Signs of the Times - May 2017 - 22
CHRIS & KATHI
own and operate The
Image Specialists, a fullservice graphics company
based in Clements, CA.
Chris is also a Microsoft-certified systems
Protect, enhance, encapsulate and embellish
N medieval times, military
leaders wrapped their
knights in suits of armor
- bronze or iron - to
protect their bodies from the rigors
of war. Even today, soldiers and many
police officers wear bulletproof vests
as a means of protection. In a somewhat similar manner, digital prints
need protection from harsh environments and proper, clear lamination
can act as a type of armor. Unless
you're producing prints only for indoor
applications, a laminator should
operate alongside your digital printer.
Lamination is a process by which a
clear, protective coating is positioned
atop a printed graphic to protect it.
In many cases, the process will enhance
the image because certain types of
lamination add a visual intensity
to prints by increasing gloss and
enlivening colors. Conversely, a
matte finish laminate will, of course,
reduce glare and tamp down colors'
brightness. Laminates come in two
forms: liquid and film. The liquid type
is squeegeed atop the print surface,
which is then air dried; the film is
pressure applied with a roller-equipped
machine, a "laminator," that may or
may not add heat during the process.
The laminate's main function is to
protect the print. It also adds UV
and moisture protection, as well as
scratch resistance to the printed
image and also provides a "suit of
armor" to safeguard the print from
common chemicals and detergents.
SEAL 62 PRO S
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
LIQUID OR FILM?
Which should you choose? Liquid
laminates are often water based,
and, as noted above, the fluid is
squeegeed over the image as a uniform coat or applied by an automatic
liquid coater. Liquid's major advantage is lower cost - we estimate
between $0.08-0.26 per sq. ft., versus
$0.80 per sq. ft. for a film laminate.
Liquid's downside is that the treated
images may not be as durable as
those protected with a film laminate,
and you may not be able to laminate
water-based ink prints successfully.
You may also come across UV-cure
liquid laminate fluids that, obviously,
require a UV-lamp process to cure;
and solvent-based liquid laminates
that require specialized ventilation
equipment as a safety factor. Also
know that liquid coating machines
(aka "roll coaters" and "roller coaters")
are available for directly applying
liquid coating - glue, clear coat and
color coat - in programed depths to