Coating and Laminating Rolls: Understanding The Basics
When it comes to strengthening certain products, you’ll have two different options to choose between: coating and laminating rolls. These two processes both have their pros and cons. With both, you’ll ultimately receive a stronger product than you began with. Likewise, you’ll benefit in the long term. Indeed, it’s important to remember that much of what you choose depends on the circumstances and the materials you’re dealing with.
However, in most cases, there is a clear “winner” for each type of converting project. Let’s explore the different processes, so that you might determine which one is right for your task.
What is Laminate Coating?
There is a big difference between laminate coating and other types of coatings—but many don’t even realize exactly what goes into the lamination process. At the end of the day, lamination is more of a bonding than a true coating. When we laminate a product, we’re binding a pre-prepared polymer film or membrane with at least one textile substrate. That textile substrate adheres to the film through pressure, adhesives, or heat.
Why do we laminate products in the first place? Because the initial product needs some reinforcement—and for that matter, protection. Upon laminating a product, we improve its overall durability and strength, and we increase its total stability as well. Furthermore, the product is less affected by temperatures, and its appearance maintains better over time. The product is less affected by contact with other materials, like plastic, than it normally would be. Lamination is one of the best ways to make a relatively flimsy product strong and more reliable.
What Types of Products Do We Laminate?
Although we mentioned textile substrates above, a wide variety of products can potentially benefit from lamination. As you explore products and processes like coating and laminating rolls, consider how they can be applied directly.
- Let’s delve into why we laminate fabrics in the first place. The medical industry, as well as the military, rely upon laminated fabrics. Laminated fabrics are more difficult to damage, and they’re often resistant to dust, chemicals, and even wind. Often, these products are additionally heat treated on top of the lamination, creating an extra layer of protection.
- We can laminate wood products as well. In this case, laminated wood is typically executed through epoxy. Often in the lumber industry, they create beams through gluing and lamination of dimensional pieces of timber. Laminated beams often achieve a higher level of consistency in terms of quality, as opposed to untreated products.
- Laminated glass is achieved through applying a layer of plastic film to either side of a sheet of glass. One product that you can point to as laminated glass right now is a car’s windshield!
What is the Difference Between Coating and Laminating Rolls?
Let’s delve into the main differences between coating and laminating rolls. While on the surface the coating process and the laminating process may seem rather similar, key differences exist between the two. While we’ve already gone over the basics of the lamination process, the coating process (particularly the UV coating process) remains untouched. In the case of UV coating, we don’t use films at all. Rather, we apply ultraviolet rays of light to a polymer resin. As we do so, the polymer hardens, transforming from a liquid to a solid. Similarly to lamination, this coating process ultimately protects the product we coat. However, it offers the additional benefit of increasing the product’s vibrancy, as well as its texture. The product will look better, while at the same time being resistant to scratching and fingerprints.
Another benefit of coatings is that they offer different finishes as well. Think of high gloss, as well as gloss, semi-gloss, and matte finishes. UV coatings achieve this.
While the benefits of one product versus the other may vary and depend on your ultimate goals when having a product treated, there are pros and cons to both. For some products, UV coatings may not be easily achieved, and lamination is more straightforward and therefore preferable. Furthermore, the initial setup of UV coating equipment is more expensive than that of lamination equipment.
Benefits of UV Coating
However, keep in mind that UV coating comes with a short turnaround time. This means that if you need to have a product treated with a short turnaround window, UV coating may in some cases be a better option. UV coatings tend to offer a higher level of consistency as well, and are less likely to cause a glare than lamination. Some business owners prefer coatings since they apply to cut sheets. What this means is that you’re less likely to incur waste than you would with laminate, which is more prone to creating some degree of excess.
Once you decide between coating and laminating rolls, the next step naturally involves beginning the manufacturing process. Or… does it?
Many business owners choose to work with a professional third party manufacturer, rather than handling processes like coating and laminating internally. This is because working with a third party tends to be not only more convenient and efficient (with stronger results) but more affordable as well. Think about how much longer (and more expensive) manufacturing procedures might be if you invested in permanent roll coating and web coating machinery yourself.
Working with an experienced third party manufacturer like CTI can fast-track your manufacturing timeline. Make sure that you call us at 419-924-5566 or contact us here for more information!