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Oct 10th – Final Assembly, Shipping, Status Tracker

Hi everyone,

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.

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Grinders, tested and ready for installation!

DSC01362Extruders, fully assembled and ready for their hoppers!


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Rows and rows of spreaders, ready for installation to the chassis.

 

DSC01364Once 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.

DSC01365Last 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!

Thanks,

-The ReDeTec team

 

 

 

 

Sept 14th – Pricing and Shipping Updates, Progress Report

Hi Everyone,

So some big news this week on shipping and pricing, as well as an update on where we stand with production and shipping both short term overall.

First, pricing and shipping! The good news – shipping is now free for US and Canada, and now fairly reflects the real shipping prices for everywhere outside of US and Canada. We got Canada Post plugged right into our website, so you can see the exact price (we cover some of it for you), and choose your shipping option instead of relying on our basic freight. This is something we first started talking about a long time ago, but production and certification have been getting in the way ever since. As we’re shipping units out now it came back to the top of the priority list and has now been sorted out so we’re ready to move forward with most shipments!

The bad news, of course, is that our pricing went up. This is our final planned increase for ProtoCycler until a new (better) version comes out in a few years. We’ve kept the price as low as possible until now to keep everything fair for all of our customers who have waited so patiently, for so long. But now that we’re shipping and are fully out of the pre-order phase, we have to raise our prices both to accommodate the extra staff we need to maintain our throughput and communication, as well as the shipping and importation charges. All in all our price point still beats any other solution on the market for automatically and safely recycling filament – and more fairly reflects what you’re getting when you purchase a ProtoCycler. It should hopefully also allow us to start accepting POs, which is a big plus for the education market. Please note that this does not affect any existing orders or quotes – only new orders placed going forward!

We also made a few other changes to the website over the past week – the FAQ / support section has been re arranged to make it easier to find everything, and we’ve added a mailing list option on our website. If you subscribe to this list, you’ll get e-mailed these updates, instead of having to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

We’re also continuing to send out address confirmation e-mails for our pre-order customers – these e-mails are sent out in waves before your unit is shipped, so if you don’t have one yet, please be patient! As mentioned in our last update our next batch is 100, and we hope to do another 100 every month thereon (though we will need to “grow into” that speed). With a little over 400 orders outstanding, this leaves us with a 4 month lead time at this point – though we’re hoping to shave a few weeks off that once our new staff are fully up to speed. By the end of this next shipment, Indiegogo will be largely done, with a good dent in our pre-orders as well (this is the “transition” batch).

Last but not least, our timing for this run has slipped a bit as training our new staff fully is going to take a few weeks. This shouldn’t affect any other shipments as we’ll have more staff than originally planned to stick to our schedule, but proper training and on-boarding for assembly mean it will likely be another couple of weeks until they’re shipped out (our current “end of production” date for this run is Sept 20th). We’ll continue to update everyone next week as production finishes and we switch to testing and shipping for this batch.

That’s it for this week – thanks everyone!

-The ReDeTec team

Sept 5th – Hiring progress

Hi everyone,

So we’re a week late on this update…but improving! As you all know by now, we’re in the midst of hiring some people to help speed things up. Progress is good on this front, and mostly explains why the update is late – we’ve hired two full time staff and one part time to help us with production (1.5 in the shop, and 1 in assembly). We’re still looking for our final assistant in assembly but are hoping to have them on board in the next week or two. Hiring always takes quite a bit of time as it’s important to make sure the person you’re bringing on to your team is a good match, and that they can get their job done on time and on budget…but we’re almost there!

We’re also about ready to ship out our next shipment, so final confirmations will be going out this week for those that haven’t yet responded to their address confirmation (if you have, don’t worry, we got it!). We’re also doing our first major revision to the support section of the website, and once hiring is complete should be back to weekly (instead of bi weekly) updates.

Otherwise we’re looking to ship out another 100 units in about a week, and then another 100 every month after that until our backlog is done! I know we’ve still got a few upset customers hanging around but we’re working on speeding everything up and keeping on top of both updates and e-mail, and we very much appreciate all of the feedback and assistance so far as we work to get it done.

Another big point from last weeks update is that we’re going to be changing our prices and shipping logistics in the near future…and it’s almost here! We’re still working away on our shipping and fulfillment plans but should have the new pricing and hopefully free shipping ready by next week…assuming nothing else comes up!

That’s it for now – keep the comments and suggestions flowing, and we’ll follow up with more news in the next week or two.

– The ReDeTec team