New machines into the world
September 07, 2020
What a strange year 2020 has turned out to be. A manufacturing rollercoaster that has taken us away from the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. Our factory shut for weeks, traveling to supervise manufacturing became impossible, supply chains and shipping routes were disrupted, etc.
On top of this, we also experienced setbacks resulting from technical issues during manufacturing. These issues have been solved along the way, but it was only this past Monday that we were able to ship machines again.
As a small company, this unprecedented disruption has made us operate with increased care and with an eye on managing risk as best as we can. Given possible new disruptions, it has become important to minimize the amount of Kniterate units and capital stuck in the factory. What this means is that most components for the next batch were only going to be purchased once we shipped. We’ve been buying and assembling a small number of components for the next batch but it’s only now that we are fully committing capital to it.
The shipping route to LA has been in high demand due to the surge in transporting personal protective equipment and medical equipment. This added a bit more time than we expected, but finally, last week 13 machines started their journey to the US.
Given the difficulties we’ve had to ship machines this time and the busyness and increasing costs of shipping and delivering units towards the end of the year due to the Christmas season, we’ve decided to start shipping the next manufactured machines January of 2021. It will be easier and cheaper then, and it gives us enough buffer to get the next batch of machines finished.
We are currently studying how to accelerate production and how that would impact the timeline and subsequent batches. For this reason, we’ve temporarily deactivated the timeline as we wouldn’t want to give you false estimates again. We are going to update the timeline within a couple of weeks once we’ve planned manufacturing in the longer term and have more information to provide more accurate times.
We haven’t been talking much about software lately but the development has stayed apace during this summer. We’ve been working on refactoring the app to make it look and feel like professional CAD software.
We are now developing a layer system so you can have multiple objects on the canvas (images, shapes, text, etc.) and modify them at any time during the design process: scale, rotate, translate, arrange, group, etc. This will provide a better user experience while expanding the design possibilities.
We’ve already developed most of these functionalities and we are now working on integrating them with what we already have. We will publish these changes as soon as this integration is done.
As you might have noticed, app aesthetics is something we haven’t been prioritizing so far, a simpler interface was enough to allow users to navigate and explore all of its functionalities. As we introduce these new functionalities, a more suitable interface is required to handle them and facilitate its usage.
We’ve had an experienced designer to re-skin the design app to make it more appealing and improve the user experience. We are hoping to implement this new design in a few weeks, as soon as the layer system is integrated.
We left our office in London to become a globally distributed team. Our knitting machine traveled to mainland Europe landing in the beautiful city of Utrecht, in the Netherlands. There our colleague Jipke Lezwijn (our Knitting Happiness Specialist) has restarted demos and will be running our sampling service for our European customers. You can connect with her here to see the machine working and ask her any questions you have before ordering.
Thanks again for your support through this difficult 2020.