FAQs

Listed below are the answers to many of our most commonly asked questions. Need more information? Call or email our Customer Service and Technical Support staff. They are ready to help you!

General FAQs

How can I obtain a copy of an invoice for my credit card order?

To request a copy of an invoice, please have your order number readily available and call (800) 282-9890 (International: +1 (203) 245-8586), extension 7603. To find your order number, please refer to your order confirmation and/or order status email updates or login to your account and view your order history. NOTE: If you are a customer on open account, your invoice will automatically be mailed 3-5 days after order shipment. Depending upon USPS delivery, your invoice should be received within 7-10 business days from date of order shipment.

How do I go about establishing an open account/credit with USI to place my orders?

To have USI process your order on open account you must first complete and submit a credit application. Please download a download a credit application and fax it to: (203) 245-8695, Attention: Credit Department.

(NOTE: The credit application form is in a PDF file format. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Reader, please click here to download a free version of it.).

How do I view and download USI's latest catalog?

You can view and download USI's latest catalog at any time from the homepage of our website.

I need an order form to process my order. How can I get a printable version?

Our website offers you the ability to order 24x7x365. We understand that some purchasing processes require a paper order form. You can print a USI paper order form whenever you need it. Complete your form and submit it to our Customer Service team via mail, fax or email.

(NOTE: An approved credit application may be needed for USI to receive and process printed order forms from business customers. The credit application form is in a PDF file format. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Reader, please click here to download a free version of it.)

What does “wide-format” mean?

Wide-format pertains to any roll laminating films, mount boards or laminating machine that are 40” wide or more. USI offer a complete line of wide-format films, boards and laminators to meet all your wide-format needs. USI-brand wide-format products are especially popular among our customers. These include:

What is USI's 100% satisfaction guarantee?

It's simple – if, for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with any product within 30 days of purchase, simply return it for a replacement or a full refund. Just contact our Customer Service staff for more information and instructions about returning a product.

Enhanced Warranty and Protection Plan for USI brand 27" and 40" Thermal Roll Laminators

The best is now even better! If something goes wrong with your USI roll laminator, our new enhanced warranty has you covered with truly the best warranty and protection plan in the industry!

USI's top-selling CSL 2700 27" (#7759), ARL 2700 27” (#7764, #7765) and ARL 4000 40" (#8901) thermal roll laminators and related kits now are offered with a Free 2-year Standard Manufacturer Warranty AND 2-year Enhanced Warranty and Protection Plan (EWPP), both from date of shipment. USI's new Enhanced Warranty Protection Plan (EWPP) provides:

  • Unlimited email, phone and web-based support from USI support
  • Replacement parts and equipment
  • Return shipping due to normal wear and tear and accidental damage during the coverage period

Complete details of the Standard Manufacturer Warranty and USI’s 2-year Enhanced Warranty and Protection Plan are available in the respective USI owner’s manuals for these machines. If you recently purchased a USI laminator or would like more specifics about the warranty and plan, please refer to the owner's manual which was shipped with our machine or click on one of these links to view and download a digital copy of the owners' manual: 

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact our Customer Service team! We are here to help!!

USI...SIMPLY THE BEST!

 

When will USI ship my order?

USI maintains fully stocked distribution centers in Connecticut and Arizona. Pending credit approval, in-stock items ordered before 3:00 PM Eastern typically will ship the same business day. Items ordered after 3:00 PM Eastern typically will ship the following business day. Based on product availability, we may expedite your order from either of our Connecticut or Arizona distribution centers. Shipping rates are based on the dollar value of your order.

Why should I register an account on www.usi-laminate.com?

Customers who register an account on our website enjoy many benefits, including:

  • Secure account information with a unique username and password 
  • 24x7x365 access to account details and web order history 
  • Ability to place orders any time and from any where 
  • Speedier checkout with saved billing and shipping addresses 
  • Ability to set up and store multiple ship-to addresses under one billing account 
  • Easy re-ordering
  • Ability to check web order status, receive order updates and track shipments
  • Special offers only available to registered web users

With all these great benefits, why not register now? It’s easy. Simply go to Login link in the upper-right of our website's homepage to create an account. You'll be pleased you did!

Film Questions

Can fluorescent lighting fade my laminated images?

Yes it can. In order to mitigate the potentially effects of UV light on your finished laminates, we recommend you use any of USI’s UV films which block many of the harmful rays caused by fluorescent lighting. Our recommended USI-branded products include:

Can I use laminating film that is narrower than my laminator?

While it is obvious you cannot use laminating film that is wider than your roll or pouch laminating machine, you certainly can use any film that is equal to or narrower than your laminating machine mandrel or pouch machine opening width. If you have a 27” roll laminator, for example, you can use roll laminating film from 4” to 27” wide. A pouch machine that is 12” wide can accept pouch film from ID size to 12”x18”. The key to using narrower roll films is to ensure the top and bottom film rolls are aligned exactly over one another. Misalignment can lead to adhesive sticking to the heat shoes or heated rollers.

How do I find the right pouch to fit the size of my custom cards?

Most pouch laminates work best with 3/16" to 1/4" edge seal. If you have questions about a specific pouch application of interest to you, feel free to contact our Customer Service team. We have Technical Support on staff who can answer all of your questions.

How do I load the laminating film onto my USI CSL or ARL roll laminating machines?

USI makes it easy!

Loading the laminating film is very simple. Just click here to view step-by-step instructions to help you load the film onto your laminating machine. Also, we encourage you to watch our quick 5 minute video on how to load your laminator. If you have questions about a specific pouch application of interest to you, feel free to contact our Customer Service team. We have Technical Support on staff who can answer all of your questions.

How should I store my roll laminating film?

The best way to store your roll laminating film is in an upright position. USI recommends that you keep film at room temperature and away from excessive moisture, direct light, or heat. We offer a variety of storage products, including those that used to store roll laminating film. You can see these products by clicking here.

Have additional questions or needs? Contact US!

I have heard 5mil roll laminating film being referred to as having a 3/2 or 1/4 ratio. What does this mean?

Laminating film is defined by a ratio of polyester content to adhesive content. For example, 5mil film with a composition of 3/2 will feel stiffer than the 1/4 because it has a higher polyester content. The 1/4 film with its extra adhesive will provide stonger bonding capabilities and eliminate gapping when laminating thicker items such as oak tag.

Need additional information? Contact our best-in-class Customer Service team. They are your resource!

I have maps and charts I want to laminate. What type of laminating film should I use?

We recommend a 3mil polyester film for an application such as this. A 3mil film offers more protection than thinner films while still allowing you to fold the maps and charts. USI's best-selling Opti Clear thermal laminating film is perfect for this application. You can review our entire line of premium Opti Clear laminating films from the links below:

 

I have to make a sign that will stick to a wall or display board. What film do you suggest I use?

For an application such as this, USI's Technical Support staff recommend a pressure-sensitive decal film such USI Opti Clear Decal film. This dual-adhesive film has one side that permanently adheres to your document while the other features a pressure-sensitive adhesive with a release liner. Remove the release liner, then simply stick your sign to the desired surface.

I know that laminating films are available with different finishes. What are the primary finishes, and what is the difference between them?

Laminating films are available in several finishes: glossy, matte (i.e. luster), satin and scratch-resistant. Glossy films provide a glass-like appearance to finished documents. Matte films have a slightly granular texture, which reduces glare. Satin films also reduce glare but do not have as much of a granular finish as matte films. Scratch-resistant finishes consist of a super-hard polyester base formulated to virtually eliminate incidental contact scratches and marks on laminated documents.

USI offers many films in a variety of finishes. If you ever have a question and simply want to discuss what's best for your application, please feel free to contact our Customer Service team. We are your resource!

If I am using 3mil film to laminate my document, why is my document now considered 10mil thick?

The mil thickness of a laminate is calculated separately for each side. Therefore, the total thickness of the film has to be doubled. Using this example, a document laminated with 3mil film has a total thickness of 10mil because each laminating film side is 3mil (3mil x 2 sides = 6mil) plus your document is 4mil (assuming it is regular bond paper).

Are USI's roll laminating films wound “poly in", “poly out," or some combination of the both?

The term “poly” is a reference to the adhesive side of the laminate film. For 1” core and 3” core roll laminating films, the USI's films are wound poly in. The film is wound poly out for 2-1/4” core roll laminating films.

Sometimes I have scratch mark or streaks on my finished laminates. What is causing this and how do I stop it?

Streaks, or "scratch marks" as some refer to them, typically occur when using a heat shoe laminator whose rollers need to be cleaned. In these situations, our technical Support staff recommends that you clean the heat shoes of your laminator with a USI roll laminator cleaning kit or USI roll laminator cleaning block. If you have additional questions or needs, don't hesitate to contact our Customer Service team!

What is a butterfly pouch? How is it different than a regular pouch?

Butterfly pouches are formed by folding a piece of film in half. While there is a fold, there are no sealed edges, resulting in a border-free document. This type of pouch is intended for laser-ready plastic (teslins) and other non-paper inserts. Regular pouches are different because they are two sheets of film held together by 1/8" seal on the leading edge. This seal makes it easy to align the insert. Regular pouches are always larger than the items being laminated to ensure there are sealed edges on all four sides. This creates a moisture-proof border.

What is a film splice and what do I do if I find a splice in my roll film?

Film splices are the point where two pieces of laminating film are joined together. Splices are uncommon but do occasionally appear. If you find a splice, place that roll on the top mandrel of the laminating machine so it can be monitored closely. When the splice is ready to come through the laminator, turn off the drive and heat switches, allow the laminator to cool completely, and manually rotate the roll of film so the film tension is very loose. Turn the drive switch on again (leaving heat off if possible) and allow the splice to run through the machine. If necessary, continue to manually turn the roll of film to maintain slack until the splice has passed through. Loading roll laminating film is easy. Just click here to view step-by-step instructions to help you load the film onto your laminating machine. Also, we encourage you to watch our quick 5 minute video on how to load film onto your laminator.  For other models, please refer to the product manual for your brand machine.

What is the difference between a low-density adhesive and a co-polymer adhesive?

A low-density adhesive (also referred to as homopolymer or monopolymer adhesive) is an adhesive requiring a higher laminating temperature in order to melt and bond to media such as paper. It is used to laminate uncoated products such as newspaper or construction paper. A co-polymer "low-melt" adhesive requires a lower bonding temperature, thereby speeding up the lamination process, lowering energy consumption and reducing cooling requirements. Low-melt laminating films adhere to the most challenging items including photographs, color copier papers, and clay-coated surfaces. Co-polymer adhesives are so aggressive they even stick to some plastics, vinyls, and metals.

USI's Opti Clear premium brand of thermal roll laminating films are the industry's best-selling low-melt films. Known for exceptional optical clarity and bonding quality, there's just one Opti Clear...and it's only from USI!

What is the difference between polyester, polypropylene, and vinyl film bases?

Polyester films such as USI Opti Clear are clearer and a higher quality than lower grade films, which tend to be foggy. Premium films also endure extreme environments and severe stress conditions more favorably. Films with higher polyester content are more rigid and feel thicker than films with more adhesive content.

Polypropylene film is softer than polyester, but still has excellent clarity. These films have strong chemical resistence, good color stability over printed sheets, and good elasticity which allows the film to lay extremely flat. Due to its softness and flatness, polypropylene films are most often used in single-sided laminating.

Vinyl films have greater elasticity than polyester films. The softer, more flexible vinyl laminates extremely well to flexible surfaces such as vinyls. This extra ability to stretch makes them favorites for documents that need to be continually rolled like nautical maps and blueprints.

What is the USI Color Code System?

This trouble-free film-loading system makes loading your roll laminating film easier than ever. The USI Color Code System removes the possibility of placing the adhesive side of the film on the heat shoe. All USI roll laminators and 1¨ and 2-1/4¨ USI laminating film have USI Color Coding. Simply match the red core of the film to the red end of the mandrel and side housing. For the bottom mandrel, match the blue core of the film to the blue end of the mandrel and side housing. Thread the laminating film and laminate with confidence! USI Color Coding is another benefit of pairing USI roll laminators with USI roll laminating film.

Why does my laminating film smell when I use it?

Lower-grade laminating films lack the adhesive to bond at lower temperatures. The smell you are experiencing is caused by the high heat (sometimes in  excess of 300 degrees (F)) necessary to adhere the laminating film to your media. USI roll laminators and USI roll laminating films are offered with your health and safety in mind. They're manufactured to activate at temperatures below 280 degrees. This significantly reduces the emission of noxious fumes, minimizes the potential safety hazard, reduces energy consumption, and extends the life of your USI laminator.

USI...Simply the Best!

Why is there a visible grease or greasy residue on my laminating film after I have left the laminator on for a while?

The grease you are seeing is actually melted adhesive from your laminating film caused by excessive heat radiating from your laminator. In such a situation, our Technical Support team believes the temperature of your laminator likely is set too high for the film you are using. When your machine sits idle at this high temperature, the film adhesive is melting and then dripping down between the machine’s rollers causing this grease-like appearance. We recommend contacting us to speak with a member of our Technical Support team who can advise you on the proper temperature for your film.

Laminating Machines

How can I decide which pouch laminator best fits my application?

Deciding which pouch laminator best fits your needs depends on several factors including:

  • The average number of laminated pieces needed per day
  • The width of the lamination needed
  • Whether or not you plan to mount laminates to pouch board
  • The maximum film thickness you expect top 

USI's pouch laminators range from our Made in the USA heavy duty line of HD 1200 (12") and HD 400 (4") machines to the unique BigMouth 12" pouch board laminator.

Need some input on which pouch laminator is best for your needs? Feel free to contact our Customer Service team for assistance!

 

 

How can I reset the automatic shut-off timer on my USI CSL or USI ARL roll laminating machine?

If your USI CSL or USI ARL roll laminator has shut off the heat shoe or heated roller, simply hit the drive switch (forward/reverse) and the laminator “On” light should relight. Be sure to check the actual temperature of the machine (Press “ACT” button) before attempting to laminate. If the temperature is below the recommended level for your film, allow the machine to heat back up for optimal lamination results.

Have questions or need additional information? Please contact our Customer Service team by phone or email. We are here to help!

I left my laminator on to heat up, but when I came back the machine was off. I tried turning the power switch off and on, but the laminator still is not working. What is the problem?

There are a few things that could be causing this to happen:

  • If you have a USI CSL or USI ARL roll laminator and did not engage the drive switch for 60 minutes, the automatic shut-off timer may have turned off the heat shoe or heated roller. To reset the laminator, simply hit the drive switch (forward/reverse) and the laminator “On” light should relight. Be sure to check the actual temperature of the machine (Press “ACT” button) before attempting to laminate.
     
  • If the temperature is below the recommended level for your film, allow the machine to heat back up for optimal lamination results. It also is possible there there could be a technical problem with the machine.
     

​Please contact USI's Customer Service team of you have questions. We have experts on staff who can answer all of your questions!

What are the key differences between the roll laminators USI offers?

Some of the key differences between laminators include:

  • Maximum film width
  • Maximum mil thickness
  • Temperature control, and warranty length (just to name a few!)

If you have more questions or need additional information, please contact our Customer Service team!

What is the automatic shut off timer default setting?

The USI CSL and USI ARL roll laminators are equipped with an automatic shutoff timer set to turn off the heating element after 60 minutes of non-use. Non-use is defined as not running the drive switch.

Have questions? Need more info? Contact USI's best-in-class Customer Service team for assistance.

What is the difference between a cold roll laminating machine and a tape laminator?

While cold lamination and tape lamination are terms used interchangeably, there is a difference between the features of a true cold roll laminator and a tape laminator.

  • Cold roll laminators offer you the flexibility to use a variety of overlaminates and mounting adhesives to encapsulate, mount and/or laminate a broad range of materials (i.e. foam or mounting board, Sintra, wood, metal).
  • Cold roll laminators are versatile enough to offer mounting capabilities up to and sometimes greater than 1” thick along with single-sided lamination. Tape laminators, however, do not offer these benefits and are usually limited to encapsulation only of materials less than 1/16” thick.

If you have questions, please contact our Customer Service team!

What is the difference between cold laminating and tape laminating?

In many ways these terms are interchangeable. Tape laminating is also known as cold laminating and vice versa. Regardless of which term you prefer, the lamination process does not require heat to activate the bonding adhesive. Tape or cold laminating uses a pressure-sensitive adhesive to bind the film to the material being laminated.

When should I use a cold roll laminator?

You can use a cold roll laminator when the material you are laminating is sensitive to heat such as thermal poster paper. Cold roll laminators are also ideal for outdoor applications and are suitable for laminating vinyl banners.

Have more questions or need additional information? Contact USI's Customer Service team. They are your resource!

Where can I receive a product manual for a USI roll or pouch laminating machine?

Product manuals can be downloaded from our website's product manuals page. Click here to be redirected to that page now.

If you need additional information, please don't hesitate to contact our Customer Service team.

Laminating Results

I have a pouch laminator that keeps leaving a band of cloudiness toward the top of the film, but below this band everything is clear. Why is this happening?

You must have a 2-roller system where the rollers are located toward the back of the unit with heat plates in front of them. The band occurs when film the being fed into the machine moves through the heat plates too quickly. Try pushing the carrier through more slowly. You can also try using a stitched carrier so the unit has enough time to melt the laminate thoroughly.

If these suggestions don't solve this issue, please give us a call. Our Customer Service team are here to help!

My finished product is curling. How do I prevent this from happening?

For a roll laminator, a curl upward or downward is the result of too much tension on a particular mandrel. Just slowly ease off the tension until the curl disappears. When the top and bottom tension is balanced, your items will lay flat. If you are using a pouch laminator, curling is the result of inadequate cooling time on a flat surface.

Feel free to contact the USI Customer Service team if you have additional questions.

Sometimes when I laminate, I end up with bubbles in the clear margin areas. Why does this happen?

Any open areas not containing paper may produce this result because there is nothing to absorb the two adhesives. While not ideal, it is considered acceptable because margin areas often are trimmed to mitigate this effect.

Please contact our Customer Service team if you need additional information.

What is causing my laminated pieces to wrinkle? How do I stop this?

Wrinkling is typically a sign of too much heat. Try adjusting the temperature control to a lower setting and then work slowly up to the correct setting. Remember, you can always run a laminate that did not receive enough heat through the laminator again, but you cannot fix a piece that has been "cooked" from too much heat. Also, check your carrier because a warped or creased carrier will transfer those imperfections into the lamination.

Have additional questions or need more information? Feel free to contact USI's Customer Service team!

Whenever I use my pouch laminator, my laminated pieces come out cloudy. Is the film bad?

No, there is nothing wrong with your film. The laminator´s heat is simply not high enough, or the laminator is not warmed up enough to thoroughly melt the adhesive. Thicker laminating films need hotter temperatures. If your laminator does not have an adjustable temperature control, simply run pieces through the laminator again, or consider using a thinner laminating film.

Trimmers

I just bought a Mastercut II, and I can only cut in one direction. Is there a way to cut in both directions?

In order to cut in both directions, you must remove the direction bar from the rear of your Mastercut trimmer.

Please contact USI's Customer's Service team if you need additional assistance. We are here to help!

Transparency Film

Which transparency film is best for my brand of computer printer or copy machine?

The transparency film that best meets your needs will depend on the make and model of your computer printer or copier.  USI carries several types of transparency films. Click here to learn more about them.

Binding Machines

How is thermal binding different from comb or coil binding methods?

Thermal binding uses pre-glued spines instead of plastic or wire combs or coils, and it requires no paper punching. As the name suggests, thermal binding also uses heat as part of the binding process. Paper is placed neatly into the pre-glued spine which is then placed into the pre-heated heating tray of the thermal binding machine. The heat melts the glue adhering the spine to the pages of the document. Once the glue cools and hardens, the newly bound “book” has an immaculate, professional finish.

USI carries many binding machines and supplies. Click here to see our offering. Have additional question or need further information? USI's best-in-class Customer Service team are here to help!

What is the difference between plastic and wire comb, plastic coil, double loop wire, thermal binding and VeloBind binding styles?

Different binding applications require different binding styles. Whether you are in need of something less expensive, more professional, re-usable, or something that will lay flat or that is easy to store, there is a style that is right for you.  How your document is used will impact what type of binding style you choose and consequently, what machine you purchase. USI carries many binding machines and supplies. Click here to see our offering.

Need more info? Contact USI Customer Service!

What type of binding machine is best if I am binding 10-20 books per day?

USI's Technical Support team recommends that customers select the binding machine that works best with the volume of work one need sto bind.  If you only bind a few books per day, a lower volume machine (e.g. 8-12 sheet punch capacity) should work well. If you bind dozens of books per day, you should consider something with a higher punch capacity (15-20 sheets).  Choose a machine with a punch capacity of 20+ sheets and an electric punch if you bind hundreds of books per day.

USI carries many binding machines and supplies. Click here to see our offering. Have additional question or need further information? USI's best-in-class Customer Service team are here to help!

Custom Signs, Banners & Displays

I have a solvent-based and a water-based inkjet printer. What banner material is best for each printer?

The banner materials that are compatible with each printer depends on the printer itself. Solvent-based printers must use solvent-based materials, while water-based (also known as aqueous) printers must use aqueous-based materials. 

USI carries an extensive line of quality printable media and finished solutions. We encourage you review the products in our Sign Shop or contact our Customer Service team if you have any questions. We are here to help!

I have an inkjet printer and need to print a banner (e.g. sign, poster) that will be laminated when finished. Which inkjet printer paper do you recommend?

USI's line of inkjet papers is designed for aqueous (water-based) model printers. Because you want to laminate your inkjet print, we suggest USI ProMount Econo-Bond inkjet papers. For plain inkjet prints (no lamination), USI ProMount Ultra Inkjet papers is an ideal solution.

Have questions or need more information? Contact our Customer Service team. They are your resource!