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Laminated Printing: Sealed Edge or Flush Cut?

Print materials are laminated to increase longevity. In most cases, lamination is applied to printing that will be subject to stains, smudges, moisture, oil, grime, wrinkles, tears or anything else that might shorten its life.

The lamination applied to printing is a clear plastic film, with either a gloss or matte finish. It can be applied to the face only, or it can be applied to both sides of the printed piece. Since the primary goal of lamination is protection, our experience has shown that the vast majority of laminated pieces have the plastic film applied to both sides.

Even though lamination is applied over the printing, it still allows the printing to be read very clearly and in most cases actually enhances the appearance and contrast of the ink colors. In addition, lamination is available in a variety of thickness to add increased strength and rigidity to printed pieces.

Depending on the intended use and environmental conditions, laminated pieces may be produced with a Sealed Edge or Flush Cut.

What is a Sealed Edge?

Sealed Edge Lamination extends beyond the edge of the printed piece to provide maximum protection from moisture and other contaminants

A Sealed Edge is created when a printed piece is sandwiched between two pieces of plastic laminate film that extend past the edge of the printed piece. This allows the two sheets of film to bond to each other around the entire perimeter, thus totally encapsulating the printed document in plastic.

A Sealed Edge provides the ultimate protection against contaminants and is used when the printing may be subject to frequent handling or used in a harsh environment. The overhang lip created by the Sealed Edge method is usually in the range of 1/8" - 1/2" to produce a strong bond and ensure that fluids and dirt never contact the edge of the printed paper substrate.

Common uses for Sealed Edge lamination include restaurant and bar menus, factory signage, machinery hang tags, identification cards and educational materials.

What is a Flush Cut?

Flush Cut Lamination is trimmed even with the edge of the printed piece to provide a clean line and maximum visual appeal

A Flush Cut refers to lamination that is trimmed even with the edge of the printed piece. A Flush Cut offers aesthetic benefits, but the edge of the printing is not completely enclosed in film. Therefore, it does not completely protect the edge of the paper from moisture, oil or grime like the Sealed Edge method.

As you would expect, Flush Cut lamination is not recommended for printed items that are handled excessively or used in damp or dirty conditions. However, it is still a very popular method for many other applications. These include business cards, bookmarks, presentation folders and the interior pages of a book or binder.

If you have any questions about lamination or have an upcoming laminated project, give Formax Printing Solutions a call. Whether your print project requires Sealed Edge or Flush Cut lamination, we can offer you helpful guidance and money-saving ideas.

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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