Let's start with the great news: we've begun shipping the first 100 Dygma Defy keyboards, and some are already in their new homes 🎉
The first reports are very positive, but it could well be just the sheer emotion of receiving something you've waited for so long 😅
And that's it; stay tuned for more news next week, including:
- An update on the ETA for mass production
- The new Bazecor 1.3.2, which adds battery management features for the Dygma Defy.
New Bazecor 1.3.2
Last week we released a new version of Bazecor, our configurator software. It includes several general improvements and new features for the Dygma Defy ✨
For example, we have a new cloud-based firmware update process. The firmware is no longer attached to the software, so we can roll out firmware updates without releasing new software versions.
This process also has a new UI showing the progress of the step-by-step flashing procedure.
There's also a new Wireless section where you can see the connection status, the battery levels, an energy-saving mode, and some RF settings.
We want more advanced energy management options ready when mass production ships, but this adds the basics.
We have also added a quick battery menu at the bottom left corner. If you hover over it, you can see your battery levels.
But having to open Bazecor to see your battery level is not optimal, so we've added a battery status key that you can assign to your keyboard. When you press it, it'll show you the battery level or if it's charging.
- 🔴 One red LED means less than 10%
- 🟢 One green LED means less than 40%
- 🟢🟢 Two means between 40 and 70%
- 🟢🟢🟢 And three mean above 70%
- 🔋 When you're charging, the lights will pulse green in a sequence
Finally, we're working on implementing how to switch between different BT devices. You can only have one at a time now, so we've added a Reset key to disconnect and connect to various devices.
Ok, so the software is progressing steadily. Now to the meat of the matter: mass production.
New ETA for mass-production
After solving the problem with the PCB testing and validation bottleneck, we're now happily assembling the top block of the keyboard – that's the top panel with the keyscanner PCB and the switches. At the time of recording this last Wednesday, we have about 2000 ready 🥳
So, our Supply Chain Manager, Aitor, continued to ensure all our suppliers met the deadlines and the quality standards.
And he found three different dragons to fight:Production Challenges
The palm pads
The first quest had to do with the palm pads. The first batch arrived at our assembly factory, and when we did our Incoming Quality Control, 80% failed: most had glue stains on the surface, and others had imperfections in the seams. So we rejected them all 😭
When you get such a terrible acceptance ratio, you must reassess how that product is manufactured. You can't throw away 4 out of 5 you make.
So, we redesigned the mold again to have a slightly taller side wall (about 1 mm), and now the silicon pad is stuck to the base of the palm pad with industrial double-sided tape instead of glue.
We've had to wait to make a sample and test it –it stayed in a chamber for three days where the temperature fluctuated from 60º to -30º Celsius – but we're now back to production.
Fortunately, the palm pads are added to the keyboard during fulfillment, so we had some leeway, which won't affect the timeline. But our hearts can only cope with so many of these surprises. And more were on their way.
The tenting legs
This one is my personal "favorite." The aluminum tenting legs for the Defy were supposed to be delivered during the last week of July. And when we went to the factory to do a quick check, none were finished 😳
To be fair, all the aluminum parts were done, but they hadn't glued the anti-slip tip. They said that we didn't have to worry, that they would do that with a machine and output thousands a day.
You can see where this is going: the machine couldn't stick the anti-slip properly, and now they had to do it by hand. So instead of thousands, they could only do 120 sets a day. And you need two sets per keyboard!
So, once again, we sat down with them to find a solution, which ultimately came down to asking a nearby factory for more trained workers. The timeline will be tight –we'll receive the legs in batches instead of all at the same time– but bullet dodged 😮💨
On to the next one.
This is a funny one. The base is one of the things that worried us the least because it's the same supplier that does the assembly, but it might be the part that affects the timeline.Production and Fulfillment Changes
Our supplier decided to fix some imperfections in the mold that were causing little anomalies in the plastic. And it turned out that removing some of those anomalies – specifically the ones around the hinges – made the tenting legs loose.
So, again, retool the mold to fix it, test it, and go back to production. But over a week was lost. It's not a tragedy because we've continued assembling top blocks.
However, we wanted to have about a thousand keyboards ready to ship to Spain by next week, and instead, we'll have two thousand by the end of the week after.
But don't reach for your torches and pitchforks just yet 😅
We've been working on a special project for the last couple of months that will be ready in time to save the day.
The new fulfillment
Since the inception of Dygma, quality control has been one of our top priorities. At first, we didn't have enough manpower to have someone in China to oversee production all the time. And that led to many quality issues.
Our solution at the time: ship the keyboards to Spain and do quality control and final fulfillment here.
When the pandemic hit, being able to ship from Spain saved us. We could continue manufacturing remotely to check and validate the product here.
But in itself, the system is inefficient. We have to ship the keyboards to Spain, which can take up to two months by sea, and then ship them worldwide. Also, when we find imperfections here in Spain, we often don't have the tools, parts, or knowledge to correct them.
Also, our fulfillment center here has less capacity; even if we hire extra people, there's limited space, so it takes longer to fulfill big batches like the Defy mass production.
Shipping the keyboards from where we make them would be better, using the assembly factory's knowledge and facilities and with a trained workforce available for when there are spikes in the workload 📈
Ideally, we would manufacture in Spain or Europe, but if you've watched our "Why is everything made in China" video, you'll know that it's still not feasible for complex electronics like our keyboards.
You can do some things like PCB assembly and some mechanical parts, but there's not a robust ecosystem in place yet.
Now that we've grown and our product and operations team has quadrupled, including our beloved Supply Chain Manager, Aitor, we can have someone always in China to oversee production and fulfillment all the time 👩🔬
So, instead of shipping the products to Spain, we'll have a quality control and fulfillment line in our assembly factory. Jairo, our Chief of Operations, will fly there next week to set it up, and he'll stay a few weeks until everything is running smoothly and we're shipping keyboards steadily.
And, as we said, we'll always have someone on the ground to keep quality control in check 🧐
We plan to do that for all non-European customers. For those in Europe, we'll still ship the keyboards to Spain. Since there are so many keyboard variations, it's best to do the final fulfillment here.
That way, we'll also ensure that Europeans don't have to pay import taxes. For the rest of the world, it doesn't matter if it ships from Spain or China. It's an import anyway.
So, what about the timeline?
The good news is that, with this new approach, we have shaved the time it takes for the keyboards to get to Spain, and we can also fulfill faster. We planned to airfreight the first runs, which would've taken two or three weeks.
This was the previous timeline:
Leaving some breathing room in case things don't go as planned, the first keyboards will start shipping during the last week of August instead of early September.
Yes, you heard right. The ETA has not been delayed but advanced 🙌
Here's the new timeline:
And with that good note, let's call it a day.
As always, thank you so much for your support 😍
Tak skal du have 🇩🇰