Hope everyone had a pleasant month of November! Production work continued throughout the month and we've been able to complete training with our factory as planned as well as resolve most of our issues. Unfortunately, a few hurdles remain that we're working to clear. Let's dive in to the details.
We’re happy to say that most of the optimization, inspection, and training activities have been going quite smoothly. We’ve managed to iron out a lot of quality issues with practice. We’re really thrilled with how the glasses are looking as we get closer to the end of this journey!
Each practice run has been showing marked improvement, and assembly work is starting to speed up considerably, which bodes well for higher volume manufacturing runs as we work on shipping all rewards.
In particular, charging case assembly is looking great, and it looks like assembly will be able to keep pace with the glasses, or will be done well in advance.
The bigger challenge for us has been optimizing the adhesive procedures, which we noted in our previous update was one area that had slowed us down. Vue’s dimensions are quite small, so the process must be very precise. As we mentioned in the October update, an obvious quality standard that we maintain is that the glue that is applied by the machine during production should not seep through any seams in the product. It’s a tough balance to maintain—too little glue and the bonding is not strong enough, whereas too much may seep out as seen below.
There has been a considerable amount of fine tuning for this process. The amount of glue that is laid down onto the parts depends on a lot of factors, but most critically it depends on the speed of the adhesive flow, the speed of the dispensing head, and the diameter of the dispensing needle. Unfortunately, it isn’t always simply a matter of adjusting the settings. In our case, some of the machines we used simply were not able to perform with the level of precision we required.
Due to this, we ended up evaluating several other machines our factory had available, and ultimately ended up ordering custom equipment that could perform to our specifications. With the tweaking, testing, and ordering of a new machine, this added weeks of work that we weren’t anticipating.
A good chunk of November was spent evaluating these new procedures and machines and then validating them. We also had to create entirely new fixtures for the new machine to help properly place the frames beneath the dispensing head as well as clamp the pieces together after they’ve been glued.
During the last week of November, we ran through the new equipment and procedures and will be evaluating those units shortly. Once the gluing adjustments have been validated, everything will be in place for full production.
We think it’s important to eliminate as many of these issues as we can before shipping so that backers have the best product possible. This first generation of Vue that you are all helping to launch will be the first of many generations of product, and your valuable feedback is going to directly help shape how Vue seeks to change the global eyewear market. We know the wait for some of these details is tiresome, but we want you all with us for the long haul, and we think these details will be important for that!
In anticipation of advancing to full production, our lens factory has been finishing lenses and shipping them to our assembly factory, where they will wait to be installed into each backer’s frame.
The lens manufacturing has been far more straightforward than the frames, so we’ve had no hiccups in the process thus far. Most of the processes for lens manufacturing are well established and automated, meaning the process is predictable and controlled.
In the above video, the machine is actually cutting a lens to shape. Once finished, the lens is dropped into its corresponding tray and moved down its conveyor system. You can then see the next lens be picked up by the machine where it will go through the same process. It’s pretty impressive to see some of this advanced equipment in action!
We’ve also started to prepare for our second production batch for the units beyond the first 1000. As you may recall from previous updates, the PCBs for the first 1000 have already been completed and are already at our assembly factory waiting for final assembly. We’re aiming to time it so that we can start work on our second batch as the first units are shipping out.
We recently received our next batch of over 8000 PCBs. Once the first production batch is running, we’ll have the PCBs go through SMT, and they’ll immediately be ready for the next production batch.
We've been putting the finishing touches on this update after another long day at the factory, and will be back at it again after posting! We'll continue to keep you updated on progress as we get closer to the finish line.
We acknowledge that we’ve been too optimistic with these previous few updates. Production work has been really busy, but also really exciting. Being in the factory and seeing so many units come to life is what we’ve been waiting for throughout this journey, and in our eagerness we’ve been too quick to assume the best. We haven’t been factoring in buffer to account for some of these issues. Because of this, we don’t want to lead backers on that we can ship these out in December. Instead, we’re going to plan on January. We really do apologize for the delays, and we hope that the details in our updates provides clarity on our progress. If we are able to get units out earlier, we’ll certainly let you know. But we’d rather set expectations that first units will go out around mid-January, then will pick up again in late February after Chinese New Year.
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- The quickest way for us to help is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To change your shipping address, email email@example.com.
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We receive hundreds more emails than normal immediately after posting updates, so we apologize if it takes longer than expected for us to get back to you!
Until next time!
the Vue team