An Overview of Pressure-Sensitive Lamination: Versatile Film for Heat-Sensitive Prints

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.

The Basics

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 filmcold 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.

In Review

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.

A Step-by-Step Overview of Binding with the Akiles WireMac Duo

While wire binding is a great way to bind important documents, most wire binding machines only offer one of the two wire binding punch patterns, which limits users to creating documents within a specific size range. The Akiles WireMac Duo eliminates that problem by offering users the capability of punching both 2:1 and 3:1 pitch hole patterns. Below are step-by-step instructions for binding a document with the WireMac Duo wire binding machine:

Akiles WireMac Duo Binding Machine
  1. Begin by inserting your document into the Paper Scale located on the front of the machine. The Paper Scale will indicate the proper punch pitch (either 2:1 or 3:1), the correct depth margin, the optimum wire binding spine size, and the wire closure setting based on the size of your document.
  2. Adjust the Depth Control so that the indicator is within the colored band that matches the margin specificed by the Paper Scale.
  3. Set the Wire Closer Control to the wire closure size as indicated by the Paper Scale.
  4. Set aside a wire of the correct diameter for your document size. Note: Some manufacturers offer select wire diameters in both 2:1 and 3:1 pitch. Take note of the pitch pattern of the wire that you are using before you punch, as the pitch of the spine needs to match the pitch of the punch in order for the document to be bound.
  5. Adjust the Side Margin Control to match the size of your document. Note: The WireMac Duo has separate side margin settings for 11″ sheets (letter size) and their 11-1/4″ round corner covers.
  6. Pull out disengagement pins as necessary to eliminate partially-punched holes or accommodate specialty paper (such as three-hole punched sheets). The pins located toward the rear of the machine correspond to the 2:1 pitch punch pattern, and the pins at the front of the machine correspond to the 3:1 pitch punch pattern.
  7. Insert up to 20 sheets of 20 lb. paper into the punching throat of the pitch that corresponds to your document size. Note: While the machine can punch up to 20 sheets per lift, limiting your sets to 12-15 sheets will reduce operator fatigue.
  8. Pull the handle forward to punch your document. The rear-most handle operates the 2:1 pitch punching dies, while the handle located toward the front of the machine operates the 3:1 pitch punching dies.
  9. Continue punching your document in sets of 20 pages or less until all sheets have been punched. Note: It is recommended that you punch the inner sheets and covers separately.
  10. The WireMac Duo is capable of punching documents longer than 14″ through a multi-step punching process. To punch over-sized sheets, begin by aligning the pages as indicated on the Punch Throat Ruler. Pull the handle forward to punch the left side of the sheets. Remove the document from the punching throat, flip the sheets over, and re-insert them into the punching throat so that the unpunched side is below the punching dies. Insert the Continuous Punch Guide located on the right edge of the punching throat into one of the holes that was punched in the first step to ensure proper hole alignment. Pull the handle to punch the remaining portion of the document.
  11. Insert a wire of the appropriate size into the Wire Snatch so that the smaller prongs on the spine are at the top facing inward.
  12. Place your document onto the wire binding spine, beginning with the last inner pages. Once all of the inner pages have been inserted onto the wire, insert the front cover immediately followed by the back cover (so that the inside of the back cover faces up).
  13. Lift the document and the wire straight up and off of the Wire Snatch.
  14. Place the document into the wire closer so that the open side of the spine is flush against the bottom of the closer.
  15. Pull the closer handle forward the close the spine. Note: The wire closer handle is located on the left side of the machine (opposite to the binding handles).
  16. Remove the document from the closer and inspect the spine to ensure that it has been properly closed. Adjust the Closer Control slightly if the spine is under- or over-closed. Note: If the wire is not closed enough, simply insert it into the wire closer and repeat the closing process.
  17. Once the binding wire has been closed adequately, turn the back cover of the document to the rear of the book to hide the seam in the spine of your completed book.

Make a Statement with Pre-Printed Lanyards!

From conventions to classrooms, neck lanyards are one of the most convenient and popular ways to display wearable badges or identification cards. In addition to plain lanyards and custom lanyards, there are also many eye-catching pre-printed lanyards that are available. In this post, we learn more about printed lanyards and discover what benefits they can offer users.



The Basics

Lanyards are commonly made from nylon, polyester, or cotton and feature a variety of attachment options. Swivel hooks and badge clips are among the most popular attachment styles, since they can be used with pre-punched laminating pouches, badge holders, or ID cards to quickly and easily display event credentials. The breakaway attachment, which is a safety feature that allows a small clasp on the lanyard to temporarily open when the lanyard is tugged or pulled, is a common addition to lanyards (especially for use at events with children in attendence) since it reduces the risk of injury or strangulation for the wearer.

Printed lanyards come in a wide selection of styles, ranging from popular awareness lanyards to easy-to-read pre-printed messages. Awareness lanyards, which feature colored ribbon images, are available in a wide array of hues and are ideal for charity events such as fundraising walks or marathons. Patriotic lanyards have flag-inspired or camouflage coloring along with messages such as “Support Our Troops.” Patriotic lanyards are especially popular for holiday events, including Fourth of July, Veterans’ Day, and Memorial Day. The most versatile of all printed lanyard styles have bold, easy-to-read text to help distinguish the wearers at even the most crowded event. These solid-color lanyards are available with a number of pre-printed messages, such as “Volunteer,” “Event Staff,” “Visitor,” and “Contractor.” Because they do not have any logos or event-specific information, these lanyards are great for organizations that hold frequent conferences or events since they can be used again and again.

In Review

Custom-printed lanyards are an powerful tool for promoting brand awareness or sharing a promotional message with attendees of fundraisers, conventions, large-scale meetings, or other company-sponsored events, but not every organization has the budget to create personalized lanyards. Printed lanyards offer a cost-effective alternative to custom lanyards, featuring a wide selection of pre-printed graphics and text in various themes. In addition to being more affordable than customized lanyards, pre-printed lanyards do not require a turnaround time (which can be up to 3 weeks in the case of custom lanyards). Whether you’re holding a marathon or an industry convention, you’re sure to find a lanyard style that suits your needs among the wide variety of printed lanyards available on the market today.

The Tamerica 213PB: A Compact, Affordable, Multi-Function Binding Machine

Multi-function binding machines are a cost-effective way to add a variety of binding styles to your office. One of the most affordable and versatile multi-function binding machines on the market today is the Tamerica 213PB, which offers comb and wire binding capabilities as well as three-hole punching. In this post, we take a closer look at the 213PB binding machine and learn about the unique features that it offers.

Tamerica 213PB Binding Machine

The Basics

The 213PB comb binding machine is a manual punch and bind machine. It has a 12″ maximum punching length and 21 disengageable pins, which enable it to punch standard letter-sized sheets as well as specialty paper sizes. Since all of the punching dies are disengageable, you can even use this machine with three hole-punched paper or other pre-punched paper styles. The Tamerica 213PB utilizes self-sharpening hollow ground dies, which give it a robust 20-page punching capacity (based on 20 lb. paper). The built-in comb opener is capable of binding with combs as small as 3/16″ (approximately 12 pages) and as large as 2″ (approximately 425 pages).

In addition to comb binding, the 213PB can also perform wire binding using spiral-o wire (specifically designed to fit the 19-hole pattern of comb binding), thanks to the built-in wire closer. The maximum binding size when using spiral-o wires is 1/2″ (approximately 80-100 pages). In addition to offering wire binding capabilities, the 213PB also functions as a three-hole punch.

The feature-packed 213PB has a four-position depth margin adjustment, side margin control, and a convenient waste compartment. It is made with all-metal construction, so it is designed to stand up to regular use, and is backed by a two-year warranty. Considering that it is a fully manual binding machine, it has a fairly substantial punching output of up to 5,000 sheets per hour and binding output of up to 250 books per hour.

Benefits of the 213PB

For organizations that want to be able to perform both economical comb binding and secure wire binding, the 213PB is one of the most affordable dual-function binding machine on the market. Because comb-bound books are easy to edit, comb binding is an excellent choice for frequently updated documents such as price books or training materials. With the 213PB, you can use cost-effective plastic binding combs to bind your large-volume binding projects and reserve the more costly spiral-o binding spines for books that require extra durability. Furthermore, the 213PB is the only machine in its class that acts as a three-hole punch in additional to performing both comb and spiral-o wire binding.

Unlike comparable binding machines that have a fixed punching width of 11″ with no disengageable pins, the 213PB has a 12″ punching width with an open throat to accommodate longer documents in a multi-step punching process and has 21 disengageable pins. Though most users will only be binding standard letter-sized sheets, the added versatility of being able to bind with oversized or specialty paper sets the 213PB apart from the competition.

In Review

Being able to bind documents on-site saves time and money, which is why organizations of all sizes are investing in desktop binding machines. Investing in a multi-function binding machine is an excellent way to make the most of your budget, since it gives you the greatest versatility. The Tamerica 213PB is a well-designed desktop binding machine that enables users to bind with both plastic binding combs and spiral-o wires, in addition to being a three-hole punch. While it is a fully manual machine that isn’t designed for high-volume production environments, it is an affordable, all-metal binding machine that can stand up to frequent use and includes a two-year warranty. If you’re looking for a compact binding machine that is big on versatility, be sure to consider the Tamerica 213PB.

The Atlas-150 Metal Bind System: A Unique Binding Alternative

In addition to traditional binding methods like comb, coil, and wire binding, many organizations are turning to unique, new binding systems that offer innovative and useful features, such as secure and professional simple channel binding. In this post, we take a closer look at the Atlas-150 Metal Bind system and learn more about what sets simple channel binding apart from other traditional binding styles.


The Basics

Simple channel binding uses rigid, U-shaped, metal spines to bind documents. Unlike comb, coil, and wire binding, which all require that holes be punched into the document that is being bound, simple channel binding relies on the pressure created by the crimped metal spine to hold the pages in place. Metal Bind spines are available in seven sizes and two colors, and can accommodate documents up to 150 pages thick (based on regular 20 lb. paper). They are offered in an 11″ length, which is suitable for binding letter-sized documents.

The simple channel binding process is fast and surprisingly simple. The simple channel spine of the correct size is first inserted into the machine, with the open portion of the channel facing up. Use the adjusting lever to properly align the spine within the binding throat, then insert your document (including covers) into the spine. Align the document so that the edges are flush with the edges of the spine. Hold the document in place, and pull the handle toward you to crimp the spine and secure the pages within it. Release the handle then remove the finished document from the machine. Because documents bound with the Atlas-150 can only be debound using a specialized tool, they are tamper-resistant and extremely durable. They can also stand upright (even when used with soft binding covers), making them easy to file and store.

Benefits of the Atlas-150

The Atlas-150 simple channel binding machine offers a number of benefits that can be appreciated by organizations of all sizes. It is a fully manual binding machine, so it requires no electricity to operate. This machine is also fairly compact, with a desktop footprint that is smaller than 11″ x 17″. It can easily be transported between offices or assigned to a small workspace within practically any office environment. Furthermore, organizations do not need to stock a large selection of supplies in order to accommodate all document sizes, since there are only seven spine widths.

Having documents that are truly secure and tamper-resistant is a concern for many businesses, especially those in the legal and financial industries. Since the spine is permanently crimped during the metal bind binding process, it is impossible to remove or replace pages without using the specialized debinding tool (followed by re-binding the document using a new spine). In addition, the simple channel spines are sleek and bound documents are easy to stack or store, unlike books made with other traditional binding styles.

Another advantage of the Atlas-150 Metal Bind system is that it is faster than most other traditional binding systems. Simple channel binding does not require that any holes be punched into the document, which means that the additional step of punching is eliminated. Punching is often the most time consuming portion of the traditional binding process, since large documents have to be punched in smaller sets based on the punching capacity of each individual binding machine. With punching eliminated, documents can be bound much more quickly and large runs can be completed in considerably less time.

In Review

The Atlas-150 Metal Bind machine is a versatile and unique binding system that is compact, affordable, and powerful. While simple channel binding spines are available in fewer colors and cost a bit more than their wire, comb, and coil binding counterparts, they offer unmatched security and ease of storage. Also, since the binding process doesn’t require any punching, your production speed can be faster than with traditional punch-and-bind systems. If your organization is looking for an innovative alternative to standard binding styles, then be sure to take a look at the Atlas-150.

An Overview of Badge Attachments: Magnetic Badge Holders, ID Clips, & Badge Pins

From large-scale conventions to small, independent storefronts, from the classroom to the conference room, there are literally hundreds of applications for badge attachments. Because they have such a wide variety of uses, badge findings are offered in an almost endless amount of styles, ranging from adhesive-backed magnetic bars to swiveling metal clips. In this post, we get to know a few of the most popular varieties of badge attachments and compare their unique features.

The Basics

There are three basic badge finding varieties – ID clipsbadge pins, and magnetic badge attachments. All three can be used with laminated documents, PVC identification cards, and plastic badge holders. While some applications may be best suited by magnetic badge attachments (which can affix a badge to clothing without leaving holes or marks in the fabric, making them a popular choice for professional events), other purposes may be better served using a more cost-effective finding like a pin or a clip. With so many styles available, you can easily find a variety that will strike a balance between function and budget.

ID Clips

ID clips utilize small, toothed clamps made of either plastic or metal to attach a badge to a garment. Some styles have an adhesive-backed foam mounted on the back of the clip, which allows it to be stuck to the back of the badge. Self-adhesive ID clips are ideal for use with cards or holders that do not have a pre-punched slot, but they cannot be removed and reused. Strap clips are made with a short PVC strap that has a metal clip affixed to one end of the strap. The strap itself has two small snaps, which allows the strap to be inserted into a slot in the badge or badge holder and then snapped to secure. Once snapped into place, the clip can be used to hang the badge as desired. Since the strap portion can be easily removed and attached to another badge, strap clips make a great choice for use with cards that are frequently updated.

In addition to the standard models, there are a few specialty ID clips that offer other features, such as swiveling clips and built-in pins. Though these varieties tend to cost a bit more than the basic styles, they may be worth the added investment for some applications.

Badge Pins

Badge pins are one of the most basic types of badge finding, featuring an adhesive-backed pin (the base of which can be made from either plastic or metal). While the standard styles offer very basic features, the more advanced varieties can include locking safety clasps (which prevent the pin from releasing) and breakaway ABS bases (a safety feature designed to help the pin break apart when stress is applied, which is required in many industrial settings). Like the adhesive-backed ID clips, badge pins cannot be removed and reused.

Magnetic Badge Attachments

Magnetic badge attachments are the newest type of badge finding, and have quickly gained popularity for a variety of reasons. Instead of relying on a pin or clip to hold a badge in place, magnetic badge attachments use an adhesive-backed piece of metal in conjunction with small, magnetic discs. There are a number of different styles on the market, ranging from round, single-magnet versions to bars that use two or even three magnets to keep the badge secure. Not only are magnetic badge findings strong and easy to apply, but they also prevent holes and creases in garments. They do cost more than ID clips or badge pins, but if you’re looking for a badge finding that is as professional as it is powerful, then they are definitely worth looking into.

In Review

Badge findings are great tools for any organization, because they can transform laminated cards, PVC identification cards, or badge holders into wearable badges in a matter of seconds. Since there are so many applications for badge findings, there is a wide selection of styles to help suit all types of needs. From basic and economical ID clips and badge pins to strong and professional magnetic badge attachments, it’s possible to find an option that will fit both your application and your budget.

The Tamerica ECO-21 Comb Binding Machine: A Cost-Effective Way to Bind Documents

The Tamerica ECO-21 comb binder is an affordable desktop binding machine that is surprisingly robust. It offers users a wide selection of features, including a substantial punch capacity, disengaging pins, and an adjustable depth margin, but is priced at less than $150. In this review, we’ll get to know the ECO-21 and learn what sets it apart from other entry-level comb binding machines.

Tamerica ECO-21 Comb Binder

The Basics

Comb binding is one of the most popular traditional binding styles, primarily because it uses affordable supplies and allows bound documents to be easily edited. Plastic binding combs are made up of a series of 19 rings (for letter-sized documents), which correspond to the 19-hole comb binding punch pattern. The rings are inserted into the pre-punched rectangular holes with the aid of a comb opener to create a bound document. Because there is no crimping or closing of the comb binding spine (as there is with binding coils and wire-o spines), a bound document can be reinserted into the comb opener to allow pages to be added or removed without requiring a new spine.

The ECO-21 is a manual punch, manual bind machine. It has a 12″ maximum punching length with a total of 21 pins, and punches the standard 19-hole pattern for letter-sized sheets. It also has an open punching throat, which allows sheets longer than 12″ to be punched in a multi-step process. All 21 pins are disengageable, which means that you can selectively eliminate holes to accommodate specialty paper sizes. The ECO-21 also allows you to adjust both the side margin (the distance of the holes from the side of the page) and punching depth margin (the depth of the holes from the binding edge – generally closer to the edge for thinner documents and farther from the edge for thicker documents). The maximum punch capacity is 15 sheets per pull (based on 20 lb. paper), and the binding capacity ranges from 3/16″ to 2″ (approximately 12 pages to 425 pages).

The Tamerica ECO-21 weighs less than 14 pounds, and measures only 15-15/16″ wide by 11-7/16″ deep by 6-1/2″ tall. It is small enough to fit on most desktops, and is light enough to be easily transported between offices. Despite its small footprint and low weight, it has an attractive and durable metal casing and is backed by a one-year warranty.

In Review

With features like fully disengageable pins and an adjustable depth margin, the ECO-21 is ideal for small office environments with low to moderate binding volumes. It offers more options than most other machines in its class, but has a price point that is under $150. Though it is not designed for high volume use or production settings, it does have an excellent balance between cost and features, and is one of the more durable machines offered in that pricing level. If you are looking for an entry-level comb binding machine that is packed with features but won’t break the bank, then you should definitely take a closer look at the Tamerica ECO-21 comb binder.

SircleLam HQ-230 Review: A Cost-Effective, Entry-Level Pouch Laminator

Pouch laminators are a great investment for protecting documents of all types, from important company documents and pricelists to favorite photographs and mementos. With a wide array of models available at price points ranging from tens of dollars to thousands, it’s important to find the right balance of cost and features that is suited to your specific needs. In this post, we take a closer look at the SircleLam HQ-230, which is a basic and affordable pouch laminator that is ideal for home use.

SircleLam HQ-230 Pouch Laminator

The Basics

The SircleLam HQ-230 is a 9″ pouch laminator that is capable of laminating both 3 mil and 5 mil pouches. It features adjustable temperature, and includes a cold setting that allows you to seal self-laminating pouches. The HQ-230 is also capable of laminating photographs, which is one of the reasons that it is a popular model for home and hobby use. To make the laminating process smooth and trouble-free, the HQ-230 has a reverse lever (to aid in clearing jams) and feeds back-to-front. It has two rollers and comes with a one-year warranty.

The HQ-230 laminator utilizes heating plates (as opposed to the heated silicone rollers that are used in more advanced laminators), which is why we recommend using a carrier sheet to help protect your rollers from adhesive build-up. It has a six-minute warm-up time, but because of its plastic outer casing and less powerful motor (as compared to office and professional-level machines), we advise turning off the machine and allowing it to cool completely after each hour of use.

In terms of laminating speed, the HQ-230 is capable of laminating up to 9.85″ per minute, which means that it will take more than a minute to laminate a letter-sized pouch. While most home users will find this speed adequate for occasional laminating projects, office and production environments will save a great deal of time by investing in a faster laminator.

In Review

At less than $60, the SircleLam HQ-230 is one of the most affordable pouch laminators on the market. It has a number of great features, such as a reverse lever, the capability to laminate photos, and a quick, six-minute warm-up time, despite its very reasonable price point. It has been designed with the home/hobby user in mind, which is why it has a slow laminating speed and is limited to only laminating 3 mil and 5 mil pouches. Though it is not a fit for office use or high-volume production, the HQ-230 is a good choice for people who want to laminate occasionally and are looking to keep their costs low.

Decorative Laminating Pouches: An Easy Way to Add Pizzazz to Your Laminating Projects!

Laminating is one of the most popular and effective ways to protect and preserve documents of practically any size, from ID badges and photographs to in-store signage and award certificates. While most documents are laminated using clear laminating pouches, there is a vast array of bright and colorful decorative laminating pouches that can be used to enhance your documents. In this post, we learn more about decorative laminating pouches and share an overview of some of the exciting styles that are available.

Framed Laminating Pouches
Colored Laminating Pouches

The Basics

Like all thermal laminating pouches, decorative laminating pouches use heat to create a seal. To laminate a document using a decorative laminating pouch, simply open the pouch, insert your document so that it is centered within the pouch, and feed it through your pre-heated pouch laminator (using a carrier if required – refer to the instruction manual for your laminator for specific information). As the pouch passes through the machine, the adhesive inside melts and fuses with the document. The outer edges of the pouch create a seal that helps to protect the document from moisture and other elements.

There are two main styles of decorative laminating pouches – colored pouches and framed pouches. Colored laminating pouches are made up of one layer of clear laminating film and one layer of colored film. The clear layer is placed on top of the document so that the information shows through, while the exposed portion colored layer (which appears around the outer edge of your sheet) creates an accent border. Though the colored film layer is somewhat translucent, attempting to use it on top of the printed portion of your document would reduce the clarity of any text. Framed laminating pouches are made from two layers of clear laminating film, one of which has an image printed along the outside border of the top layer. Available themes range from professional-looking certificate borders and wood textures to festive birthday greetings and happy faces.

Both colored laminating pouches and framed laminating pouches are available in a few different sizes as well as a variety of colors and/or themes. While decorative pouches do create make laminated documents stand out more than traditional clear pouches, their price point is a bit higher than comparable clear pouches and there are fewer size variations.

Uses

Decorative laminating pouches have a wide variety of uses for both personal and professional applications. For the home user, they’re an excellent way to preserve favorite photographs for scrapbooks or photo albums, to add color to child’s school report or presentation, to make custom placemats for kids, and much more. In the office, they can be used for color-coded event badges, signage (both to promote sales to customers and for internal use), pricelists (i.e. red for wholesale, blue for retail), training materials, and much more. Individuals and organizations that already own a laminator will find decorative pouches to be an affordable way to make laminated documents stand out even more.

In Review

Decorative laminating pouches are an easy and effective way to make a bold and colorful statement on your next laminating project. From professional applications like color-coded ID badges and eye-catching signs and displays to personal projects like scrapbooking and crafting, decorative laminating pouches offer almost limitless possibilities. While they work exactly the same as clear thermal laminating pouches, decorative pouches are a bit more expensive and come in fewer sizes. However, the added impact of either a colorful background or an ornate frame makes decorative laminating pouches a popular choice for organizations and individuals alike.

How Do I Bind with the MRB-300 3:1 Wire Binding Machine?

Wire binding uses durable wire binding spines to create strong, tamper-resistant, and professional-looking bound documents. The MRB-300 3:1 wire binder is one of the most economical wire binding machines on the market, offering manual punching and closing capabilities for less than $100. Below is a video that shows the MRB-300 wire binding machine in action, and provides an overview of the wire binding process.