For your information...

Here is some additional information we thought would be helpful in answering some of the questions we hear regularly.  We hope this is a helpful resource for you to get the answers you need. 

If you do not find the answer you are looking for below, try our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.  If you still need additional assistance, please feel free to email us at .  Our team of industry experts will be happy to help.


 Pouch Laminators - FYI

It´s as easy as 1-2-3!
1.  Insert a document into pre-sized film pouch or mount board.

2.  Insert pouch or mount board into the protective carrier.

3.  Insert carrier into the pouch laminator.  That´s it!

Heating Elements
Heat Platens
High-wattage silicone-bonded heaters provide faster warm-up and more uniform heat than standard heaters.

Heated Rollers
The rollers themselves heat internally on a heated roller system. The heat then transfers to the project being laminated as it passes between the rollers. This system is closely related to those utilized by some roll laminators and, like roll laminators, heated roller systems produce better finishes on difficult-to-laminate items.

Temperature Control
Adjustable Thermostat
This thermostat has an unlimited range of adjustments, ensuring an exact heat setting. It is particularly useful when working with a broader range of film thicknesses and substrates.

Preset Thermostat
When laminating only one or two film weights, a preset (fixed) thermostat is easiest to use. It eliminates any guesswork, keeping the laminator´s temperature at one constant level.

Variable Speed
Use the variable-speed switch or the preset button as a temperature control by setting heat as the constant. Increasing the speed lessens the time the project spends in contact with the heating elements, the equivalent of lowering the temperature. Conversely, decreasing the speed increases the time, the equivalent of raising the temperature.

Cooling System

Professional-quality pouch laminators feature systems for rapidly cooling laminated pieces as they exit the machine. This process keeps each piece flat as it cools, ensuring a curl-free result.


Cooling Plates are located on the back of the unit. As the laminated piece exits, they absorb the heat and expel it into the air.





The Cooling Tray is the flat surface on which the piece rests as it cools.  Keeping the piece flat ensures that it will not curl.

Frames and Housings
Pouch laminators feature either unibody or standard construction.

Unibody Construction
Two interlocking halves are molded for greater strength and durability. During assembly, the halves lock together into a single unit. This unit provides a platform into which other machine components are placed to build the laminator.

Standard Construction 
This method relies on a metal bottom plate to which the other components are attached. A lightweight lid or cover is then placed over the plate, enclosing the other components. Due to a tendency to bend and torque because of the heat required by the lamination process, the quality of the lamination may be affected, and the life of the laminator may be reduced.

A folded piece of cardboard with a nonstick glossy coating on the inner side, a laminating carrier protects the laminator. It catches excess adhesive squeezed out the sides of the pouch during the heat-and-pressure process. By preventing this excess from getting on the laminator?s rollers, it increases the overall lifespan and performance of the machine.

Laminating carriers also aid documents during lamination by keeping the heat uniform and creating additional pressure for a crisper laminate.

Mounting carriers are much like laminating carriers, but have a special design and coating which keep mounting materials from slipping or shifting as they go through the laminator.

Specifically designed for use with 2-roller pouch laminators, stitched laminating carriers feature a special ?stitched? leading edge known as a leader.

Sometimes called sleds, large mounting/laminating carriers are only used in heated roller machines. They provide stability to oversized documents, making them easier to work with during the lamination process.

Carriers are designed for specific functions and cannot be substituted for one another. All USI pouch films come with the appropriate carrier for use.

Back to top

 Mounting Pouch Lamination - FYI



Mounting & Laminating

1. Lift the laminate film attached to the board.

2. Position your print between the laminate sheet and the board.

3. Insert the pouch board through a heated roll laminator like the BigMouth, Samson or XL44.

4. Trim and print to size.

Film & Boards
Our full line of mounting and laminating products are designed and engineered to allow the novice user to confidently mount and laminate wide format graphic prints. The user selects from pre-sized mount boards and laminating pouches. Pre-sized means no guesswork. Simply match up the size of the print to the matching size board or pouch. Save time and money. Trimming and waste are completely removed. It?s easy, hassle-free, and can be done in a few simple steps!

1. Select the correct-size mount board or pouch film for the print.
Note: when using a laminating pouch or mount board with film overlay, the document will be slightly smaller than the film or board being used, this will allow for encapsulation.

2. Simply slide the print in between the film pouch or mount board pouch and run it through any hot roll laminator.

3. For pouch laminators, simply insert the document and pouch into the carrier sled and insert it into the mouth of the laminator.

Back to top

 Photo ID - FYI
Protect your building from unauthorized personnel and costly liabilities while providing instant visual identification with tamper-proof photo ID security badges. These easy-to-use systems require no special skills or training and provide the trust, security and privacy essential to the modern-day school or business.

Takes individual digital photos.  The photo can then be saved digitally, allowing an unlimited number of exposures. (Used with the Espresso ID Software.)

4-Shot Cameras
Can be portable and are better for low- to mid-volume applications, or if you are doing 1 or 2 photos of an individual at a time. Take photos of 1, 2 or 4 subjects.

2-Shot Cameras
Used for photo IDs where a larger picture is required, but are used primarily for passport photography because it requires a 2" x 2" photo. Take photos of 1 or 2 subjects.

Uses the existing room light to digitally capture the image. The capture camera has a manual adjustment for zoom focus. The image can then be altered using different software provided on a computer screen and printed on any high-quality inkjet printer. (The video camera will capture an unlimited number of photos.)

Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Aiming Light: position beam of light on subject?s chin to guarantee centered placement.

Selection Control
Allows the operator to pre-select either 1, 2 or 4 shots (1, 2 or 4 shots of an individual on each sheet of film).




M500 Camera LED Panel
LED Panel: provides step-by-step, error free instructions for the novice user.

Timer Feature
Prevents over or under developing by calculating the exact time required to properly develop the film for the best final photo.

Improves subject?s contrast with the background by highlighting skin tones.

Photograph Size
Digital ID
The digital image?s size can easily be altered on screen to meet the exact specifications needed. (Used with the Espresso ID Software.)

Point-and-Shoot Cameras
? 1" x 1-1/4" (4-shot cameras)  
? 2" x 2" (2-shot passport cameras)

Back to top

 Roll Laminators - FYI

2 Easy Steps
1.  Position the item to be laminated on the feed tray, then feed into the laminator.

2.  Trim the laminated item once it exits the machine.

Heating Elements
There are 2 basic ways of getting heat into laminating films:

Heat Shoe Assemblies
Solid aluminum-extruded heat shoes heat up to operating temperatures and activate the adhesive on the film as it is drawn across the shoes.

Lightweight heat shoes do not retain heat as well as heavyweight shoes. Large heat shoes provide extra mass to prevent rapid heat loss while laminating heavier films, thicker items or longer production runs.

Heavyweight heat shoes are designed to wrap around the front rollers and provide more heating surface. The more heating surface on the shoes, the better. This provides longer dwell time as the film moves across the heat shoes. Heat shoes that wrap around the front rollers efficiently heat the rollers for a better, more professional lamination.

All USI heat shoes are Teflon®-coated to reduce dragging and scratching, providing a non-stick surface.

Lightweight Heat Shoes

Heavyweight Heat Shoes

Heated Rollers
In a heated roller roll laminator, the front 2 rollers are heated to the desired operating temperature. As the film moves through the rollers, the adhesive is activated by the heat. A heated-roller system provides a greater accuracy of temperature to film as the direct working temperature contacts the film and paper at the exact same time. A heated roller system is also better suited for "hot mounting." This is when a document is mounted onto a substrate using a heat activated adhesive. The direct heated roller pressure places the heat directly onto the board substrate providing the desired temperature needed to activate the board?s adhesive.

Pressure/Thickness Adjustment
Most laminators are designed with preset pressure. Internal adjustments are possible for custom applications, but the machines are set to provide excellent results when laminating thin substrates (up to 1/8" thick) with film up to 10 mil thick.

Laminators with adjustable pressure can be accommodated with one of the following:


Ratchet type adjustments manually spread the heat shoes and roller assemblies to preset stops to laminate substrates (up to 1/2" thick).


Pneumatic pressure adjustments rely on compressed air pressure to adjust the roller heights to accommodate thin as well as thick substrates (up to 1" thick).

Lever Lock pressure adjustments are preset for specific thickness intervals. Simply rotate the lever to the corresponding mark and it locks in place adjusting the pressure accordingly.

Pressure-Sensitive Take-Up Mandrel
This mandrel is an additional mandrel located on the top of a roll laminator directly in front of the upper film-supply mandrel. It peels away the pressure-sensitive (cold) film release liner just prior to the film contacting the document.  As the mandrel peels away the liner, it also neatly rolls it for quick and easy discard.


Slitters, also known as in-line trimmers, are cutting devices used to automatically trim 1 or 2 sides of the laminated document. A bar is placed inside the laminator just above the taut laminate prior to the pull/exit rollers. Razor-sharp blades then poke through the laminate and cut it vertically. This greatly reduces trim time. It is also used for laminating production run documents on larger roll film sizes. For example, take 2 letter-size documents and run them through a 27" roll film laminator lengthwise, side by side. Set the slitter bar to cut them apart as they are laminated. This saves time, reduces waste and eliminates the need to change the film to a 12" width.


Laminating Films
We offer the highest quality laminating films on the market today. State-of-the-art adhesives are combined with premium grade polyester/mylar to give a clear, hard finish that will last. We carry many different types of film ranging from 1.3mil to 15mil thick. Combine this with a vast selection of different sizes and it?s clear to see that our laminating films meet all lamination needs.

Film Construction

Thermal or heat-activated laminating films are constructed of a layer of polyester base film and a layer of adhesive resin bonded together. During the lamination process, the adhesive resin is liquified. Once liquified, the adhesive spreads across the surface and with pressure, is forced into the pores of the document. The adhesive then hardens as it cools, creating a permanent bond between paper and film.

Film Weight

The weight or thickness of lamination film is expressed in mils. Lamination film is available in thicknesses of 1.3, 1.5, 3, 5, 7, 10 or 15mils. The mil weight is expressed per side, therefore, the total weight of the film has to be doubled. Example: a document laminated in 3mil film has a total aggregate thickness of 10mil. (Each laminating film side is 3mil film plus document ? regular bond paper is 4mil so 3mil + 3mil + 4mil = 10mil).


Clear finishes (also called Glossy) are available in USI?s Opti Clear, Photo Plus, DigiSeal or Standard films. These films provide a glass-like appearance to finished documents.

Matte finishes have slightly granular textures that are frosted to reduce glare. Because of the rougher surface, these films will accept pencil, pen and marker; and reduce smudging.

Satin finishes are delustered and also reduce glare. They are not as frosted as the matte finish and will accept some pencil, pen or marker.

Scratch-Resistant finishes consist of super-hard polyester bases that are formulated to virtually eliminate incidental contact scratches and marks on laminated documents.

Deep Crystal is a durable matte finish with a granular sand-like texture. This texture reduces incidental scratches on heavily handled documents or banners that are continually re-used.

Film Base

The base film is the layer in the laminating film that provides the durability, rigidity or stiffness. The quality and thickness of the base film influences the clarity, translucency, stiffness, gloss, dimensional stability and resistance to abrasion of the finished laminated product.

Loading Lamination Film

Loading the laminating film is very simple especially when you pair USI roll laminating film and its Color Code system with a USI roll laminating machine. Just click here to view step-by-step instructions on how to load the film onto a CSL or ARL roll laminating machine.

Back to top

 Binding - FYI

Binding takes a series of pages and puts them into a neat, organized, professional-looking document. In most instances, the pages to be bound are sorted in a specific sequence and then punched with a series of holes along one edge. Front and back protective covers are then added and a comb is used to hold it together. The resulting document looks prepared and professional.

Type I:  Velo Punch and Bind
The electric Velo-Bind system is unique because it is incompatible with any other binding system. This electric machine produces flat spines for stacking or mailing. A Velo-Bind document can be re-opened so additional pages can be added. A favorite among libraries, government offices and research centers.

Type II:  Coil Punch and Bind
Resembling the clean look of a spiral notebook, this style of binding utilizes a series of circular holes set at a 4:1 pitch. A coil is then rotated through the holes and crimped on both ends. This quick-and-easy method is becoming quite popular and is extremely fast as the coil insert can be automated.

Type III:  Wire Punch and Bind
Designed to withstand heavy handling, wire binding offers the security of a tamper-proof binding system. This feature makes it a favorite among accountants and professionals with confidential documents. Traditional wire binders utilize a 19-hole punch, but a new 21- and 32-hole double-loop version offers extra strength and security in handling. Wire bound documents lay flat and turn a full 360°.

Type IV:  Plastic Comb Punch and Bind
The most popular and economical way to professionally bind documents. Plastic comb binding is a favorite in the school or at the office. Available in a variety of colors. The easy-to-read, lay-flat pages turn a full 360º for easy handling. Plastic combs are also perfect for documents that need to be updated frequently because the combs easily re-open and close.

Type V:  Thermal Binding
Create thermally-bound presentations, proposals and reports with a clean, sleek look, in seconds! Bound books are easy to use, mail and file easily, and have a library quality appearance.  Although the pre-glued spines are a more expensive than other methods of binding, they provide a professional bound document for the low volume user.

The Process
1. Position paper in the machine, and punch the pages of the document by placing a series of holes in pages. Be sure not to exceed your binder?s punching capacity because a jam may occur.

2. Place cover stock on the front and back of document and insert comb.

3. Release the comb, and the document is bound! Note: plastic coil requires crimping.

Plastic comb and traditional wire binding utilize a 19-hole rectangular punch pattern. A 32-square hole pattern or 21-hole rectangular pattern is used for double-loop wire bindings. Plastic Coil units punch a series of circular holes at a specific pitch (to assist in inserting the coil). All USI Plastic Coil binders punch a 4:1 pitch pattern. Velo binding punches 4 round holes.

Manual Punch
The operator pulls the handle or lever downward to punch. Typically punches 1-15 sheets of paper at a time.

Electric Punch
Allows the user to punch the pages with the touch of a button or foot pedal. This system is faster and easier, because both hands are free to hold the paper.

Preset Punching Dies
This type of unit utilizes a fixed punching pattern and punches letter-size documents.  Some units also punch legal-size documents.

Selectable Disengaging Dies
Allows the user to select between 2 and 21 hardened steel punches that provide a pattern that will work for any size document.

Binding is the step in the process where a comb is used to hold all of the documents together.

Uses special plastic strips that are inserted through the holes and then either finger pressure or the hand-operated closer folds down the spines and locks them in place.

Plastic Coil
Utilizes a 12" continuous coil that is inserted into the series of holes. A manual system allows the user to simply "twist" the comb through the loops while the much faster electric version utilizes a spinning roller that zips the comb through the loops. Start the first few loops of the coil prior to putting it on the rubber roller. Crimp both ends, and the document is done.

Traditional Wire
Like plastic comb binding, lays flat for easy reading and allows users to turn pages 360°.  Wire binding combs come already opened. Simply insert finished document onto the comb, and crimp the comb using a wire closer. Deluxe binders come with built-in wire closers.

Plastic Comb
Uses special "fingers" on the unit that spread open the combs. Document is then placed in the comb, and the "fingers" are closed leaving a bound document.

Thermal binding is a simple concept. The thermal binding machines use pre-glued spines. You apply the paper into the pre-glued spine and place it in the pre-heated holding tray on the machine. The machine heats the glue up. After the glue cools off you have a well bound document. 
Binding Machines
Single handle binders
Punch and spread the combs with the same unit. 
Pull to punch, then push to open the combs.




Double handle binders 
Have 2 separate handles: 1 for punching and 1 for spreading the combs. These units are perfect for a medium- to high-volume environment or when binding large reports, because combs can be opened and documents inserted as they are being punched.

Back to top

 Shrink-Wrap Packaging - FYI

Shrink wrapping a product not only protects it quickly and easily, but it also adds a perceived value.  Consumers view shrink-wrapped products as tamper proof and moisture free, a safer choice han competitive products which are not shrink wrapped. It is especially useful for products with unusual dimensions because it conforms to difficult shapes for professional looking packages.

The Process

Shrink-wrap packaging is designed to seal a package using clear removable plastic.  A roll of clear film, sealed on one side, is used in conjunction with a heat bar to seal the opposite side forming a semi-pouch.  When the item is placed in the pouch, the open sides are sealed with the heat bar enclosing the item completely.  Heat is then used to shrink the film around the item forming a clear layer of protection.


Sealer bars are used to close the package into a completely sealed pouch.  The two types of sealer bars are available.

1. A straight sealer bar is used after the product has been placed into the film.  The sealer bar is used to close/seal the third side of the package, separating it from the film roll.  The product is turned, and the fourth side is then sealed for a completely sealed pouch.  (Note: As the third side of the product is sealed, the bar also seals the second side of the next product).

2. An "L"-shaped sealer bar serves the same purpose as a straight sealer bar but seals both the third and fourth sides of the product in the same step.

Shrinking or Wrapping

Shrinking is the actual process of reducing the sealed film pouch to wrap or mold itself tightly around the product.  This is achieved in one of two ways:

1. A heat gun is used as a heavy-duty handheld blow dryer.  Simply direct the stream of heat around the product.  The film shrinks, molding it to the exact shape of the product.

2. A shrink tunnel is a heated oven into which the sealed pouch is placed.  The film then quickly and uniformly shrinks and molds to the shape of the product.