Advice On The HMT Advantage Laminator


From original questioner:

I'm looking at the HMT Advantage Laminator and was wondering if anybody in here has any experience with this company or machine. I laminate up a lot of vertical grade Formica on PB and was looking for a way to increase productivity. The company videos seem impressive but I would expect nothing else. I'm more interested in hearing from the small to medium size shop owner who owns or has seen this machine in everyday action.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

From contributor Ri

How many panels do you laminate?
What system are you using now?
What level of improvement do you require?
How much does this machine cost?

I can't give you any info on this particular machine. The technology has been around for 30 years. But with the answers to the questions above I could give you some comparative information about my system, which is more commonly in use.



From contributor Br

I'm a one-man shop so number of panels is relative. I have a commercial customer that I do work for and each of their projects has approximately 15 - 25 panels that I laminate front and back. I will be doing 6 - 7 projects for them over the next year and the turnarounds will be quite tight in some cases so I'm looking for ways to trim production time from each job.

I currently laminate these panels the old fashioned way.....hand roll out adhesive on both substrate and laminate, lay out dowels, position laminate, then j-roll by hand. It looks like the biggest time savings from this machine will come from not having to roll out the adhesive and wait for it to "tack up". Then there's the labor savings from not having to manually roll out everything.

I've seen these machines used for $5 - $6K and new from the manufacturer for around $9K. New might be a stretch for me but doable and worthwhile if the end result is a quality panel.

Thanks for your is appreciated.

From contributor Ri

I would look at it this way-

If you are doing 7 projects a year with 25 panels each and the cost of your labor is $30 (cost, not what you sell it for) and it takes you 45 minutes per panel now, this new system might save you half an hour per panel. At $30/ hour this would be a net savings of $2,625 a year. For a $7-$10k investment (add something for electrical, downtime, learning curve etc.) that's a 2-3 year return on investment, which isn't bad, if you know for sure you'll be doing that volume for the next three years. Put your own costs in to make the calculation. If you are doing that one project plus some others and your panels per year gets up to 350 it looks even better. Just having the capacity may open you up to more volume of lamination, for your colleagues and competitors.
I did this calculation a few years back on the (much larger) panel volume that we were doing and elected to invest about $25,000 in a relatively low tech PVA laminating line- it would have paid for itself in two years with just the contract laminating that we got, before even considering the reduction in laminating time from 45 minutes to under 8 minutes for a two sided panel. We could have gone the route of buying out laminated panels but we don't have anyone nearby who does this kind of work dependably and we would not have the quality and time control that we have.
Having said all this, you will have to first determine whether the machine and the process are really good. I would insist that they direct you to a current user in some other part of the country so you can ask about technical issues, actual process times, quality problems etc. With this system I would also be wary of glue supply issues. With PVA and other adhesives you can go to a number of suppliers and are not tied to a single glue from a single source. The cost of PVA is about a quarter of the cost of the contact we were using, which made the switch even more econmical. The hot melt sheet glue may not be as attractively priced and you may find yourself tied to a single source supplier with no options if they run out of glue, or choose to raise the price.


From contributor Pa


You would be better off getting someone else to laminate your sheets for you. You may be quite a ways from a metropolitan area but 15 to 25 panels would make it worth your while to overcome this barrier.

I use 3 suppliers for this product all of them use PVA glue and use the pod presses which results in a very flat panel.

Because they buy in volume and get a much better price then you could ever hope for, they can sell you the laminated panels for less than you could buy the materials for. And they usually do this within a few days.

I would think you could make a better investment that would give you a better pay back than a laminating machine especially in this market.

From contributor To

We use the HMT to laminate veneers and HPL to ply and pbd. It works. Its pretty cheaply made. Realistically a 2 man operation. We did some major overhauling right from the factory. Better fence system, more secure squaring rollers, controls on both sides of machine.
If you get adhesive on the under-heater rollers you have to take the machine apart to clean them, and if you do 2-sided you'll need these to be clean. We redesigned it so we could quickly flip the heater assembly up to access the rollers.

From contributor Le

If any of you who have posted on this thread have one of these machines, I would like to speak to you regarding delamination/glue failure. Please contact me.

From contributor Ch

The company I work for just bought one of these machines. Is there anyone who can give me any tips or advice on indexing and delamination issues?

From contributor An

I use Fellowes Laminator that provides a stable laminating setting with self-adjusts and anti-jam protection. Here, you can read more about the good quality laminators

From contributor An

I use Fellowes Laminator that provides a stable laminating setting with self-adjusts and anti-jam protection. Here, you can read more about the good quality laminators.

From contributor Ja

I found this old thread and am wondering about the delaminating issue? Does anyone have any input on that? Also can this laminate metal laminate?

Thanks for any input.