One of my colleagues posed this question on a Linkedin Group that talks about wide format printing. The questions he asked were, “Are you seeing any trends out there regarding using UV coating or lamination for document finishing? Are more clients going with UV coating or laminating?”
Well, the responses were all over the place which is to be expected. The laminating guys, of course, say laminating is best. The UV coating guys say UV coating is the best. Each side had examples of how the other does not work. Out of all the point and counterpoint, here is the meat of what can be said about the UV coating versus lamination argument: “It Depends on.”
1. UV Coating
I think the general consensus is that UV coating is good for short run projects for your customers. It was summed up like this, “Liquid coatings are a good short term, low-cost alternative for graphics that will be handled very little and thrown away in a short period of time.”
One of the criticism is the setup for UV coating is more time consuming than lamination. While this could be true, if you are properly maintaining the machine, it should not be a problem.
The other comment was pretty correct, though, you get what you pay for. If you are buying low-cost UV coating fluid, you are going to get low-quality results. So, make sure you buy a quality UV coating fluid.
2. Roll Lamination
Many of the answers on the discussion came from individuals in the lamination business. Laminating films do offer a more rigid protection of your documents. They also provide some unique touch elements that you may not get with a UV coating. There is a lamination film whose touch would certainly set it apart from anything you may find in a stack of direct mail.
Setting up lamination jobs are pretty easy as you only have to change the roll on your machine. There is no clean up and maintenance on your machine is once every month versus after every use on your UV coating machine.
UV coating as a cost per document is far lower than laminating film. So, if your client’s marketing budget is limited, UV coating will be the cheaper solution for them. Laminating film for all its advantages is more expensive per document. If budget is not an issue and your customer wants to project a quality branding image, a laminating film is perfect.