Encapsulated maps – designed to last, whatever the weather

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At Dennis Maps we offer a range of services to finish off your printed map to perfection. One of these is map encapsulation, a process we’re highly skilled at.

What are encapsulated maps?

Encapsulated maps are paper maps that we mechanically cover with two sheets of thin, clear plastic film, before sealing the film along all the map’s edges. When a map is encapsulated it becomes incredibly durable, with a tough outer layer that stands up to even the harshest weather conditions. Encapsulated maps are tear proof too. We can encapsulate your maps whether they’re flat or folded, with or without covers.

Expert Tip

Our in-house experts suggest choosing a thin encapsulation material for your folded maps. This will allow them to be easily refolded after encapsulation. It will also make them much more user-friendly than thicker material would.

Are encapsulated maps the same as laminated maps?

Image-1-Encapsulated-maps-film-covered-maps

The two may sound similar but they’re really very different. When maps are laminated a thin plastic film is applied to one side of the printed map. This can give a nice glossy finish but it’s not as durable as an encapsulated map. You can find out more about the lamination process on our laminated maps page.

How we create encapsulated maps

When it comes to flat maps, it’s a straightforward process. We use guillotines to trim printed flat maps to their final size. Then the maps are passed through our encapsulation machines – a Galaxy 1100 Map Encapsulation Line or Galaxy 540 Map Cover Encapsulation Line – and they’re good to go.

It’s a little more complex with a folded map. This is where our skill and experience come into play. We trim the printed maps to their final size on one of our two large format guillotines – a Schneider Senator 155 TCV Guillotine or a Schneider Senator 137H CT Guillotine. After that, we fold the maps. It’s a chance to work our magic! We offer a huge variety of fold configurations using our specialist map folding machines – the Stahl GD 142 T specialised map folding machine, Stahl GF 142 BGL specialised map folding machine, MBO T-130 Large Format Folding Machine and MBO T-800 Medium Format Folding Machine.

And here’s where it gets interesting…

Once the maps have been folded, we unfold them again – which might sound strange! Then we lay them flat, ready to be encapsulated. The next stage is to feed the sheets into one of our specialist encapsulation machines – the Galaxy 1100 Map Encapsulation Line or Galaxy 540 Map Cover Encapsulation Line that we mentioned earlier. They go through a set of rollers in the machine, which applies a thin encapsulation film to both sides of the sheet, using pressure and heat. Next the sheets move through the machine, and any extra film on the borders is trimmed off. This gives a neat border of film, of around 3mm, on all sides of the sheet. After this, we refold the encapsulated sheets along their existing fold lines, using a specialist map folding machine. If the maps don’t have a separate cover, the next stage is refolding them and holding them in place with a retention band. These are small bands that keep maps folded when they’re not in use.

What happens when maps have separate covers?

If your maps have separate covers, they’ll need encapsulating too. We use a smaller map cover encapsulation machine to do this. The technical process is the same as for encapsulating maps. Once the maps and covers are encapsulated, we join them both together and fold them into their finished form. Everything is held in place with a neat retention band.

Why should you choose map encapsulation?

It’s the perfect solution if you’d like to print your maps on regular paper but want to make them waterproof and tearproof too. Encapsulation is cost effective but gives you a high-quality product that can withstand any weather.

We’re here to help

At Dennis Maps, we’re happy to help you through the map printing and encapsulation process. We’ve got experts on hand to answer any questions you may have about map encapsulation and the benefits it can offer.

Get in touch now

Dennis Maps is one of the leading map printers in the world, producing more than two million maps and charts every year. We offer comprehensive pre-press services, large format print solutions using both large format litho printing and large format digital print technologies, plus specialised map folding and map finishing techniques.