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The traditional Beijing signage expo

China Sign Expo (4NSHOW 2012) is organized by CEIEC for April. Since FLAAR is sending a team to Brazil on those dates, unless we can change that date it will be tough to be in two places at the same time.


New style FLAAR Reports (PE to replace PVC for billboards)

We are doing a double-page spread layout style, and a fluid page flow viewing option.

Traditional pdf

Requires latest version of Flash player.Flip Style

But we are NOT using a commercial service; we adapted the entire production in-house and display this on our web site with our own web master’s capability.

We hope you like the new style. If you do, please let us know at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . If you prefer the old page-by-page style instead, also let us know.

All TRENDs level and all reports which compare specs and characteristics will remain in the traditional style (since that is easier to produce than the double-page layout).


MEMS printheads; MEMjet printers: reality check

Updated March 26, 2012. previously updated Feb, 21, 2012, first posted September 6, 2011

Not one single MEMS printhead machine was noticeable at either of the two largest printer expos in China last month (February 2012). If any were present, they were well hidden.

Three years ago MEMS printheads were labeled as the most incredible technology to reach wide-format printing. But the technology failed, indeed failed so badly that it cost Raster Printers and JETRIX two entire years of potential lost revenue since they had to start all over again with entirely new (non-MEMS heads).

MEMS heads were a significant factor in the final meltdown of L&P printer company. Its little remaining technology was bought at fire sale price by WP Digital (which in turn a year or so later downsized by leaving Spuhl and moved to parent company Polytype).

The utter failure of MEMS printheads were a major factor in the total shutdown of the textile printer division of Yuhan Kimberly (Kimberly Clark of Korea). MEMS printheads inability to hold up to actual use out in the real world also was a factor in the demise of the HP Scitex roll to roll printer shown with great bluff at SGIA several years ago. HP subsequently bought NUR because they used non-MEMS heads which actually functioned.

During 2011 MEMS heads reappeared, via MEMJET an offshoot of Silverbrook of Australia. So the question is whether any, or all, or other new issues will hit the reality check. It is as if everyone was deaf to what happened to the first MEMS projects of four different MILLION dollar companies.

Most industry specialists have skipped MEMJET totally since it was too many PR releases and not enough actual fact (like Foveon digital sensors several years back; like CrystalJet in the past decade and then the non-functional Kodak 5260). But since no one seems to have learned from past failures, FLAAR is issuing a commentary as a MEMS reality check. At this level of technology, is logically not a free report, but is reasonably priced and worthwhile reading (it is also entertaining, since how else can you describe a phantom technology).

So what about MEMS printheads? What about MemJet?

During 2012 we will also consider issuing new reports on MEMS printheads in general and on MemJet in particular. Companies which subscribe to our TRENDs level reports will receive updates. Subscription info is on our

Of course the new hurdle for MemJet today is the endless PR releases about the lawsuit from their financial source. But the main issue is whether the patents are for a patent farm, or whether an actual product (which actually functions) is possible. Until I can see an R&D lab, see a real printer in a real printshop (OUTSIDE the R&D lab and outside a trade show booth), I am skeptical. The question is not whether the printer prints, the question is what happens when a nozzle is blocked or worn out.

The question is whether a machine would print a month, or a few weeks, non-stop in the temperature, dust, and humidity out in the real world.

During 2012 we will also consider issuing new reports on MEMS printheads in general and on MemJet in particular. Companies which subscribe to our TRENDs level reports will receive updates. Subscription info is on our


Dubai SGI, Sign and Graphics Imaging 2012.

Dubai SGI, Sign and Graphics Imaging, the first major international sign industry event in the world each year, 31 January through 2 February 2012

Dr Nicholas Hellmuth will lecture at this sign industry event. SGI in Dubai is the first printer trade show of international status of the year’s calendar.
FLAAR has also been asked to be on the committee (jury) to select the best advertising banners, posters, signs, in Dubai. Dr Hellmuth has been asked to be the head of this jury, so he will arrive in Dubai two days early. Here is the photo of the award winners last year (2011).
FLAAR also writes for ME Printer magazine in Dubai, the leading trade magazine for the Middle East.

View More..


Inspection of a VUTEk UV-cured printer

First posted August 23, 2011

Last summer FLAAR did an inspection of a VUTEk UV-cured printer at a large successful printshop in Johannesburg, South Africa. The comments of the manager and printer operator, and our conclusions, will be added to our evaluation of the efi VUTEk GS3200 combo transport belt system. This printer can handle both roll-to-roll as well as thick and rigid materials.


Dedicated Flatbed printer evaluations: new upcoming FLAAR Reports

After noticing the JETRIX flatbed printers since SGIA 2008, and after receiving tips from many sources that "JETRIX printers look really well engineered" we decided to initiate an in-depth evaluation.

So we began to inspect the printers at FESPA Digital Hamburg 2011, then I spent several days in the factory of JETRIX in Korea. To learn how the printers function in the real world I visited a printshop outside Sydney, Australia that had a JETRIX printer, a Kongsberg cutter, and a Rollsroller accessory.

There will be three new FLAAR Reports, as you see here. These are now available.

InkTec JETRIX 2030InkTec JETRIX 513InkTec Jetrix 3015 FQ

New inks that will bring an end to era of solvent inks?

Latex Prints Nicholas-Hellmuth

February 18, 2011

What if?

What if there was a latex ink that did not require 120 degrees C?
What if there were a latex ink that needed only 60 degrees C?
What if there were a latex ink that had color gamut significantly better than HP latex ink?
What if this new (non-HP) latex ink had a color gamut noticeably better than the colors of UV-cured inks?
What if FLAAR Reports has been in the R&D labs, and demo rooms of the ink companies that are making this ink?

Nicholas Hellmuth will be talking about these topics during his lectures at GoA 24 and 25 February.


Latex Printers other than HP

In 2010 a Chinese company exhibited a primitive "latex ink printer" at APPPEXPO Shanghai expo. Also that year we heard that latex ink was being used with Epson printheads (and not in China).

Then we heard through the grapevine that an international-oriented factory will launch a "latex ink printer".

As you see by our other FLAAR news flash (last week), we at FLAAR Reports already know of latex ink being available elsewhere that is better in most respects than HP latex ink. So 2011 will be an exciting year. If your company wishes access to latex ink, FLAAR is available as a consultant. Write This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


FLAAR will cover more wide-format printer inkjet inks, media and substrates in 2012

You may have noticed that FLAAR covers a lot more than just printers this year. (plus we hope you like our new home page style).

This is because what counts is the ink. New and different ink is signficantly more important than just another new printer (which uses the same old UV-cured or solvent ink). Plus new (eco-friendly green) substrates are available (but beware of greenwashing, which means fake claims of eco-friendly that don't admit the full truth of the chemical composition of the ink or substrate).

So FLAAR is increasingly a consultant for ink companies and manufacturers of substrates. By visiting ink labs, R&D departments, test centers, and ink demo facilities we learn the reality of the new inks so that we can better assist the over 596,000 readers on this large-format site (UV-cured and solvent inks) and over 917,000 on (water-based, CAD, giclee, photo, indoor POP signage, textile printing etc). printshop owners, managers, printer operators, and printing company personnel who depend on the FLAAR Reports to help plan what to purchase.

So over a million people around the world read the FLAAR Reports; this is a readership count; not a visitor count (which is several million) and not a hit count (which is millions a month). What we count is individuals. We substract duplicate visits etc to lower the count from the actual total to a one million+ accurate list. The count is software based and is independent. Plus we test the count by switching topics and watch the readership change as a result.


In 2012 we are considering visiting more factories of UV-cured inkjet printers to prepare new FLAAR Reports.


Jetrix UV-curable printer inspection

NH Ryan Severn father Severn Jetrix

We have spent several days inspecting the Jetrix factory and Inktec facilities in Korea. In the meantime, to learn how a Jetrix UV printer functions out in the real world, we visited a customer site in Australia: this print shop, Severn Graphics, had both a Kongsberg cutter, Jetrix UV printer, and Seiko ColorPainter. We thank anitech for letting us know about this printshop.

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As of June 2017, Dr Nicholas and FLAAR had 2,468 contacts in LinkedIn (and over half a million readers worldwide on the FLAAR network).

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