Posted May 12, 2015
Many print shop owners, managers, and printer operators plus distributors and manufacturers have told us they decide which trade show to visit based on which expos are recommended by FLAAR Reports. This decision is made because people in the world of printers and signage do not want to waste airplane costs, hotel expenses, restaurant meals, and many days time unless an expo is worth attending.
So the reason is straightforward: why spend the money (and take the time away from your business (and your family)) if an expo is not worthwhile?
After over 15 years of attending printer, signage, fine art giclee, glass, ceramic and 3D expos around the world, we have learned several keys to making decisions of which are worth attending a second time.
For these reasons we will fly three of us to attend FESPA in Cologne. We also attend FESPA Africa and at least every several years attend FESPA Mexico.
We also attend SGI (Sign Middle East), GOA, ISA, and SGIA in the USA, and we fly six of us to attend APPPEXPO in Shanghai since this is now the largest printer expo in the world. We have attended Sign Istanbul in past years and will decide this summer whether to attend this autumn.
Updated April 8, 2015
Posted April 6, 2015
Aisles were filled with giant containers and you can't easily see all printers. But what we did see shows that ISA is definitely THE place in North America to experience UV-cured printers.
We mention all the textile printers here on our www.wide-format-printers.org site, as that site is for water-based printers.
In the realm of UV-cured printers, PrinterEvolution has a brand new model as a prototype. This monumental printer is for the real estate sign market, and comparable One-Off signage jobs: fast, fast, fast (one pass technology, Spectra printheads).
EFI VUTEk has impressive booth. Lots of Chinese brands of UV-cured printers as well, plus from Korea. So ISA is turning out to be very large, very impressive this year.
Posted February 20, 2015
And equally important, which inks and which printers failed over the last three years (in other words, be wary of PR claims about inks and printers which were a great idea, but did not function out in the real world).
FLAAR offers consulting, in-person, at your company anywhere in the world.
And/or, you can meet with Dr Nicholas in-person at GOA in Miami, D-PES in Guangzhou, APPPEXPO in Shanghai, ISA 2015, FESPA 2015 in Cologne (plus communicate by telephone and/or Skype).
If you sign up for consulting (at an expo, or by phone or at your headquarters) we will send at no cost the recent FLAAR Report by Dr Nicholas on what innovations can really be expected for 2015.
Updated Feb. 24, 2015. Previously updated Feb. 19, Feb. 3, Jan. 28, 2015. First posted Jan. 22, 2015
March was a significant month in the world of international signage & printer expos. Here are three of the previews for APPPEXPO 2015 in English, Spanish and most recently Russian versions, which has over 400% more wide-format inkjet printer brands than even Drupa (which will not be until 2016 anyway).
Expos which were popular for offset printers ten years ago are downsizing and often splattering their (lack of) focus. APPPEXPO more successful because it is nicely focused (on printers, inks, media, cutters, laminators, other workflow products plus LED and dynamic digital signage).
APPPEXPO used to be in July every year; for 2015 it was in mid-March (11-14). And, in a new location within the impressive city of Shanghai.
China is a remarkable experience for people of all ages and backgrounds. So it is worth coming to APPPEXPO for many reasons. Six of the FLAAR team were there.
Updated Jan. 22, 2015. Previously updated Jan. 9, 2015, Jan 2, 2015 and Dec 22, 2014; First posted Dec 12, 2014
Many people like to know what is going to happen in the wide-format printer and signage industry in the new year, 2015. So the best investment is to attend the first international trade show for wide-format inkjet printers and signage. Each year, the first expo of international stature is in Dubai, UAE.
SGI is the official name but it is also widely known as Sign Middle East. This trade show is organized by IEC. You can learn more by looking at www.signmiddleeast.com.
For 2015 there was a Signage Middle East Awards ceremony for best signage results of the area. Dr Nicholas Hellmuth was one of the international judges. Then there was a new lecture program which started Jan. 11, the first day the expo opens. FLAAR was on the Discussion Panel.
The expo was 11-13 January (organized by IEC); the lectures were re-scheduled for 11 and 12 January (organized by Enthalogy, www.enthralogy.me).
Posted Jan. 2, 2015
Inks, media, and inkjet-printable substrates will be reviewed during January. We will be issuing lots of new FLAAR Reports to review and evaluate what interesting materials you can use to print on your UV-cured flatbed.
Honeycomb sandwich board and aluminum composite materials (ACM or ACP, Aluminum Composite Materials) will be covered.
Then reports on diverse kinds of foam core, foam board, even foam covered with innovative materials.
So please return every two weeks to see the new web pages on printable media plus the full-color PDF editions of reviews of new and different kinds of material for your digital printing.
First posted Dec. 22, 2014
We have noticed that many print shop owners, managers, and distributors and manufacturers keep an eye on which expos FLAAR attends. So to help planning we are announcing already now in December, what expos we will attend in 2015.
Graphics of the Americas is an expo we have attended 8 years out of the last 10 years. Plus Dr Nicholas Hellmuth gives lectures on the world of wide-format inkjet each year now for several years.
Two of us from FLAAR will fly up to GOA 2015 in the popular South Beach area of Miami Beach, Florida.
If you are from Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, South America, or across the USA and Canada we hope to see you here, 26-28 February.
You can ask for a consulting session with Dr Nicholas by writing for availability and fee schedule at FrontDesk "at" FLAAR.org.
Of course you can also attend the lectures (in Spanish, and other topics in English) and there is no consulting fee. But many people also like to receive a full Subscription to TRENDs level FLAAR Reports, which is included if you sign up for a consulting session.
You can also fly Dr Nicholas to your company headquarters so that your entire team can ask their questions.
Every year we send our team of evaluators to the major trade shows around the world. After 15 years experience attending printer and signage trade shows, we know which expos are worth the effort (and which expos are no longer worth visiting: we really enjoyed VISCOM Madrid, but stopped going already six years ago).
I went to VISCOM Milano every single year: but stopped going in 2012 (because most Italian colleagues said it was no longer worth attending (FESPA in Europe had a wider range of products, so we will attend FESPA 2015 in Cologne)).
Many colleagues in Brazil said due to new ownership (same owners as IPEX in the UK) and new location, that the once-immense Serigrafia, Sign, Future Textil (sic) was no longer worth flying so far and incurring all the costs of airfare, hotel, and meals. We really hope these expos can recuperate and return to growth, but until they improve we do not attend.
APPPEXPO in Shanghai we have attended for about seven years. First I went by myself. It was so large that next year I returned with an assistant. Every year I added more staff since the expo kept growing (now we send at least six of us to APPPPEXPO 2015.
Realize that for 2015 this massive printer and signage expo is now in March (and in a different expo center in Shanghai).
Shanghai is a remarkable city (and definitely less crime than Atlanta expo area in USA!).
People in China are friendly and the staff in the booths speak better English than in any expo in two other countries (to be polite I will not name the other countries, but in both there was no interest in speaking English or even Spanish or German or any other major international language).
So Shanghai is a great place to visit. We hope to see you here this March (2015). To get an attendee pass, sign up and register here: www.apppexpo.com/2/EN/Visitor
Below are the FLAAR Reports for APPPEXPO from a recent year; these can serve as a "what to expect" for APPPEXPO 2015.
Posted Oct 16, 2014
Glasstec is for glass the way ITMA is to textiles the way Tecnargilla is for ceramics: Glasstec 2010 and Glasstec 2012 were very impressive, especially the depth of diverse kinds of inks used to print on glass. Plus, what is especially important, are the chemicals needed before printing and after printing.
So Dr Nicholas Hellmuth, Senior Review Editor of FLAAR, attended Glasstec 2014 in Duesseldorf. With a Germanic name such as Hellmuth, he will be at home, since German is his third language, after English and Spanish. Since FLAAR is read around the world most of our editors are multi-lingual.
Unfortunately Glasstec was the same week as SGIA in Las Vegas, but we still felt that it was essential to attend Glasstec 2014 since the American glass expo, GlassBuild America is nowhere near as thorough in its coverage.
Another reason for attending Glasstec is that the Hellmuth family is an architectural dynasty for three generations: grandfather, great-uncle; then Nicholas's father formed Hellmuth, Yamasaki + Leinweber, then formed HOK (Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum), one of the three largest architectural firms in the world. So we at FLAAR study all printers and inks for printing on architectural materials: glass, ceramic tiles (Tecnargilla expo several weeks ago in Rimini), and printing textiles for interior decoration (ITMA and also ShanghaiTex). Plus we write about wallpaper and wallcoverings (inks, substrates, printers, and lamination or coatings).
Glass is easy to print on, but most ink fails to adhere adequately. So we study printers for glass in all aspects. Hence it is essential to attend Glasstec 2014 in the pleasant city of Duesseldorf, Germany.
Posted Oct 15, 2014
Unfortunately SGIA was on the same days as Glasstec in Duesseldorf. But four of us attended SGIA since SGIA is a stable expo. Indeed SGIA is one of the few wide-format and signage expos in the world which is really healthy.
FESPA 2015 in Cologne, SGI 2015 (Sign Middle East), Sign Istanbul 2015 all are doing well also. APPPEXPO 2015 in Shanghai is doing amazingly well (over 90 brands of UV printers; over 205 models of UV-cured printers).
We recommend SGIA because it is holding its own in a world of printer expos which are collapsing (VISCOM Madrid) or which fell by close to half (ITMA 2014, VISCOM Milano over the last three years). Graph Expo 2014 was waaaayy down (but still great to attend for copiers and digital replacements for offset, plus great for commercial printers and all the workflow equipment).
We enjoyed SGIA in Las Vegas: inks, media & substrates, textile printers and inks, T-shirt printers, inks and toner, cutters, RIP software, and hopefully color management and MIS software were the main topics of importance in the world of inkjet, signage, and textile printing.
Posted Oct 6, 2014
Two of us from FLAAR Reports attended Tecnargilla ceramic expo four days. We have a list of every inkjet printer: in-line single pass and also flatbed printers (not single pass, and not in-line).
Ceramic expos can be found in several countries, so why does FLAAR Reports attend the one in Rimini and not in Valencia, Spain?
And what about printing on glass?
The Hellmuth family background is in architecture, around the world. Two of Dr Nicholas's brothers are architects as is his cousin, father, grandfather and great uncle.
So we cover all aspects of printers for architecture (glass and ceramic tiles especially) and for interior decoration (printing on textiles).
Posted Oct 6, 2014
We at FLAAR recommend attending Graph Expo in Chicago if you are interested in the five top brands of wide-format printers, or if you want to see office printers and mailing systems. But APPPEXPO in Shanghai had 90 brands of UV-cured printers alone (not counting the scores and scores of eco-solvent printer brands and lots of textile printer brands).
Plus, sadly, the wide-format pavilion of Graph Expo was too empty: too much PR made you expect a BIG fancy area. Instead it was just aisles of double width, empty unoccupied booth areas, other booths which were given free just to try to fill space, and lots of tables and chairs to cover over the fact that not many brands wanted to exhibit here.
The expo itself is fine, just that the PR releases are exaggerated, so you come to see what is claimed is available: and instead you see empty areas; empty floor space, in every part of the hall (since Heidelberg pulled out and not even Agfa is here any more).
But HP is here; Canon and Xerox had large and popular booths. EFI had a big and popular booth and had excellent coverage every day in the "Show Daily" newspaper.
So if only the PR releases could be totally toned down, and if claims of BIG wide-format pavilion could be muted, then everyone can enjoy what is still present (and not be looking for everything which was claimed but was embarrassingly missing).
Chicago is a great place to visit; and Graph Expo still has lots of brands for office printing, commercial printing, and mailing of what is printed. Just that for wide-format inkjet, it is safer not to claim too much, since APPPEXPO in Shanghai had 171 booths of media and printable substrates. I did not notice more than three or four booths of media at Graph Expo, and mostly just for office printers.
If you attend only Graph Expo you can be content; but if you travel all year to expos everywhere, your vision is a tad better rounded. Even Sign Istanbul had more wide-format everything than Graph Expo (two of us from FLAAR attend Sign Istanbul every year). Then we flew to Photokina: smaller every year but still big enough to attract massive crowds; this is the busiest expo I have visited in the entire world all year (even though it is smaller each time). We want all expos to be successful, but if no one admits to reality, and if PR releases make claims which show they are not familiar with the wide-format printer industry, misleading expectations arise.
I hope that Graph Expo can co-locate with another expo (more than just a tiny packaging aisle) so that Graph Expo can continue. Six years ago even FLAAR had a booth, and the wide-format pavilion had inks, media, printers and everything.
IPEX is one good lesson. VISCOM Spain is another (Sign Madrid; they never could brand themselves understandably). Their web sites do not even explain why they don't exist any more: yet for years their PR releases claimed each VISCOM was so great, so big, so filled, so many attendees! (fortunately VISCOM Paris was actually well attended this year, so there is still hope…but only if organizers wake up and don't hide under excessive PR claims).
Updated Sept. 10, 2014
Posted August 20, 2014
There are many reasons to attended Sign Istanbul, first, it is the longest-running sign and printer expo for wide-format inkjet printing in this part of the world.
Second: Istanbul is a great place to visit, so you can bring your entire family or at least a travel partner.
FLAAR attends Sign Istanbul every year. There are lots of ink companies, media (especially rigid ACM (also called ACP), printers, cutters: and all the rest of the workflow.
The web site is www.SignIstanbul.com; click on UK flag to get English.
Two of us from FLAAR attended the show, and arrived two days early, we spent lots of time during these two set-up days checking everyone's booth.
Posted July 14, 2014
Two people of our FLAAR staff flew to experience the second year event of Panamá Expo Gráfica, in Centro de Convenciones Atlapa.
There are two large hotels across the street from the expo center: Sheraton and Aloft Panama Hotel, so the expo center was very convenient to hotels (also, hotel prices do not gouge you as at most expos in some other countries).
Dr. Nicholas was a guest speaker at the opening ceremony to inaugurate this year's event.
He presented two different lectures during that week. This was arranged by Arq. Brenda Morales (Nicholas's Hellmuth family background is architecture; so we also study printing on architectural materials). This expo was a generic printing and graphic arts expo.
In one week Dr Hellmuth will be hosted to present lectures in the Middle East.
Updated June 6, 2014
Previously updated December 2013, 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 flew to Sign Istanbul in late November again last year (2013). We appreciate the expo organizers for providing the tickets and hotel so that we could study this expo.
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.
Most expos have entertainting PR releases, promising everything and claiming the world's best. This kind of constant blast of PR releases vary from embarrassing to misleading.
We do not make any profit from any expo; yes, of course expos select our team to inspect their expo, but they cover only round trip airfare, hotel, and meals. And most important, we say what we feel is appropriate about an expo; never do we accept the PR releases of the expo organizer (not even of expos for which we are consultant).
If you wish to see the most diverse range of products in Turkey, in the signage and wide-format world, with brands from many areas of the world, be sure to come to beautiful friendly Istanbul for Sign Istanbul 2014, at new dates in early autumn.
Our free report is now available; just click on the front cover and it will download.
The web site is www.signistanbul.com
Posted April 2, 2014
The Printing & Publishing Group (Dubai) has invited Dr Nicholas Hellmuth (FLAAR Reports) to present the Keynote speech for their seminar on Beyond Conventional Printing.
April 9 (Wednesday morning), 2014, Le Meridien (Wasl Ballroom) Airport Road.
Updated January 6, 2014. Originally posted Dec.4, 2013
SGI Dubai (Sign Middle East Dubai) opened Jan 7th and will run through January 9th. 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, plus Ryan Crist, who has worked with FLAAR on international projects in the past.
In previous years we tried to cover this expo with just one person, but since SGI Dubai is the first major printer expo of the year, we really need three people.
Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East 2014 is the largest printer trade show in this part of the world. SGI Middle East really covers the entire Middle East (in part because Dubai is such a popular travel destination for shopping).
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 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).
SGI, Sign Middle East, Dubai, is capably organized by International Expo Consults, associated with Falak Holding.
Their web site is www.SignMiddleEast.com
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