These past few weeks have been a roller coaster at Dygma 😊😔😡😅
Receiving the first 100 Defy keyboards at our warehouse here in Spain made us really happy; dealing with manufacturing thousands of them on a tight deadline, not so much.
Shipping the first 100 Defy
Let's start with the great news: on Monday, after what seemed like an eternity,the first 100 Dygma Defy arrived here in Spain 🙌
We've been training our operators the whole week on how to do quality control and fulfillment. It's a very important and time-consuming task, which means shipping will probably start at the end of next week.
If you're one of the lucky early-delivery backers, please check your email in the next few days; we'll be confirming your orders and shipping addresses ✅
Ok, let's move to mass production.
Making 100 keyboards is relatively easy. The tricky part is manufacturing thousands of them on time.
To achieve this, our supply chain manager, Aitor, has been in China since mid-Juneand won't leave until August.
His first task involved overseeing the implementation of minor changes that we've made for mass production.
Small changes for mass production
We have a new mold for the side legs, so they never collide with the rods.
We have new top rods with tighter hinges, so they don't feel loose.
And we have the redesigned plastic piece that helps c connect the Neuron to the keyboard securely but easy to remove . Before, only King Arthur could pull it out 🗡️
His second task was ensuring all our suppliers met their deadlines.
Foolproofing our supply chain
Suppliers tend to tell you everything is ok and on time,but when the time comes to deliver the goods, they're not ready 🙃
To avoid that, he visited each one of them and went through every stage of the process to confirm they had the manufacturing capacity to be faithful to their promises.
He found a few bottlenecks in the production of the top panel, the palm pads, and the tenting legs, but we were able to solve them so they won't affect the timeline.
But, when he looked into the PCB assembly and testing, s**t hit the fan😥
Manufacturing the electronics
Just as a reminder, the electronics of the Defy are comprised of two keyscanner PCBs, two Underglow PCBs, two RF PCBs and a Neuron PCB. Seven in total. Here's more info on the Defy electronics.
The first problem was the lead time for the PCB assembly. We agreed with our supplier that the PCBs would be ready for the last week of June –so we could start assembly on July 3– but they changed that.
The critical components for assembly –the keyscanner and the underglow– would be ready by July 7, and the rest –the RF PCBs and the Neuron PCB– about a week later.
Ok, a week's delay, we can handle that. We could start assembling all the top panels with the PCBs on July 10, then all the bases, and then put both together.
But that wasn't all. They still had to test those PCBs. The supplier told us that would be fast, about two weeks total. Doing the math, that means testing roughly 400 sets of PCBs a day. And since each set comprises 7 PCBs, that's 2800 PCBs daily.
That's about the same number of PCBs our assembly factory can mount daily.So we would be alright! 😮💨
But upon investigation, we discovered that they were only capable of testing around 600 PCBs per day, which is 5 times less than what was originally planned.
At that pace, all the testing would take... almost three months!!! 😱
That was completely unacceptable. We started looking for a solution.
First, we worked with our supplier to optimize the workflow, and the number went up to 1000 daily. Great. We instructed them to focus on the keyscanner PCBs –critical to start assembly– but it was still unacceptable.
Then, we realized:
We have 5 test jigs at the factory to verify that the different PCBs work correctly. Two that test the keyscanner and underglow PCBs –one for each side– two that test the RF PCBs –again, one for each side– and one for the Neuron PCB.
Each jig needs one computer to run But they only asked us to provide two 🧐
If we had three more computers, we could test all the different PCBs simultaneously, upping our testing to 2250 units daily. So we bought them 💳
But that wasn't enough.
We're now making two more test jigs for the keyscanner and underglow PCBs and buying two more computers. That way, when those extra test jigs are ready, we can test more than 3000 PCBs a day. Even more than the original goal.
This is a significant improvement that will also ensure fewer delays in future production runs 🙂
Ok, what a relief, but how does this affect the ETA of the Defy?
The new timeline
Today, a week after they started testing the PCBs, we have almost 2000 sets of keyscanner PCBs ready (and more coming next week).
That's enough to start assembling on July 17.
Leaving some wiggle room, we'll have over two thousand keyboards ready to ship to Spain by August 7. We'll airfreight a significant part, so they will be in Spain by the end of August to do the final quality control and start shipping in early September.
In the meantime, we would have finished the assembly of the other few thousand and shipped them to Spain.
In total, that's about three weeks delay on the previous ETA –we wanted to start shipping to you in mid-August.
We know it's not the best news, but you can't imagine how hard we worked –and are working– to keep delays to a minimum.
To cheer you up, here are some images of the first 100 Defy in our warehouse. We can't wait to see them in the hands of our early backers 😍
As always, thank you so much for all of your support, Dygmates! 😘
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