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Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East, SGI 2017, preparing for SGI 2018 Print E-mail
SGI Dubai 2013: Wide Format Printers, Inks, media and substrates, laminators and coaters

This signage and wide-format inkjet printer event is worth attending for several reasons.

First, SGI Dubai is held early in the year, so gives a good barometer of the industry overall. SGI Dubai is Jan 14-16, 2018.

Second: this show is international in the sense that it covers most of the Middle East and many countries in Africa.

Third, Dubai is a great place to visit: safe (no crime), friendly, exceptional architecture and good food. Plus, taxi and hotel prices are more reasonable than in Duesseldorf for drupa!

Sharif Donna SGI Dubai APPPEXPO Thailand-2018-p
Sharif and Donna of IEC, as seen in their booth in the APPPEXPO Thailand area co-located with SIGN EXPO ASIA a few weeks ago in Bangkok. SGI 2018 also had a booth at KOSIGN where FLAAR Reports also attended.

A three day coverage in SGI Dubai 2017 by The Official Show Daily


Above, general view from the Dubai World Trade Centre. Below, the Dubai Glow Garden.

Exhibitor List, SGI 2018 (Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East)

Exhibitor lists vary from one year to the next. This is typical of most major international trade shows. But the SGI Dubai 2017 fair was better than anyone expected.

Besides featuring major printer brands such as EFI, HP, Oce and others, this tradeshow had an interesting section of 3D printers.

PrismaLab Rapid400 3D printer (left and upper right), and a 3D sample (lower right) made with the ProTechnology CubePro printer.

This is a signal that the wide-format signage industry is evolving. LED and LCD digital signage is replacing printed signs in airports, fast food restaurants and retail stores.

Being aware of this trend, it is noteworthy that international events such as SGI Dubai show advancements in inkjet technology.

We enjoyed being at this expo in Dubai and two of us look forward to landing in Dubai for the 2018 edition. In 2013 three of us attended (the expo was larger). At least two members of the FLAAR staff have attended this international event for the past several years. For 2017, two of us were present.

So if you wish to meet FLAAR early in 2018, now you know where: modern Dubai, UAE.





UV-cured inkjet printers

AGFA Graphics, HP, and efi VUTEk used to be the three largest booths of UV-curable printers. At the 2017 SGI expo, the booths of Dilli and Mimaki had grown in size. In the 2017 edition, you could find the key people for efi VUTEk Middle East and Africa.

There were several Chinese UV-cured printers. The full list of exhibitors of UV-cured flatbed printers is in the FREE FLAAR Report on this Middle East trade show.


Solvent printers exhibited in the Middle East

There were many times more solvent printers at the Dubai show than UV. Clearly solvent is still popular in this part of the world. The full list is in the separate full-color FLAAR Report.


XY Cutters and CNC Routers

Everyone who buys a UV printer will first need a serious trimmer (such as Keencut). Eventually they may wish to look for a flatbed cutter. There are many brands, but I noticed these two in the Dubai SGI trade show exhibitor list for 2009. In the FREE FLAAR Report we have notes of what we found in SGI 2017.

FLAAR will be making a list of all European, North American, Korean, Taiwan, and comparable flatbed cutters at the expo. We would like to cover Chinese CNC routers also, but that is still too confusing (too many brands; none of them known internationally, and no way to figure out which ones hold up well in actual use).


After-market Inks

Last year I visited the factory of an ink in China, visited their offices in Shanghai, and then visited their trade show booth at the Shanghai show in July. Very impressive company. To check on their quality I then visited an end-user. This end-user said he switched to this Chinese solvent ink because it worked better in his printers than Lyson ink (from the UK).

So, here is one Chinese ink that works better than a big-name European ink. This has encouraged me to look at other after-market third-party inks. I have not yet had time to visit the factories of all the other after-market ink companies, but I have twice been to the headquarters of Hongsam in China, and twice to the factory and headquarters of Sam Ink in Singapore. Sam Ink is available in the Middle East from two franchises, one of which is Wellcare.

About five other after-market third-party ink companies exhibited at Dubai also, but until I can visit the actual ink factory, we do not write a FLAAR Report on an ink (or media).


Substrates & Materials: Solvent and/or UV printers

A main research topic of FLAAR during 2018 will be on comparing and contrasting 5-meter roll-fed materials for use on 5-meter UV-curable RtR printers.

At the Dubai SGI show, you can find the following major international brands:

  • 3M
  • Arlon
  • Julius Heywinkel
  • Verseidag Indutex GmbH

Naturally with a focus on UV-cured flatbed printers, I am interested in thick rigid signage materials. I can also find the premier manufacturer in Dubai:

  • Alcan Composites

Eco-friendly media for the Middle East

I have visited the impressive Yeong Jeou factory for PE as a technical textile. This is my second visit. The company had spent an additional three million dollars modernizing their PE production facilities so the material can be more easily printed with HP latex ink and with all UV-cured inks.

So while at the Dubai expo I will be looking to see what eco-friendly substrates and inks are being offered. PE has the advantage it is “non-PVC.” An increasing number of Fortune 500 companies require that their banners and billboards be with non-PVC substrates.


Textile printers

There is a growing trend towards soft-signage, so it is essential for printshop owners and managers to learn which brand and model of textile printer is optimal. At this trade show in Dubai you can find textile printers in the booth of:

  • d-gen
  • Flex-Europa
  • Mimaki (Signtrade)

Good reasons to attend SGI Dubai 2018

Many people will come to SGI Dubai 2018 because of the exhibitors list: others will come to SGI Dubai because of the networking opportunities. Others will come because they want to learn what will be the trends for 2018.

Remember that 2018 is a FIFA WORLD CUP year, so we can expect the signage industry will be energized by this international sports event

Two of us from FLAAR Reports came to Dubai in past years because of all these reasons as well as the fact that after so many years visiting SGI we have many friends and colleagues in the Middle East. Plus Dubai is a great place to visit.




Sign Middle East is organized by International Expo Consults, LLC

I have enjoyed working with the capable executives and managers of IEC over the years. This SGI event is evolving in its offerings, as all printer expos are facing several challenges. The list below is for printer and signage expos in general.

  • the Internet
  • global recession
  • competing expos
  • Open House events to replace trade shows
  • Lack of complete coverage

Lack of complete coverage means that part of the workflow hardware or software is not present at an expo. In order to avoid this issue it is essential for expo organizers to be familiar with the entire workflow. “Signage” means a lot more than just printers, inks, media, and laminators. There are many other product categories which should be considered. We attend SGI because we can find plenty of the key parts of signage printer workflow equipment and software.

Lack of innovation: organizing an event (such as a signage trade show) is one aspect. Organizing a PRINTER and SIGNAGE event assumes knowledge of the jargon, of the players, of the industry politics, of who-is-who in the industry. IEC has plenty of experience; SGI is significantly larger than any other expo anywhere in the Middle East (we know this since we have attended psignage printer expos elsewhere; none were as large as SGI Dubai).

Here is where FLAAR can assist, since we are familiar with the jargon (we even offer glossaries). We are familiar with the players and we definitely know industry politics and being in the world of wide-format inkjet for seventeen+ years, we know who-is-who in the industry. For these reasons we enjoy assisting trade show organizers.

Although FLAAR is Internet-based, we are solid supporters of trade shows and conferences. You need person-to-person interaction, and it is essential to see a whole slew of different brands and models over a several day period.

Web site information for SGI 2018


Most recently updated November 23, 2017.
First posted Feb 9, 2009. Updated October 24, 2017, July 2017, January 3, 2012
and often updated since then, January 12, 2011, and March 3, 2009.



After-market Ink

Factory Visits Demo Room Visits


Wide Format Printers

This link takes you to textile printers on our sister-site,

Color Management

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