Choosing the right type of encapsulation

Encapsulation film comes in a range of weights suitable for many different purposes – but which one is best for which job? This guide will help you choose the perfect encapsulation to enhance, strengthen and protect your print, wherever you need it to go and whatever you need it to do.

Written By Allen King

I purchased my first machine back in 1982 and started protecting portfolio books for photographers. 30 years later, I’m proud to say Express Encapsulating is the largest encapsulating business in the UK, with the aim of protecting the nation’s print from damage, so print can look better, for longer, no matter where it ends up.

Published On May 25, 2022

Knowing when to choose encapsulation over lamination

Lamination and encapsulation both involve adding a protective layer of film to paper.

Lamination enhances the look of your print product, but because it uses lighter film it can deteriorate quickly when handled excessively or exposed to challenging environments. You’ve probably seen laminated items outdoors or in busy places looking worse for wear!

This is far less likely to happen with encapsulation, which uses high-grade, heavier films that are much more robust. Traditionally they have a border around the edge, but these days they can be cut flush for a more discrete finish.

Encapsulation is a better choice for items that will be handled regularly or kept in places they’re likely to be knocked about, splashed or exposed to the elements. It offers a higher level of protection and durability, and an end product the customer can rely on to last for as long as they need it.

You can find out more about the differences between lamination and encapsulation in our blog.

Which type of encapsulation is right for the job?

Choosing the right encapsulation weight for the end product means considering several factors: the environment the product is going into, how often it will be used, whether it needs to be foldable, and customer preference on finish.

Encapsulation films are measured in micron, just like laminate, but you’ll notice the weights go significantly higher. The heavier the encapsulation weight, the tougher the finish – right the way up to 250 micron both sides, which, when combined with the paper inside, is around the thickness of a credit card.

Here’s our guide to the most common types of encapsulation and what each is used for, so you can select the right weight for your needs.

Encap Pro ‘Intensify’ – 42 micron

‘Intensify’ is the lightest encapsulation you can get. It’s an ultra-thin film ideal for store browsers, like Toolstation, Argos and other catalogues. This weight is tough enough to withstand regular handling but light and flexible enough to be used across multiple pages without adding bulk.

The finish keeps colours vibrant and allows pages to be folded and turned without compromising the quality of the print underneath. Encap Pro ‘Intensify’ will protect your print for up to 3 years.

In-store catalogues are encapsulated to protect the print from heavy handling.

Encap Pro ‘Protect’ – 75 micron

Thicker than our ‘Intensify’ film but still light enough to be foldable, our ‘Protect’ film is perfect for encapsulating store browsers, menus, or any other multi-page product without adding significant bulk. This finish adds rigidity to print and a great level of protection whilst maintaining some flexibility.

For customers on a budget, the ‘Protect’ film can sometimes be used with heavier paper (80g-160g) as an alternative to our thicker ‘Shield’ film. Encap Pro ‘Protect’ will protect your print for up to 5 years.

Heavier 75mic encapsulation film can provide protection up to 5 years for heavily handled print

Encap Pro ‘Shield’ – 125 micron

Our ‘Shield’ film is by far our most popular encapsulation type. This film is seriously hard-wearing and can be used to protect educational resources, menus, aircraft safety inflight cards, outdoor signs – essentially any printed item that needs to stay looking fresh in a busy, wet or demanding environment.

If you’re looking for solid, reliable encapsulation, this is a foolproof option. Encap Pro ‘Shield’ will protect your print for up to 10 years.

125mic encapsulation film is great for protecting print that is handled frequently for up to 10 years.

Encap Pro ‘Fortify’ – 250 micron

For customers looking for the highest possible level of rigidity, durability and protection, our ‘Fortify’ option is our heaviest available film. This is a great choice for information cards and VIP or backstage passes for prestigious events, giving a premium finish that’s guaranteed to impress. Encap Pro ‘Fortify’ will protect your print anywhere (even under water!) for up to 20 years.

250mic encapsulation gives maximum print protection for up to 20 years, even underwater, and is seriously robust!

You can find all of our encapsulation specifications, guideline prices and finishing options in our price catalogue. You can also buy encapsulation film online now or request a quote for encapsulation service.

Still not sure which to choose?

At Express Encapsulation we’ve got over 35 years’ experience in making print last longer and look better. So if you’ve got a question about encapsulation, get in touch with our customer service team and we’ll help you find the right option. Call 01179 414 999 or email sales@expressencap.co.uk

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