In terms of terminology and definition, "encapsulation" refers to both sides of paper being covered with film, with the addition of an extended, sealed border. "Laminating" is often heard to refer to "encapsulating" in lay terms.
Laminating is all about protecting and/or strengthening your printed material, and for enhancing its visual appearance. eclipsePRINT offers a quick, convenient and affordable laminating service. Laminating is the process of applying a film of plastic to one or both sides of printed pages or posters. The laminating film may either be matt or gloss, and varies in thickness. eclipsePRINT uses the common heated roller application method. To be applied successfully, the paper being laminated / encapsulated needs to be perfectly flat.
The most common thickness of film used in general business applications is 75 to 80 microns, producing a total 150 to 160 microns thickness when applied to both sides of paper. For additional strength and protection, 125 microns (total 250 microns) is suggested. In many instances, thin 38 microns (total 76 microns) is sufficient, in particular where a light-weight finish is appropriate.
Encapsulation requires the film covering to extend beyond the edge of paper by a few millimetres. The film not only seals against the paper surface, but against itself around the extended portion. And so the paper is entirely sealed from the effects of the environment, such as water (and moisture) and dirt. The bond of the plastic film against itself is strong, and prevents the film from peeling or splitting open as a result of repeated handling and moisture.
Encapsulation is best used for printing that is handled frequently and needs added strength and protection (catalogues, price lists, education material, quality management policies & instructions, security/ID tags, un-framed posters, certificates of merit, recipes). Laminating, with edges trimmed "flush" with paper borders, are appropriate for post cards, Z-cards, business cards, flash-cards, book-marks, and posters housed within frames.