Laminate and Finishing Terms

Glossary Of Terms

Acid Free

A type of laminate that does not contain any type of acid, which can damage paper, photos, and other types of sensitive prints or documents.

Adhesive In

Also known as A/I, the term “Adhesive In” refers to the EVA or adhesive side (typically cloudy) of the film being wound inside the roll, with the polyester, nylon, or polypropylene side being out. Most thin laminates and 1” core laminates are typically wound “Adhesive In”.

Adhesive Out

Also known as A/O, the term “Adhesive Out” refers to the EVA or adhesive side (typically cloudy) of the film being wound on the outside face of the roll, with the polyester, nylon, or polypropylene side being wound inside. Most thick laminates and 3” core laminates are typically wound “Adhesive Out”.

Boat Wake

This occurs when very thick items are run through the laminating process, causing a high-pressure stretch over the piece being laminated, and low pressure areas on each side of the piece. This creates a “boat-wake” look on the piece being laminated, and on the edges of the piece.

Copolymer Adhesive

Premium-grade adhesive resin, requiring a lower bonding temperature. Used for photographs, color copier papers and clay-coated surfaces. The adhesive will stick to some plastics, vinyl and metals.

Delamination

This refers to a film separation from the product, and can occur in two areas: the most common is the lifting of the laminate film from the surface of the printed sheet, typically due to poor adhesion, low bond temperatures, or lack of roller pressure during the laminating process. The second type of delamination occurs due to the lack of proper bond between the base film (polyester, polypropylene, or nylon) and the adhesive layer on the film. The latter is typically because of a failure in the manufacturing process.

EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate)

Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is the copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate, and is a very elastic material that has excellent toughness and is utilized in high-quality film lamination adhesive. This type of adhesive is quite flexible, and has a peak melting temperature of 250°F (96°C).

Film Composition Ratio

Used to express the film and adhesive composition. Example: 3/2 which is 5 mil. The first number represents the polyester base film, and the second represents the adhesive.

Film Lamination

A plastic film, typically polyester, nylon, or polypropylene basis, and coated with a heat-activated lamination, that is bonded by heat and pressure onto a substrate, generally for added protection and enhanced appearance.

Flush Trim or Flush Cut

This refers to the trimming of excess laminate film off of the edges of the laminated print. While flush trimming exposes the edges of the paper document, well-laminated pieces should maintain their laminate bond easily. The only danger of flush trimming is that water or moisture can seep into the exposed edges of the pieces, increasing the risk of material splitting.

Foamboard

Foamboard is typically a rigid substrate manufactured by placing a layer of inflexible foam between two sheets of heavy paper or card stock. It comes in a variety of thicknesses and colors, with white being by far the most common. Typical thicknesses are 1/4”, 3/16”, 1/2”, and 1” – and these are heavily used with wide-format print mounting and signage projects.

Gloss

Having a shiny, translucent, or glass-like effect or appearance, as in the finish of certain types of laminating film.

Glueable/Stampable

Film manufactured with a special chemical coating that allows the surface to accept foil stamping, and also allows the application of most types of glue.

Laminate Adhesive Resin

The part of the laminate that actually adheres or bonds to the print or document being laminated. It is often constructed of EVA, which is ethylene vinyl acetate, a common adhesive used in laminate films.

Laminate Pouch

A polyester laminate material formed into a two-sided pouch, with a sealed hinge on one side. Laminate pouches are typically manufactured in 3.0, 5.0, 7.0, and 10.0mil thicknesses, the total of which is twice that due to being two sided.

Master Roll

Also called a “Mother Reel” or “Mill Roll”, a master roll designates the larger rolls from which thermal laminate films are manufactured in. Slitting, or converting, is the process of reducing a master roll to usable sizes.

Matte

Having a dull, opaque, or textured surface or appearance, which is often highly favored in situations where a suave or sophisticated finish is desired. Also, matte surfaces are excellent to reduce glare and increase readability, and are available on certain types of laminating film. Slightly granular texture, with write-on capabilities; some matte surfaces accept pencil, pen, or permanent marker.

Mil Weight

Refers to the thickness of most lamination films, and as a unit of measure is approximately 1/40th of a millimeter at 0.0254 mm. As the mil grows higher, so does the thickness of the film.

Mirror® Metalized or Met-Pet Poly Film

Metalized polyester laminate film, which has all the beneficial properties of PET film, plus much improved oxygen and water vapor barrier properties. Mirror Metalized is typically used for high-end packaging and book covers where a metallic background is desired.

MSI

The very common abbreviation for thousands (Roman numeral M) of square inches (SI). MSI is the most common unit of buying and selling thermal laminating films in the industry.

Mylar

A brand name of the DuPont® company, and often referred to as another name for standard polyester laminating film.

Nylon

Nylon thermal laminate film is a hygroscopic breathable film, popular for use in one-sided applications including dust jackets, book covers, and packaging products. It is extremely stable and does not curl, due to the breathable nature of the laminate. Nylon also does not stretch or expand when exposed to heat, and is similar in stability to polyester. Nylon films also display excellent abrasion resistance and very good optical properties, with a high level of clarity and surface gloss. Nylon films are available in 1.0, 1.2, and 1.7 mil thicknesses.

Poly In

This means the same thing as Adhesive In. The term Poly in this case refers to Polyethylene or adhesive side being wound inside the roll and the base film (typically hard and shiny on gloss film) being wound outside. Most thin films, 1.5mil and thinner gauge on 3” core are wound “Poly In”

Poly Out

This means the same thing as Adhesive Out. The term Poly in this case refers to Polyethylene or adhesive side being wound outside the roll and the base film (typically hard and shiny on gloss film) being wound inside. Most thick films, 1.7mil and heavier gauge on 3” core are wound “Poly Out”

Polyester

Also known as (PET), the full name for polyester is polyethylene terephthalate film, and scientifically it is a thermoplastic polymer that is biaxially oriented or bubble extruded. It is the most common type of laminate for two-sided laminating, and available typically in mil thicknesses (with adhesive) of .8 mil up to 15.0 mil.

Polypropylene

Also known as (OPP), most polypropylene is “biaxially oriented", which means that the film is stretched in two different directions while being manufactured. Orientation brings about several changes in the film, such as lower elongation rates, making it harder to stretch, higher tensile strength for a given thickness, greater stiffness, improved optical properties, and improved barrier properties. For thermal laminating, polypropylene film is coated with EVA adhesive, and is available in thicknesses of 1.0 mil, 1.2 mil, 1.7 mil, and 3.0 mil. It is often used in thin film applications for book-covers, posters, and packaging applications.

Pouch Board

A pre-made amalgamation of a Foamboard sheet which has a HAM (Heat-Activated Mastic) surface, along with a pre-mounted laminate film overlay attached on one side. A Pouch Board allows is typically used for 1-step mounting and laminating.

Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive

A clear base film, typically polyester, which is coated with the same or different adhesives on both sides. Typically, one side of the adhesive will be bonded to a specific print or print media, while the opposite could be used to adhere to multiple surfaces. Most pressure sensitive adhesives come with a release liner for ease of application. Pressure sensitive adhesives can be of permanent or removable nature, depending on the application.

Pressure-Sensitive Laminate Pouch

A two-sided laminate pouch, typically manufactured in 3.0, 5.0, 7.0, and 10.0 mil thicknesses, with self-stick adhesive mounted on the back of the pouch for easy application in a variety of circumstances.

Pressure-Sensitive Laminating Film

This is a pressure sensitive laminate film, applied generally with pressure, or in some cases a low level of heat with pressure. All pressure-sensitive laminates come with a silicon-coated release liner, which requires the use of a rewind roller on the wide-format laminator.

Pressure-Sensitive Pouch

A self-stick adhesive layer on the back of a laminating pouch. After lamination, the protective release liner is removed and the document is affixed in the desired position.

Quatro-Slit™ Hinge TEchnology

A laminating technology that first slits a thin wedge of paper out of a printed sheet, prior to two-side laminating, and allows the production of hinged lay-flat photobooks, brochures, and folded maps.

Rounded Corners

Common in the world of laminating, this means utilizing a “corner rounder” to cut a radius on the edge of a laminated piece to remove sharp corners, often prevalent on thicker laminates. Most laminating pouches are pre-diecut with rounded corners.

Satin

Having a soft, glare-free, and slightly textured surface or appearance, which is often favored in situations where a suave or sophisticated finish is desired. Also, satin surfaces are excellent to reduce glare, and are available on certain types of laminating film. Satin is somewhat akin to a “semi-gloss” finish in the world of paint, as opposed to a Gloss (high-gloss paint) or Matte (flat paint).

SHR™

SHR&trade stands for Silver Halide Replacement, and is a photo printing and production method that is lower cost and more environmentally friendly, but still retains the look, feel, and weight of regular photo paper. SHR&trade photo finishing combines a special laminate film technology from Nobelus along with HP Indigo™ innovation, and saves 20-40% over standard silver halide production. It is also chemical free.

Silvering

This surface blemish occurs as a consequence of lack of pressure while applying thermal laminates, and results in tiny air pockets being trapped between the surface of the printed piece and the adhesive of the film. Silvering, true to its name, causes a slight haze or silvery look on darker sheets.

Single-Sided

One side has laminate, back has cardboard mount backing. Only visible through one side.

Sleeking™

Sleeking is a special image transfer that specifically bonds to HP® Digital Ink and some toners on many printed surfaces, allowing the ability to create special effects and designs. Sleeking permits the application of a finish, such as gloss or matte, a metalized background, such as gold or silver, or a holographic impression, in spot locations or full coverage. Available in multiple patterns and styles, Sleeking can be applied first onto spot print applications, then trap printed; or can be applied on top of a special printable Karess™ laminate surface, once overprinted with digital ink. The most common application for sleeking today is variable data foiling, as it allows complete variability of data with excellent registration.

Slot Punch

A small manual tool which punches a small slot in pouch use applications, typically for I.D. badges, lanyards, or luggage tag holders.

Splice

Common in laminating film, splices are the position where two webs of laminating film are joined together on the same roll, a result of a master roll change during the manufacturing process.

Textured Laminate

Textured laminates often have a surface pattern, either through a varnish or an embossing process, in or on the surface of a laminate film. Linen and Leather patterns are among the most popular textured laminates.

Thermal Laminate Films

Films that bond based on the application of heat, also known as thermal laminating films.

UV Inhibiting Film

Common for prints that have high exposure to the sun, UV blocking films like Diamond® branded films are treated in both the EVA (adhesive), and the polyester (base) films with inhibitors to block UV exposure, and thus reduce fading from the sun.

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