Décor continues to be important application for wide-format inkjet printers

Updated April 12, 2021, adding the PDF with all the front covers and topics

1st edition posted January 14, 2021 by Dr Nicholas (Hellmuth)

Here is a complete set of front covers of the FLAAR-REPORTS on wide-format inkjet printing for décor.

You can share this with colleagues and post it on your social media.

With more people working from home, there is all the more need to utilize wide-format inkjet printers to print décor. The Hellmuth family background is architecture for three generations, so I have focused on architecture and interior design aspects of wide-format inkjet printers.

Most of our reports and NEWS of 2020 is on our www.FLAAR-REPORTS.org website, but here at wide-format-printers.org we are still continuing.

Software is an advanced specialty with Kornit printers

Feb 27, 2020

it turned out that the world headquarters of Kornit Digital was in an adjacent building complex to the EFI VUTEk factory, so I dropped in to say hello. I thank Adi May, Director of Brand Empowerment and Joshua Sicsu, Global Business Development Manager Marketing, for showing me their impressive Kornit Digital T-shirt printers. I look forward to seeing them at either FESPA 2020 in Madrid or Printing United 2020 in Atlanta.

Sign Istanbul is this week in Istanbul, Turkey

Posted Sept. 16, 2019

Sign Istanbul is a popular expo for various aspects of digital communication: lots more than just signage: so T-shirts, cutters, and many other diverse aspects of how to bring a message to a potential client.

What I especially like about Sign Istanbul are the friendly hospitable people in the booths, people that we have visited for every year during this decade (and before).

Pablo M. Lee and María Renee Ayau of FLAAR-REPORTS will be at Sign Istanbul every day. Dr Nicholas will be at Printing United 2019 (rebranded SGIA), and at SGI Sign Middle East 2020 in Dubai, APPPEXPO 2020 in Shanghai, and FESPA Global Print Expo 2020 in Madrid.

Inkjet printers for textile printing décor, soft signage, apparel, T-shirts

Updated June 13, 2019, earlier edition posted May 9, 2019

The principal textile-focused trade shows in the world are:

  • ITMA in Europe, every four years (ITMA 2019, Barcelona, 20-26 June 2019)
  • ITMA Asia, every two years in Shanghai (next in 2020)
  • ShanghaiTex, every two years in Shanghai (November this year).

These expos began decades ago as expos for factory equipment to manufacture, weave, knit, and make also nonwovens. Gradually they included inkjet textile printers and over this decade each of these expos has developed halls focused on wide-format inkjet textile printers (including single-pass textile printers which tend not to be physically present in signage expos).

T-shirt printers are also available to study at a “textile show” but wide-format, grand format, and single-pass are more of what you can learn about by attending these textile expos.

You can also find lots of textile printers every year at FESPA in EU and a good selection of T-shirt printers and (mostly for soft signage, flags, etc.) textile printers at

  • Sign Middle East (SGI Dubai) every year
  • ISA (USA)
  • SGIA (now renamed PRINTING United), USA
  • Sign Istanbul, (Turkey is major producer of textiles)
  • Sign Africa (co-located with FESPA Africa)
  • and APPPEXPO in Shanghai (impressive printer expo).

When ITMA is in Europe, several of the inkjet textile printer companies focused on ITMA will skip signage expos in Europe in the months before ITMA. So you can find ColorJet textile printer booth, Zimmer booth, and other inkjet brands at ITMA 2019 in Barcelona but not at other expos in the two months before or several months afterwards.

The FLAAR-REPORTS team was at APPPEXPO 2019, SGI 2019 in Dubai, and recently ISA 2019 in USA. Dr Nicholas is being flown to ITMA 2019 Barcelona 2019, so if you wish to meet him often you can find him looking at test prints in the ColorJet booth, Hall-3, Booth No-B102. Indeed ColorJet is Platinum Sponsor for ITMA 2019.

We look forward to seeing you at the ColorJet booth and the rest of ITMA. Since all our meetings are in the aisles of the trade show hall or in the booths of different brands, FLAAR-REPORTS does not have a booth. Dr Nicholas will be at ITMA 2019 the first four days: 20-23 June 2019.

During 2018 we attended so many printer, signage, and visual communication trade shows that we did our year 2018 posts on Social Media, plus dozens of 2018 FLAAR-REPORTS in .pdf format.

Plus Maria Renee Ayau and Pablo M. Lee initiated DPI-Insights which has lots of material from 2018 (and of course 2019 onward).

d-gen textile printers produce remarkably bright colors in booth of Media One at SGIA 2017

Posted late October 2017

Textile printing with inkjet printers continues to be more popular around the world. Ten years ago a basic retrofitted solvent printer, with entry-level printheads, were sold as “a textile printer.” But in recent years, print shop owners and managers have become more sophisticated and they prefer a better quality textile printer. So brand by brand the quality is improving.

It is well known that acid dye ink and reactive dye ink produce impressive colors on the kinds of fabrics appropriate for each kind of ink. But it takes a football field of space to hold the pre-print and post-printing machines for washing, drying, fixing, etc. So more and more attention is focused on printing direct-to-fabric. Downside is that most pigment inks are not yet bright enough, and disperse dye ink direct-to-fabric was considered not as bright as printing on transfer paper, passing the paper through a calendering machine onto the polyester (but again, that requires a sophisticated calendering machine in addition to the printer (and lots of paper, including the second kind of paper to keep the image from being soaked from the sublimated colors).

So it was a pleasant surprise for me to notice the impressive colors produced by the d-gen Teleios printer in the Media One booth, SGIA 2017. Bright yellow, colorful reds, great blues: and all colors better than I expected.

I flew two sets of print samples back to the main office of FLAAR. Here you too can see the bright deep colors.

Maria Renee Ayau and Dr Nicholas Hellmuth look forward to experiencing all the textile printer and textile ink experience of the d-gen team in Korea. We thank Kilhun Lee, CEO of d-gen for inviting us.

We will have more posts on some innovative new textile printer technology of d-gen later this month (and for sure after we are in their factory headquarters demo room).

APPPEXPO 2017 in Shanghai

Updated March 7, 2017, First posted Oct. 14, 2016. Updated Jan. 2, 2017

I smile when I see trade show PR blurbs claiming their expo is “the largest inkjet printer show.” Clearly they have not yet seen the last several years of growth of APPPEXPO in Shanghai: 100+ brands of UV-curing printers with over 200+ models. In fact the day before the expo opened the FLAAR team found over 126 booths with UV-cured printers. We estimate the number of models will be greater than last year.

And textile printers, eco-solvent, and endless brands and technologies of cutters.

With about 170+ booths of printable media and substrates, APPPEXPO 2017 is worth attending for that just by itself. Plus you can find dozens of brands of after-market ink.

In fact APPPEXOO 2017 is so large that it takes six of us from FLAAR Reports to handle documenting all the signage and printer products and brands.

Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East 2017

Updated Jan. 2, 2017, First posted Oct. 14, 2016

Now that all of the major signage and printer expos are finished for 2016 we move forward on planning for 2017.

The first expo of the year is SGI Dubai 2017, 15, 16, and 17 January 2017.

Halls 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE. This is the 20th Anniversary SGI Expo, organized by IEC, Falak Holdings.

Actually Dubai is worth visiting for all its attractions. Dubai is close to beating Orlando for amusement parks. Indeed Dr Nicholas of FLAAR introduced to Dubai what is now the popular Dubai Garden Glow, which is within walking distance of the trade show convention center.

www.SignMiddleEast.com provides more information from IEC, the Dubai show organizers.

Sign Istanbul 2016 is worth attending

Updated Oct. 14, first posted Sept. 19, 2016

We have attended Sign Istanbul every year now for many years. This expo is large enough that it takes two from FLAAR Reports to handle taking notes, photographs, and checking on what are the trends.

Normally we enjoy visiting the picturesque historical areas of Istanbul, but there was so much at the expo that we stayed at the Tuyap expo center all four days.


In 2016, I attended six expos in a row during a 4 week period (46,000 miles of flights, 74,000 kilometers through three continents). Assistant Senaida Ba attended four of these with me. I asked her about her impressions of each expo: she said that at Sign Istanbul the people of Turkey were hospitable in the aisles and in the booths. In every country the booth personnel are helpful, but she said there was a welcoming manner in Turkey that was special.

We look forward to seeing all the short-run digital presses and office printers which are missing from 80% of sign expos elsewhere in the world. Sign Istanbul had RICOH, RISO, OKI, Xerox, Konica Minolta, Develop (Turkish distributor of a major Japanese brand), and also HP Indigo.

The other advantage of attending Sign Istanbul is the range of 3D printers; there was an entire area dedicated to 3D, of all sizes and diverse technologies. You could even find a MASSIVit 1800 at Sign Istanbul.

There were more office printers at Sign Istanbul than every signage trade show in USA. There were more 3D printers at Sign Istanbul than every printer and sign expo in USA. Plus Sign Istanbul has textile printers, UV-curable, solvent, latex and water-based.

Sign Istanbul is organized by Tarsus and the large team of iFO.

The organizers and the FLAAR Reports team look forward to seeing you at Sign Istanbul 2017, Oct 4 through 8, 2017, www.SignIstanbul.com

FESPA Africa 2016, PRINT Africa 2016, 7-9 Sept.

Updated Oct, 14, 2016, first posted Aug. 26, 2016

We enjoy seeing a diverse range of all sizes and structures of UV-curing printers, so FESPA Africa is worth the journey to visit. If you come from outside this area, consider booking a safari to the internationally known national parks of southern Africa. I must admit I have never visited a national park here since I come by myself (no girlfriend with me to share the safari together). But there are many places in this part of the world you should consider enjoying, in addition to the expo.

There were also several brands of office printers: desktop copiers and short-run digital presses. We did test printing on several. You can download our FLAAR Reports on toner printers.


At the 2016 FESPA Africa we enjoyed giving an introductory lecture to the Printing SA at their Africa Print Conference. We would like to offer a comprehensive lecture/seminar program on textile printing for 2017, with Dr Nicholas and the textile printer workflow review editor Maria Renee Ayau.

Also during FESPA Africa, Dr Nicholas was on a panel every day; the last two days with different printing experts from FESPA headquarters in the UK.

A capable and experienced team in Johannesburg organizes all this. They are also editors of the two leading printing trade magazines in this part of the world: one magazine for wide-format inkjet and another magazine for toner printers and desktop inkjet.

FESPA Africa 2017, co-located with Africa Print and Sign Africa in Gallagher Convention Centre, outside Johannesburg, will be 13-15 September. www.SignAfricaExpo.com

Fortunately SGIA in USA is Oct 10-12, so does not compete. PRINT 17 (Graph Expo takes the name “PRINT” every four years) is Sept 25-28 (but we have skipped this in past years since there are not enough booths of printable materials, wide-format inks, etc. There is no Photokina, Glasstec, or Tecnargilla in 2017, so no conflict there either.

Inspected iti textile printer in new demo room in Texas

Updated Oct 14; first posted Aug. 26, 2016

ITI TX3200DS, Direct-to-fabric Printer, Evaluation FAQs
ITI TX3200DS, Direct-to-fabric Printer, Evaluation FAQs

This printer is competition for the newer Mimaki, d-gen, and D.G.I. This iti printer is not entry-level, so is not comparable to printers using Epson printheads. The iti textile printer uses more sophisticated print heads and is engineered for handling fabrics. Entry-level printers are solvent or water-based printers rebranded for handling transfer paper. Iti handles both transfer paper and actual fabrics.

In mid-August Noel Mareno and Paul McGovern showed Dr Nicholas the new iti 3.2m textile printer. The most impressive aspect of the iti TX3200DS is the sophisticated fabric feeding and take-up system, plus a single sublimation ink which works both on transfer paper and on direct-to-fabric.

SGIA 2016 is definitely worth attending, September 14-16, Las Vegas

Posted August 8, 2016

FLAAR Printer Team at SGIA Vegas 2016

Many people tell us that they watch to see which trade shows FLAAR attends, since they know we would not waste airfare and hotel expenses to go to a trade show unless it was worth attending.

At least three of us will attend SGIA to see wide-format inkjet printing equipment and software.

SGIA has cleverly focused on textile printing as a helpful way to attract more exhibitors and attendees. And of course UV-cured, solvent, latex, and water-based printers, inks, substrates and materials will also be on exhibit, along with cutters, RIP and color management software, and of course T-shirt printers.

You can learn more from www.SGIA.org.

ISA 2016, sign and inkjet printer expo

Updated May 11, 2016.

Four of us attended ISA 2016 in Orlando. Plus we had a booth. Both were a good idea because there were thousands of people at the expo, especially the first two busy days.

The free FLAAR Report will be posted this coming week. In addition we have many other FLAAR Reports in preparation for this summer.

Printhead by Printhead brand

LED vs
Mercury Arc

Size, shape, structure

UV Cured PrinterTRENDs 2016

Print heads-Arc-flaar LED-vs-Mercury-Arc-flaar UV-Printers-flaar ISA-2016 UV Trends PRINT

Which Printheads are in which brand of UV-cured printer.

Which brands, which models, of UV-cured printers have LED or Mercury curing systems. How many kinds of UV-cured printers were at ISA By brand, and by Model.  

Write [email protected] if you wish to order any of these special FLAAR Reports.

There will also be comparable FLAAR Reports on printheads of UV-cured printers, and UV-printer TRENDs, etc.

FLAAR Printer Team 2016

Here is the FLAAR team who work on printer and signage trends around the world.

We look forward to ISA 2017 in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. The expo is April 20, 21, and 22; April 19th is for educational and networking events. http://signexpo.org/about-the-show/faqs/

APPPEXPO 2016 in Shanghai

Updated April 7, 2016, previously updated Feb 24, 2016,
Posted January 7, 2016

Since APPPEXPO 2016 (for printers, media, substrates, CNC routers, CO2 laser engravers and cutters) is larger than all European sign and printer expos put together, we sent five from FLAAR Reports to APPPEXPO 2016 in March.

Expo was not big; was gigantic. Even though we worked ALL FOUR EXPO DAYS, plus also the pre-expo booth-set-up-day, we found so many printer, ink, media, cutter, laminator products that all five of us worked morning to night. If you missed APPPEXPO 2016, Dr Nicholas and the FLAAR Reports team hopes to see you at APPPEXPO 2017, in March.

We also sent one evaluator to FESPA who reports it was a healthy venue. Four of us will be at ISA in a few weeks in Orlando (with a booth).

Feel free to download our reports which include what you can expect from the then upcoming printer trade show in beautiful Shanghai. The actual 2016 reports are still in process.

APPPEXPO 2016 LED 3D traditional signage FLAAR Reports
APPPEXPO 2016 UV textile solvent latex exhibitor list preview based on 2015 set UV Flaar Reports
APPPEXPO 2016 ink media coater laminator CNC text FLAAR Reports

Graphics of the Americas (GOA)Graphics of the Americas 2016
(GOA in Miami)

Updated Febuary 10, Posted January 27, 2016

Dr Nicholas Hellmuth will be giving three lectures at GOA: two in Spanish and one in English.

English lecture is on advances in all kinds of textile printers and printing.

Spanish: one on everything related to 3D signage with printers. Second is on water-based inks (compared with solvent and UV).

Spanish Lecture GOA 2016 water based inks Nicholas Hellmuth
GOA 2016 textile printing DR. Nicholas Hellmuth lecture
Spanish Lecture GOA 2016 Dr Nicholas Hellmuth 3D

Thursday 18, February
2:30pm – 3:45pm
Lecture E7
Spanish Lecture on
Water-based inks

Friday 19, February
2:00pm – 3:15pm
Lecture E14
New Technology in
Printing on Textiles

Saturday 20, February
11:00am – 12:15pm
Lecture E23
Spanish Lecture on
3D printing and signage

First printer & sign expo of the year: SGI in Dubai

Updated Jan. 27, 2016, First posted Dec. 20, 2015

Two of us from FLAAR flew to Dubai to attend SGI (Sign Middle East), capably organized by IEC.

This is the first international inkjet printer & signage trade show of the year, so worth attending. Lots of laminators, cutters, and printers or every size and shape for printing from tiny souvenirs to printing grand-format billboards and building wrap.

To learn more about SGI 2016, as a preview for 2017, (Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East) their web site is www.SignMiddleEast.com.

We hope to see you in Dubai in mid-January 2017, for the 20th SGI.


New Year’s Wish List (for Textile Printers)

Posted January 5, 2016, to start the New Year

PR releases for textile printers and textile inks, and even advertising claims on spec sheets, vary from dubious to doubtful. We point these out as constructive criticism, so that there is more fairness in advertising. Our goal is to assist distributors so that end-users (print shop owners and managers) can have more reliable spec sheets.

“one ink for all types of fabrics” not likely, since all fabrics are different, hence react differently to the chemicals in each ink. One sole ink cannot possibly work on 100% of all the different types of materials for textile printing.

“does not need pre-treatment” even pigment ink needs fabrics to be pre-treated so the pigment adheres to the fabric. You might not have to coat it yourself but you need the fabric to have a coating. It is very unlikely for inks to contain the sufficient amount of binder to do without pre-treatments, cause it would cause the printheads to clog.

“just print, no finishing” while many inks do not require a complicated process comparable to acid or reactive inks, it does not mean they don’t at least need fixing, whether it is with a heat press or calender. Plus, realize that “no finishing” may mean you can show the example at a signage or textile or printer expo, but if you try to use this same print sample out in the real world it will either fade quickly or not survive washing or otherwise not be what an unfortunate end-user expected.

“we are manufacturers…” Most companies claim they manufacture and sell their own printers, yet you can clearly tell by looking at their printer chassis that it is made by other well-known brands of printers in the industry. Okay, yes, there are some really big factories which produce several brands. And each brand can appropriately say they have their own factory (as long as they clearly identify the actual name of the factory, which is almost NEVER the name of the printer brand).

The claim we are pointing out is when a printer (or calendering machine or laminator or cutter) is claimed to be produced by the brand itself, yet they clearly do not have their own factory at all.

I would also point out the companies which may indeed have their own factory, but in reality they simply assemble standard parts. These same identical components are in a dozen other printer brands (but each brand has its own outside color and outside shape of the plastic covering for the printer. So even if a printer does have its own factory, what counts is do they know how to make their own firmware? Do they know how to improve the engineering of their printer’s features over competing brands?


Special FLAAR Reports on Textile Printers

On textile inks
On textile printer workflow equipment

How many textile Printer brands are manufactured in China?

To save money you can of course do this list yourself: simply attend lots of textile expos in several cities in China.

Do this for about two or three years. Calculate the costs in airfare, hotel, meals, plus time. And, if you do this by yourself, how do you know you have not missed several printers?

We have harvested what we estimate are at least 95% of the brands (and at least 95% of the factory brands, since some brands are rebranded by distributors or partners).

How many ink companies in China produce textile inks?

How many textile printer brands are made in Korea, Japan, EU, and USA?

This set starts with all the textile printers from ISA, FESPA (Europe), SGIA, and includes everything at ITMA 2015 (Milano, in mid-November).

Glossary of Jargon & Descriptions of Wallpaper and Wallpaper Printers and Inks
Information on traditional
(non-digital) wallpaper printer technologies (so you can learn how wide-format can be better)
Media companies in China and Korea which produce printable substrates for wallcoverings
Media companies in USA and Europe which produce printable substrates for wallcoverings
Discussion of pros and cons of each kind of ink for printing wallpaper: HP latex, UV-cured, Solvent, dye sublimation, and water-based

How many ink companies in Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and USA produce ink for textiles?

Glossary of Jargon & Descriptions of Wallpaper and Wallpaper Printers and Inks
Information on traditional
(non-digital) wallpaper printer technologies (so you can learn how wide-format can be better)
Media companies in China and Korea which produce printable substrates for wallcoverings
Media companies in USA and Europe which produce printable substrates for wallcoverings
Discussion of pros and cons of each kind of ink for printing wallpaper: HP latex, UV-cured, Solvent, dye sublimation, and water-based

How many dye sublimation brands are there in Western EU, USA, Korea, and Mainland China (both calendering units and dye sub for direct-to-fabric)?

If you buy any complete set, the you can visit with the FLAAR team at any textile booth at SGIA

At full level (full Subscription for the coming twelve months) you can ask your questions by Skype, e-mail or telephone directly to Dr Nicholas and/or the textile printer & workflow evaluation manager at FLAAR, Maria Renee Ayau. In other words, consulting services for the coming 12 months.

Plus: you can visit with the FLAAR team at any booth of ink, media and substrates at SGIA and ITMA in Italy.


Lots of new FLAAR Reports on textile printers and inks

Posted Oct. 4, 2015

To learn about textile inks and textile printers, lots of new FLAAR Reports on SGIA and on ITMA in Milano will be available this coming month.

Plus, if you wish consulting services on textile inks, on textile printers, on dye sublimation, or on wall coverings, make an appointment now to meet Dr Nicholas at either SGIA or ITMA (or both): e-mail FrontDesk “at” FLAAR.org.


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