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Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East, SGI, 2016, preparing for SGI 2017 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, it is early in the year so gives a good barometer of the industry overall. 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!

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



Exhibitor List, SGI 2017 (Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East)

The exhibitor list for 2009 was a bit different than the exhibitor list for 2007. This is typical of most major international trade shows. But at the Dubai 2009 fair business was better than anyone expected, at least at the HP and Gandinnovations booths. So for 2010 SGI, I expected the exhibitor list to be as good as it was in 2009 or potentially better.

At 2014 the World Trade expo center did not provide space for the usual mid-January dates, so the SGI organizers were stuck with an early date in January which caused a lot of people not to be able to attend (since early January is too close to the major holiday seasons around the world). In past years there was an expo center near the airport; that airport area center is no longer available.

The expo went well in 2011, 2012, 2013, and was okay in 2014 despite the awkward early January dates. The expo caught up and we enjoyed SGI 2016, so we look forward to landing in Dubai for the 2017 exposition.

We enjoyed being at this expo in Dubai and two of us looked forwarded to landing in Dubai for the 2017 exposition. In 2013 three of us attended (the expo is larger). For 2014 three of us will be at Sign Middle East. For 2017, there will be two of us.

So if you wish to meet FLAAR early in 2017, now you know where: modern Dubai, UAE.






The expo went well in 2011 and two of us looked forwarded to landing in Dubai for the 2012 exposition. In 2013 three of us attended (the expo is larger). For 2014 three of us will be at Sign Middle East.

So if you wish to meet FLAAR early in 2014, 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 2014 SGI expo, the booth of Saga had grown in size; here you could find the key people for efi VUTEk Middle East and Africa.

There were about two Chinese UV-cured printers (but Teckwin was nowhere to be seen). The full list of exhibitors of UV-cured flatbed printers is in the 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. We will make notes also on what we find in 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 2017 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

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

During December 2011 I 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 2017

Many people will come to SGI Dubai 2017 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 2017.

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.

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.

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 2017


Most recently updated October 2016.
First posted Feb 9, 2009. Updated January 12, 2011
and March 3, 2009 and January 3, 2012 and often updated since then.

APPPEXPO 2016 set eco-solvent introduction Marcelo and Nicholas FLAAR-Reports
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GOA 2016 General Introduction FLAAR Reports
SGI Dubai 2016 general introduction FLAAR Reports by Nicholas Hellmuth
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After-market Ink


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As of December 2014, Dr Nicholas and FLAAR had 1,308 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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