The Power of Automation: How Automatic Laminators Save Time and Money

Operating laminating equipment is usually a labor intensive process requiring constant attention to detail and a fulltime operator to ensure that feeding, laminating, ejecting and trimming all go smoothly. The added value, beauty and protection to any print has led to increasing demand of laminated materials and made lamination a corner stone of any print finishing business.

A New Laminating Paradigm

When it came to creating an innovative new laminating machine, Fujipla used their decades of industry experience to craft a thoughtful, intuitive automated laminating solution. They sought to avoid the costly manual labor needed for every step of the process and provided a solution from start to finish, saving time and money with automated feeding, laminating, trimming and stacking.

Pouch and roll-fed laminators have traditionally been the standard bearers of the lamination industry and, while they both have their advantages depending on volume and application, there are very real drawbacks. The time and energy required to operate pouch and roll laminators can make the prospect of laminating large jobs both daunting and prohibitively expensive for small or mid-size shops, leading to these jobs being farmed out to larger companies. With the advent of new automated lamination technology, however, there is now an affordable way for businesses to consistently do these jobs with ease and efficiency: Fujipla’s revolutionary ALM automatic laminators.

Automated Feeding

Regardless of how quickly your laminator runs, the effort required to manually insert and feed is slow, tedious and has significant margin for error with regard to skew and position of the print. The ALM series features a friction feed tray with built-in skew adjustment that automatically draws individual sheets from a stack at the touch of a button, accepting prints ranging from 8.5” x 11” up to 13” x 19” with paper weights between 20# bond all the way up to 130# covers. Additionally, the ALM provides a robust 200 sheet feeding capacity allowing the operator to focus on other tasks while it churns out beautifully laminated prints.

Adjustable Feed Tray on ALM Automatic Laminator

Adjustable feed tray accepts prints up to 13" x 19".

ALM Adjustable Side Guides with standard preset positions

Feed tray side guides with standard pre-set positions.

Skew adjustment knobs on ALM friction-feed tray

Skew adjustment for perfectly straight feeding.

ALM Control panel with Start and Stop buttons

Control panel with "Start" and "Stop" buttons.

Automated Laminating

The ALM’s digital control panel lets you easily set laminating temperature and speed on the fly. With adjustable temps ranging between 170° - 270°F and lamination speeds from 20” up to 68” per minute, these digital controls take the guesswork out of properly setting your lamination job up and are especially useful if you are laminating a wide variety of paper weights. These automatic laminators give you the option of running the machine on continuous mode (which alerts you when the stack has been completed) or setting a counter that laminates the exact number of desired sheets. Additionally, the ALM features a “Stop” button that discontinues feeding after your current sheet has finished laminating.

Control speed, temperature, count and cut adjustments with ALM

Control speed, temperature and lamination count digitally.

ALM Counter-Roller that helps prevent double feeds

Prevent double feeds with counter-roller adjustment lever.

Dual heated rollers on ALM

Dual heated rollers provide smooth, seamless lamination.

ALM Lamination Tension Control Knob

Tension control knobs for smoothing out any wrinkles.

These machines use Fujipla’s exclusive line of extremely high quality film, which is available in gloss, matte and soft touch silk matte finishes in thicknesses ranging from 1.2mil (single-sided) to 5mil (double-sided). This film is among the best we’ve seen, rivaling any competitor and providing a consistently brilliant, well-adhered finish.

Automated Trimming

This is where Fujipla automatic laminators really shine in terms of saving time and simplifying the finishing process. While manual feeding in traditional laminating machines can require each piece to be trimmed individually to maintain a uniform look, the ALM not only laminates but precisely trims all four edges of your sheet in a single pass (within a hundredth of an inch), using side slitters and a rotary blade to give you the perfect flush trim or edge seal. The leading and trailing edge cut adjustments are made digitally via the control panel while the side cuts are mechanically adjusted by simply sliding each slitter to the correct width (standard sizes are notched into the machine) and tightening it into place.

ALM Adjustable Side Slitters

Adjustable side slitters for precise trimming.

ALM slitting slots notched into guide rail

Pre-configured slots for slitting standard sized prints.

Automated Stacking

The last piece of the lamination automation puzzle is what to do with your pages once they’ve been laminated. Unlike a traditional roll laminator, where the operator must manually cut each sheet from the roll before trimming it out, the ALM utilizes exit rollers that are perfectly synced to eject your sheet after the rotary knife makes its final pass. The finished product gently drops into a metal catch arm while all waste is deposited into a bin directly beneath the laminator.

ALM Plastic Waste Bin for trimmed materials

Waste bin for depositing trimmed materials below.

ALM Metal Catch Arm

Metal catch arm for neatly stacked laminated prints.

The Bottom Line

While the automation offered by the Fujipla ALM 3230 and ALM 3222 automatic laminators comes at a higher upfront cost compared to pouch or roll laminators, they offer significant advantages over traditional lamination systems, especially for businesses with mid to high-volume operations looking to ramp up production and save money. By automating the feeding, laminating, trimming and stacking processes, the ALM reduces operational headaches, increases productivity, improves lamination versatility and consistently creates a gorgeous product that’s well suited for many different environments.