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20th APPPEXPO in Shanghai

Posted July 09, 2012. Updated July 13, 2012

Four from FLAAR Reports took notes on everything related to wide-format printers, inks, media and substrates, and flatbed cutters.

This is the largest wide-format inkjet printer expo in the world (has so many more printer brands than drupa 2012 there is no comparison).

This is also the largest traditional signage expo in the world (LED and LCD electronic signage). Due to the huge size (14 halls), we will focus on wide-format inkjet workflow.

Especially we are studying all the textile printers, UV-cured printers, DX5, DX6, DX7 printheaded machines, aluminum composite materials, honeycomb sandwich board materials, and lots more.

The free downloadable report is a brief introduction; the full reports will come as we digest the data and photographs taken by all four of us.


FLAAR team attended ITMA Asia in Shanghai in June

Posted May 28, 2012

Nicholas and an assistant have produced a full report on ITMA Asia textile expo in Shanghai in June.


Beijing Sign Show (March 10-13, 2012)

Updated March 12, 2012. First posted March 7, 2012

Nicholas Hellmuth as a VIP guest in BSS Beijing opening ceremony

The first day the organizers asked FLAAR to be on the stage to help cut-the-ribbon at the opening ceremony.

The second day, March 11, Dr Hellmuth was the moderator at a conference on wide-format inkjet printheads. There were knowledgeable speakers from Konica Minolta, Seiko, Xaar and Fujifilm Dimatix (Spectra).

JHF printer displayed at BSS Beijing expo, 2012 tradeshows images

Third day three of us from FLAAR Reports took about 520 photographs: every booth, probably 90% of every printer of all ink types.

Largest booth (actually three adjacent booths) was of JHF (JHF Vista and Leopard), which is a substantial factory in the greater Beijing area. Another booth at the main China Convention Center (adjacent to the Olympic park) was of Kincolor (Saven ink), another Beijing-located company.

The initial publication should be ready in a week; the in-depth analysis of the TRENDs we observed will take a month to process. Frankly I never expected to find the surprises, and learn about things not one single other source has talked about before.

Amazing what is going on discretely behind the scenes. Actually most of what we learn is provided via in-person presentations of Dr Hellmuth directly to individuals who have requested this service. We do not put this level of knowledge into a PDF: we deliver and discuss this in-person in private meetings.


An informative Peek at the drupa 2012 exhibitor list

Updated May 28, 2012. Posted May 1, 2012

From individual manufacturers (exhibitor list of drupa 2012) we can provide the first hints on what is available.

NEW Printers in drupa 2012 exhibitor list
  • efiVUTEk HS100, a remarkable and monumental printer, featuring TWO totally different curing systems: LED and mercury arc, yet coordinated cleverly.
  • efi VUTEk GS3250LX, combo belt, LED-curing
  • efi VUTEk QS2 Pro, combo belt (conveyor belt)
  • Gandy Digital, Domin8tor, dedicated flatbed
  • JETRIX 1212FK, a clever company model. We will evaluate this as soon as possible.
  • Mimaki JFX500 2131, UV-LED
  • Sun Innovations NEO UV-LED TurboSpeed

Once the drupa exhibitor list can be inspected in-person, we will list the other new printers.

ISA 2012 report flip styleRequires latest version of Adobe Flash player.
ISA 2012 report flip style Requires latest version of Adobe Flash player.
ISA 2012 report flip style Requires latest version of Adobe Flash player.
Meet Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth at Sign Africa, SGIA Las Vegas, VISCOM Italy, Reklama Moscow, Ceramic Printing Expo Italy, Glass Printing Expo Germany, KoSign Korea, Sign Istanbul

We will be updating our drupa reports every several days.


FLAAR Reports team at Chinese ceramics expo

Posted May 28, 2012

Dr Nicholas and graphic designer Alejandra were in Guangzhou to inspect the in-line ceramics printers of almost a dozen manufacturers at the Ceramics China 2012 expo.

Inside view of Hall 1, Ceramics China 2012 at Guangzhou. FLAAR images.Inside view of Hall 1, Ceramics China 2012 at Guangzhou.

Download Now

In Guangzhou so many printer company personnel and managers were hospitable to the FLAAR team (Hellmuth and photographer/graphic designer Alejandra). It is appreciated when the staff take and make the time to answer our questions: efi Cretaprint, Teckwin, King Tau (Crystal), Gongzheng were the most notable.

Several booths had zero speakers of English or European language (I can also speak Deutsch and Espanol). So for several brands we simply skip them (and concentrate on the many printer companies that facilitate our helping our million+ readers to learn about options for printing on ceramics). So in booths where the personnel speak English, such as Longier (and all the brands first mentioned) it makes a huge difference when there is easy communication (though I am trying hard to learn Mandarin).

Teckwin booth at Ceramics China expo, Guangzhou 2012Teckwin booth at Ceramics China expo, Guangzhou 2012

The other aspect which helps is when access is facilitated so we can visit end-users who actually have the printer at work out in the real world. So this week it was possible to document that the Teckwin in-line ceramics printer is doing a great job in a ceramics factory at Foshan (world center of ceramic production other than Spain and Italy).

Ceramics China 2012, Single-Pass (fixed array) in-line Inkjet Printers for CeramicsRequires latest version of Adobe Flash player.

Also have been taking notes on many manufacturers of ceramic frit ink (since most of these printers are NOT using UV-cured ink (which does not last long enough in the sun). Return every two days for more updates.


ISA 2012 sign expo includes innovative services from FLAAR Reports

Most recently updated Mar. 22, 2012. First posted March 14, 2012

ISA expo 2012 tradeshow logo

Last year Dr Hellmuth was on a key sub-committee for ISA. This year FLAAR Reports will be providing additional services for ISA sign expo. In fact during 2012 you will notice how many printer expos around the world are receiving assistance from Nicholas and his team (two large expos from China, in Beijing and in Guangzhou), plus Graphics of the Americas, Sign Africa, and Sign Middle East (SGI Dubai).

As a research and educational institute our interest is to assist end-users to learn the most practical way to obtain realistic and factual information about printers, flatbed cutters, inks, media and substrates, and software (RIP, workflow software, and color management), laminators and coaters (notice that we cover the entire workflow).

ISA 2012 report flip style Requires latest version of Adobe Flash player.

Now that ISA sign expo opens in Orlando, we are releasing the first edition of our cooperative project with ISA: the FAQs and floor plan guide. We will update this guide tomorrow, so please download the current version today, and this can get you started.

The floor plan we first began at Sign Middle East 2011. We then did it for ISA and had a version conceived for FESPA 2011 also. Since ISA asked for a dedicated version we copyrighted their version jointly.

Download Now

It would be a courtesy if other trade shows wish to add this concept that they cite our original version and it would be appropriate to have it a joint project (rather than merely have other expos simply copy the colored coded map idea, since we had this clearly at three expos already in 2011).

ISA opened with a healthy attendance today and we look forward to two more days.


FESPA 2012 Barcelona

First posted Feb. 23, 2011

Many people asked me how I liked FESPA 2012, and how I compared it with last year.

Although FESPA was listed as "one hall" the hall was so long that frankly I would consider it two halls. The expo certainly appears larger than any printer show in the US (and larger than any two VISCOM expos together).

Exterior view of Fira Barcelona, FESPA 2012

Yes, Durst and several other manufacturers were not present, but life-went-on just fine because so many manufacturers were indeed present. Yes, perhaps there were more square meters last year, but frankly there were so many exhibitors at FESPA 2012 that I could have stayed longer and still not had time to visit and speak with all the booths I wanted to visit.

Four of us from FLAAR are in Barcelona (along with thousands of people in the several hundred exhibits, and more thousands of visitors from around the world).

Requires latest version of Adobe Flash player.FESPA 2012 report flip style

Scores of people who attended the two giant Chinese print expos earlier this week had, like me, also flown from Guangzhou to Barcelona.

We are preparing about six reports: on inks, substrates, UV-cured printers, textile printers, flatbed cutters, etc. These can be ordered by subscription or individually from (the specific individual titles will be listed there as they are finished during March).



New FLAAR Report highlights what was visible at Sign China (Guangzhou) 2012

First posted March 9, 2012

FLAAR Reports team of four researchers were at the Guangzhou expo for several days taking notes and interviewing printer, ink, media, and flatbed cutter manufacturers. Sign China expo is a huge signage trade show in Guangzhou.

Sign China was directly across the street from the large and growing D-PES (also known ironically as China Sign). Sign China has about 15% of the printer manufacturers (D-PES has 85%). Sign China has about 50% of the ink manufacturers (D-PES has the other 50%). Sign China and D-PES each have huge number of CNC router and CO2 laser engraver manufacturers.

Last year Sign China had 80% of the media (and last year D-PES had 20% of the media manufacturers). This year D-PES had 75% of the media manufacturers and Sign China was down to perhaps 25%.

Together they have about 100% of the pertinent manufacturers and hence are serious competition to the once larger Shanghai APPPEXPO expo in July.

Requires latest version of Adobe Flash player.Sign China 2012 report flip style

Since FLAAR is also attending the Beijing sign show if you are a distributor, printshop owner, or manufacturer, you can hire FLAAR Reports as a consultant to assist you get to know the world of Chinese manufacturers and distributors: inks, media, printers, cutters, laminators.

You will receive experienced guidance, since Dr Hellmuth is moderator at the Beijing lecture program and VIP guest at the opening ceremony; Dr Nicholas was also VIP guest at D-PES and helped cut the ribbon at the opening morning ceremony.


Preparing for the huge Chinese trade shows in early 2012

Most recently updated Feb. 22, 2012. Previously updated Feb. 21, Feb. 7 and Feb 13, 2012, first posted Nov. 30, 2011

First Chinese printer expo of the year is MUCH larger than last year

DOWNLOAD, D-PES 2012 China Sign UV-Cured

Requires latest version of Flash player.D-PES 2012 report flip style

D-PES China Sign Expo 2012 has been a huge success. Four of us from FLAAR Reports were there already the day before it opened officially. The FLAAR Reports introduction to this first Chinese expo is already available (the day before; not bad performance)


Our first impression was that the D-PES this year is noticeably larger: many more printer manufacturers, more media and substrate manufacturers. And as with past years, an entire hall full of cutters (primarily CO2 laser cutters or engravers, but also CNC routers).

Nicholas Hellmuth at D-PES 2012 opening ceremony in Guanzhou, China

On opening day, Dr Hellmuth was a VIP guest of honor at the opening ceremony for D-PES, and then once the expo is opened we will have a better view of everything.

Now the competing Guangzhou expo opens across the street: so for several overlapping days you have one of the largest printer expos in the world (only Shanghai and DRUPA are larger).

Download Now

To give you an idea of size; D-PES is about 200% larger than this year's FESPA Digital Barcelona.

So, if you did not get to D-PES this February, you might want to obtain all the information from nine FLAAR Reports that will result from this expo. This free report will be updated each week during February, plus we will issue at least six separate reports during late February and March on what we saw, heard, and experienced at this large printer, ink, media, and flatbed cutter expo.

So return Monday to see more about printers, inks and media, which you will not be able to see at FESPA nor at DRUPA!

Trends china printers, UV latex inks of all kinds Media and substrates report Media and substrates report
Media and substrates report Media and substrates report Media and substrates report Media and substrates report
Media and substrates report      

These new FLAAR Reports can be ordered from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; the reports will be ready during late February and early March.


Graphics of the Americas 2012, in beautiful Miami

Updated Feb. 29, 2 012. First posted Feb. 23, 2011

It is nice to see Graphics of the Americas return to Miami. So I am looking forward to presenting two lectures during this pre-Spring expo.

It is also nice to have an expo in sunny Miami, as the two expos in China and the huge trade show in Barcelona were both hit by cold waves, and both were unexpectedly frigid.

GOA Graphics of the Americas 2012, printer expo reviews exhibitor list
Requires latest version of Adobe Flash player. FESPA 2012 report flip style

Since we at FLAAR are tri-lingual, I look forward to meeting printshop owners and distributors from Latin America and other parts of the world at Graphics of the Americas the first days of March.

There are hundreds of booths at GoA 2012, offering thousands of products and abundant assistance for you to learn new techology. So we hope to see you at Graphics of the Americas, March 1st through 3rd, 2012.

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