Give us a Try!
Request a Quote

an image

(608) 846-7770

(608) 846-2999

Email Us:


10:00am-5:00 pm (CST)
Monday - Friday



A list of some of the more common problems experienced by laminator operators and their possible solutions.

waves | bubbling | curling | blistering | mounting


Often caused by too much moisture in prints, wet ink or toner, insufficient paper tension or laminating temperature. Improper cooling may also contribute. Possible cures are (please consult Wave Chart)

  • For waves similar to example #1, try increasing clutch tension of material between main and pull rolls.
  • For waves similar to example #2, try resetting the nip rollers. This problem is often caused by uneven tension between the rolls.
  • For waves similar to example #3, try increasing paper tension or adjusting laminator roll pressures.
  • Proper drying of prints is also essential.
  • For waves similar to example #4, try reducing laminator speed and/or temperature. Reducing clutch tension may also help.
  • Be sure that pressure across the nip rollers is even.

Note: In some cases waves may also be remedied by running laminated prints over an idler bar with the laminator’s fans or cooling system turned off .


Symptoms: Small bubbles in prints, cloudy colors, silvering, and improper adhesion in spots.

Possible cures include: Slower lamination speed, and/or increase heat. Increasing nip pressure may also help.


Symptoms: Images rolling up, refusing to lay flat.

Possible cures include: First, do not marry laminates that are more than 1 gauge category apart if possible. (A 3 mil should not be married to a 10 mil unless absolutely necessary). Standard categories for hot lams are as follows: 1.9, 3.0, 5.0, 7.0 and 10 mil. It is possible to marry a wider variety
of gauges, but this should only be done by the more experienced operators.

  • Reduce upper brake tension to counter “upward curling;” increase brake tension for “downward curling”.
  • Increase lower laminate’s brake tension for “upward curling;” decrease for “downward curling.”
  • Increase cooling of bottom laminate to counter upward curling; decrease for downward curling.
  • Reduce cooling of top laminate for upward curling; increase for downward curling.


Symptoms: Paper coating or inks are bubbled up from the image surface.

Possible cures: Reduce temperature and/or increase laminating speed. Use low-melt laminates such as DIGIKote or switch to pressure sensitive
overlams. When laminator is on, but not in use, keep nip rollers moving in order to prevent “hot spots” in rollers.


Low-melt overlaminates are usually used when the normal amount of heat applied to most thermal laminates causes problems similar to the ones outlined in the previous section.

This is true especially with today’s inkjet prints. Epic’s “MP” Multi-Purpose
Low-Melt Laminates are products designed to bond at much lower temperatures than conventional laminates, which may in turn eliminate many operational headaches. The special multi-temp formula also has been shown to be able to run at the same temperature as conventional laminates on many different types of prints without damaging the image or causing the usual “high-heat” problems, yet bonding remains solid. This makes it the perfect choice for electrostatic images as well as inkjet.

Results may vary with the applications. Please call us if you have any questions.

Image Grip Laminates are the state of the art in thermal bonding technology. With a super-aggressive adhesive compound, they will stick to
many inkjet prints that were previously thought incompatible with thermal laminates. Priced between standard thermal and pressure sensitive laminates, they are the best alternative in many cases for hardto-stick-to inkjet prints.

Original DIGIKote with extra U.V. will have results similar to our “MP” laminates, but comes in more economical ratios that are good for use in certain types of projects.

Unfortunately, no thermal laminate on the market today is foolproof when it comes to sticking to the wide variety of inkjet prints produced today. Here
are a couple of “insider tips” on how to help in this

  1. Avoid the use of gloss paper as much as possible. It is much harder to bond to than matte or satin paper, and in most cases, will not add any additional shine or depth to a laminated print, as the finish comes from the overlaminate, not the paper used. Try to use matte or satin papers whenever possible. For our list of recommended papers, please refer to page 6–7 in this catalog.
  2. Even if a print appears dry, it may not be. Take your inkjet print and dry it thoroughly from the BACKSIDE with a hand held hair dryer. Be careful not to burn or distort the print. This procedure can work wonders, especially if you let the print sit for an additional time period before attempting to laminate it. Remember, the longer it sits, the more it dries.
  3. Another method is to lightly spray the inkjet print with a coat of clear spray lacquer, inexpensive and easily obtainable from your local hardware store. Individual spray cans work best. (Be sure to follow all label and OSHA directions for handling and use, and only spray in an approved well ventilated area.) Let the spray dry for a few minutes, then laminate as usual. Never laminate until the spray has dried completely. Most laminates will stick just fine after this.


Usually, mounting to most substrates is accomplished with the use of a pressure sensitive mounting film.

There are basically two types of mounting materials in wide use today: rubber-based and acrylic based.

The new generation of acrylic-based materials are smooth multipurpose adhesives and usually apply easily. They can be used on almost all the popular substrates today (foamcore, Gator, Sintra, etc.). Recently, white opaque rubber-based mounting adhesives have become popular, and are in wide use.Our acrylic mounting materials are called “Boardmount
,” our rubber-based are called “Powertack.”

One important difference is that there are two types of acrylic adhesives that can be constructed from two very diff erent types of base products, creating a water- or a solvent-based product. In most cases, under varied conditions, the solvent- based products have been shown to be more reliable over a longer period of time and on a greater variety of substrates than the water-based adhesives. Recently, mounting to black boards seems to have become a problem for some folks. This problem seems to come about no matter whose adhesive is being used. This could be due, in part, to any changes that may have been made over the years in the construction of the boards. Sometimes, a different bonding reaction occurs between the adhesives and the board, which may allow for improper adhesion (peeling etc.). One thing we do know is the best way to fi x the problem. Before mounting, sand the black board gently with sandpaper that is at least 180 grit or finer. This procedure will rough up the surface of the board slightly, allowing the adhesive to get a better grip on it. It is advised that you wear a mask and goggles to protect your eyes, nose and mouth during sanding, as the black dust could make some people uncomfortable. You should always perform this type of procedure in a well-ventilated area a safe distance away from others. You may wish to call the manufacturer of your boards to get more details.

It is always important to be sure that you have a clean substrate to work with. All boards should be free of dust, particles and oils before use. Wipe paper based boards thoroughly to be sure that they are ready for mounting. Plastic type boards need more preparation, and should be wiped off dry, have a tacky roller run over them, then be wiped down lightly with alcohol in order to achieve maximum adhesion. (Sometimes it’s even a good idea to run the tacky roller over the board a second time.)

It is usually advisable to mount your project to an oversized board fi rst, then trim. This helps prevent the print from “peeling up” around the edges. In high humidity areas (parts of Florida, etc.) it may also be advisable to encapsulate your prints before mounting to any board to ensure security against moisture getting in.