How To Fix 7 Common Problems With Encapsulating Film

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 August 22, 2022

Don’t want to read the full guide? Download the pdf.

Creating film sealed print using encapsulation can be fraught with difficulties. There are many variables to consider and it can often be any number of things or a combination of different things that is causing your finished product to look poor.

With over 30 years creating beautiful film-sealed print, we know the most common issues to look out for and how to correct them. In this article we break down each of the most common causes and explain the problem and suggest solutions.

Problem 1 – The film is hazy

One of the most common problems is hazy film where the film looks cloudy and not clear. This problem is caused by the film adhesive not melting properly. The most common cause of this is low heat in the rollers. In order to correct this problem, gently increase the roller heat until the haze disappears.

Problem 2 – Film has bubbles on surface

Another problem that can occur with low roller heat, is bubbles on the surface of the film. This is caused by the adhesive not melting properly and trapping air bubbles on the surface of the film. In order to correct this problem, either gently increase the roller heat or alternatively reduce the machine speed. We would suggest adjusting one variable at a time rather than both, until the problem is resolved.



Problem 3 – Film has bubbles on the edge

Bubbles around the edge of the film are similar to bubbles on the surface of the film, but are actually caused by too much heat. Too much heat blisters the edge of the film and creates the bubbles. To fix it, reduce the roller heat or try using a thinner film.

Problem 4 – Edge not sealed

If you are finding that the edge of the film is not sealing properly against the print then this problem is most likely caused by insufficient roller pressure or paper that is too thick. Generally this is anything above 300gsm. In this instance the only thing you can do is increase the roller pressure as you can’t reprint the job on thinner paper!



Problem 5 – Film not sticking

If your film is not adhering to the print and you have ruled out issues with pressure and heat, then the most common cause is incompatible ink used in digital toners. Unfortunately the only option left in this scenario is to reprint the job using compatible inks, we’ve found the most compatible machines are Xerox, HP Indigo, Xeikon, Kodak NexPress and Canon.

Problem 6 – Film is ‘wavy’ or bunched up

This is a common problem we see when using wide films. The issue is caused by having too much pressure on the back roller causing the film to bow. The solution is to gradually reduce the back roller pressure until the issue is corrected.

Problem 7 – Film curls up/down

Film curling is a film tension problem caused by incorrect tension on the rollers. For film that curls up, you will need to reduce the upper roller tension or increase the bottom roller tension. For film that curls down you will need to increase the upper roller tension or decrease the bottom roller tension.

At Express Encapsulation we’ve got over 35 years’ experience in making print last longer and look better. For more information about lamination and encapsulation, and to find out how we can help you with your print finishing, please contact me on 01179 414 999 or email me on sales@expressencap.co.uk.

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