Lots of news since the last update, as always some good and some bad. The three major themes for this update are production, places, and people...so let's dive in!
As it's now been a month since our last update, we thought we'd let everyone know how we're progressing. It took about a week to really settle into our new office, which was longer than expected, so we're a week or two behind in some areas. We're ahead in others, however, so overall we're not very far off where we should be. A quick summary:
Sept 28 – All RFQ’s complete, final samples ordered
We've ordered all of our samples, some have started arriving, and RFQ's have been completed :)
Oct 14 – Machines ordered & All final components ordered
We've held off on ordering the machines as it's taking longer than we'd hoped to hear back from our MFG's, and we can't order the machinery until we can confirm it's what we'll be using. That said, all of the pre-selection has been done , so we're just waiting to hear back from everyone to place the order (i.e. if we need a mill, we know which one to get...we just don't know how many mills we'll need). The same is true for components - this is therefore one area we'd consider ourselves behind by about two weeks.
Oct 20 – Final Design complete
1 week behind- our design will be finalized by this Friday (it already is, we just need to finish testing to confirm). It then goes off to review by UL and our MFGs early next week for any necessary tweaks.
Oct 21 – MFG begins
Even though we don't have our main machines ordered yet, our trusty development CNC has begun churning out parts! Similar to components / machines, we need to hear the final word from some MFGs on this before we fully get into it, but we've gotten started on everything we can in the meanwhile.
Nov 4 – Initial Test units ready for assembly & Nov 9 – Initial Units Complete (For UL + Testing)
We're actually slightly ahead of schedule in this area as our test units should be ready to send off to UL by mid next week.
Production Prototype, sans enclosure or grinder, undergoing testing. Pic courtesy of Stan V.
Dec 7 – UL Testing Complete
This one is still totally up in the air - we're really hoping UL doesn't find any major issues with our design. As we've spoken with them a number of times now, we're not expecting anything major...but they're thorough beyond compare, so this could lead to further delay if an issue comes up that requires re-design.
Dec 18 – 1st Run Units Complete + Shipping
Jan 8 – Campaign units Complete + Shipping
These will likely also slip a week or two, based on the MFG delays that are affecting the components and machinery as well. We'll try our hardest to make up for lost time by having everything as ready as we can for when UL gives the go-ahead, but we didn't exactly have lots of spare time to start with so it might be tough!
In terms of the components, we've gotten the chassis, spooler, puller, spreader, etc all finalized and road tested. Unlike our previous prototype, which got *obliterated* after a customs search, our production prototype made it to England and back without a scratch (despite also being searched...sigh). The working area at the front is also much easier to interact with, the whole chassis is significantly more rigid and sturdy, and the unit is really beginning to look more professional...all it needs now is the enclosure. We've also made some algorithm changes to the sensing algorithm to detect any "dead" pixels in the sensor (dust). The sensors now ignore the dust as long as they can, and then notify the user to clean them when required.
The new chassis makes it *much* easier to access the front components! Pic courtesy of Stan V.
Otherwise, we've been spending some time getting set up in our new office...
As you may all be aware, we've recently moved offices...twice! Our original production space fell through at the last minute as it was full of asbestos, so we had to find a new place ASAP for the start of October. Thankfully our good friends over at Matter and Form had a spare storage unit kicking around that turned out to be perfect for our needs! It took us slightly longer to clean it out, re-organize all of our stuff, re-pack, and re-move everything...as well as get the office fully set up for maximum productivity. But we're now settled in and ready to go, and once we get our machines in here the whole operation will be up and running :)
The main "Production" room, just needs some machines! Pic courtesy of Stan V.
A long time supporter of ours, Stan Velijev, came by to grab some pictures of the new space for a few minutes so we could keep working (You may have also seen the *awesome* keyboard key he made with some of our Innovation Night filament - see below - and check out his website if you like his work!).
Stan 3D printed this awesome keyboard skull key using our (slightly too small) filament from Innovation Night - check out his website to see more. Pic courtesy Stan V.
In essence, the space is divided into two sections - a much smaller office, electronics, and final testing room as well as a larger production / assembly room. Critically, we're also right beside a truck level loading bay, so shipping out our 300+ units won't be an issue. While we were hoping to be settled into our production office by September 1st, we ended up with the perfect space to move forward with everything and couldn't be happier with it!
The side "Electronics / testing" room - currently a little empty. Desks will move from the main room to this room as machines take their place. Pic courtesy of Stan V.
Critically important to shipping product - our office door (with the 'T' on it) is *right beside* the building loading bay!
Last but certainly not least, we've made some changes to the team behind ReDeTec. While these changes were incredibly difficult and took far, far more time than we were hoping, they've put us in a much better position to move forward with our goals effectively. In essence, we lost an original member of the team (David Joyce), but gained a new member much better suited to our current needs and goals (David Laciak - yes, they are both called David).
As most of you know, Dave was one of the founding members of ReDeTec, and we would not be where we are today without him. He contributed an incredible amount to the initial success of ReDeTec, and we can't thank him enough for his contributions. However, his true strengths lie in team management and financial oversight, and it was becoming increasingly clear to the company that - while those are both incredibly valuable skills to have - they weren't suited to our current stage of growth. We're not raising new funding rounds, paying a large staff, or managing a big team right now...we have one sole goal, and that goal is production and fulfillment of our original orders. As campaign financing turned more and more into production planning, and resource allocation was reduced to a very simple "don't spend campaign money on anything but producing units", it became more and more clear that Dave would be able to contribute far more effectively at a different venture, and that it would be better for both parties to go their separate ways. Therefore, back in the late spring*, David Joyce and ReDeTec parted ways under friendly terms. While it's very sad to see him go, we know that this is the best decision for both ReDeTec and Dave going forward, and we'll always cherish the time he spent with us.
As we began to realize that David Joyce would not be the best match to help us through production, we started looking around for someone who would be the ideal candidate for the job. We were extremely lucky to run into David Laciak, who was himself just finishing up a job in engineering consulting. David Laciak has years of experience dealing with exactly the same things we're currently going through - handling all of the various manufacturers, suppliers, and shipping companies that make up the dreaded supply chain. We've already learned an incredible amount about how to produce a new product thanks to David, and we're very excited to have him as part of the team going forward...it's likely our delays would have ended up twice as long without him! He'll continue to take the lead on operations and manufacturing going forward, allowing Alex and I to focus on product development and the growth of the business.
So, while it was sad to say goodbye to a friend, our team is now far more prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. We're all set up in our new space, and largely still on (the revised) schedule for production. And, while we're admittedly sounding like a broken record at this point, we've now scheduled public updates like this one into the official schedule as occurring every 2 weeks...so we should be slightly better at communicating everything in a timely fashion!
That's it for now, and as always please feel free to e-mail any questions, comments or concerns...thanks everyone!
-The ReDeTec team
*Late spring, you say? Why aren't we hearing about this until now? Just how much of our time DID it take? The answers here are sadly related - it turns out that parting ways, even on mutually amicable terms, is an extremely long and time intensive process. Things we'd never even heard of became required knowledge, disagreements arose on topics we'd never considered before, and "legalese" took on a whole new meaning. All in, it took us nearly 4 months of time overall and almost 3 weeks of dedicated man hours to sort out. While this whole ordeal definitely had a major impact on our schedule, we weren't able to discuss *anything* publicly until it was all finalized...which really sucks. Since we've now finally, finally closed the door on that chapter, we're able to discuss it...but we sincerely apologize for not being able to mention anything sooner. For those concerned about our timeline, please rest assured that all of the delays this event incurred are already behind us and accounted for, and the most recent timelines, etc already have all of that factored in (i.e. this issue will not cause any further delays). And, as always, please feel free to e-mail us with any comments, questions, or concerns!