Well, it's been another busy few weeks on our end! Bradden, Robert, and Michal are all through training and working away on their own now (Bradden and Robert are in our shop, while Michal is on assembly) - so we're back up to speed. We're still trying to get one or two more assemblers as assembly is also taking - as you all know - longer than we'd hoped, but the pace of things is picking up quickly and we're about ready to start shipping our next batch of units.
Our current progress: All of our sub assemblies are done for the run, and the final assembly and testing of the first 20 happens this week. One team will then continue to assemble and test final chassis, at roughly 20 per week, until we've gotten through this hundred - While the shop and a second team will start to move ahead on the next shipment, to minimize any gaps between them. As we move forward, we should start to settle into a roughly 20/week shipment schedule.
Extruders, fully assembled and ready for their hoppers!
Rows and rows of spreaders, ready for installation to the chassis.
Once the extruder and grinder are installed, the UI panel and garbage chute are bolted in - and then the lid goes on! With, of course, plenty of fasteners.
Last but not least, the spooler bases - ready to be mounted into the chassis for packaging.
In terms of communication and progress updates, we're also working on a new system that automatically keeps track of production updates. That allows us to focus our blog and updates on higher level company updates, or exciting customer stories, rather than the heavy production focus it has right now.
The way we're planning on doing this is by digitizing our entire production line, which is something we've started doing this run (and one of the reasons assembly has taken so long, as we've been working to implement this as well). Effectively, each assembly station will submit forms to an inventory and progress management system in real time - if 9 extruders are made and 1 had an issue, that will all be logged. The exciting part is the software can then automatically determine how many of the parts and assemblies we've made for that run, how many more we need to go, and estimate the exact date and progress we'll move forward at. It will also give a much more granular look at what's all involved in the production, and the time and care that goes into building each unit. We can't fully implement it until the next run, as we need all of the information we've gathered on this one to accurately time out our progress - but we should have a trimmed down version for the shipments of 20 ready shortly.
In the meantime, we'll post an update each time we ship out another set of units until the tracker is ready, or if we hit any other delays or if there's any other news (of course).
Overall, we ended up missing the end of summer by about a month - which is pretty upsetting given we'd already given ourselves an extra month as is! Its for that reason that we've brought on the extra staff, are working to digitize our entire production line, and continue to improve our assembly times. It's all starting to pay off, as well - Grinder cores have fallen from 40 to 26 minutes, and hot sections have fallen from 7.5 to 2.5 minutes - just to name two examples! With 240 parts comprising over 40 distinct sub assemblies in each unit, 5 minutes per assembly might not seem like much...but it really starts to add up. This means the following run, while still not at "full speed", should be much closer to our 1 month estimate than the 3 months it's taken for this run!
Otherwise, a happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian neighbours - and hopefully everyone else is enjoying their fall as well. The one nice thing about the weather getting colder is it makes the shop a little cooler to work in - a welcome change after a hot summer with no AC!
-The ReDeTec team