Why Choose Us
Side Frame Integrity
The side frame configuration of a piece of laminating equipment is the foundation for the overall performance and longevity of the machine. The side frame rigidity is integral to the overall integrity of any laminator design. The Duty Cycle requirements, overall speed, and tension levels of the materials being processed through the laminator must be taken into consideration.
AGL's side frames are made from 3/8” to 1" thick laser cut steel with properly placed steel cross bars tying the machine frame together. These construction traits have been proven to provide longer stability over other machines constructed out of structural steel weldments and stamped sheet metal.
Nip Roll Design
The nip roller assemblies are the most important components in any piece of lamination equipment. The overall construction and integrity of the nip rolls will determine the type of lamination output from any given laminator. In order to provide good adhesion, flatness and finish to any material of a laminators output you must start with steel nip rollers. The wall thickness is based upon the width of the nip roll as well as the amount of pressure exerted onto the nip rolls. The amount of deflection at the maximum pressure of the nip rolls must be .004” across the roll face. AGL consistently designs each and every nip roller to be within this specification and concentrically grinds the finished outside diameter to be within .003” to .005” TIR (Tolerance In Round).
These manufacturers will claim that the “Crown” in their rollers is there to “Smooth Out” the film during the lamination process. The actual result of crowning a roller covering is to compensate for the nip rolls deflecting while it is under load during the laminating process. The crowned rollers contact each other and the laminating materials in the middle before touching the outside edges. This moves the middle of the product through the machine at a slightly faster rate than the outside edges causing a condition referred to as “Boat Waking or D waves”. Crowned roller assemblies must be operated in one very specific pressure range for them to perform properly because of this inherent design weakness.
The AGL nip roller assemblies are designed to incorporate a roller core assembly that does not bend or deflect as described above. The benefit of this design is even and uniform contact between the two nip rolls and the laminating materials across the entire working surface of the roller regardless of the pressures being utilized for a given lamination process. This results in no “Boat Waking or D waves” during the lamination process which results in more profits and less wasted lamination material at the end of the project. You do not have to print three to sell one with AGL’s design!
AGL has elected to utilize air cylinders in all of their laminators to open and close their nip roller and pull roller assemblies. Utilizing air cylinders greatly increases the safety factor of the machine as well as allows for repeatable setup and processing for laminating. If an operator triggers an emergency stop switch with their hand or foot while running the AGL laminator, the air cylinders will immediately open the roller assemblies, eliminating the pinch point between the rollers. Many laminator manufactures are turning to “crank” assemblies to open and close the laminating roller assemblies. We have always wondered how an operator would open these rollers in an emergency scenario.
Air cylinders also provide repeatable laminator setup and production control by giving the operators or supervisors the ability to see and adjust how much pressure is being applied.
Air consumption with nip roll air cylinders is minimal and many shops will have compressed air available for other needs. In today’s market, there are also many reliable, low cost options available for adequately sized air compressors for locations that do not have compressed air available on-site.
Tension control and more importantly “repeatable” tension control, is one of the most overlooked and under emphasized areas of the lamination process control. Improper tension control can be the primary cause of product failure during the lamination process. Product failures such as “wrinkles” or “silvering” are often caused by the lack of tension during the laminating process. Product curl and delamination may be the outcome of too much tension during the laminating process. This tension induced delamination may occur several weeks after the product has been delivered to a customer which never plays out well for either party. AGL has always provided tension control devices that provide information and feedback for the operators to help them avoid the issues associated with improper tension during lamination. These tensioning control options range from a simple manual set point position on a supply station to fully “closed loop” electronic feedback and automatic control for critical production requirements.
A high percentage of today’s lamination needs can be satisfied with a simple and straightforward laminator configuration. A typical laminator configuration consists of a laminate unwind, release liner windup, an unwind for certain printed medias and in some cases a finished product windup. However, for those in need of something a little more customized for your product requirements, AGL offers a unique option. AGL specializes in getting a clear understanding of what lamination and production needs are required for a given customer. This allows us to design a machine configured to satisfy the manufacturing needs of the customer.
Our standard wide format product line of laminators are designed to give an end-user the flexibility to configure their equipment needs specifically for what they want to do while meeting the price range of the customer.
Our custom designs may include multiple unwind and rewind stations, heavy-duty roll handling capabilities, web alignment, high temperature requirements, web cooling, web conveyance and automated HMI systems. These are just a few of the features that AGL has incorporated into their manufacturing line of equipment over the last 65 years of operation.
Heat vs No Heat
Establishing if your laminator requires heated rollers is the first decision that a company should make. In order to determine if your machine requires heat will depend upon the type of adhesive you intend to process through the laminator. Thermal adhesives require heat activation in order to adhere the laminate to the product being laminated. Pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA) on the other hand, merely require peeling off a release liner and adhering the over-laminate to the product. This heat versus no heat consideration, primarily comes into play when your process requirements are utilizing pressure sensitive over-laminating films and PSA medias.
In PSA applications, adding heat to the process is not generally a specific requirement for the materials to do what they are intended to do. What heat does in a PSA process is soften the adhesive or make the adhesive more pliable. This softening of the adhesive, facilitates pushing the adhesive down into the hills and valleys between the droplets of ink that are laid down by your printer. By filling these ink droplet valleys with adhesive, it will help eliminate or greatly reduce a condition referred to as “silvering” in laminated materials. Silvering is when tiny air pockets are captured in the ink droplet valleys once the over laminating film is applied to printed sub-straights.
For years, many of the PSA coated film manufacturers have stated that heat is not required for their products.This is a true statement, however, today some of these manufacturers are actually recommending that you heat the printed media verses the PSA coated over laminating films. This heated production scenario allows the adhesive to be warmed at the point of contact with the printed surface thereby allowing the adhesive to flow more easily eliminating the “silvering” problem.
Having a quality dual heated roller laminator also allows the shop owner to offer thermal over-laminating films providing a full range of finishing services to their customer base. Heat available in your laminator regardless of your primary production requirements today will have its benefits. The final thing to consider is that your laminator should last 20+ years with proper care. In that time frame, post print finishing material requirements may change dramatically, just as they have done in the past 20 years.
One of the key expenses that people overlook while budgeting for a new laminator is how much cost will go into operating the machine. The most expensive factor in purchasing a laminator is not the initial purchase price, but rather how much material it takes to get your customer's project completed. The cost of material waste caused by a poorly engineered and manufactured laminator is ongoing and rarely figured into the monthly operating statement. If a laminator is equipped with feedback components and a stable nip roller design that will help an operator or shop owner minimize the cost of doing business, it may actually prove to be the “cheapest” laminator on the market.
Some of the best industry technical service support for production equipment is when the need for it has been designed out of the piece of equipment. One of the most noted characteristics of the AGL product line is its reliability. AGL achieves its reliability by incorporating dependable and redundantly designed electrical and mechanical components in all the laminators that they manufacture. When and if technical support is needed, most problems are identified and resolved through in-house phone support with our engineering staff. In the event of a rare component failure, spare parts are readily available for shipment. AGL does not obsolete parts that they manufacture. Our machines are all manufactured in the USA.