29 October, 2019

Production Update: Revised Timeline

Hi Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers,

We have some news regarding production timelines. As mentioned in our last update, we’ve had some challenges with our anti-theft mount. It is a complex part as we’re basically inventing a new locking mechanism from scratch. The good news is that we have confirmation that our design works as intended. We are now confident on manufacturing timelines. The bad news is that we’ll need a little bit more time to deliver the units: backers will start receiving their units in April 2020.

 

A prototype of our locking mechanism working as intended

We know, a 4 month delay is disappointing. As some of you commented in the last update, we’d rather take the extra time to make it right instead of rushing things. Even though we were confident in our ability to ship in December, some unforeseen manufacturing challenges can always occur. In this update, we’ll reveal the new production timeline as well as explain why shipping is pushed back by 4 months.

Two tooling waves

As you may know, plastic parts in most consumer electronics are made by plastic injection. This requires to build a mould in order to create parts of high quality at a reasonable cost. Tooling is a difficult and expensive process that requires extra precision – we do not want to get this wrong and make a mistake. It is safer to validate the design over and over, rather than rushing to production with a bad tooling.

Since some of the plastic parts designs have been completed for a while, it made sense for us to start the tooling for them while we finish polishing the design of the remaining parts. With this in mind, we opted to divide tooling production into two waves.

The first wave will include parts that have completed their DFM (design for manufacturing) process. Therefore, as we speak, we are creating the moulds for the top shell, top lens and top light diffuser, front light lens, and spacers.

The second wave, which consists of the bottom shell and the mount, should begin in about 3 weeks. This gives us time to finalize the various locking mechanism parts properly before starting to cut tooling. Here’s how this translates into our new delivery timeline:

Why four extra months?

Even though we were still recently confident in our ability to ship in December, these locking mechanism headaches have forced us to rearrange the production timelines considerably with our manufacturing partners. In doing so, we’ve also had to take into account events that are out of our control.

The Hong Kong protests added complexity and delay with our partners over there (Hong Kong is only a few miles away from Shenzhen and many suppliers have their headquarters there). We then would have been able to start production by the end of January but this coincides with the Chinese New Year, which adds a month to the timeline, since setting back factories takes time. Also, we’re starting a relatively small production line compared to giants such as Apple, Samsung and others that are dominating production lines and come first if needs be.

Please note that we also added some buffers to our revised timelines, so we are confident with the April shipping date. But we’d rather be honest: hiccups could still happen along the way – such is the nature of new product development. Should there be any further contingencies, we’ll let you know first thing.

New CNC samples!

We just received some CNC samples from our partners. They look aaaaaaawesome! Since they are machine cut individually and super expensive, we cannot do a full production with them. However, CNC is a great way to validate our design and make sure that everything fits together well – it does!

These are REAL physical samples – they aren’t computer renders!

Left: main unit. Right : mount (upside down)

In the meantime, we’re doing another batch of PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) following minor tweaks. We can’t wait to put it all together!

As always, thank you for your support and patience. We’re lucky to have amazing backers like you. We’re as impatient as you are to get mass produced SmartHalo 2 on our handlebars and ride with the wind.

We would also like to thank all of you who answered our research form in the last update (more than 1000 answers, we’re blown away!). This helps us understand your needs and desires, which in turn helps us define our future feature roadmaps. If you’ve missed it, there is still time to fill it here!.

As always, feel free to share your questions in the comments below.

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