3, 2, 1, 0… Lift Off!
September 05, 2019
We have some great news on today’s update.
We are excited to let you know that manufacturing started a couple of weeks ago!
We’ve been investing a lot of time setting up the assembly line to create a scalable way to manufacture the machines. As always, this has taken more than what we anticipated and slowed us down a bit. Having said that, once the whole system is in place, we expect to start picking up the fruits of this detailed organizational work by having the ability to ramp up production.
The work of organizing the manufacturing process consists mainly of having assembly drawings for every single sub-assembly, next to all the parts needed to assemble them. Doing this brings autonomy to that part of the assembly line, allowing us to introduce a dedicated worker to it that can work with reduced supervision.
Laying down all the details that live in our minds on how to assemble a Kniterate machine into a piece of paper, with instructions that can be clearly understood by the worker, while reducing the possibility of error, is a fascinating but challenging process.
We’ve created approximately half of the assembly drawings and we expect to have finished this over the next couple of weeks. The assembly of the machines has started in the workstations that are ready. So far we’ve introduced two workers into our assembly line and we are planning to scale up this number as we refine all the steps of the assembly line.
The amount of material we’ve received to assemble the first 25 machines caught us slightly by surprise. We knew it would be a lot but we’ve never worked with such a big volume. The process of inspecting, classifying and placing all the components is a slow one. To achieve a smooth assembly process, we have to make sure that all the pieces meet their specifications and are placed in the right location. This ensures a safe and efficient flow of pieces and people.
In regards to inspection, we are currently experiencing some issues with the quality of some of the parts provided by one of our main suppliers. We realized something was off with some of these parts and we had to halt the assembly line to carefully inspect each detail on these parts. This led us to a bunch of discarded pieces that are currently being remade by the supplier, free of charge.
We’ve been testing our latest boards and we’ve detected some minor issues that have stopped us from ordering the final boards. Unfortunately, this introduces some delays on the shipment of the first machines, given that these issues require another iteration to make sure it is all sorted.
Luckily this is not stopping us from assembling machines. The electronic boards are the last component to be added into the knitting machine, so we will continue assembling while the electronics are finalized.
Once we get the final boards we will add them into the assembled machines, test them, and once our exhaustive tests are passed, the machines will be ready to leave the factory.
Knitting can often be appreciated through a mathematical lens. A small set of elements with different properties can be combined in many different ways, resulting in different outcomes. These elements are actions like, for example, knit and purl. Depending on how these simple elements are combined, we observe dramatically different results.
In knitting, certain combinations of these elements are used in different types of pieces, like for example a rib, that can be used in a sweater, a skirt, a beanie, etc. To make the design process easier and more efficient, we have started working on modules, groups of many elements that contain all the instructions to create an area of the piece. So a rib for example, will soon be a module that you’ll be able to adapt to the needs of your piece.
This way of parametrically editing a piece will bring a lot of flexibility into the process, allowing you to describe your garments without getting lost in the details of the implementation.
The parametric nature of modules will allow you to choose between using predefined basic parameters or change those according to your preferences. You will be able to quickly design at a high level with modules but also to dive deep into them, to modify the combination of the elements that build that module.
Modules will be used everywhere. Today we have updated the design app, which contains the first module we’ve developed, a simple one to generate the rear side of a jacquard pattern. A birdseye pattern is created on the rear side of the fabric, to carry around the unused yarns that surface repeatedly to create a pattern on the front.
Our team keeps growing to accelerate development, delivery and increase our capabilities.
🌍 This March Darren joined us as a remote worker. Since then, he has supported Alex in the development of our software. Darren is a graphics programmer in South Africa with a background in maths and scientific application development. To say that we found a gem in a sea of developers is an understatement.
🇬🇧 During the summer Jipke, Kniterate’s first intern joined our London office, and she’s been a key addition. In fact, you may have seen her video work with Anne on Instagram. Because of this, we extended an offer for her to join the team permanently. She will help us on Fridays, given how busy she’s going to be in her last year of grad school.
🇨🇳 Wang and Qian have joined our Chinese manufacturing operations and bring tons of knitting machine experience to the team.
At this stage, you may have lost track of who works at the company, but you can keep up on the About section of our website.
Don’t forget to read our latest team post, in which Anne shares her visit to Techtextil & Texprocess 2019 in Frankfurt.
You can also hear our founder Gerard and Carly Mick on The Edge podcast by Bre Pettis and Zach Dunham.
The goal of this section which, as far as we know, not many crowdfunded projects share, was to prove that we were using our backers’ money responsibly to make the project happen.
Now that we are close to shipping and have not been spotted sipping margaritas in the Bahamas we hope you will understand our decision to stop providing this information.
Why this change?
For the new financials to make sense we would have to share the percentage of funds tied to work in progress inventory. This would mean disclosing proprietary information that puts at risk our competitive advantages and thus our company, particularly from the point of view or our shareholders. Thus, given our recent investment in components, sharing our use of funds is no longer possible.
Do let us know if you have any questions.
|…and the rest later||$7,199||$7,499|
|(inc. VAT)||Current||Sep 27|
|…and the rest later||€6,839||€6,999|
|(inc. VAT)||Current||Sep 27|
|…and the rest later||£6,839||£6,999|
|…and the rest later||C$10,399||C$10,899|
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