What does it do?
UK laminator specialist Vivid Laminating Technologies introduced the Air as a new model in its established Easymount family of wide-format thermal laminators last year. ‘Air’ denotes a pneumatic pressure system for the rollers, rather than relying on mechanical pressure. This both helps to make it fast and allows it to be used with foam and corrugated board materials without the danger of crushing.
Apart from these delicate materials, it can laminate onto an impressive number of other wide-format products, including posters, signs, pop-up displays, banners and outdoor signage.
When was it launched and what is the target market?
The machine was announced at Fespa 2016 and it shipped a few months later. Target users include finishers, sign-makers, exhibition graphics makers, vehicle graphics companies and wide-format printers in general. “It’s perfect for wide-format printers mounting vinyl onto a high volume of foam and Corex boards, due to the pneumatic roller locking in place,” says Vivid marketing manager David Smith. “If you’re mounting to glass, the glass won’t crack because of the floating roller technology.”
How does it work?
The Air model uses the same feeder and basic chassis of the 1.6m Easymount SH thermal film laminators. These are single-sided so can’t handle pouch laminating, with heated pressure rollers for use with laminate films that have heat-activated adhesives. It works just as well with cold laminates without heat.
The pneumatic pressure system allows the 130mm diameter cambered rollers to adjust to the exact thickness and pressure required, giving faster production times. The pneumatic pressure allows the roller to ‘float’ down, so delicate materials such as Foamex, Corex and fluted boards are not crushed. When the rollers achieve the correct setting for the board thickness, the roller can be locked to maintain the gap.
It takes 1,600mm wide media, up to 30mm thick. It can run at up to 10m/min, which is fast for its class, with hand feeding and pedal operation for paper and board sheets, or roller feeding of flexible media.
Easymount Air handles a full range of cold pressure or thermal laminates, with matt and gloss as ever being the most popular, but also options such as soft touch, sandtex and anti-graffiti. Vivid can supply its own-brand Boss range of cold and thermal laminating films suitable for aqueous and solvent-based inkjet print, as well as fast-curing types such as UV and HP Latex.
Vivid promoted the Easymount Air’s overall foiling ability at the Luxury Packaging Show in London last autumn. At Drupa last year it showed a prototype for spot foiling onto toner print. Smith says it’s still in development and will be introduced later this year. Vivid already offers a similar facility on its Matrix series of smaller-format sheetfed laminators.
What’s the difference over earlier models?
Easymount Air is the first pneumatic laminator from Vivid, but the main chassis and other components are already well proven in the Easymount SH models.
What’s the USP?
It’s those pneumatic rollers. According to Vivid’s technical manager Gavin Ward: “The patented technology uses one of the most advanced concepts ever seen in a wide-format laminator. Pneumatic air pressure controls the laminating rollers, allowing you to mount and laminate with incredible accuracy and speed.”
How easy is it to use?
“All Easymount models are very easy to use and require a minimum of training,” says Smith. The pneumatic controls and lock are on the top panel. Vivid says that “mechanical wedges, often used to lock the roller by other pneumatic systems, are not required”. The control panel is just below the pneumatic control and features a multi-lingual display.
What training and support is on offer?
Smith says: “We offer a complete installation and training programme for our full range and every system is backed up by our warranty. We also offer extended warranties and our sales and engineering teams are always available either via the phone or for a site visit.”
What does it cost?
The list price for the Easymount Air is £8,195.
Laminating speed 10m/min
Max film/media width 1,600mm
Max media/mount thickness 30mm
Roller diameter 130mm
Warm-up time 10mins
Hot roller heater Internal infrared
Laminating temperature range 0-60°C
Pressure adjustment Pneumatic
Film core 75mm
Contact Vivid Laminating Technologies www.vivid-online.com 0345 130 4050
Drytac JetMounter 63 Pro
Bristol-based Drytac’s heavy-duty, non-pneumatic JetMounter 63 Pro has a heated top roller and has similar features to Easymount Air.
Speed Up to 3.65m/min
Max laminating width 1,600 mm
Max media/mount thickness 50.8mm
Roller diameter 139.7mm
Weight 440 kg
Contact Drytac 0845 070 0660 www.drytac.co.uk
Kala Mistral 1650
Mistral laminators are high-volume machines with heat-assisted top rollers. The Mistral 1650 and 2100 offer single-sided lamination, simultaneous lamination and adhesive mounting, encapsulation and board mounting up to 50mm thick. Again, they are not pneumatic.
Speed Up to 6.3m/min
Max laminating width 1,710/1,650mm
Max media/mount thickness 50mm
Roller diameter 114mm
Contact Colourgen 01628 588722 www.colourgen.com
Mounter’s Mate 1600hs
A keenly priced Chinese-built laminator for hot and cold films, accepting rolls or board up to 3mm thick. It’s one of very few laminators besides the Easymount Air to feature pneumatic rollers.
Speed Up to 6.2m/minute
Max laminating width 1,600mm
Max media/mount thickness 30mm
Roller diameter 130mm
Contact Mounter’s Mate 01491 877707 www.mountersmate.co.uk
“The air pump in this encouraged us to buy it and it’s been really worthwhile. It does much better lamination and it increases the speed. We use it a lot for digital wallpaper” 5/5
James Dunstone Managin director, Identity Signs, St Albans