The Aergrind is our new compact coffee grinder - it aims to bring the technology and grind quality that we at Knock have honed through our previous designs to a wider audience by being the first of our grinders that are truly scalable for volume production.
At an expected RRP of £85 inc taxes, the Aergrind brings cafe quality taste with you anywhere you can brew your own coffee. The quality of your coffee's grind is directly linked to the flavour in your cup. Put simply...
a better grind means better coffee.
So, what's special about the Aergrind compared to other grinders?
A son-of-Feldgrind design, the Aergrind will bring 3rd Wave, cafe-quality grinding to wherever you and your imagination can take you. And all that at a price which will re-set market expectations.
A compact grinder that is slim enough to fit inside an Aeropress(tm), the Aergrind will be the go-to grinder for an entire generation of coffee enthusiasts. Our specially hardened black steel burrs (not blunt and breakable cheap ceramic) running on food-grade bearings means a durable grinder that is good for hundreds of kilograms of coffee - years of trouble free consistent grinding. And it's that consistency that makes for better tasting coffee.
How do we achieve that?
The aim of this project is to raise enough funds for us to start the first Aergrind production run at a scale that makes it possible to pass on savings to the customer and meet the growing worldwide demand for our products.
And this is where the Aergrind is really different - our current designs limit volume production, the Aergrind's encourages it!
Our Kickstarter investors will benefit by receiving a grinder at up to a 50% discount on the expected retail price. We're even giving one away for the princely sum of £1!
You will also know that you are enabling Knock to grow our team, develop our retail network and enable us to realise the benefit of our innovation and intellectual property.
By simplifying the design, minimising the number of parts and introducing a clever twist to the dial adjustment, the Aergrind delivers the same grinding principles that made the Feldgrind a worldwide success to those in the know, but at an easier entry price.
A successful project will allow us to bring all our 4 years and 3000+ grinders worth of experience to higher volume production.
The funds raised will immediately enable us to hit higher volume orders that significantly reduce machining costs. They will also allow us to pay for the custom dial lid mould - we have costed for a single cavity as a minimum but achieving our higher aims will yield enough to pay for multiple cavity mould that again reduce overall costs which itself has benefits post Kickstarter by putting us in a great position to keep the eventual retail costs down.
Importantly your investment will also bring in staff to match the challenges that an addtional project of this scale will bring - initially it will allow us to hire a dedicated customer service person to deal with the project processing. It will then also allow us to bring in and train more assembly and packing employees. It is expected that these roles will then be developed into long term positions in support of the growing retail and wholesale business that the Aergrind will generate. Real jobs in a growing industry.
We are limiting the total amount of Aergrinds available through Kickstarter to 841 units. In combination with ordering enough parts in our first order run to accommodate same again in the post Kickstarter delivery period, this will ensure we can achieve the delivery time-frame targets - an open-ended offering would cause delays while specialist suppliers find production time for previously unspecified volumes (the number of burrs sets for example is already well within our partner's capacity and our own ordering schedule).
The scale of the additional parts order will be used to ensure availability to those who come too late to be part of this Aergrind release but nevertheless will want to order what we are confident will be the best compact grinder around.
Risks and challenges
Having made 2 of the most successful hand grinders of the last 5 years, the Hausgrind and the Feldgrind, we know how to design a grinder!
We also have deep, real world experience of what can go wrong in translating grinder design from CAD to actual production not only from our grinder manufacture experience, but also from our other goods which have used multiple methods of production (e.g. rubber and plastic injection moulding).
Primary problems in high quality grinder manufacture arise around fit and alignment of burrs to grinder body - we are using the same burrs, both in production and processing companies, from our current grinders to ensure that this critical part is not a variable (we have had 1000s of these pass through our hands in the last few years and have data and experience to match).
Our machining companies have been selected from our experience in other areas of high value industrial engineering production. Our final production contracts include speedy provision of 100 beta units which will be delivered and built up for field testing prior to the full production run being green lit - these will be distributed to coffee industry testers across the UK and world-wide, and a randomly selected % of the Kickstarter community (yep, these lucky folk will end up with 2 Aergrinds!).
In simplifying our design for the Aergrind we have deliberately minimised the number of moulded parts, preferring to rely on machined body and mechanism. Aside from the benefits in strength and finish quality this will bring to the Aergrind, this also benefits the Kickstarter process by removing extremely time consuming and expensive issues that arise from part-to-part fit, which have to be dealt with sequentially. Basically the lead time for accurately machining finished metal items is shorter than the lead time for plastics - no mould design/manufacture/material & shrinkage compensation and subsequent fit tolerancing issues to bedevil production times.
Furthermore, we have sequenced the production to ensure that where there is a moulded to machined part fit, the latter's machine run is started pending the actual arrival of the production moulded piece. This allows any for micro variations in fit to be accommodated in the machined part. The additional cost of fast-tracking the moulded parts to achieve this has been factored into costs.
We are limiting our maximum offer of this grinder for Kickstarter rather than leaving it open to ensure that we don't exceed numbers of grinders that we can realistically build in the delivery time frame.
However we have modelled this project to allow us to order considerably more parts than are required to make this limited run.
These additional parts are our guarantee on covering any damaged or substandard parts that are delivered - the scale of this "over" order is such that the it will further form the initial stock for subsequent full price availability via our webstore and our current wholesale network.
Cosmetic problems such inconsistent colour finish are being avoided by specifying identical material source, tolerancing and even tool type and speed used to produce the 2 main body parts - this will mean that both body parts then receive the same treatment regardless of their function, both in machining and anodising.
We have been preparing for additional staff to take on roles withing the company for the period of the Kickstarter campaign and the production process. Over the course of the last few months (including the pre-Christmas build period) several of these potential new team member have worked with us and we are confident that they have the skills in place to hit the ground running. In addition, the Aergrind has been deliberately designed so that the build process frees our most experienced team members to focus on the fit and alignment of the grinder's burr mechanism - the most important part of getting the best value grinder to the Kickstarter community.
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