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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.


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.

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