As we continue working through the final stages of Instafloss manufacturing, we wanted to take a closer look at some of the challenges and final assembly details we didn’t get the chance to address in our prior updates.
As with any mass manufacturing, part to part differences are expected, and at times those parts can exceed our design specifications, leading to issues in use. This is why there’s a vast amount of final testing and QC checks that each unit undergoes before it’s packaged and ready to send out to customers. One such check is for the holding force of the handle.
It is obvious that the handle must be strong enough to hold the mouthpiece, so to test every one we’ve constructed a simple, yet very effective apparatus for testing:
Uh oh! As you can see from the video that our manufacturing partner sent us (working every Saturday ;) ), when we set up the test (hanging 6.5kg of weight on the end of the mouthpiece!) we were getting waaaaay more failures than is acceptable. What happened?? We ended up with 17 fails out of 50 for this test batch, which was made from parts drawn randomly from the entire production batch.
Two days of careful measurements later Ralf observed that one part, the “mouthpiece retainer” had some variation. It was really really tiny. 0.02mm means the difference between success and failure!!
So now every mouthpiece retainer will be measured. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll stop testing every handle when it’s assembled. It just saves us time and effort!
In the future, we’ve modified the mold to increase the height of that part slightly, so we can be more confident that every single one will be useful, and not have a 33% scrap rate. The samples from the modified mold are expected any day now, and as soon as we approve them a new batch will be injected and air shipped to us, so we don’t lose any time in producing more units.
(Note from Ralf: Hey readers! If you are interested in more details about the trials and tribulations of production, let us know in the comments. I’ve been arguing for ages to include more details but everyone else thinks it's too complicated and boring. For me, this stuff is fascinating. Maybe I’m just a boring engineer though.)
As we mentioned in our previous update, we were hoping to send out a single pallet of Instafloss units to ensure there were no issues with customs, our fulfillment partner or our packaging. We’re happy to say that the first pallet has indeed been sent.
Eagle eyed readers will notice that it looks like it's on two pallets. The blue one is actually holding the scale we were using to verify the final weight.
And here’s a video showing the units being loaded onto the truck:
Once these units arrive to the initial batch of customers and we feel confident in all aspects of the fulfillment chain, we’ll quickly begin sending the remaining units.
We can’t wait to hear from the first people who receive their Instafloss units! It’s been a long journey, but one we’re confident will be all worth it in the end.