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Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East, SGI, 2012 Print E-mail

Ryan Crist, a FLAAR affiliate and senior manager for a US-based printing company, will accompany Nicholas to deliver several topics regarding digital commerce, marketing technology as well as sales support techniques. Ryan will provide an in-depth look at what is needed to support an online storefront for a printing company, including staffing considerations and trials and tribulations of selling print online. Other presentations will include social media techniques and marketing tools that help sell profitable printing.

For over 10 years, Ryan has developed and managed print storefronts for leading brands in the USA and across the globe. His experience extends into marketing, sales, technical development as well as production. Currently, Ryan manages marketing and storefront operations for Cockrell Enovation, in Ft Worth, Texas USA

This 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. 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.

Another advantage is that most of us will be leaving snow behind for a few days of palm trees in Dubai. A final advantage is that, at least from the US, airfare is less to Dubai than it is to Switzerland.

EFI VUTEK GS 3200 UV combo
EFI VUTEK GS 3200 UV exhibited at Dubai 2010


EFI VUTEK QS 3250r UV exhibited at Dubai 2010

Exhibitor List, SGI 2012 (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.

The expo went well in 2011 and I look forward to landing in Dubai for the 2012 exposition.

UV-cured inkjet printers

AGFA Graphics, HP, and VUTEk have the three largest booths of UV-curable printers. 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 2012.

  • AXYZ Middle East

  • Mikkelsen Graphic Engineering Inc. (MGE)

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).

AXYZ CNC Router evaluations
AXYZ CNC Router was exhibited at Dubai trade show 2009.

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 other after-market ink companies, but two that I would consider are

  • Aqua Tink Inks (now branded as AT Inks)

  • InkTec

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).

Aqua Tink Inks After-market inks
Here is the Aqua Tink Inks booth at Dubai trade show 2009.

Substrates & Materials: Solvent and/or UV printers

A main research topic of FLAAR during 2012 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

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.

There will be a new FLAAR Report coming out during January 2012.

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 many textile printers in the booth of:

  • d-gen

  • Flex-Europa

  • T.P.M., Uni-Fix

d-gen textile printers reviews
Some samples at d-gen booth, Dubai 2009.


d-gen textile printers evaluations
Fabric wall hanging from d-gen booth, Dubai 09.


Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East
Solvent printer exhibited at Sign & Graphic Imaging Middle East at Dubai 2006.

Good reasons to attend SGI Dubai 2012

Many people will come to SGI Dubai 2012 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 2012.

Two of us from FLAAR Reports will come to Dubai this January 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.

In addition to the lectures that FLAAR will provide, we have introduced Ryan Crist to IEC, and he will be adding an entirely innovative series of public lectures. Ryan Crist was an intern at the FLAAR digital technology research center during the past years when FLAAR was at a major university in Ohio, USA. Based on his experience with FLAAR he has risen in the industry. His focus has the advantage that it is completely reality-based. So be sure to attend his lectures also.

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 two challenges: the Internet, and global recession.

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.

Most recently updated January 3, 2012.

First posted Feb 9, 2009. Updated January 12, 2011 and March 3, 2009



After-market Ink


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