China Delays and Shipping Logistics for 2021 Q4

Last week China shut down a key terminal at is Ningbo-Zhoushan port, the third busiest port in the world, after one worker was found to be infected by Covid. This move will likely put further pressure on an already stretched supply network. China has implemented a “zero tolerance” approach towards Covid, some warn that this may not be the last closure at a port as long as Beijing continues to take this stance.

The latest wave of port congestion in eastern China could further drive up container shipping rates, which recently topped $20,000 per 40-foot box for the first time on the critical China-U.S. route as rising retailer orders ahead of the peak U.S. shopping season added strain to global supply chains

Foreign demand for Chinese-made products has remained strong — both by companies’ accounts and official data. The customs agency said in the first half of the year, exports to the European Union rose 35.9% from a year ago to $233 billion, while those to the U.S. climbed 42.6% to $252.86 billion.

From the Suez Canal congestion in March to the re-emergence of Covid cases around a major Chinese export hub in Guangzhou in June, logistical disruptions have hit global trade one after the other. Many goods can’t be shipped out, said Fang Xueyu, vice president of international marketing and general manager for Asia-Pacific at Chinese home appliance company Hisense.

“Inventory levels will be retailers’ primary concern as they are faced with the decision to either have limited or no stock of certain items or manage higher costs associated with air shipping good instead” said Dawn Tiura CEO, Sourcing Industry Group. She also added “container capacity will likely get more expensive, and shippers will likely pass costs on to consumers, heating up global inflation further ahead of the key holiday season”

Marro from the EIU also pointed to disruptions which will be compounded by key demand ahead of the holiday season. “Interruptions to trade not only pose problems for shipping and consumers, but also manufacturers who rely on critical imported components,” he said.

A cargo ship carrying containers is seen near the Yantian port in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, where congestion may take six to eight weeks to clear, according to some analysts [File: Martin Pollard/Reuters]

New Sawgrass Printers With WiFi, Increased Resolution and Energy Savings

After a two-year development process with Ricoh, Sawgrass has recently launched the SG500 and SG1000.

The new printers are made exclusively for Sawgrass’ award-winning inks: SubliJet UHD, ChromaBlast UHD and EasySubli. What sets Sawgrass apart from other systems is the fact that any Sawgrass printer combined with Sawgrass inks works hand-in-hand to produce the highest quality sublimation printing.

With this level of confidence, the new printers come with a two-year warranty.

Updated Printer Engine and Inks Give Greater Color Control and Deeper Blacks

As the next generation of SubliJet inks, users will notice more vibrant, richer colors as well as deeper blacks. SubliJet UHD, as well as EasySubli, will have a 24 months shelf life from the date of manufacture, at launch. The new printers communicate directly as CMYK vs RGB to give Sawgrass even greater control with color profiling.

Purpose-made Ink and Printers are Efficient and Eco-friendly

The SG500 and SG1000 are more energy efficient and the ink output is appropriate for the job at hand, leading to less waste for both the user and the environment. Sawgrass’ eco-friendly footprint is further enhanced with recyclable packaging and plastics for its new SubliJet UHD cartridges.

G7 Certification Gives Sublimators Confidence in Consistency With Sawgrass

G7 Master Facility certification is the global standard of color profiling, meaning users can expect consistent color from every Sawgrass printer and among substrates. The G7 certification is also a key element in The Sawgrass Network as it provides security in knowing color output will be the same for every Sawgrass user producing finished items.

Adding Value with The Sawgrass Network

The Sawgrass Network has been launched to provide new revenue streams for product decorators worldwide. The three applications that make up The Sawgrass Network are available to all Sawgrass users at no additional cost, adding to the overall value of product decorating with Sawgrass.

 SawgrassOthers*
Ecommerce WebsiteIncluded$950 / year
Design SoftwareIncluded$1,200 / year
Color Management SoftwareIncluded$1,450 / year
Customizable, Royalty-Free DesignsIncluded$360 / year
Training & CertificationIncludedN/A
Lifetime Tech SupportIncludedNA
*Costs are approximate in USD, based on industry standard products

With the latest features and the freedom of WiFi, users will enjoy printing with Sawgrass more than ever.

For more information or order your printer, visit jotoimagingsupplies.com.

What is sublimation? Why would it benefit my business?

I get asked this a lot at trade shows.  They see our impressive sublimation display and want to add it to their business.  But they don’t know what the process is or how it works.

Sublimation is a heat transfer process that transfers special sublimation ink onto 100% polyester materials or polyester coated materials.  The key as you might have guessed is in the sublimation inks.

All you need to start sublimation printing is the following:  A sublimation printer, sublimation inks, heat press, sublimation paper, and a polyester substrate or polyester coated substrate.  These can all be purchased in a single package to make it simpler for new users.

The real definition of sublimation is the process of a solid turning to a gas bypassing the liquid state.  This is exactly what happens in sublimation printing.  A sublimation printer prints the ink on a specially coated paper.  The ink dries and turns into a solid.  When heat and pressure is applied to the sublimation inks on the paper, it quickly turns to gas and is forced into the polyester substrate.  When heat is taken away, the gas becomes trapped in the polyester permanently.

Why would it benefit my business?
With sublimation you can add 1000s of new items to your product offerings.  Sublimation has been around for over 20 years; thus you can source over 1000s of different types of sublimatable blanks that are either made of polyester or are polyester coated.  That alone will attract new customers and allow you to make additional revenue from existing customers.  In addition to new products, the sublimation process prints full color images.  This is huge because a sublimated mug can produce much better gradients and drop shadows than a screen printed mug can.  It’s ideal for photographs!  Also, sublimation has no minimums, it costs the same price to produce one item as it does a hundred items.

What is Considered a Light Colored Fabric?

“For use with White, or Light Colored fabrics.”  You often see this in the instructions of light heat transfer papers.  What does this mean?  Where is the boundary between light colored shirts and dark colored shirts?

The answer isn’t that simple.  It really is a case by case basis.  When determining whether your colored shirt will work with your light transfer papers, you need to determine the type of image it is.

All Black Images
If your image only has black in it such as simple black text or simple line graphics, etc.  It is likely to work on a darker colored shirt such as red and blue shirts.  For most light transfer papers, you will still have to trim around your image to reduce the polymer background.

Photographs/Graphics with solid, non-neutral colors such as reds, deep or dark blues, and greens.
These images can be printed onto colored shirts like pink, beige, or light blue.  But keep in mind that there may be a bit of color distortion depending on the image and the shirt color.

Photographs/Graphics with gradients, drop shadows, light or neutral colors such as grey, light blues, and some yellows.  
These images should only be printed on white fabric only.  This is because colors will distort significantly due to the large amount of white used in the graphic.  Wherever white is used (in gradients, drop shadows, and to produce light colors such light blue), the shirt color will show through and mix with the image.

Black Only Image
Examples of a Black Colored Image on white, pink, and a dark colored fabric.
Black Colored images work well with the colored fabrics shown above

Colored Image
Examples of a Colored Image on white, pink and red fabrics
This colored image works well with both white and pink colored fabrics. On the red fabric, the yellow mixes with the red and the image cannot be printed well on a dark colored fabric.

Photo comparison
Examples of a Light Colored Image on white, pink, and red fabric.
This image only works with a white colored fabric. This image will not print well with most colored fabrics

On light transfer papers, keep in mind that any white areas of any image will become the color of the shirt, as most laser and inkjet printers do not use white ink.  The white comes from the paper.  When using light transfer papers, the white base paper is peeled off leaving the ink and a transparent coating on the shirt.

If unsure whether your image will work on a colored shirt, it is a safer bet to use a dark heat transfer paper instead of a light one.  Dark heat transfer papers will work on any colored fabric.  However, dark transfer papers tend to be a little bit thicker and costs a little more than light transfer papers.