A few of you might’ve already seen us posting on social media that some of our keyboards have already arrived at our warehouse this week!
Only the first 500 units have arrived, but hey, that’s a start and that’s something worth celebrating! 🎉
It has been quite an intense couple of weeks after dealing with customs, shipping issues, and the quality issues that we had with some of our suppliers. And to be frank, it’s not close to being over.
For those who are interested in learning about our Manufacturing Adventures, continue reading till the end. We have some interesting stories to tell. But for those who want the news straight, well, we’ll start shipping the keyboards by the first week of August.
Below is a rundown of what has been happening in the last few days and weeks, and what’s currently happening with the Dygma Raise keyboards.
The LED Delusion
If you’ve been reading our updates, you’d know that we've had issues with some LEDs of a few keyboards.
Using a microscope, we found that the LEDs had a tiny bit of moisture in them, which made them malfunction as a result.
We thought this was caused by the humidity in our SMT Factory. So we did a Burnt-In test, got all the keyboards with faulty LEDs, changed them by hand, and resoldered them.
All of a sudden, a small percentage of these supposedly fixed LEDs started malfunctioning... again.
We didn’t know why this was happening anymore.
Then our LED supplier goes,
“Maybe it’s the glue we’re using to solder the LED’s. We’ve been using a different one.”
Just to give you guys a bit of context, the LED factory provides the LEDs for the PCB. Those LEDs are then sent to the SMT (Surface-mount technology) Factory where they do the PCB-A process and mount all the electronic components onto the circuit boards. Those PCBs are then placed on a conveyor belt and moved through an oven.
If you want to see how the PCBs are assembled with all the different components, check this video from last year’s mass production.
Our LED supplier didn’t tell us nor the SMT Factory that they were using a different glue.
With this new glue, the oven needed a specific heat requirement. If the oven didn’t reach that temperature, a tiny amount of moisture would leak from the glue. This didn't happen to all LEDs but only to a few unlucky ones.
As we mentioned before, this moisture wasn’t visible with the naked eye. A microscope was needed to spot them.
So we quickly learned that this wasn’t because of the humidity caused by the heavy rains during the PCB-A process, but the lack of coherent communication between our LED factory, the SMT factory, and us.
To be honest, we couldn’t have known this would happen. You could say that the LED factory should have told us that they changed the glue. And we would agree with you there.
But it was like they didn’t even know that the glue could have given that effect. It was something that happened to us for the first time and now that we know the consequences, we can prevent it from happening again.
Why the LED factory changed the glue is still a question that awaits answers. But the lessons we’ve learned from this incident are:
- Be more specific with the requirements.
- Investigate every one or every player that is involved in the process and have a detailed understanding of every single instrument they use.
The second learning is a bit tough to accomplish, but we’ll just keep doing the most that we possibly can.
The Palm Pad Mishap
We mentioned in our last update the issues we had with the palm pads.
We discovered a line at the bottom of the palm pads. They weren't visible on the black palm pads, well at least not in the photos. But they were visible on the white ones.
We were so confused about why there was this line on the pads. We later found out that the mold that was used to make the palm pads wasn't polished.
We agreed with our palm pad supplier that they would make more molds for the palm pads in order for them to finish making 2000 sets on time. What we didn't know was that the molds they later made weren't polished. So it had these lines in them.
As a result, some of the palm pads had a few visible lines.
It was frustrating because we had agreed on a palm pad sample that they did with a mold. When they said they would make more molds, we thought they would be the same as the one that made the sample we approved.
But they didn’t.
They made more molds but didn’t polish them and said that we didn’t specify in our requirements that they needed to be polished.
What we learned from this experience:
- We need to be more specific with every step of the process.
- We need to ask for 10 samples instead of 1.
- We need to ask for samples from every mold made.
- We can only approve a sample once we've seen the process of it being done.
Luckily, not all the palm pads had these lines. So we've asked our supplier to redo some of the palm pads. But they told us this would take 20 days 😳
We had no choice but to go ahead with it. Now we expect to have the new palm pads by mid-August.
What’s happening now
In the meantime, we will be doing rigorous quality control checks here and will start sending the keyboards with the approved palm pads.
We’ve always done our best to be on top of quality control. Despite our efforts, there are still issues that happen that make us reevaluate our processes. But we know that this is part of the overall learning process.
If we want to succeed in this industry, we have to experience it all, learn from it, and come out better.
All companies that are innovating and that need complex assembly lines also suffer the same issues. Challenges such as these are bound to happen.
Not only are there many cultural differences, but also it is difficult for us to demand a lot from our partners in China when we have such a low volume of products compared to other big companies.
For this to work, we need to build a good relationship with them. Inevitably, we will change the ones that produce poor quality products. But overall, we need to learn how to deal with them all and the issues that come along and overcome them. After all, this is just our second manufacturing batch, ever.
Another thing to account for is that since we are unable to travel to China and oversee mass production, we are dependent on the photos and videos that our partners send us.
This is actually one reason why we decided to have the final quality control check here in Spain so that we can see the keyboards with our own eyes and test them one by one ourselves. We are also flashing all the keyboards here with the new firmware.
As we mentioned, we’ll start shipping the keyboards by the first week of August.
The next batch of keyboards, another 500 units, will arrive on the 7th-10th of August, and the last batch will arrive between the 26th-27th of August. This means that some of you may receive your order by September.
We understand that the delay is dreadful. But we hope you understand our situation. Of course, we would also understand if some would like a refund.
It’s been a manic past few months, the world is going through so much craziness. But we are very passionate about what we do and we will continue to do our best to deliver an awesome product.
We hope that you all are staying safe and healthy!
Till the next update!
- Dygma Team