Our lens manufacturer has produced over 1000 of the large rectangular lenses (the difficult one), and they have fully assembled about 50 complete lens/lens mount components for validation. As mentioned in the previous update, progress has been slow due to the recent factory move and resulting employee turnover. However, over the last few weeks we have been able to validate their internal validation and sorting procedures (they need to sort out any lenses that do not meet our specs). Initially, the number of lenses they can produce will limit our build sizes, but we expect this limit to disappear as they scale back up to full capacity at the new factory location and stabilize their process.
To give you a bit more insight, our lens manufacturer has had delays for numerous reasons, in addition to the factory move and the manpower shortage. They have had some setbacks in trying to make the lens assembly more manufacturable to improve yield and manufacturing efficiency. For example, they changed the finish on the outer edge of the smaller lenses from matte to glossy so it would be easier to remove from mold. However, this change created an unintended effect: the lens no longer fit well in the lens mount (the assembly that holds the lenses and connects to the SPUD projector chassis). We started actively managing their procedures to ensure a higher level of consistency and trackability, and through this oversight we discovered that some of the large lenses could be slightly bigger than others. While this does not impact the projected image, it does mean that they need to modify the lens mount to accommodate the larger lens. Additionally, a few weeks ago we realized we needed to re-train their manufacturing employees on how to assemble the lens because their initial in-house training was not thorough enough (which resulted in failed assemblies). All of these relatively “minor” issues add up, and it has been a particularly frustrating process. At this point we are spending multiple days a week onsite overseeing the process (and being the “squeaky wheel”) to get the lenses we need produced. As we receive the lenses, we will build more SPUDs and ship to you.
SPUD has gone through a complete suite of in-depth testing to validate compliance with health, safety, and environmental protection standards. The vast majority of the testing was completed successfully with only a few minor iterations needed. The SPUD battery, however, gave us more trouble than we were expecting. We had to rerun and iterate on the tests four times, and because a lot of the testing is destructive, we had to supply additional batteries for continued testing. Without going into the test details, the initial difficulty passing came from the fact that this is one of the highest capacity batteries our battery manufacturer has done (most other projector-based products have smaller batteries).
The good news here is that, while the testing took longer than expected, we have now officially received a “pass” for all the certifications required, and we can move forward with the chassis build (assembling the projector, battery, speakers, and the projector control electronics). We expect the chassis build to be completed in the first weeks in January!
After the chassis is complete we will assemble complete SPUDs and beginning shipping; with first shipments, hopefully, beginning before Chinese New Year in early February. The clear bottlenecks going forward are (1) having enough lens assemblies and (2) any difficulties encountered in the SPUD assembly process.
One of Alex’s working spots in Shenzhen, China, which is the city where we live in China.
George validating the new lenses across projectors with varying offset. We created this QC setup at the lens supplier, with 3 projectors, to improve the throughput of the assembly process.
Our main assembly factory performing shroud incoming quality control (IQC) and also doing a process that George created to further strengthen the shroud.
Leonard just loves to pop-up SPUD!
Alex presenting at WeWork China about being a startup in The Greater Bay Area (new term that covers the Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou region).
We’ve had some requests to see some real-world kid use. Easy!
Thank you all for being such awesome supporters! From all of us here at Arovia, we wish you a Holiday Season full of joy and a Happy New Year!
- Justin, George, Leonard, Alex