If you own a laminating machine, you know how user-friendly it is. But cleaning it is a totally different story. You probably also know that if you put in even just a little effort to maintain your laminating machine, you will be able to extend its working life and your ROI at the same time.
Whether you’re using a wide-format laminating machine for your business or a pouch laminating machine for home use, cleaning it properly will also ensure that your quality of work stays top-notch and that your laminated materials come out scratch-free and as smooth as possible. A good rule of thumb is to clean your machine every three to six months. Here are three simple steps to keeping your laminating machine in good working order:
Letting the machine cool down
First things first, make sure that the laminator has been turned off and given time to cool down. Then remove any safety guard or covers if needed.
Removing the film
Turn the laminator back on without any film threaded through the unit. Once heated, use a cleaning block to remove plastic parts of the film that might have gotten stuck in the rollers. Make sure to set the machine to reverse to get all the extra lamination out.
Cleaning the rollers
Typically, adhesives bleed out at the edge of the rollers after running a couple of laminating film rolls. Over time, the glue builds up and hardens, and this contributes to jammed pouches. Peeling off newer deposits will be a lot easier than removing the hardened ones, so a regular cleanup will make your job easier.
Preheat the machine to a barely warm state for just a minute or two. The heat will soften any adhesive, making it easier to remove. After the rollers have been stopped, scrub off the adhesives using your chosen liquid with a cleaning block, a lint-free cloth, or a Scotch-Brite pad. Throughout the cleaning process, you need to roll the rollers forward so that you can turn on the machine again and move it a little bit to the next section. Turn off the machine again to do more cleaning. Another option is to keep your rollers rotating at the lowest speed while you scrub on the accessible area. Remember not to apply too much pressure on the rollers and instead gently scrub the rollers clean.
For your cleaning liquid, do not use the standard isopropyl cleaning or rubbing alcohol as this can dry out and damage the rollers. Instead, use kerosene (for hot laminators with rubber type rollers) or white spirits (for non-heated machines with steel rollers).
Make sure that you do not have a knife, scissors, or any sharp tool come anywhere near and puncture the rubbers. Any nicks on the rollers will permanently damage them and cause creasing in your laminated materials. Aside from adhesives, paper and ink can also get stuck in your rollers. Using the same steps will help clean these off.
It goes without saying that cleaning a laminating machine is easy and just about anyone can do it. All you have to do is to scrape the old adhesives, film, or ink off the rollers. Remember that your rollers are the most important part of your machine.