Binders and laminators are quintessential tools to keep business documentation organised and protected
Binders are machines used to align, punch and enclose individual sheets of papers into document sets. A binding machine is a useful tool to have in any office. They not only keep documents together in an orderly manner – important for presentation as well as storage – but they also protect documents and lengthen their lives in environments that may not be all that paper-friendly.
When selling binders to customers, it is important to remember the following:
The first question to ask your customer is what will the binder be used for? This will help you to determine the type of binder that they will need. If the binding machine is going to be used in a small office or a home office, then a simple, affordable machine is recommended. Larger offices with more binding jobs will demand a more complex, electric binding machine. These machines will be capable of more than just binding the occasional annual report or presentation.
Capacity and thickness
The next thing to ascertain is how many documents is the client likely to bind at any one time. Each type of binding machine has a limit with regards to the thickness of the documents it can bind. Many binding machines can bind documents up to 2,5cm thick, while some can bind documents up to 7,6cm thick.
Types of binders
Your customers will need to know that different kinds of documents require different styles of binding. Not all kinds of binders are able to bind your documents in the style required. Your customer will need to decide whether their documents need a traditional finish, a book-style finish, a contemporary finish or a finish with some metallic appearance.
Coil or spiral binding machines are the most recognisable type of binding technology, commonly found in blank notebooks. Coil binding machines are available in table top and floor standing models, with manual or electric configurations. Spiral binding machines bind documents by first punching holes on the pages, then inserting the coil and finally crimping and cutting the coil ends. Coil or spiral binding machines are ideal for customers who have low volumes of binding, such as small offices, schools and churches. They can bind documents up to 2,5cm thick, and offer unique and contemporary finishes.
Plastic comb binding machines are among the most popular binding machines today. They use a plastic binding with many combs inserted into holes punched along the edge of the stack of papers. This type of binding is ideal for home users, schools and smaller businesses. It has the capacity to bind documents up to 5cm in thickness, and offers the best-known, most traditional finish. The advantage of plastic comb binding machines is that they are easy to use, easy to assemble, durable, economical and reusable.
Wire loop binding machines are essentially the combination of a coil bind and a plastic comb bind. This is because wire loop machines use wires in a double loop design. Once inserted into the document, this wire loop will then be closed by the machine itself or by a separate closer. Wire loop binding machines are ideal for binding documents up to 2,5cm thick, such as presentations, manuals and sales presentations. They offer a clean and stylish metal finish.
Thermal binding machines bind pages directly to the spine of thermal covers. The spines of the covers are heated so that adhesive on the spine becomes thin enough to bind the pages together. After the glue has cooled, it becomes part of the page, ensuring a strong bond. Thermal binders do not punch holes or use coils or combs. The machines heat up for between 45 and 120 seconds. Thermal binding is ideal for large offices, and can bind stacks of documents more than 7,6cm thick.
Laminators make a good addition to any office environment. They are a quick and easy way to protect photographs and other documents. Lamination protects documents by permanently bonding clear plastic film to one or both sides of the item. This makes them tear-proof and waterproof; protects items from moisture and environmental damage; prevents creasing and wrinkling; prevents staining and smudging; and prolongs life by preventing light damage.
There are a number of different types of laminators that your customers can choose from. When selling laminators, it is important to cover the following:
The volume of documents to be laminated will determine which type of laminator your customer will need. Compact, desktop laminators are ideal for small offices, while commercial laminators are designed for high volume use in commercial applications. A commercial laminator offers long lasting dependability, durability, low maintenance and high quality lamination.
Depending on the type of machine, a card carrier or laminating pouch carrier sheet will be required. More expensive laminators have adjustable speed and heat settings.
Types of laminators
Pouch laminators use a lamination pouch that is usually sealed on one side, and coated with a heat-activated film that adheres to the product being laminated as it runs through the machine. The document is bonded to the substrate (which can be any number of board products, such as paper or card) or another sheet of laminate plastic. The pouch that holds the document, laminate and substrate is passed under pressure through a set of heated rollers. This ensures that all the adhesive layers bond to one another.
Pouch laminators are ideal for use in the home or in a small office environment. The machines are relatively inexpensive and quite effective. They have a small footprint and won’t take up much space.
Heated roll laminators use heated rollers to melt a glue that is extruded on to lamination film. The film is then applied, under pressure, to the substrate using rollers. Heated roll laminators are used to embellish or protect documents or photographs. These machines vary in size from those suitable for an office to industrial-sized machines. Industrial machines are used by businesses such as printers for high-quality, high-quantity output.
The primary advantage of using a heated roll laminator is speed. The melting of the glue prior to applying the film to the substrate allows for a much faster application of the film. Laminates and adhesives used in heated roll laminators can be up to 50% cheaper than cold roll laminates. The materials are non-adhesive until heated, which makes them easier to handle. Because glue is solid at room temperature, this type of lamination is less likely to shift or warp.
Cold roll laminators use a plastic film that is coated with an adhesive and has a glossy backing. The glossy backing doesn’t stick to the glue, and when it is removed the adhesive is exposed. It then sticks directly on to the item which is to be laminated. Cold lamination has the benefit of being suitable for items which could be damaged by heat. These include items made of vinyl or documents printed with wax-based ink.
Cold laminators range from simple, two-roller machines to large, complex motor-driven machines. The rise of inkjet printers, and their use of inks and papers damaged by heat, increased the popularity of cold roll lamination. Cold laminating processes are used outside of the print industry too, such as when coating a sheet of glass with a protective film. They are also used for laying down adhesive films in the sign-making industry.
Tips for problem-free laminating
- Ensure that you have the right type and weight of pouch for the item to be laminated.
- Ensure that the machine is properly warmed up to the right temperature.
- Use a card carrier if appropriate.
- Ensure that the item to be laminated is right up to the sealed edge of the pouch, allowing a 2mm (minimum) border around the rest of the document to avoid jamming.
- Do not use homemade, chopped up pouches. You can always cut the item down to size after it has been laminated.
- Ensure that the pouch to be used is the correct size for the job.
- If you are attempting to use a pouch with several items inside it, always use a carrier sheet whether your machine requires it or not. Be sure to leave adequate space between each item so that you can cut them down after lamination.
- When cutting laminated items, be sure to leave a “seal” around the edge of the document. If you attempt to cut all the way to the edge of the document your laminate may come apart.
- When laminating irregular surfaces such as embossed or textured originals, it may be necessary to send the item through the machine twice to avoid wrinkling.
- Make sure that all pouches are fed in sealed end first.
- Ensure that the rollers and plate are cleaned regularly, as this prevents the build-up of sticky residue which can also cause pouches to jam. Heat the machine to normal laminating temperature and then pass a non glossy piece of card through the machine as if laminating.
- If a pouch is trapped, do not feed anything into the machine to push it out, contact the manufacturer. Do not attempt to carry out repairs before consulting the manufacturer as you may inadvertently cause more damage.
- Never attempt to laminate an irreplaceable document. With items such as photographs, it is best to make copies rather than try and laminate originals.
- Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for your laminator.