Septemper to November: Production is hard?!
Greetings once again, dear backers. We owe you an apology for falling short on our monthly communications pledge, but we're back on track with this latest update.
In our last update, we were in the process of manufacturing turbine number 23. We are thrilled to report that we've now surged ahead to turbine number 65. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, and the unwavering support from all of you.
We're almost increasing our capabilities by an impressive 40% every month. This has allowed us to fulfill more than 60% of the Kickstarter orders. We initially commenced with the lowest tiers, but we are now in a position to start fulfilling orders from all tiers. This is a significant milestone for us and we're excited to be able to bring our product to more of our backers.
One of our team members, Gintaras, may have reached out to you via email. If you haven't received any communication from him, please let us know. Gintaras is keen to hear back from you, to make sure your turbine is properly queued for shipment. It's important for us to ensure that everyone who supported us receives their turbine as soon as possible.
While we are working tirelessly to deliver and ship everything by the end of the year, we're cautious about making any definite promises. We're deeply committed to delivering high-quality turbines rather than rushing to dispatch them. Quality takes precedence over speed - but rest assured, we have a good stock and are working relentlessly to get your turbines dispatched!
Kickstarter journey; What has Wind Catcher become?
Wind Catcher has evolved since its Kickstarter launch. Our internal "Kickstarter" version was essentially a 2.0 version. It marked the second generation of our technology, and we made significant improvements in reliability and performance.
We were thrilled with the positive response to our turbine innovation and were eager to continue improving. However, we encountered issues that led to both enhancements and delays.
We're profoundly grateful to all our backers for their patience and ongoing support. Your understanding has not led to any negative impact, and for that, we thank you.
So if the first version was a 2.0 then we’re up to a version 3.5 now. A generation and a half more than the initial.
Here are some of the most important changes:
- We found out the initial gear system was too bulky, and there was no good way around a redesign and getting it more compact for when shipping, and transporting the turbine.
- We found out the tower system needed to change, and the geometry of guy wire, and how the turbine was prone to hitting them was crucual to solve the relaibility for the turbine strong winds.
- We went from a stall-regulated turbine to a pitch regulated turbine, which in this scale means the forces are MUCH lower in higher wind-speeds. We’ve optimized the line length to get good angles for perofrmance and yaw stability. It’s CRAZY that we don’t need a tail to keep the turbine in the wind. This gives Wind Catcher it’s very visual distinct look.
- We completely changed the electrical infrastructure, we got rid of the internal batteries, which is tricky to handle in different weather (hot or cold), and are a firehazard.
- We made a solar emulator - so Wind Catcher is the ONLY wind power product on the market that can charge portable power stations ! We think this is pretty cool.
- We reduced the high end production of Wind Catcher by reducing the belt width on the gear system - this means much less friction, and better performance in lower wind-speed. We are super focused on getting good performance in lower winds, because this is what matters most - reliable performance, and not peak performance.
We've made substantial improvements to enhance the product's usability. There are several ongoing projects and modifications that aim to further improve the product without altering its core functionality. These include improving component color coding, enhancing the manual, and creating a more comprehensive tutorial video. Firmware updates are also anticipated in the future.
Crankin’ but no communications?!
You might be wondering what we've been up to. To be honest, it might not seem like much, but we've taken a thousand small steps to reach where we are production-wise. It's been a busy time for us, and as Elon Musk once said, "prototyping is easy, production is hard". - if he had posted it a little earlier, maybe we would have been more prepared.
We've put in a great deal of work to ensure our quality: conducting checks, improving processes, and refining our methods.
Lets dive into what goes on “behind” the scenes.
A turbine is a stick, 3 things that spin, and a generator is it not?
It's been an incredible journey, and we've learned a lot. While there are still a thousand things we can improve, we're moving forward.
- We're managing over 200 unique parts! In fact, a single Wind Catcher comprises more than 400 parts. When we include our electronics, that number increases by an additional 450 components. So, we're dealing with almost 1000 components per unit!
- ~100x 3Dprinted parts needs to be printed, handled, inspected and put to place in our 3D print farm
- ~50x unique parts need to be bought from almost as many subsuppliers, and we have to manage stock, inventory, and getting the right parts. That’s a lot of supply chain management!
- ~35 unique hardware components of nuts/bolts/washers is needed. And we’ve gone to great length to minimize this number.
- ~15 unique stock components that needs to be cut from raw-stock to size, and then used after
On top of all of this, the software is around 30.000 lines of code! And our hardware are sampling 200 times a second for the wind turbine controller.
Systems, systems, systems,
Our team is hard at work developing systems for managing many processes. Building a Wind Catcher unit is complex, involving over 60 procedures. Each one is carried out with accuracy by our skilled production team. The detailed process of blade production includes CNC-cutting, foiling, and epoxy glue-up of components.
Producing quality products isn't just a goal, it's a promise. We see challenges as chances to learn and improve.
We've put in place a system to prioritize tasks, creating a clear plan for what comes next. This system includes cards, signatures, and detailed quality control checklists for each turbine.
To keep production efficient and prevent excess, we've set up a production management system in the workshop.
BUT; it’s not only production that goes on. We’re continuesly improving the production set-up with tools, jigs and guide to ensure good consistent product.
Our team has grown to seven members, increasing our skills and abilities. We've made progress in many areas, including production and marketing. You may have seen the results of our advertising efforts.
We've launched our marketing campaigns and successfully sold numerous turbines to new customers. Our production is progressing well. We began on a dirt-road, and now we're on pavement - perhaps not smooth, but definitely there.
Expect to see more advertisements and marketing efforts from us.
We are ready to hear from you regarding shipping details, so we can get your turbine into the system, and get it shipped as soon as its ready.
We value your feedback, especially if you've already received your turbine. If you've used it, perhaps you have some photos you'd like to share?
We welcome both praise and criticism. Your feedback helps us improve Wind Catcher.
Feel free to reach out to us with any questions, feedback, or advice. We're eager to hear from you.
Best Windy Regards,
The KiteX Team