Mounter’s Mate - to laminate? or not to laminate?
To Laminate or not to Laminate Wide Format Print?
We wanted to get to the bottom of a key issue many of you in the trade have been thinking about by asking an expert: Omar Benmez (OB) General Manager at Mounter’s Mate.
Omar spent the first 11 years of his working life working hands-on making wide format signs and graphics for the exhibition & events sectors. Years of working with experienced colleagues and tight deadlines taught him invaluable tips and tricks when it comes to producing perfect graphics the first time, every time. In 2013 Omar and his team saw a gap in the market and went to work designing, manufacturing and selling wide format finishing equipment into the market which we know today as Mounter’s Mate.
Omar, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today and I hope you don’t mind us asking you a few questions that a number of users and people in the industry could do with advice on?
OB: My pleasure, always happy to help. What would you like to know?
First of all, are there any aesthetic changes that happen to a wide format print after its laminated? For example are the colours suppressed or washed out in anyway as a result of coating the surface?
OB: Actually the opposite happens; laminating enhances the colour of your text and images. It can really help to add a crisp professional finish in a large choice of finishes that draws eyes to your work.
Is that true of outdoor prints as well? Or does it only work under certain light levels?
OB: Laminating enhances the way your prints look whether you are inside or outside. It also has a great added benefit in that it offers fantastic protection from the damage caused by direct sunlight. This greatly increases the resistance of your print to fading so that you get a sign that not only looks better, but lasts longer too.
I’m guessing that laminating also helps if your prints come into contact with water or cleaning fluids for example on vehicle graphics?
OB: That’s exactly right; laminating provides a highly resistant waterproof barrier that protects the ink used to create your print. This makes it a great way to produce durable graphics and signage which are resistant to dirt and the chemicals used in cleaning vehicles.
How delicate is a laminate coating? Can it easily be peeled off for example?
OB: From my experience, when installed correctly with a quality laminator wide format laminate will stay adhered onto media surface for the lifetime of your print. It’s designed not to be removed and offers a highly effective barrier to prevent scratches and abrasions. This is really important because no matter what type of ink you choose to print with your work will be at risk of damage until it is suitably coated.
Sounds like an interesting application, in regards to equipment what should a sign maker look for in a laminator?
OB: The laminator is a key piece of equipment in all print shops and is depended upon heavily by its users. A Laminators tolerances are critical when laminating 10-50m+ rolls, a laminator with a pneumatic roller operation is far more desirable than a manual handled ‘screw’ system, the compressor provides completely even pressure to both sides of the roller giving a perfect pressure along the entire roller.
Anything else we should know?
OB: Feed and take up reels are also something to bear in mind when purchasing a new wide format laminator, having bars to take care of the laminate, waste release paper and printed media all play a big part in feeding the materials into the laminator correctly and smoothly. An added bonus would be a take up bar to collect the newly laminated graphic to stop it creasing and rolling out onto a dusty floor.
Why wouldn’t you laminate a brand new print?
OB: One of the main reasons our customers laminate is to improve the tear resistance to posters and signage. This significantly increases the lifetime of the print when used in high usage environments. A few reasons why you may choose not to laminate a print could be budget or the application of the graphic is short term. For example, a budget roller banner that is going to be used for a one-day event, you may suggest to the client to not laminate the graphics to save some money but of course beware this could back fire offering the saving if the customer wants to reuse the product. They will find it may mark and tear after multiple uses. In this example the saving is far more expensive for the end user.
And finally, if you were a customer looking to get started where would you begin?
OB: It can be difficult finding the right equipment which is why at Mounter’s Mate we pride ourselves on getting to know our customer’s businesses like they are our own. Once we understand what you want to achieve we can use our expertise to get you up and running in no time at all; everything from selecting the equipment to onsite training after installation to unbeatable after-sales service.
Many thanks Omar.
OB: My pleasure.
To learn more about how the Mounter’s Mate team can help your business grow, browse their range of products today or get in touch with the team directly for some expert one-to-one service: