Laminating is a process where a liquid or transparent plastic film gets applied over a printed sticker or label.
Laminators come in all shapes and sizes. A traditional, wide-format roll-to-roll laminator looks like this:
The printed roll of media (also known as vinyl or paper) gets put through the rollers. A transparent plastic layer is stuck to it to give extra protection. Here's a close up of how it looks:
You can see the clear laminate coming from the top and the printed media coming from the bottom. Both materials are fed between the rollers to apply the clear over-laminate.
What is liquid lamination?
Liquid lamination is very similar, but instead of using a protective plastic layer, you use a scratch-resistant liquid to coat the printed surface.
Liquid laminates give less protection than plastic but are better than exposed ink, so are suitable for labels requiring moderate protection.
Liquid options are much lower cost & more environmentally friendly than using clear plastic laminates.
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