Laminating services bond two or more layers of material into a laminated composite sheet or web. They use standard thermal laminating films, low-temperature thermal laminating films, heat-assisted laminating films, pressure-sensitive films, and liquid laminates. Laminating paper is used to preserve dyes and inks. Laminating film is used with photo identification cards and credit cards. Some laminating services produce printed materials, product packaging, boxboard, or composites. Others produce thermal or electrical insulating materials. A laminated product manufacturer can also produce laminating pouches, film, film rolls, trimmers, lanyards, foam core, vinyl pouches, and hot and cold office laminators.
Laminating services that handle printed materials use three basic types of laminators: pouch laminators, heated roll laminators, and cold roll laminators. A pouch laminator passes a pouch that contains the print, laminate and substrate through a set of heated rollers under pressure, insuring that all adhesive layers bond to one another. With a heated roll laminator, the film has heat-activated glue on one side that sticks to the printed product. By contrast, a cold roll laminator uses film with a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA).
Examples of laminated products include Formica® and plywood. Formica and plastic laminates such as Pionite® or Wilsonart® are called high pressure decorative laminate (HDPL) products because they are produced with heat and pressure greater than 5 lbf/in² (34 kPa). Formica® is a registered trademark of the Formica Corporation. Pionite is a registered trademark of Panolam Industries. Wilsonart® is a registered trademark of Wilsonart International.
Laminating services that work with printed images can join several trade associations, including the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) and the Association of Graphic Solutions Providers (IPA). The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes several documents that apply to laminating services, including EPA-456/B98-003 (Potential to Emit: A Guide for Small Businesses) and EPA/630/P-03-001B (Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment). A laminating service specializing in floor coverings may be familiar with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 219, which maintains standards for textile, resilient and laminate floor coverings. For high-pressure decorative laminates, ISO 4586 and13894 apply.