Another good reason to use a laminate is that it makes the film easier to manage, without an application tape, which is the way many installers prefer to apply. If a laminate is not used, the film is too thin and flimsy and more difficult to install.
2. What kinds of developments do you think we'll see next in overlaminates?
Kucera: Although direct to board and UV will continue to affect the business, as will liquid laminates, the best durability and conformability is only available through pressure-sensitive laminates right now. We expect to see more functional laminates in the future, which offer features in addition to light control and surface protection.
Milazzo: The development of lower cost entry-level films made from polypropylene. This will not only reduce the investment per square foot but will provide a solution that is more environmentally friendly (polypropylene vs. pvc). Also, new more exciting anti-graffiti films will be introduced to the marketplace to preserve and protect indoor and outdoor signs.
Mohni: Popular applications such as vehicle wraps and outdoor signage will continue to dictate pressure sensitive film prices, which will become more and more aggressive. I also believe that more specialty type films, such as textured, graffiti resistance, floor graphics and window films, will continue to improve performance and increase application opportunities for customers who are looking for new ways to protect, enhance and improve their printed images.
Waters: Manufacturers continue to work on making their products easier for customers to use and increasing conformability. We are focused on adding additional conformability to meet the ever-increasing number of surfaces that marketers are looking to use for promotions as the demand for out-of-home advertising continues to increase.
3. What is the best argument for offering overlamination and/or finishing services in a printing company?
Kucera: Printing companies should consider offering overlamination and/or finishing services because laminates improve the finished appearance of the graphic. They help the colors pop, add depth, and provide a consistent finish. They are also useful for viewability as matte and luster laminates reduce glare and provide better visibility of the underlying message in difficult lighting situations. Laminates also add a layer of protection from fade, dirt, abrasion, handling damage, and moisture.
For floor graphics, laminates improve safety because they add slip resistance to the printed work. They also add body to printed media, making application of large pieces easier. Laminates are also an additional source of profit because they enhance, protect, and make your customers’ investment in their promotional efforts more durable.
Milazzo: Being a “one-stop shop” is a powerful value proposition. Surveys conducted by GBC have shown that over 50 percent of the profit in any job comes from “finishing what you print”. Many applications require lamination. If a printer does not offer finishing services, they will have to job that portion out and risk losing the entire job.
Mohni: Protection is still the number one reason for lamination, followed by visual enhancement and added value. In today's competitive retail and consumer environment, corporate image is more important than ever. Ensuring that an image used for display advertisement is protected from the rigors of its environment, such as UV, abrasion, moisture, handling, and even graffiti, is critical to the longevity of its message. It is also important that the image provides the highest visual impact possible, which lamination achieves by offering textured films, the appropriate gloss level or the necessary rigidity to get the maximum effect. Not only does lamination allow the print provider to present new application possibilities to customers, it also gives customers peace of mind and confidence, which can dramatically maximize a print provider's earning potential per square foot compared with printing alone.
Waters: The number one reason to use an overlaminate is to protect the printed graphic. Without an overlaminate, inks typically last one to three years. With a premium cast overlaminate, the durability can go up to five years depending on the ink. Calendered overlaminates are less expensive and can protect and extend the lifetime of the graphics, they are suitable for flat surfaces and simple curves.