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  • Laminating cost losses, how do you do it?

    Posted by Karen White on July 23, 2021 at 9:08 am

    I laminate prints pretty much as and when I do things.
    i do not have a load of jobs all waiting to be printed “at once” as it isn’t practical for me being a small company and i need to get the jobs out as quickly as possible.
    The past week i have been very busy but i have noticed that i lose a fair bit of vinyl when starting to laminate jobs and at the end. it is not much but combined with general small waste here and then laminating, i think it adds up and i am wondering if you are all getting the same thing or is it just i need to sort out my process or charge for the waste?

    just a Friday question for you while i drink my coffee thinking about this one. 😀❤

    Craig Thompson replied 1 year ago 9 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • Joe Killeen Killeen

    July 23, 2021 at 10:21 am

    I try and nest as many jobs as I can to cut down on waste but more the time it take to set up the printer and laminator.

    Sometimes I will print a job on ploy that mono would be good enough for, but if it fits with another job I save time changing the roll in the printer/laminator. I am a one man operator also so I understand the pressure to get things out quick. Sometimes if you can plan your week out at the start you get more done (easier said than done)😀

  • David Hammond

    July 23, 2021 at 11:07 am

    I think it’s just one of those things I’m afraid and something to take into account when charging more for laminating.

    However –

    If you’re using the same laminate for most of the job, I print a header/footer, enough so that I can cut the graphic from the back of the laminator, but the footer remains pinched between the rollers.

    This means that when I come the laminate the next graphic, I don’t need to set up the machine, and feed in the header, underneath the footer that’s suck out the rollers.

    You don’t need to leave the rollers down either, you can lift them, and when you come to laminate again just pull it through slightly as you lower them again, ensuring the laminate is against the roller.

    If it’s just a small section of print, I’ll often just cut the laminate off the roll, lay it on top and feed it through the laminator, similar to mounting boards, which doesn’t require as much media waste, but takes a little longer.

  • Jamie Wood

    July 23, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Maybe just allow for 1m of unprinted vinyl & lam when quoting the job? It wouldn’t add much, and you’re then covered for the loss.

  • Adam McMonagle

    July 23, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    I have the same issue and allow for waste in the price but if you want to save on laminate on smaller jobs you could use a foamex sled through the laminator, that way you can cut the exact size of laminate leaving a little extra to nip the rollers at the start.

  • Leslie Anderson

    July 23, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    This is a very helpful post. I am doing a lot of reading the past week or two and learning lots.
    I dread laminating. it takes me a while to get it set up and i then lose a good bit in the process but i guess practice makes perfect.
    I think i might need to add a few pound to cover my losses, at least until i get this nailed.

    Adam, what is a foamex sled? i am hoping i am not being completely dumb asking this! 😳🤣

    • Adam McMonagle

      July 25, 2021 at 7:36 am

      Forgive my crude drawing, basically use the foamex board as a carrier for the print. This way you can cut laminate to just larger than the print size and use the laminator to lay it down (without webbing up the laminator and wasting loads). You will sacrifice the foamex sheet but it will be good for quite a few jobs as long as you strip off the excess. I think this is your wobble board David 😁

  • Chris Wilson

    July 24, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Agree with everyone that is just part of the job and should be accounted for when billing, but our waste has dropped significantly after getting a mounters mate application table.

    But if your a small shop try reorganise yourself into blocks. I.e everything printed from Monday to Wednesday, gets laminated on Friday. Make Friday a prep day for all the jobs the following week that you can. That way you’ll limit waste. I’m trying to improve us here a little. Taken about 2 months to sort ourselves out, but the boys on Monday will be producing signs that are being fitted on the 10th onwards. Doesn’t work for every job. But it’s very satisfying laminating for 2 hours on a Monday morning and knowing 85% of it for the next week is done.

  • David Hammond

    July 24, 2021 at 10:48 am

    @Chris-Wilson2 that’s similar to what we do, I don’t book an installation until the artwork is approved, and I’ve received a deposit, and all lead times are from that point. Some jobs take longer than others to prepare, and I can squeeze easier jobs in around some of the larger ones. I’ve also narrowed our offering, and decline some jobs straight away as I know it takes too much time and effort at the detriment of our other work.

    @Leslie-Anderson practice, practice, practice – However laminating is a black art, and if the wind has change direction, or planets are in exact alignment it can go drastically wrong 😂 Since going with the mounters mate we’ve had no issues, other than operator error.

    I’ve been at this 10 years, and I’m curious as to the Sled – We’ve probably used similar in the past, but called it a different name 😀 We have our trusty ‘wobble board’ we use to feed in the laminate.

  • Robert Lambie

    July 25, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    Great post/thread!
    just to add to the list. I too add a bit to the cost when laminating is involved.
    if you can cover your material costs for a linear metre of both laminate and digital media, then all is great because if you don’t make any mistakes, your making extra money. Bumping on a £10 tenner, is nothing but it does add up over the week and helps pay the bills!

    nice diagram @Adam-McMonagle I know what you mean now, mate. but I was thinking something different when you said “sled”.
    Not always, but if i am starting a lamination run i will lace up the laminator and then use a 3mm foamex board to feed through the first 12 inches of laminate, which i then tape the start of the digital vinyl through.
    however, i then stop the laminator leaving the tail of the laminated print exposed at the front of the roller and just tape on the next job and proceed to feed it through the machine.

    • Craig Thompson

      July 26, 2021 at 1:01 pm

      @RobertLambie this is exactly how we do it, lucky enough also to have 2 x mounters, one for 1370mm and one for 1600mm – both facing one another on a 6mtr bench 👍