A wrinkled film, bubbles, stuck rollers; laminator problems can take many forms. Generally, they can mean low quality laminations, wasted laminate, or a machine that stops working altogether. Some laminator machine problems are solvable, while others are way easy to prevent. In this article, we will examine the most common lamination problems and solutions.
Common Laminator Problems
A laminator, like any other machine, can suddenly fail. When yours does, you most probably want to know the reason for the problem. You also want to know when to find help and when to attend to the issue yourself. Below is a quick look at the most common laminator problems and how to handle them.
Laminating Machine Not Heating Up
There are various reasons for a lamination machine not heating up. The machine may not be receiving power, or you’ve adjusted the temperature to a “too low” setting. You could also be having a jammed laminator and dirty rollers or clogged heating elements.
- Check to make sure the machine is receiving power
- Confirm the laminating temperature. You may switch to a higher setting if necessary
- Let the machine to stay on for a little longer
- Check to see if a material is stuck inside
- Clean laminator rollers
Laminator Keeps Wrinkling Laminations
The laminated item is wrinkled or wavy and looks like an orange peel. This problem is usually either a “too” high temperature setting or low laminator speed that results in the laminate overheating. The film tension may also be unequal. Take these steps if the laminator wrinkles documents:
- Reduce the laminator temperature or ensure manufacture specified setting
- You can also run a piece of paper through the laminator to lower its temperature
- Increase the laminator speed to the recommended value
- Adjust the machine’s film tension
Bubbles under Laminate
Bubbles or waviness under the laminating film or pouch is one of the most annoying laminator problems. Causes include slackened roll tension, feeding that’s too fast, or attempting to laminate wet prints. Wet prints outgas as the ink dries, producing gas pockets that show as bubbles under the laminating film.
- Adjust the laminator machine tension
- Slow down the feeding speed of lamination sheet
- Avoid laminating wet material such as prints that haven’t dried
Laminate not Sticking
The laminating film or pouch won’t stick, even with everything set as recommend. This problem is often seen in digital prints. Either the ink is wet or incompatible with the type of adhesive on the laminator roll or pouch. The problem can also result from inconsistency in the heating of the pouch or laminating sheet.
- Ensure the type of pouch or roll has adhesive that can be used with a broad range of inks
- Preheat the laminator so the heat is evenly distributed across the pouch or roll
- Ensure the ink is completely dry before laminating digital prints
The laminated documents or other media ends up curled instead of flat. While a slight curl of the item being laminated is normal, excessive curling isn’t and indicates a problem with your laminator or laminating process. Most curls result from using a film that’s thicker on one side or lack of uniformity in the heating process.
- Ensure the laminating film on both sides are similar in terms of thickness
- Preheat the laminator to ensure uniformity when you insert your material
- Receive the laminated item or have an out-feed table or try to keep it flat
Laminator pouch wraps around roller
When a laminator pouch or roll wraps around a roller, the issue is likely electrostatic. Static charges are causing attraction between the rollers and laminating film. This is one of the major laminator problems that thin films are prone to. Use the remedies below to solve the issue.
- Reverse the laminator machine to remove the pouch
- Earth the laminator to dissipate the static electricity to the ground
- Ensure continuous feeding of the laminator pouches
Laminator Producing Spots on Documents
The documents coming out of the lamination machine have spots or streaks on them. This problem is often caused by residual adhesive on the rollers and happens when adhesive seeps onto rollers over time.
- Regularly clean laminator rollers to remove adhesive deposits
- For immediate remedy, feed a piece of blotting paper repeatedly through the machine. The paper will absorb the adhesive that could be causing spots and streaks
Modern laminators should not jam when used properly. That said, jamming is one of the laminator problems that you need to be alert to as it can still happen. You may have the laminator jammed if the rollers are not working, either due to wear or failed motor. Here is how to fix a jammed laminator.
- If the jammed pouch is visible, you may just pull it out
- Use the jam release button (only possible if your machine had one) or the reverse button to remove the stuck film
- You can all run the laminator in reverse or use the easy access opening to find the jammed piece
- Confirm if the problem is the rollers not turning and call for professional help
One of the last things you want for your laminator is having it break down and affecting your business or project. Proper laminator maintenance can help prevent many of these problems. Below are crucial tips when it comes to caring for a laminator machine, both personal and professional laminators.
Cleaning laminator rollers is an important part of keeping your laminating machine in a good state and preventing issues. However, you need to understand how to do it correctly. Starting with the body, always use a lint-free piece of cloth to wipe off dust from your laminator.
The rollers, in particular, must be free from dirt or residual adhesive. Clean laminator rollers produce flawless laminations without spots and smudges. In order to ensure that, regularly wipe them with a lint-free cloth. You can also use a commercial laminator roller cleaning kit from a stationery store.
Many manufacturers recommend using isopropyl alcohol as a laminator roller cleaning solution. Another easy way of cleaning the rolls is by running clean sheets of paper through the laminator. These work by absorbing adhesive from the roll surfaces. The laminator roller cleaning sheets can be custom or purchased from a store.
Laminator repair helps prevent small issues from getting bigger costing you a new laminator. This may involve fixing a failed mechanism, sometimes also replacing a broken laminator part. Laminator roller replacement is particularly common, as the rubber material tends to suffer damage quickly.
Other laminator parts that may be replaced include the motor, sensors, fuse, and moving components such as wheels. You should not attempt to fix your broken lamination machine. Laminator repair must only be handled by a qualified person and only when it will help to bring the machine back to life.
Laminator problems can be frustrating. They slow you down and can even mean losses if you’re in the laminating business. With the information in this chapter, you will be able to make wise decisions when faced with common lamination issues including solving them yourself or calling for help. But most importantly you will be able to avoid the problems with proper laminator maintenance.