Film and foil lamination

Film and foil lamination in practice

Film lamination is used for the purposes of creative design and practical function. There are many types of films, and this variety makes it possible to achieve a multitude of special creative effects and use different ways to enhance the design of book covers, exclusive brochures, maps, cards, menus, posters, etc. The film also protects the surface from scratches, stains and other damage.

Film suppliers produce standard interchangeable products as well as their own speciality niche products. When combined with paperboard, film lamination offers a very wide range of possibilities. The long-proven glue lamination technique widens the field of paperboard applications into areas where more complicated and expensive constructions would otherwise be required.

The film lamination operation

Lamination is a technique in which a film is glue laminated to the paperboard surface to achieve aesthetic effects or surface protection. The film is reel fed and the adhesive is applied to the film (except when using thermal film). The paperboard web is fed into the press and, when passing through a calender, it is pressed against the plastic film. Since glue lamination involves adding and removing moisture, this operation must be carried out very carefully so that the process results in strong, flat products.

Films and adhesives

A wide selection of films can be used in combination with paperboard. The most common way to create a glossy surface and protection for the print is PP (polypropylene). It provides a durable material with special visual and tactile properties. The type of film may be limited by the chosen adhesive system. In the case of water-based and solvent-based adhesives, the film is dried to increase the tack of the adhesive.

The advantages and disadvantages of different types of adhesives are summarised in the following table.

Type of adhesive Advantages Disadvantages
Water-based (acrylic) Light stability Not suitable for all substrates
  Good creasing, embossing, hot foil stamping ability  
Solvent-based (polyurethane, acrylic, polyester) Very easy to run Solvent extraction equipment
Solvent-free (polyurethane) Reduction in glue weight Difficult to run
  Full range of plastic film possible  
  High production speeds (70 m/min)  
  No dryers (less energy)  
Thermal films (preapplied thermal adhesive) Easy to run Specific equipment needed
  Rapid machine start-up Cost of film
    Problem when hot foil stamping
UV adhesive Short start-up time Cost of glue and machine
  Excellent adhesion Yellowing
    Risk of cracking and curl


  • An extremely smooth and uniform paperboard surface is very important especially when using gloss or metallic films, which highlight any irregularities in the surface.
  • To avoid blemishes in the laminated finish, the paperboard surface must be clean and completely free of dust or anti-set-off spray powder. The fast ink setting properties of the surface make it possible to minimise the amount of spray powder used.
  • Graphic paperboard gives very good results with water-based glue, but when using this type of glue the printing inks must be very carefully selected.
  • If the glue comes in contact with the inks, it is extremely important that the ink and glue should not interact with each other or the ink layer could be insufficiently adhered.


Iggesund Paperboard
825 80 Iggesund

+46 650 - 280 00

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