used to purchasing?” If you have a large supply of previously-purchased roll laminating film and want to use it with your replacement machine, gather the film’s specifications to ensure future compatibility. In summary, you need film thickness, width, and core size of your existing film. Some machines can only laminate up to 3 mil, whereas others can handle 5 or 10 mil. Though the most popular widths for a school or office roll laminator are either 25″ or 27″ and most machines in this category have a 1″ core, there are exceptions. If you’re not sure what your machine’s specifications are, try referring to the manual; otherwise, we can absolutely help you!

For an even quicker shortcut, ask us within the comment section which machine is a suitable replacement for you, and we can provide you with a specific recommendation.

Laminating Multiple Documents at Once

Trying to cut down both production time and expenses? Consider laminating multiple documents at once by sharing supply surface area.

Laminated Cards

If you have a pouch laminator with a throat measuring at least 9”, you can load multiple pouches side by side in a letter-sized carrier sheet and laminate them together in a single pass. This method is especially convenient when laminating small documents like business cards or luggage tags, since you can easily fit a number of pouches into a carrier sheet. Because you are inserting each document into its own pre-cut laminating pouch, every finished piece will look polished and professional, with identical dimensions and rounded corners.

Placing Multiple Documents in One Pouch

If you have something like a custom-sized strip-shaped document, you may be able to lay the printed material side by side in one larger pouch, then trim them after laminating. However, loading too many documents into one enormous pouch could lead to some problems. Pouch laminating machines are only so capable of pushing air out of a pouch while laminating – if the machine “leap frogs” over too many items in a pouch, a pocket of air can get trapped within the pouch and not all items will get laminated. Placing multiple documents in one pouch can technically save material cost; however, we strongly recommend perusing our wide selection of laminating pouch sizes since one that is pre-cut to the dimensions you need will save you time with clean up later and may in fact be cheaper to purchase than ones with larger dimensions.

Roll Laminating

Roll laminators have rollers with a much larger diameter than those of pouch laminators, which means that they can apply a greater amount of pressure during lamination and can overcome the above mentioned issue. Some roll laminating machines also have the option of a slitter attachment that separates documents as they exit the machine. While the laminator is running, you can insert your documents using the feed table and built-in guides (if present) to ensure consistent placement for easy trimming after lamination.

If you have any technical questions about laminating, ask us within the comment section – we’re happy to answer them for you!

Using a Take-Up Assembly for Pressure-Sensitive Lamination

The take-up assembly on a laminator is used when laminating with pressure sensitive film (also called “cold-process film”). Because pressure-sensitive lamination has a sticky adhesive layer that backs the film, a paper-based release liner is applied to cover the layer of glue and prevent it from adhering prematurely. The supply rollers on the laminator hold the roll film itself, but that release liner has to go somewhere once it is peeled away from the film; keep the discarded liner off the floor (or off your project!) by using a take-up assembly. A take-up roller helps to pull the paper liner away from the film during laminating and neatly collects it for easy disposal.

Take up assemblies either come pre-mounted on a roll laminating machine or are sold separately for installation after purchase. If your firm plans on performing cold-process laminating, be sure to look for a roll laminator that includes a release liner take-up assembly.

If you have any questions about this or another type of laminating machine or process, please ask us within the comment section – we’re happy to help you!

What is the “Throat” of a Laminator?

The opening on both pouch and roll laminators into which documents are inserted is called a “throat.” A laminator’s throat size indicates its maximum laminating width – the larger the throat size, the wider the sheet that can be accommodated.

Pouch laminators most frequently have either a 9″ or 12″ throat, both of which easily accommodate letter-sized documents. Laminating machines like the Akiles Pro-Lam 100 that are designed for laminating ID cards, business cards, and luggage tags have throats as small as 4″ wide. Premium or professional pouch laminator models often have 13″ throats or larger. In addition to being able to laminate wider documents, laminators with large throats also increase laminating productivity when used with small documents, since you can run multiple pouches side-by-side.

Roll laminators have throats as small as 12″ wide or upwards of 60″ wide (in which case they are referred to as “wide-format laminators”). Roll laminating machines with 27″ throats are often used in school settings or small print shops, because they allow two letter-sized documents to be laminated simultaneously with ease (in addition to laminating larger documents such as signs and posters).

If you have any questions about laminating machines, leave them for us in the comment section – we’ll give you an answer!

Projects on a Roll: A Comparison Between Pouch and Roll Laminating

The mental image that is frequently associated with laminating involves a large machine loaded with rolls of laminating film, into which a project is loaded and exits encapsulated. These roll laminating machines are commonly found in schools and commercial print shops. However, laminating can also be done on a much smaller scale using what are called laminating pouches: pre-cut sheets of laminating film that are sealed on one edge that are then run through a small machine about the size of a household toaster.

When it comes to projects with 13″ as the shorter dimension, one must decide to use either a pouch or roll laminator. Here is how project aspects of laminating using either pouches or rolls compare:

Machine Investment

Pouch laminating is convenient and portable. Pouch laminators often accommodate projects as small as an ID badge or as large as 11″ x 17″, so long as the shorter dimension can fit within the throat of the machine; pouch laminator prices range within hundreds of dollars. Roll laminators can be as small as 12″ or as large as 60″; their prices range within thousands of dollars.

Material Cost

For a project with a minimum dimension of 13″, pouches with the closest shorter dimension would either be too small (12″) or too big (15″). Pouches can be custom made, but do cost a bit more than popular pre-made sizes. Roll laminating film, however, is sold in 27″ widths, which fit two 13″ projects side by side. The total project cost would fluctuate depending on the number of items being laminated at a time and which thickness or texture of film is chosen.

Laminating Speed

Due to their compact nature, pouch laminators have smaller rollers. In order to increase laminating speed, one must select a machine with multiple sets of rollers. For example, a 6-roller machine is much faster than a 2-roller machine. The diameter of a roll laminator’s rollers is much larger than that of a pouch laminator and can laminate feet per minute as opposed to inches.

The Final Touches

Laminating sheets are precisely cut to desired dimensions and the corners are rounded; the only trimming necessary for a project is for whatever is inserted into the pouches; once an item is laminated, it’s finished. Roll film projects not only require trimming, but they also require the corners to be rounded if desired.

If you would still like more information to help you decide which process is more suitable for your project needs, please ask us within the comment section.

Create Your Own “Splatterproof” Recipe Cards!

Do you have cookbooks or notecards covered in whatever recipe is printed on them – literally?

Laminating recipe cards allows printed recipes to be used many times over without becoming as messy as a busy kitchen. Not only is it an excellent way for restaurants to preserve frequently-used recipes, but this method can be used at home, too! Recipes can be printed, handwritten, or clipped from a magazine or newspaper. After use, they can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth and stored away for future use. Laminating your recipes also makes them far more durable so that they can be cherished for years to come.

The best way to laminate recipes is using Recipe Card Laminating Pouches (measuring 3-3/16” x 4-3/8”). If you prefer something larger, Letter Laminating Pouches (measuring 9″ x 11-1/2″) allow you to go from printer to pouch in no time at all. Home pouch laminators that are capable of laminating pouches 3 – 5 mil thick are available for less than $100; office pouch laminating machines are designed for use with pouches up to 10 mil and can accommodate considerably higher volumes of use.

For an even more professional and durable finish, combine a stack of laminated recipes with a single screw post or bind them together using a plastic binding comb or spiral binding coil to create a highly-customized mini cookbook!

LD-320B Laminator Review: Professional-Quality Results at an Affordable Price

From identification badges to menus to point-of-purchase displays, a pouch laminator can create a wide array of business materials for organizations of all sizes.  Finding the right pouch laminator for your business means striking the right balance between cost and features – especially in today’s economy.  In this post, we take a look at the TL-320B 12″ pouch laminator, which pairs professional-level features with a budget-friendly price. 

The Basics

The TL-320B pouch laminator is a thermal pouch laminator that is capable of laminating pouches ranging from 3 – 10 mils in thickness.  It has a 12.6″ maximum laminating width, which makes it an excellent choice for letter-, legal-, and menu-sized documents.  In addition to having two heated rollers, the LD-320B also has a set of two cold rollers (which help to dissipate heat after laminating to ensure that your document is flat).  The rollers themselves are coated with silicone, which prevents adhesive residue from sticking to them.  Silicone rollers also help to protect your pouches against scuffs and scratches (often left by heat shoe laminators).

To use the TL-320B laminator, begin by adjusting the digital temperature setting based on the thickness of your pouches.  Once the laminator has reached the proper temperature (approximately 3 – 4 minutes), simply insert the pouch containing your document so that it feeds between the rollers.  The LD-320B has a laminating speed of 25.6″ per minute, so it will laminate nearly three letter-sized documents every 60 seconds.  After your laminated document has exited through the back of the machine, allow it to lay flat to cool.  In the case of an accidental misfeed or jam, the LD-320B features a convenient reverse switch that changes the direction of the rollers so that you can remove your document.

Benefits of the LD-320B

While the LD-320B has a number of useful features, the most obvious benefit of this specific model is the price.  Though the LD-320B offers the same laminating speed, laminating width, and laminating thickness range as other office- and professional-quality models, this machine retails for less than half of the price of other comparable units.  It is built for durability – featuring a sleek metal casing and metal internal gears – which means that it can stand up to frequent use in an office environment.  Furthermore, the LD-320 includes a one-year warranty for added peace-of-mind.

In Review

Pouch laminators make versatile additions to practically every office.  They are compact, easy-to-use, and surprisingly affordable – especially in the case of the LD-320B.  This 12″ pouch laminator is capable of laminating full-size menus as well as small identification cards (and everything in-between) in thicknesses ranging from 3 – 10 mils.  It features two heated silicone rollers, two cold rollers (designed to help documents lay flat after lamination), metal casing and gears, a quick, 3 – 4 minute warm-up time, a reverse switch, and an easy-to-adjust digital temperature setting.  Despite being a professional-quality laminator, the TL-320B pouch laminator has a price tag that is less than half of the retail price of comparable models.  If you’re looking for a thermal pouch laminator that is durable, powerful, and affordable, then take a closer look at the LD-320B.