With the new and simplified naming system, matching Cover-Rite laminate products with AGL Inc.’s Print-Smart media products now becomes much easier, Caruso said. For instance, a material called Print-Smart V4.4MWF (a 4.4 mil. thick vinyl white matte floor) can be matched with Cover-Rite V4.75T.
“What’s extremely important to a lot of shop owners is having a match component solution,” he said. “A printable media with a matched overlaminate is important for their customers and end users who seek warranty coverage. Now you have a UL-approved media for slip resistance, coupled with Cover-Rite V4.75T, also approved for slip resistance, for a complete end-to-end solution.”
The new names help customers match laminates and media. “Lots of times, a shop will pick up a competitor‘s catalog, read a 10-word description of a product, and try to figure out if it’s right for them,” Caruso said. “Our solution simplifies the names so they can better understand what they’re purchasing.”
If the need exists, AGL Inc.’s team of field representatives is available to visit clients and play consultative roles in their businesses. The reps work one-on-one, person-to-person, in each shop, discussing specific applications. “Because this is a business that’s driven by specific applications, it’s important to know and understand what the specific applications are,” Caruso said.
At Marabu North America, the StarLam 1600R Liquid Laminator is the newest product gaining wide acceptance, McGettrick said. Introduced in 2008, the machine is 84 inches wide, with a maximum coating width of 64 inches. It coats substrates from vinyl to canvas, takes ClearStar ClearShield water-base coatings, has a self-contained wash trough for easy clean up and a laminate recirculating system that saves on waste. It ships ready to use, he added.
“The operation is extremely intuitive,” McGettrick added. “It can be used by a single operator, and is suitable for storefront shops or high-production settings.
“We install these machines and train on the machines, so [operators] are comfortable running them. The laminate will provide UV protection, chemical resistance, abrasion resistance, and do it all while remaining flexible.”
For some shops, acquisition of the StarLam 1600R Liquid Laminator can mean up to 50 percent savings on lamination, and provide a profit center the shop wouldn’t otherwise enjoy. “Many times they buy this solution for a particular job, such as wall coverings, fleet graphics or vehicle wraps projects,” McGettrick said. “And they find they can use it throughout their business.”
North Haven, CT-based Quality Media & Laminating Solutions, Inc., a 20-year-old major distributor of mounting and laminating supplies, is another leader in the field. The company’s product line continues to evolve with changes in the market, said senior sales and marketing manager Frank Corey. “A number of our larger clients have expanded into laser-type printers that have fuser oils, and many laminates don’t stick to fuser oils,” he said. “We have our Digi Guard line of thermal laminates that will adhere to fuser oils and surmount that problem.”
Over the past couple years, he adds, his company has also noticed expanded use of cast laminates, a high-performance product frequently used in vehicle graphics and higher-end, long-term outdoor signs. “Our Premium Cast Laminate meets the highest specifications,” Corey said.
Yet another area that has experienced growth is the thermal lamination of UV-curable polyester media, he added. “Because the media and the laminate are both polyester-based, they stick well,” Corey said.
“Some of the applications include encapsulated trade show panels, encapsulated backlit films, and point-of-purchase signage. The UV printers that you can use these materials on include the EFI VUTEk PressVU, HP, Durst Rho, and Oce. Our Hard Guard and Digi Guard lines both work in those applications.”
Those considering an entry-level option in lamination may want to investigate the Prisma Series of cold or heat-activated laminators from Remington Laminations Inc. of Grapevine, TX. Used primarily by smaller sign shops seeking a cost-effective solution, the Prisma Series machines use a standard three-inch core material and are available in sizes that can accommodate 55- and 65-inch-wide prints, said Remington account executive David Cowart.