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.

  • Pressure-sensitive films

  • 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 pressure.

  • Liquid laminates

  • 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.

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