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Seiko II announces it is transferring printer division to OKI Data

Posted June 15, 2015

Transferring your WIDE-format printer division to a nice, well-known, and capable SMALL-format company, and one that is not inkjet, is a challenge.

The other unanswered question (and also a previously unasked question) is what happens with Seiko printhead technology?

We discuss all this in a special FLAAR Report, TRENDs level, about solvent printers at FESPA 2015 in Cologne, since the memo from Seiko II came out a few days after this expo.

You can order a copy by asking FrontDesk "at" to invoice you for this report.

100% of all web sites merely repeat the same identical PR release by SII. Why does no one in the industry ask the pertinent questions? These we ask in our report on solvent printer brands. Plus we list crucial aspects of all this, to judge what is really going on, and what will happen to the nice ColorPainter series (out in the real world, where PR releases tend to vary from unrealistic to wishful thinking).

Seiko II and OKI Data are both respected companies. Thus this situation is rather unexpected.




Is it worth the cost to fly to Germany for FESPA 2015?

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.

  • Are all printer types (all ink types) exhibited: UV, solvent, true water-based, latex, textiles.
  • Are all printhead types exhibited: MEMS and normal printheads of all brands?
  • Are there lots and lots of after-market ink booths and many exhibitors of media and printable substrates?
  • What about laminators, coaters, cutters, RIP software, and color management systems?

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.




Lots and lots of UV-cured printers, ISA 2015

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 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.



ISA Sign Expo 2015


Tips, Assistance, Information on what technologies are innovative

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).

Consulting-end-users-all-printers-2015-FLAAR-Reports-Nicholas-Hellmuth PRINT

FLAAR offers consulting, in-person, at your company anywhere in the world.

Consulting-with-FLAAR-Reports-Dr-Nicholas-Hellmuth-expos-2015-2016-printers-inks-substrates-software-cutters-laminators-coaters PRINT

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).

2015 New-Technologies-in-Wide-Format-Printing TRENDs predicted-horizontal-1

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.



Giant printer, ink, textile & signage expo in mid-March (2015)

Updated Feb. 24, 2015. Previously updated Feb. 19, Feb. 3, Jan. 28, 2015. First posted Jan. 22, 2015

Istanbul City as a Destination for Sign Istanbul 2014

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.



The first international signage & printer expo for 2015, SGI

Updated Jan. 22, 2015. Previously updated Jan. 9, 2015, Jan 2, 2015 and Dec 22, 2014; First posted Dec 12, 2014

SGI-Dubai-2015-LogoMany 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

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,




Reviews of thick and rigid printable
materials will be focus for 2015

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 printer & signage expo in USA: GoA 2015 in Miami

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"

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.



Worth Attending, indeed SIX of us at FLAAR were there

Updated January 22, 2015. Previously updated Dec 22, 2014 and May 27, 2014; first posted April, 2014

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).

Istanbul City as a Destination for Sign Istanbul 2014

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:

Below are the FLAAR Reports for APPPEXPO from a recent year; these can serve as a "what to expect" for APPPEXPO 2015.


Glasstec 2014 was this past October

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.



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