Signage printers, media, ink: everything for 2014

Updated twice in April, 2014, Previously updated Feb 2013; Posted Dec. 13, 2013

ISA International Sign Expo was in Orlando, April 23-26, 2014. There are many good reasons why you should have attended, because if your competitors assisted at ISA they will learn what is new and what is happening.

For example, how many printer brands now offer SUV ink? (much more than Mimaki)?

How does SUV ink compare with latex ink? Which are benefits of each? What are the weak points of each?

Most importantly, how does SUV ink compare with traditional UV-cured ink (mercury arc cured and/or LED cured)?

FLAAR sent 4 people here. We would not risk the airfare and hotel costs, and the time away from the office, if we did not felt ISA was well worthwhile.

Why so many from FLAAR at ISA?

Because just to study media and substrates it takes two days. For example, there are more booths with aluminum composite printable material at ISA last year than all other expos in USA and Western Europe put together! Only Sign Istanbul has close to the same remarkable coverage of brands of ACM (also known as ACP) on exhibit.

And inks: how do you figure out who really manufacturers the ink?

Printers: what about MEMS printhead technology and Memjet-based printers? What are the deficiencies? What are the benefits?

There was a lot to see at ISA every year, and Orlando is an easy place to fly to. So we hope you saw us at ISA, Booth # 3011. is their web site, definitely worth visiting.

María Renée Ayau, FLAAR Reports, Technical Writer on Textile inks and DX Printers.
FLAAR Reports staff at ISA 2014.


Advances and Trends in Wide-Format Inkjet BEYOND CONVENTIONAL PRINTING

Posted April 2, 2014

Last april in Dubai the Keynote presentation was present by Dr Nicholas Hellmuth, FLAAR Reports, organized by Printing & Publishing Group (Dubai), April 9 (Wednesday), Le Meridien (Wasl Ballroom) Airport Road.

Also speaking were Mr Richard Sanders of Call Print (3D Printing Services) and on Digital Printing (Mr Phil Walsh, Kodak, UK). Contact Ms Roxanne Tandoc,

SGI-Sign-Graphic-Imaging-Dubai-Middle-East-2014-uv-cured-printers-textile-inks-media-flatbed-cutters-prepare-for-exhibitor-list-2015 PRINT2
Invitation English
SGIA-2013-exhibitor-list-uv-cured-printers-textile-printers-inks-media-flatbed-cutters PRINT2
Invitation Arabic

FLAAR at Graphics of the Americas

Posted Feb 11, 2014

At GOA 2013 in Miami Dr Nicholas Hellmuth presented two lectures: one in English, the other in Spanish.

*Expanded revenue from printing on innovative materials

*Impresion en cristal, en azulejos ceramicos,
La Realidad UV vs Tinta Inorganica

FLAAR Team at SGI Dubai 2014

Posted Jan 06, 2014

Sign Middle East (SGI Dubai) is the first international expo of 2014. 2014 it was held on January 7-9, so two or three weeks earlier than usual. Nicholas Hellmuth and Pablo Martinez arrived in Dubai after two days of flights; over 11 hours delays in airports due to winter weather in USA.

Dubai is a safe and friendly city to visit, with plenty of things to do, especially shopping. The giant airport has flights from all around the world.

FLAAR has enjoyed visiting SGI Dubai for many years and thus we have many friends at the distributors and print shops in the Emirates area.

Lots and lots of Chinese branded printers; more than any other expo outside of China, and many many brands of Chinese media, but almost no booths of Chinese ink manufacturers; whatever Chinese ink may be present is mostly rebranded with local names.

FLAAR will also make a list of every UV-cured printer, every textile printer, each T-shirt printer, all solvent printer brands, any water-based, plus latex (which most ink chemists consider very different from true water-based).

For 2014 FLAAR will cover the top expos around the world, starting with SGI, then GOA in Miami, then D-PES and Sign China in Guangzhou, then ISA in USA, FESPA Digital, and this year we look forward to attending an expo in Iran. Summer will be APPPEXPO in Shanghai, and then FESPA Africa. Then the autumn and winter expos.


FLAAR Team attended Sign Istanbul

posted Oct 10, 2013

We have enjoyed visiting Istanbul, exploring this remarkable city, and attending Sign Istanbul for many years. So two of us from FLAAR will be going to Sign Istanbul in late November.

Because there are so many expos around the world it is not realistic to attend all. But we find Sign Istanbul worth attending since it is international, relatively large, and thus offers a full range of signage and wide-format inkjet printer products.

What FLAAR evaluated at SGIA last week

Updated Nov 7, 2013, Oct. 18, 2013, Updated Oct 10, 2013; First posted April 10, 2013

Print shop owners, distributors, and manufacturers come to FLAAR to obtain a diverse range of information which is more realistic than press releases or canned “Success Stories.”

So at SGIA it is more realistic to actually inspect the printers, and to learn from end-users (print shop owners and managers). In fact we rarely do a full evaluation until we have been to the actual factory (of the ink, media, printer, or cutter). So we are on airplanes about 240,000 miles each year, since manufacturers wish to have us visit their factories and their demo rooms around the world.

But a trade show is an essential event, and we fully support the hard-working staff at expos such as SGIA.

We visited the booths of efi VUTEk, Dilli, DigiFab, GraphicsOne, KIP, Seiko, Splash of Color, YJ USA (ARIA for PE), and many others.

So many people arranged meetings with us that it was not realistic to inspect every product in all the other booths (even with four of us at the expo). But we did accomplish a lot and are now working on all our FLAAR Reports on SGIA.


Lots more at APPPEXPO 2013 in Shanghai

Updated Aug. 13, 2013. Posted July 10, 2013

APPPEXPO 2013 in Shanghai
was a major international event

Fascinating graphic designs with honeycomb board: entire booths made from this material.

Aluminum composite material, both for architecture and printing.

Eco-solvent, mild-solvent, and the last iteration of full-solvent printers, though also latex ink (more than just HP and more than just Mimaki).

Plus more than 30 brands of UV-cured printers, dozens of after-market ink companies such as Inkwin, Hongsam, Sam Ink, AT Inks and a dozen more and over a hundred brands of media and substrates.

Entire halls of CNC rounters, CO2 laser engravers, plus a whole series of hall after hall of traditional signage and more LED dynamic digital signage than every expo in USA, UK, and EU put together!

So much to see, so much to learn about, so we flew five of us from FLAAR Reports to take notes and bring information, tips, help, evaluations, and notes of issues and what a product still needs to add. Our goal is to assist print shop owners, distributors, and manufacturers around the world, to have a more realistic view of the actual-factual reality (so a different approach than scripted claims).

We look forward to providing our initial FLAAR Reports during late August on what's new and what's worth learning about in the world of printing and signage.

D-PES 2013, Guangzhou

Shanghai APPPEXPO 2013 (mid - July)

Updated Mar 5, 2013, first posted Feb 18, 2013

If you wish to learn about ALL the brands of UV-cured printers.

If you need to see 100% of the brands of textile printers and dye sub units made in China.

And especially if you want to get to know all the scores of brands of inks from China, Korea, and Taiwan: then consider attending APPPEXPO in beautiful Shanghai this July.

Plus, there are more exhibitors of wide-format media and substrates at the July Shanghai expo than at every other expo in China put together!

María Renée Ayau, FLAAR Reports, Technical Writer on Textile inks and DX Printers.
María Renée Ayau, FLAAR Reports, Technical Writer on Textile inks and DX Printers.

You can ask for consulting assistance during APPPEXPO in Shanghai so you can reserve a discussion time with Dr Nicholas in Shanghai by writing NOW, in advance, to FrontDesk "at"

In other words, you can have FLAAR assist in planning your presence at this giant printer and signage exhibit this July.

FESPA is healthy size and impressive diversity

First posted June 24, 2013.

Lots more textile printers than I expected; more than any two different VISCOM sign expos put together.

Lots of UV-cured printers, including about five brands from China. Scores of Chinese media manufacturers but not many Chinese ink companies. But plenty of ink companies from other countries.

Overall a great wide-format inkjet printer expo, and better-than-average for textile printers considering this is a signage expo.

FLAAR attended ShanghaiTEX in early June

Updated June 24, previously updated May 5; first posted April 12, 2013

Although this is not a textile printer expo per se (so not as large as ITMA Europe nor ITMA China, both of which we have attended), we found that ShanghaiTEX actually had more textile printers than ITMA Asia 2012 and more brands than even ITMA Barcelona 2011.

Two of us from FLAAR visited ShanghaiTEX 2013 (June 10-13) to inspect diverse textile inks of Hongsam (especially reactive dye and pigmented (for cotton)). It has more textile printers than ISA+SGIA+FESPA put together, and multiple times more textile printers than all VISCOM put together (since those are primarily for signage printers).

If you wish to Subscribe to the textile TRENDs report which Hellmuth and Ayau will research and publish, please contact FrontDesk "at"


Updated May 3, 2013. Originally posted March 5, 2013.

Two years ago Graphispag in Barcelona was multiple times larger than I expected. Actually Graphispag was significantly larger in 2011 than any wide-format printer expo in the identical city, in the identical expo center in 2012.

This year I did not anticipate it will be anywhere near as large as 2011, but it would be nice to be surprised. Unfortunately VISCOM Madrid has collapsed (and is unsure whether it will be held in 2013). If Graphispag is successful this is all the more documentation that some organizers bungle their dis-organization; and other expo organizers are simply better (Graphispag).

But sadly Graphispag 2013 was so much smaller than 2011 that I did not even fly over to beautiful Barcelona to visit. VISCOM Madrid now has decided to open its doors in 2013, but it is too small to see or learn enough to make the cost to attend worthwhile. We may attend VISCOM Duesseldorf.

Graphics of the Americas 2013, Feb. 21-23

Posted Jan 15, 2013

Graphics of Americas, Graficas de las Americas 2013 Orlando

I enjoyed attending GOA 2013 a few weeks ago (in Orlando).

Graphics of the Americas for 2014 will return to Miami (which is so much easier to reach with a direct, non-stop flight). Once GOA is back in Miami (in 2014) it will grow again.

UV-printers, Inks, Textile Printers & Substrates D-PES 2013

Updated March 5, 2013. Posted Feb 19, 2013

D-PES 2013, Guangzhou

China Sign (aka D-PES) was large, growing, and successful last week. Then the following week was the even larger competing expo, Sign China and the immense LED China (only the July expo in Shanghai is larger, the APPPEXPO).

After-market latex ink for all models of HP latex printers

Posted Oct 17, 2012

FLAAR does second inspection of a printshop switching from HP latex into to latex ink from Sam Ink. The printshop owner have lots and lots and lots of HP latex printers, and one by one are switching them to after-market latex ink.

The owners are content with the ink and all-smiles about the money they save. They can get much more business, especially during a recession, if their print costs are lower.

You can see this original quality ink at SGIA in the booth of Sam Ink with an HP latex ink printer.