13/06/2024

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American Made Vs Import Laminating Pouches – 4 Factors to Consider

American Made Vs Import Laminating Pouches – 4 Factors to Consider

In the laminating industry, a debate has been on-going regarding laminating pouches. The question is whether laminating pouches manufactured in the US superior to those manufactured overseas? The answer is complicated, but really boils down to value. There are several factors to consider when addressing this issue including quality control, the materials used in manufacturing the product, lead time, and price. We will explore each of these in greater detail and perhaps provide some additional insight that can be used when making a decision on which laminating pouches are right for your application.

1. Quality of Materials: Stemming from decades of cheap, low-quality products manufactured overseas, many consumers feel that American-made products are of a higher-quality than those that are imported. This is true, to some extent; however the adage, “garbage in equals garbage out,” is appropriate in this case. Laminating pouches are two pieces of laminating film that are sealed together on one edge creating a pouch. An item to be laminated is placed inside and run through a pouch laminator where heat and pressure is applied. If the laminating film that is used to make the pouch is of poor quality, no doubt the laminating pouch will be of poor quality as well.

Laminating pouches that are manufactured from film with poor adhesives, large amounts of adhesive relative to the base material, and inconsistency is the raw materials used all play a factor in the quality of a laminating film. In this case, American-made pouches are generally of higher quality. Many US manufacturers of laminating film will only use raw materials from reputable chemical and plastic companies as opposed to less expensive lower quality alternatives. In our experience, this is not always the case with some foreign film manufacturers.

2. Quality Control: Just as important as the quality of materials in the pouch, the consistency of that quality is a must. Inconsistent quality is not only frustrating, but ruining prints to be laminated costs time and money. Depending on the manufacturer, different levels of importance are given to quality control. Before purchasing any pouches, it is important to note whether the manufacturer has a good quality control system in place. Some manufacturers will have certifications such as those from the International Organization of Standards (ISO). While quality control is generally better for products made in America, many foreign companies do have procedures in place as well. Again, quality control goes back to the individual manufacturer.

3. Lead Time: For many customers, when you need a product, you need it NOW! For smaller quantities of standard pouch sizes, lead time is normally not an issue and often is based more on the retail provider than the manufacturer of the laminating pouches. However, if the retail provider does not control their inventory correctly or for very large volumes or special size pouches, lead time can be the largest determining factor when purchasing pouches. Due to geographical and shipping constraints, lead times for imported pouches are generally significantly longer than for pouches manufactured in the US. An expedited shipment from China can be costly, if possible at all.

4. Price: Cost plays a large role when considering the value of a laminating pouch. In addition to the materials used in producing a laminating pouch, the manufacturer must consider freight costs to get the materials to the point where the pouch is made, the cost to ship the pouch to the retailer or end user, costs to maintain the equipment used, and labor costs. These are the driving factors that go into the decision for companies to manufacture products overseas in the first place. Even though shipping costs can be high, the drastically lower labor rates in foreign countries makes imported pouch prices very competitive when compared to those made in the USA.

While there are certainly other factors that play into the overall value of pouches, these four issues can make the difference when deciding on which laminating pouch is right for your application. An open dialog with your pouch laminating supplier can often clear up any questions you may have. Good luck and happy laminating!