Laminate film is generally categorized into these five categories:
standard thermal laminating films, low-temperature thermal
laminating films, heat-assisted laminating films, pressure-sensitive
films and liquid laminates.
Standard thermal laminating films
This is typically a polyester film with a polyethylene
(copolymer) adhesive that requires temperatures between
210º-240ºF to bond. These are the most popular
films today, largely due to their low price. They can also
be the most problematic to work with.
Low-temperature thermal laminating films
These are virtually identical to standard thermal films
in that they are constructed of polyester with a polyethylene
adhesive. They bond at a lower temperature, 185º-210ºF.
It is likely that these laminates will replace standard
thermal films at some point in the future.
Heatset (or heat-assisted) laminating films
Usually these films are PVC- or polyester-based films,
although there are a few exceptions. The adhesive is thermoplastic
and only requires 170º-195ºF to bond to the substrate.
These laminates are frequently PVC (vinyl) or polyester
with an acrylic adhesive, with the composition of the adhesive
varying from one manufacturer to the next. Sometimes they
are referred to as "cold" laminating films, because they
don’t require heat to bond with a substrate, just
Liquid laminates are just that--liquid coatings that require
a specific liquid-coating machine or applicator. These
coatings are for the most part solvent- or aqueous-based;
chemical composition will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.