Why Synthetic Paper Is A Good Alternative to Lamination

4 Minute Read
Posted by Tianna Vanderhei, Nekoosa on 9/15/21 1:00 PM

Lamination has long been considered the gold standard in protecting paper products from environmental elements and helping to ensure products have a long service life. But the trouble with lamination as a protective film is that it involves additional processes, equipment and costs, each of which can be a significant drain on time and resources. However, advancements in paper products have introduced a new kid on the block that not only rivals but surpasses traditional lamination: synthetic paper. 

Synthetic paper is most commonly made out of polypropylene or polyester resins and inorganic fibers as opposed to wood pulp or other organic components, which means synthetic paper is by design comparable in terms of strength and resistance to tearing, water damage and other environmental hazards. 

Why take two steps (lamination) to reach your destination when one step (synthetic paper) will do? With this in mind, let’s examine a handful of other questions surrounding synthetic paper to demonstrate why synthetic paper is a good alternative to lamination. 

Is this synthetic paper less expensive than lamination?

This may be one of the more common misconceptions about synthetic paper and its comparison to traditional lamination. As we mentioned briefly above, traditional lamination requires additional processing and finishing once the paper is printed in order to protect it from environmental elements like water, UV light, grease and other hazards. This requires lamination equipment as well as a base paper product that can be printed on and is compatible with the lamination process. 

In addition, traditional lamination requires more frequent replacement than synthetic paper. Because synthetic paper is designed and produced with the same protections and durability, there are no additional costs or processes involved, which can reduce your overall investment by 20% to 30% when factoring in the manpower to facilitate the lamination process. 

Is synthetic paper faster to print compared to lamination?

The name of the game with synthetic paper is simplification. Synthetic simplifies the paper protection process, it simplifies the printing process, and it simplifies the nuance and subtlety of making sure your product can work in a variety of applications. Because synthetic paper removes the lamination process associated with printing on heavier papers like a card stock, synthetic paper can be deployed in the field with shorter lead times and can also be printed in an on-demand way to provide the product you need right when you need it. 

Is synthetic paper as durable as lamination?

We know synthetic paper is waterproof and tear-resistant, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when evaluating whether synthetic paper is as durable as lamination. Whereas lamination will break down over time through peeling or moisture seeping beneath the layer of laminate, synthetic paper and its polyester construction provides a longer service life for printed products. In addition, synthetic paper offers enhanced durability and resistance to extremes in temperature and humidity, and synthetic paper also combats ingress or damage from solvents or harsh chemicals. 

Is synthetic paper easy to print?

Whether your printing application is offset, dry toner or laser synthetic paper is far superior to traditional lamination for a variety of reasons, primarily because set-up times are minimal and synthetic paper can be more easily manipulated by the end-user. Folding, cutting, graphic or image integrations, and dynamic fonts can be a challenge with traditional lamination, whereas synthetic paper offers the pliability and versatility for use in a wide variety of applications and contexts. 

Can synthetic paper be used for more applications than laminate?

The short answer is yes. Though on the surface traditional lamination appears like a one-size-fits-all solution for paper products, synthetic paper is by design more well-suited for the widest variety of application due to its design, durability, printing quality and flexibility. Synthetic paper can easily facilitate paper products such as menus, ID cards and badges, maps, catalogs, manuals, medical charts, sales collateral and more. These kinds of printing applications on synthetic paper also prevent several common flaws often found in lamination such as delamination, wrinkles, frayed edges, and greater overall costs and resources. 

Why choose Nekoosa SYNAPS synthetic paper?

Nekoosa’s SYNAPS synthetic paper line offers the versatility and adaptability to cover a variety of printing methods for any job. SYNAPS XM synthetic paper is optimized for use in digital dry toner/laser printers and copiers, as well as for printing via pre-printed in offset printing applications. SYNAPS OM is suitable for offset, HP Indigo, latex and UV wide format printing. Both SYNAPS XM and SYNAPS OM synthetic papers are dual-sided coated with an ink receptive layer and have no grain direction.

Nekoosa’s SYNAPS synthetic paper is engineered with the ultimate in tear strength for maximum folding and manipulation potential, and is also designed to withstand high heat levels which make it ideal for outdoor use as well as extreme environmental conditions. This best-in-class durability, flexibility and superior printed quality make Nekoosa SYNAPS synthetic paper the ideal choice for any application. 

Learn more about how our SYNAPS XM and SYNAPS OM lines of synthetic paper can optimize the performance, durability, and longevity of your paper projects!