Many types of businesses and organizations can benefit from owning their own roll laminating machine, but with all of the specialty functions and features present on many large-format laminators, determining which machine best fills your specific needs can be a difficult task. In this post, we will discuss the basics of each type of roll laminator to help you make an informed decision on which machine is most appropriate for your organization.

The Basics

Nearly all roll laminators are thermal machines, which means that they utilize heat to seal the edges of the laminate film and fuse the layers together. Depending on the machine, the heat is applied by either heated rollers or heat shoes, which are long, flat, aluminum plates. Regardless of the type of heating element, all machines utilize rollers to help ensure secure adhesion, eliminate air bubbles and move the laminated documents through the machine. While the machine cost is somewhat higher for a roll laminator as compared to a pouch laminator, roll laminating film is far cheaper per square foot than laminating pouches of comparable thickness, so organizations transitioning from laminating with pouches to laminating with roll film will likely notice a significant cost savings on supplies.

All thermal roll laminating machines offer variable temperature control to allow users to adjust the heat level based on the thickness of the laminating film and the document being laminated. Many roll laminators also include a reverse feature, which makes it easier to clear jammed or misfed documents. Other popular features include adjustable speed, adjustable tension, cutting and slitting devices, forced air cooling fans (to help reduce curling of laminated items), and the ability to operate the machine using a footswitch.

When selecting a roll laminator, you’ll need to evaluate the features that are the most important to your specific needs. If you will be producing a high volume of laminated documents, then you may want to look for a machine with a higher maximum laminating speed. If you plan on performing mounting, then you’ll want to look for a machine that allows for mounting (and can accommodate the thickness that you will be most commonly using). Those who only laminate standard-sized documents may be content with a model that has a maximum document width of 13″, while those looking to laminate signs or other larger displays will likely want a machine that offers a greater maximum width. Taking the time to review the specific features of the available roll laminating machines will help to ensure that you get the best laminator for your purposes.

School & Office Laminating Machines

Our selection of school and office laminating machines range in width from 13″-27″, and are generally the most budget-friendly models. Some machines within this category are able to handle laminating film up to 10 mils in thickness, but many models are only able to laminate using 1.5 mil or 3.0 mil film. The maximum speed of the school and office laminators is slower than that of commercial-level machines, but they are still considerably faster than most pouch laminating machines.

Our most popular laminator within the school and office category is the D&K Minikote 27″ School & Office Roll Laminator. This well-liked machine offers the following features:

D&K Minikote 27″ School & Office Roll Laminator

Max. Roll Width: 27″

Mils: 1.5 & 3.0 Mil Film

Speed: 9.5′ per Minute

Silicone Rollers: No

Heating Method: Heat Shoe

Reverse Feature: Yes

Adjustable Tension: Yes

Warranty: One Year Parts Warranty, Six Month Labor Warranty, Three Month Roller Warranty

D&K Minikote 27 in. School & Office Roll Laminator

If you’re looking for a well-made, versatile machine to laminate posters, signage or even gang-runs of smaller items such as index cards or letter-sized paper, the D&K Minikote 27″ School & Office Roll Laminator is a great entry-level machine at a reasonable price. Businesses seeking faster lamination with more advanced features will likely want to explore our collection of wide format laminating machines, discussed in the following section.

Wide Format Laminating Machines

Similar in function to our school and office laminators, our wide format laminating machines feature a wider maximum width, increased speed and a broader range of features for medium-duty users. These mid-level machines have a laminating width ranging between 27″-60″, and are capable of laminating up to 30′ per minute. They also perform mounting of up to 1/2″ thick, and can laminate with film up to 10 mils in thickness.

The ProLam PL-238WF High Performance Wide Format 38″ Laminator is the top-selling model in the wide-format category. Below is a listing of some of the most notable features of the PL-238WF:

ProLam PL-238WF High Performance Wide Format 38″ Laminator

Max. Roll Width: 38″

Mils: Up to 10 Mil Film

Speed: 7′ per Minute

Silicone Rollers: Yes

Heating Method: Heated Rollers

Mounting Thickness: Up to 1/4″

Cooling Fans: Four Fans

Power Requirements: 240 Volt, 20 Hz, 2800 Watts – 30 Amps Dedicated Circuit

Warranty: One Year Parts & Labor

roLam PL-238WF High Performance Wide Format 38 in. Roll Laminator

For businesses seeking a powerful, mid-level machine capable of mounting and laminating with film up to 10 mil thick, the ProLam PL-238WF High Performance Wide Format 38″ Laminator is a robust machine at an attractive price point. Advanced features like the built-in stand and cooling fans allow users to achieve professional-grade results within their own offices. If you’re looking for an even more powerful machine for industrial applications, then you’ll want to read on to learn about our collection of commercial laminators.

Commercial Laminating Machines

High-volume users that require the utmost in speed and quality need to look no further than our selection of commercial laminating machines. These machines give users the ability to mount up to 1/2″ thick and laminate up to 10 mils, at speeds up to 65′ per minute. Since this collection of machines is specifically geared toward the commercial market, they also offer a number of more advanced features, such as single-sided laminating, high-speed automatic cutting and feeding, and footage counters.

In the commercial laminators category, the Ledco HD25 Workhorse 25″ roll laminator is amongst the most popular models. Below is an overview of some of the many features the HD25 offers:

Ledco HD25 Workhorse 25″ Laminator

Max. Roll Width: 25″

Mils: Up to 10 Mil Film

Speed: Up to 25′ per Minute (Variable Speed)

Silicone Rollers: Yes

Heating Method: Removable Teflon-Coated Heat Shoes

Mounting Thickness: Up to 1/2″

Forced Air Cooling Fans: Yes

Heat Control: Intelligent heat controllers learn to anticipate the heat demand of each job

Built-In Retractable Slitters: Yes

Feed Tray: Yes

Power Requirements: 220v, 20A

Warranty: Two Years Parts & Labor

LEDCO HD25 Workhorse Roll Laminator

The Ledco HD25 Workhorse 25″ roll laminator has a robust selection of features at a price that makes it an attractive option to almost any commercial user. It also has a number of optional features that can be added at the time of purchase to make it even more productive, such as pressure sensitive take-up rollers, a scrap rewinder and a utility stand. If you are part of a print shop, in-plant graphics department or other high-volume production environment looking to purchase a roll laminator, be sure to take a look at the HD25, as well as our other reliable commercial laminators.

In Review

From standard-sized sheets to oversized posters and signage, roll laminators provide an excellent solution to nearly all laminating needs. They give businesses the ability to create durable and attractive signs, menus and other promotional materials on-site, and with a lower supply cost than that of pouch laminators. Because roll laminators are available at a wide range of price points and offer a plethora of advanced features, it is worth investing a little extra time and effort to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the various models that you are interested in before making a purchase.

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