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Ledco Study vs. Seal
A Case Study Ledco DI-42 vs. Seal Image 400 Head-to-Head
A dealer for both Ledco and Seal recently put a Ledco DI-42 and a Seal Image 400 side by side to see which would do the better job of laminating a particular inkjet ink and paper combination.
The bond of film to image created on the Ledco machine was much stronger than the bond created on the Seal machine. The laminating film, ink, paper, image, and temperature on both units were the same.
Now let's delve into the details of how this came about and how the testing was done.
How the Test Came to Be
A Ledco reseller called to ask why they shouldn't drop Ledco and sell the Seal wide format laminators because it was their perception that the Seal machines were better looking, more complex, more expensive, and therefore better. They believed that because the laminating pressure on the Seal machine can be increased, the Seal would yield a better bond with the higher pressure.
We agreed it would be a good idea to determine whether or not high pressure was a facto in creating a strong bond. We felt that if it was, we should redesign our Digital laminators. In that spirit, we set about to cooperate with the dealer in a side by side test of the two machines.
Identical color bar images were printed for the test. The color bars were each one inch wide. The same ink and paper were used on both machines. Both machines were warmed up for 20 minutes. Both machines were set at the same temperature. The same 5-mil low melt film was used on both machines.
The film alongside all the color bars was cut to allow us to pull up the one-inch-wide strips of film over each color bar and measure the amount of force required. A computerized mechanism was used to pull up each strip. Force required was measured in ounces of continuous pull.
On every color, the bond strength of the Ledco lamination was significantly stronger. Each test was repeated eight times. On the red color bar, for example, the average force required to pull up the Seal laminate was 2.2 ounces. On the Ledco laminate it was 17.8 ounces. On the yellow, green, and blue color bars, the Seal bond strength was better than on the red bar, but still not as good as the Ledco on the same colors. Results between Seal and Ledco laminate were the same on the black bars and the un-inked areas.
So, now let's compare the machines further on several different criteria:
Most people say the Seal machine looks better. We concede the point.
The Ledco was loaded in four minutes. Loading time on the Seal was more than twice that time. Both operators were well trained on their respective machines.
Ease of Use
There was general agreement that the Ledco is much more user-friendly. Besides being much easier to load and run, the Ledco allows lamination or lamination with mounting on substrates up to 1/2" thick without even stopping the machine. On the Seal, the setup of the machine has to be changed when the thickness of the work changes.
Quality of Lamination
Besides falling short on the measure of bond strength, the Seal laminate exhibited an excessive amount of curl, while the Ledco laminate tended to lay much flatter.
We could assume that different results would be achieved with the testing of other inkjet combinations, or that different results might occur with different operators.
We still have to say that results are more important than appearances. The evidence suggests that the Ledco Digital laminators are more user friendly and more productive, in spite of differences in appearance and cost.
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