Pouch laminators are like any other piece of equipment: they are great when they work.

But when they don’t, they can be very frustrating, and one of the most annoying things you can experience with a laminator is getting a pouch jammed inside the machine. Not only can this have an impact on your productivity, it can ruin machine if you’re not careful. If you do end up with a pouch or carrier jammed inside your machine, there a few things that you can do. This article will provide you with a few steps to try. 1. First thing is first, immediately turn off and unplug the machine before the jammed pouch can inflict any more damage on the laminator. A stuck pouch has the unfortunate ability to quickly burn out the machine’s motor, so be sure to cut the power as soon as possible!

2. After you’ve shut off your laminator, you can then assess what damage – if any – has been done and see what the problem could be. Some laminator jams occur because a user tries to laminate items that are too thick for the machine to handle. That said, a pouch laminator should NOT be used to laminate anything other than paper or cardstock. Your laminator may not be strong enough (or the rollers might not be flexible enough) to handle anything else. Luckily, if you catch a jam in time, you can turn your laminator back on, put it in reverse, and tug at the carrier to fix the problem.

3. Sometimes it’s possible that the laminating pouch has started to curl inside the machine. To prevent this, use a carrier. Carriers prevent glue from accumulating on the rollers (thereby avoiding a sticky, gooey mess) and they keep pouches from wrapping around the machine’s rollers. If you think the pouch has begun to wrap around the rollers, turn the machine off, turn it back on, hit the “Reverse” button, and then try removing the pouch.

4. If the above methods won’t clear up the jam, you might need to resort to more drastic measures. Some pouch laminators have hinges on their sides which allow you to open the machine up, much like you would a laser printer or photocopier. Make sure you unplug the machine before opening the laminator to avoid being injured. But, if your machine lacks hinges, it might have a pouch jam lever which will allow you to carefully separate the laminator’s rollers so you can remove the jammed pouch. If so, give this a try to see if it clears your jam.

5. Sometimes, when all else fails, the laminator will need to be taken apart to clear the jam. However, unless you feel confident about your mechanical skills, it’s recommended that you contact a laminator repairman to help you, so you can avoid damaging your machine and possibly injuring yourself. If you have a smaller laminator and the jam is particularly nasty, sometimes it makes more financial sense to just buy a new machine. It all depends on your financial situation and the seriousness of the jam.

While experiencing a pouch jam is undoubtedly frustrating, by following these tips, you can both clear up many laminator jams and prevent future ones from occurring.

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