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Sign Istanbul 2017 is worth attending

Posted Sept. 25, 2017


Many reasons for attending Sign Istanbul 2017: lots of printers of all sizes, shapes, and kinds of inks. Many booths of printable materials; after-market inks, laminators, cutters, and other aspects of signage workflow. Plus there are more 3D printers (3D rapid prototypers) at Sign Istanbul then at all printer-signage expos we attended in USA and EU the last two years.

Last year FLAAR assistant Senaida Ba attended Photokina, Tecnargila (ceramic printers), and Sign Istanbul 2016. She commented that she preferred Turkey because the people in the booths at Sign Istanbul were so hospitable. Even when we were in the aisles, the booth managers came out to invite us into their booths to look at their products. She really enjoyed the experience meeting all the pleasant people at this expo.

This year UV-curing printer evaluator Jose Melgar will attend Sign Istanbul with Dr Nicholas. Jose Melgar has many years experience evaluating UV-curing printers, indeed last week he was flown to EFI Matan factory demo room to test their impressive printers.


I must admit that what I also really like about Turkey are the historical sites, and the museums and historical architecture in Istanbul. I have to focus 100% on the printers, inks, media, cutters, laminators, 3D printers at the expo, but in past years I enjoyed traveling around the country and visiting key places within Istanbul.

We hope to see you at Sign Istanbul, 4-8 Oct, 2017, Tüyap Expo Center outside Istanbul.


Testing Print Quality and Color Quality of the Mutoh VJ-1638UH UV-curing wide-format inkjet printer

Posted August 11, 2017



This video shows the arrival of a 4x8’ test print from the Mutoh VJ-1638UH UV-curing wide-format inkjet printer. The test prints have a nice variety of colors.

The package is unwrapped by a 3-year old who is helping us learn what kids like as teaching tools. Shaila learned the alphabet while still two years and six months old, with Dr Nicholas testing a wide variety of teaching methods. The nice thing about these large-format letters, is that with them we can do videos that will allow us to help thousands of pre-school children.

We have a team developing books, animated videos, and other means to help students learn ABCs. One of the many ways we help children learn is with page-size enlargements of the letters. We take these to schools so the students can do the ABC song-and-dance holding these letters.

Reds were great (reds are awful on print samples of many brands at most trade shows). Yellow was true yellow (not green-yellow “UV-cured flavor”). All the colors were fine.

The USA office of the Japanese printer manufacturer Mutoh is doing test prints with their Mutoh VJ-1638UH UV-curing wide-format inkjet printer, using US11 flexible ink.

These ABC to Z, and numbers, are printed by Mutoh on rigid substrates courtesy of PALRAM. We needed a material that would not immediately break or fall apart when the school children play with them.

We thank Ken Parsley, Mutoh America Inc for printing and cutting these samples. We appreciate the donation of rigid material by PALRAM. They had a nice booth at ISA. I estimate they will also be at SGIA. You can find PALRAM printable materials at other expos around the world. Brenda Hogan is Director of Marketing, Palram Americas.

It was nice to see the Mutoh booth at ISA 2017: they had the brand and model information directly on top of the printer. If you put the banner alongside, you don’t know whether it is for the printer to the right or to the left of the banner stand. So it definitely helps to have the identification physically on top of the printer.

We hope to see Mutoh America and Palram Americas at SGIA this autumn.


Last set up day review at APPPEXPO 2017

Posted March 7, 2017

flaar-reports-at-APPPEXPO-2017-shanghai-china 2

Hall 1: CO2 laser cutters, CNC routers: an entire hall (in other words, more than at any other expo in the world (probably 100X more than at DRUPA).

Hall 2: the Chinese Hall had more flatbed cutters; several booths FILLED with different sizes and shapes of laminators; and endless booths of wide-format and desktop-sized UV printers, solvent printers, and textile printers. Many brands are new: companies which did not exhibit in previous years.

Hall 3: the International Hall: AGFA, dilli, Durst, efi VUTEk, Epson, Mimaki, Roland , and Mutoh. Lots of Chinese brands of large-format printers: JHF, Gongzheng, Handtop, Teckwin, and lots of other brands. Several brands I have never noticed before: Yameike, Yotta and more. Lots of flatbed cutters: iECHO, JWEI and more. Ink companies: Jetbest, Sam Ink, Sun Chemical (SunJet DIC), and many more. Many booths of printable materials: HEYtex, a.berger and dozens of Chinese brands.

Hall 4: has miles of booths of inks and printable substrates.

Hall 5 and Hall 6: signage, everything from LCD, LED to traditional signage. North Hall (at north entrance). This is now a full hall. Last year was mostly textile printers but now has everything: as filled with printers as Hall 2 and 3. What is new? This is the question we are asked the most often. Once the expo opens tomorrow, we will be visiting an ink booth which may have a remarkable new ink.


Lots of innovative aspects of large-format inkjet printing for 2017

Posted January 3, 2017

The team at FLAAR Reports will be evaluating, reviewing, and writing reports on six special topics during 2017.

To learn which aspects of inkjet printing we will be studying during 2017, see the entire list and description via this link:


First major signage & printer expo of 2017
SGI, Sign Middle East, Dubai, UAE

Posted January 3, 2017

Dr Nicholas Hellmuth and video photographer Erick Flores, both of FLAAR Reports, will fly to Dubai to document this significant annual printer and signage trade show.

Dr Nicholas and Erick will also visit Dubai Garden Glow, a remarkable visual experience (which is within walking distance of the SGI expo). Dubai is worth bringing your entire family and definitely your business colleagues in wide-format inkjet and signage.

SGI 2017 is capably organized by IEF, Falak Holdings. can provide more information, plus you can look at FLAAR Reports from recent years.


Examples of what we experienced at SGI Dubai in the recent four years.

FLAAR is one of the few international consultants who literally cover “the WORLD of wide-format inkjet", literally around the world.

FLAAR Reports will attend ISA 2017

Posted November 18, 2016

FLAAR staff booth ISA-2016

We have been attending trade shows around the world from many years now; ISA is one of the shows we go to every year. ISA has a great mixture of lectures, educational sessions, and a variety of products on the floor. So if you are a sign shop owner, distributor or manufacturer, this is where you can get the most out of a trade show.

For 2017, ISA will be held the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. The expo is April 20, 21, and 22; April 19th is for educational and networking events.

In 2017, ISA will be partnering with CPP Expo (Collaboration in Production Packaging); which covers inkjet, digital, flexo, hybrid and wide-format applications.

FLAAR Reports will be exhibiting, so be sure to drop by our booth #605, we hope to see you at the show and follow FLAAR Reports with the hash tag #FLAARatISA2017 and join us as we develop news about the large format printer industry.


FLAAR at Sign Istanbul 2016

Posted September 6, 2016. Updated September 26, 2017.

FLAAR has attended Sign Istanbul every single year for every year this decade.

We go for many reasons: first, because this is the premier signage and wide-format inkjet printer event in the junction of Europe and Asia. Second: we know most of the major distributors in Turkey and have many friends in the inkjet printer, ink, media, cutter, and laminator industries in Turkey.


There is a waiting list of FLAAR Reports review editors who all want to visit Turkey and help Dr Nicholas at Sign Istanbul. So each year we bring two of us: Dr Nicholas and an assistant Review Editor (since there are so many printers, inks, media, cutters, etc to study).


FESPA Africa, Africa Print, Sign Africa and Africa LED

Posted Aug 26, 2016

FESPA Africa 2016 FLAAR-reports 2

September 7, 8, and 9, Johannesburg,

Dr Nicholas will be lecturing and/or on the panel for co-located events two days, and will be at the co-located trade shows all three days.

We look forward to seeing you in Johannesburg.


What can you learn by attending Tecnargilla 2016 (ceramic tile expo)?

Posted Aug. 26, 2016

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UV printer brand PR releases claim their printers can print on ceramic tiles. WOW, so you print on ceramic tiles and find later that all the ink falls off.

Printing on ceramic tiles is dubious with UV-ink unless you have the chemicals for coating and the knowledge and equipment to heat-set after printing. Since ceramic tiles are a major product for decorating architecture, it is a good investment to attend Tecnargilla ceramic tile expo every two years.

You can hire Dr Nicholas to walk-the-floor together with you, or, if you can’t get to Italy that week, you can order the FLAAR Reports which use 2014 to prepare for 2016, plus the FLAAR Reports on the 2016 expo when it is finished.

Consulting with Dr Nicholas is also available at Glasstec, one week before Tecnargilla.


Be skeptical of printing on glass and ceramic tiles with a signage printer

Posted August 8, 2016

To-learn-how-to-print-on-glass-consider-attending-Glasstec 2

Over and over again manufacturers of UV-cured printers claim that their printers can print on GLASS and CERAMIC TILES.

Yes, you can even print on water (as the Russian printer booth team does every year). But… will the ink adhere to the glass or ceramic tiles?

If UV-cured printers can so easily handle glass and ceramic tiles, why are there entire international glass printer trade shows and ceramic printer trade shows where between 80% and 90% of the featured printers are not using UV-cured ink?

Glasstec, 20-23 September, Duesseldorf, Germany. Dr Nicholas will be here first 3 days.

You can meet Dr Hellmuth in-person at Glasstec and learn about printing on glass, both decorative glass and architectural glass. His family background is in architecture as is no surprise if you know HOK Architects (Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum), so decorating glass and ceramic tiles are an interest of his.



Consulting should be reserved and covered in advance ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Once you are signed up we will send you the FLAAR Reports in preparation.

If you wish to start with just the FLAAR Reports, you can purchase them, and then if later you also wish consulting, the purchase price of the reports can be a credit towards the consulting fee.

Tecnargilla, 26-30 September, Rimini, Italy. Dr Nicholas will be here first 3 days.

You can meet Dr Nicholas in-person at Tecnargilla. He attends this ceramic printer expo consistently, so has six years experience here.

If you wish to start with just the FLAAR Reports, you can purchase them, and then if later you also wish consulting, the purchase price of the reports can be a credit towards the consulting fee.

List of Inkjet Printers at Tecnargilla 2014

Tips on Tecnargilla Expo Venue

Tecnargilla-Inkjet-Printers-2014-as-preparation-for-2016-FLAAR-Reports Tecnargilla-Expo-Venue-2014-as-preparation-for-2016-FLAAR-Reports
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