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(May 2017) posted on Thu May 18, 2017

Protect, enhance, encapsulate and embellish

By Chris and Kathi Morrison

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In medieval times, military leaders wrapped their knights in suits of armor – bronze or iron – to protect their bodies from the rigors of war. Even today, soldiers and many police officers wear bulletproof vests as a means of protection. In a somewhat similar manner, digital prints need protection from harsh environments and proper, clear lamination can act as a type of armor. Unless you’re producing prints only for indoor applications, a laminator should operate alongside your digital printer.

Lamination is a process by which a clear, protective coating is positioned atop a printed graphic to protect it. In many cases, the process will enhance the image because certain types of lamination add a visual intensity to prints by increasing gloss and enlivening colors. Conversely, a matte finish laminate will, of course, reduce glare and tamp down colors’ brightness. Laminates come in two forms: liquid and film. The liquid type is squeegeed atop the print surface, which is then air dried; the film is pressure applied with a roller-equipped machine, a “laminator,” that may or may not add heat during the process. The laminate’s main function is to protect the print. It also adds UV and moisture protection, as well as scratch resistance to the printed image and also provides a “suit of armor” to safeguard the print from common chemicals and detergents.


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