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When is it ideal to laminate graphics with heat assist?

Posted by Molly Waters | |

Tags: Avery Dennison graphics heat assist laminating lamination overlaminates premasking UV inks

For the most part, pressure sensitive laminates are intended to be applied without heat.  The pressure from the laminator rolls is generally sufficient to achieve excellent lamination results.  There are instances however, where a heat assist may be helpful or even required. 

I find a heat assist is helpful when laminating over dark colors.  In some instances, it is not unusual to see a little silvering.  This will generally go away on its own, however certain situations may require you to use alternate methods of lamination.  A low heat on the laminator rolls (95-100F) can help soften the adhesive and help the laminate wet out better over the printed image, providing a finish that is free of silvering.

When laminating UV digital prints, I find that a heat assist is actually a necessity to help the adhesive fill in the texture created by the UV inks.  In this instance, it is necessary to use higher temperatures, around 114F, and even more pressure, closer to 90-100 psi, on your laminator.  Slowing the laminator down to 3 fpm is also helpful, as it will give the film more time on the heated laminator roll.

When using heat assist, it is extremely important to make sure the tension on the supply roll of overlaminate is not too high.  The tension should be set as low as possible.  Too much tension will result in stretching the laminate as it feeds through the laminator, which can then cause curling issues of the applied graphics.

For more detailed instructions on laminating, pre-masking and packaging your graphics, please reference Avery Dennison Instructional Bulletin #5.50.

About the author: Molly Waters

Molly Waters


I started working at Avery Dennison in 1997, which is right about the time that the digital printing technology was taking off. I am fortunate to have been able to “grow up” in this industry and not only see first hand how the industry has changed over the years, I have also had an active role in the development of our products.

While I am well versed in all of the products offered by Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, my areas of expertise are digital printing and the installation of graphics.  I have even passed the PDAA’s master certification test.

When I’m not troubleshooting, helping with R&D, or putting up big stickers I like to spend my time with family and friends in Dallas, TX.  I also enjoy running, as of this writing I have completed 5 half marathons and have two more scheduled over the next few months.



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