Laminating Films In addition to the improvements […]
In addition to the improvements available today with laminating equipment, films have also become more user-friendly and flexible. One critical component with films, especially when other finishing processes like foil stamping, gluing, spot coating, etc. are going to be applied, is the surface treatment level. Films with a higher dyne level will, in most cases, perform much better with these other processes. Typically, a chemically treated film is desired because it will hold its dyne level for longer periods of time than a film that has been corona treated. Polyester (PET) naturally has a higher surface energy than Polypropylene (OPP) films. Because PET already has a higher surface tension level, enhancing it with a corona or chemical treatment makes it extremely user-friendly for other finishing processes after lamination. While PET films have been available in the marketplace for some time, they did not always have the dimensional characteristics that were optimum for thermal lamination. Recent innovations with PET films have improved the dimensional characteristics, making it an excellent choice for many thermal film applications.
When selecting a film for a particular application, it is important to understand what needs to be achieved. Laminating films can be made from several base materials that all have specific attributes. OPP, for example, is typically lower in cost, but is a softer film that is easier to scratch or scuff. PET films are a little more expensive, but have better scuff resistance. It is suggested to contact a thermal film manufacturer and explain the application so the proper film can be selected for the particular application.
Gloss and protection are not the only applications for clear film, as in recent years, the decorative use of laminating films has significantly increased. Today, many applications exist that combine several unique processes to enhance its appearance. A sheet laminated with a clear gloss film may incorporate a matte spot UV to draw attention to a particular printed graphic. That same sheet also may have an area that is foil stamped and embossed.
The use of metalized films is increasing as well. In many cases, the sheet is laminated with the metalized film and then printed over the top with a 4-color process, much like overprinting hot stamping foil. Different varieties of metalized films are also now available, including brushed metals, super bright surfaces that mirror chrome, and even products that mimic a galvanized appearance. Holographic films for laminating have also continued to gain popularity. As with other holographic products, the cost has decreased enough in recent years to make it a feasible option for many applications. Holographic laminating films are available in both translucent and metalized versions and come in many standard patterns, much like holographic hot stamping foils.
In the past, difficult surfaces or applications that involved weatherability or UV protection had to utilize pressure sensitive films to complete the job. Improvements in thermal laminating films and the specialization of the adhesive layers have expanded the use of thermal films into applications never before thought possible. Lower melt adhesive layers with more aggressive bonding characteristics are now available, as well as films with UV inhibitors.
With improvements in adhesive layers and adhesion capabilities, along with the expanded market for decorative films, new opportunities continue to surface on a daily basis. Couple this with continued improvements with laminating machine capabilities, and film lamination continues to be a strong potential growth area for graphic finishing operations as well as for other market segments.
Marketing development manager
Zhejiang Ruico Advanced Materials Co., Ltd. (Stock No.873233)
Add: No.188, Liangshan Road, Linghu Town, Nanxun District, Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China 313018
Phone: +86 (572) 2903236
Fax: +86 (572) 2905222
WhatsApp: +86 15088303595