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Reviews of printers, inks, based on factory visit inspection by Hellmuth, FLAAR-REPORTS Print E-mail

Factory visits and demo room visits help evaluate printers (now that all printer trade shows have been cancelled)

Our focus in the world of wide-format inkjet printers, inks, printable substrates, laminators, cutters, RIP software and color management equipment and software is to help printshop owners and managers and to assist distributors to learn which brands are high quality and trustworthy.

Since we are a research and educational institute (for many years based at two universities simultaneously) our interest is providing information and documentation. We were an independent institute before moving to universities; the decade there was educational, but we are more flexible returning to independent status.

PR agencies are helpful to any industry; but we at FLAAR (the USA parent of FLAAR-REPORTS) are very different: we prefer to learn ourselves (and not merely copy-and-paste what a client sends us to say about their products).

Visiting the actual factory and demo rooms has been a strong point in our FLAAR-REPORTS style of evaluating inks, printable substrates, printers, etc.

We have visited factories literally all around the world: USA, Canada, Brazil, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, China, Korea,and Taiwan.

Would be nice to be flown to Japan to evaluate prestige Japanese brands in their factory demo rooms there since the origin of the first FLAAR-REPORTS on printers were written while I was a guest Visiting Professor in Japan in the late 1990’s.

We also, literally, review and evaluate the owners of a brand

When Dr Piock was the head of Durst, we were flown to their factories: 5 times to northern Italy (Brixen) and 4 times to nearby Lienz, East Tyrol, in southern Austria. I would rate Dr Piock as one of the more impressive CEOs that I have met. He knew printers and inks inside out. This was many years ago. I have not been to any Durst factory since then.

The team at A.T. Inks we have met twice in their factory(ies) in India: the focus of the entire family: father and sons, is producing ink. They also help with local schools. Having been there twice helps see the evolution of this company (A.T. Inks is getting larger every several years).

The team at Apollo ink is doing much more than only after-market inks: they are producing water-based outdoor ink (to use instead of solvent).

The team at DigiFab I have known for 20 years: their adaptations of Encad printers produced the best color of any textile printer at every printer expo in that early epoch. Their printers today are obviously far beyond Encad and of high quality (in part because of their textile focused RIP: Evolution RIP). A benefit of DigiFab is that they entire family (father and sons) is focused on textile printers, textile inks, and textile RIP software.

It is the same at efi VUTEk: we do not yet know the new CEO (from Xerox) but we do know all the hard-working regional managers (for each part of the world, since efi VUTEk is an international company). Same for Matan: we know Matan printers for over 15 years; and we know the head of Matan, Hanan Yosefi, for all these years also. His life is dedicated to printers: quality, and with options that allow a print shop to decide what features they prefer for special applications. We have a separate web page on our recent two visits to their factory where we will cite the additional individuals, Tomer Ohavi and the team, with whom we have experienced their enthusiasm about super-wide format printers.

To learn which brand and model of UV-curing printer is good for your needs, visiting factory and demo room is clever idea

If you do not have the time yourself to visit a factory or demo room, this is another reason why FLAAR-REPORTS team has gone around the world every year for over 20 years. We have visited the factories, headquarters, and/or demo rooms of dozens of factories. Here is a list of just a few:

  • ATPColor (textile printers, Italy)
  • Colorjet, world headquarters in India
  • ColorSpan (decade ago, bought by HP)
  • Dilli (many years ago, twice)
  • D.gen, textile printers
  • DGI, textile printers (many years ago)
  • Durst, Brixen and also Durst, Lienz
  • EFI VUTEk (twice within recent three years)
  • Gandy Innovations (a decade ago)
  • GCC (two of their factories)
  • HP Barcelona (only in past years)
  • Inca Digital, UK
  • JHF (several years ago)
  • Mimaki EU
  • Mutoh EU
  • NUR, twice, 2 months after our evaluation HP bought them
  • Oce in Canada
  • RTZ (many years ago)
  • VUTEk in New Hampshire (literally decades ago, before EFI)
  • Xerox, short-run digital press factory, Rochester, NY

Printer is only one step in the Production Workflow It helps to learn about Inks, Cutters, Laminators, Media

Flatbed cutters & Roll-to-Roll cutter factories:

  • Aristo, twice, near Hamburg
  • Gerber (twice, USA)
  • Zund, Switzerland (a decade ago)

Ink factories or demo rooms:

  • A.T. Inks in India (once many years ago and again last year)
  • Apollo Ink (last year)
  • Sam Ink, Singapore, visited twice
  • Jetbest
  • Plus lots of ink factories in Korea and China in past years. Actually the largest ink factory in the world is one I visited in Germany with about 17 buildings. A.T. Inks also is of a size that has multiple factories in India.

Factories for media and printable substrates

    • Several in Korea
    • Lots in China (Yeung Jeou and GLM are within a few blocks of each other)
    • In EU (Portugal, etc.)

RIP and Color management factories and demo rooms

      • Barbieri electronic, color management, same city as durst
      • Caldera RIP, France

We look forward to visiting VROLLER flatbed laminator factory and demo room and more RIP companies, since RIP is essential software.

Would he educational to visit Handtop and their associates, and also to visit Plamac, since their printers have reached good quality status.

For textile printers it would be helpful to be at Reggiani.

For T-shirt printers, was able to visit the Kornit Digital world headquarters (since by fortunate luck they were one block away from the EFI VUTEk factory). Would also like to visit brother T-shirt facilities and other brands. I am inspired to write reviews and suggestions how people can start their own T-shirt companies and then expand in their area.

FLAAR-REPORTS is unique in the Inkjet Printing Industry

So over 20 years FLAAR-REPORTS has been very different than other resources. Plus, for trade shows, we don’t go only to expos in just USA or just EU. We attend expos in the Middle East, throughout Asia, throughout EU, and Panama and Brazil. Our reach is worldwide since the wide-format inkjet (signage, décor, visual communication, industrial applications), plus T-shirt printers and inks, are all worldwide.

As a result our readership is worldwide, and we have over 4,000 contacts around the world on LinkedIn for Dr Nicholas – FLAAR, and also over 4,000 for FLAAR-REPORTS, with Pablo M. Lee, Maria Renee Ayau, Jose Melgar.

If you wish one or more of the FLAAR-REPORTS specialists to give a PowerPoint presentation(s) at your Expo or your Open House, also you can communicate with us.

We have lectured in diverse settings: being one of many different speakers. Or, we have also had “total FLAAR-REPORTS knowledge presentations” where our team gives a series of 30 minute, 45 minute, and 1 hour presentations the entire morning; or entire afternoon. We remember an event in Korea where Dr Nicholas (Hellmuth) presented 10 topics over 8 hours of one entire day. Nowadays it is good to have more than just one of us present.




We at FLAAR-REPORTS make the effort to go beyond trade show booths; we prefer to inspect the printers inside-out to learn whether they are as well engineered inside as their outside cover. A print shop and a distributor want to have printers that don't fall apart after 1 year (and a printer that prints fast, reliably, and with excellent color spectrum).

First Posted: March 18, 2020



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As of June 2019, Dr Nicholas and FLAAR had 3,662 contacts in LinkedIn (and over half a million readers worldwide on the FLAAR network).

Wide Format Inkjet printers, inks, trade shows, consulting.

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