When the new deadline came closer more trouble happened. The industry production test of my drill bit holder worked perfectly. But it went really wrong when the actual production started.
The first industry test moulds were successfully done in a rather stiff plastic and looked very nice. Now it turned out to be tremendous problems squirting in the elastic material needed. I was forced to quickly approve a costly remake of the plastic injection tool testing a theory of increasing intakes from 4 to 10 would make it work.
Adjusting one thing changes another. At least it did work, they got the troublesome rubber into the mould but this presented new problems. It didn’t work to just rip of the casting beard. I had to individually cut off ten strings from each casting beard from over 5.000 units =50.000 cuts! This meant hours of extra work on top of my stupid paper sheet packaging solution adding even more time to the task.
Even with the massive casting beard they had to push in the rubber at maximum pressure. This led to lots of residue left on the products, especially from the casting beards. If you didn’t cut it properly, or even worse, ripped off the casting beard there would be a considerable amount of plastic crap hanging out. This was certainly not good enough and I had to trim the inside with a nail clipper. Not a thing you want to do 50.000 times when the deadline is only a few days away.
Now it was time to call in the big guys to sort this mess out.
An earlier SNAFU* with the bastard advisor had delayed my progress. Now everything was rushed on to deliver in time for the retailers catalogue.
Just in time… NOT! I was in a very tight spot. They released their catalogue twice a year and wanted my Gearfix drill bit holder in the next edition. But I was in the middle of developing it and could not guarantee it would be ready in time. In fact, I couldn’t guarantee anything.
Worlds best retailer They were concerned of me rushing the development and told me about another invention they had last year. He had a very clever tool, but it was rushed into production. That resulted in material failure and they had to recall all units. It simply broke apart in the hands of the customers and the product got such a bad reputation it never recovered.
He ended saying -”Developing new products have to take its time. It’s better you aim for next years catalogue Martin.”.
Yep, I missed it
I even missed our next deadline by a few weeks. But it was about five months until the next catalogue so no one really bothered. However, not being in the catalogue from start turned out to have a negative impact later on.
The manufacturer was curious of my choice of material for the drill bit holder. So was I.
Rubber samples I got a few strings of an elastic plastic they manufactured something else with. It was a bit stiff but very resilient. I had no clue of what I was doing so I just say OK and hoped for the best. I moulded the prototypes in my basement with a cookie jar and figured these experts should be capable to do this much better than me.
Casually taking a plunge
You have to be a bit naïve going forward with a venture like this. I often have to take calculated risks based on gut feelings. Comparable to jumping in a pool hoping to learn to swim before drowning.
Was it a floater?
The actual result was a metaphorically equivalent to the pool being empty (as my illustration). There was no water to drown in but I was presented to another equally troublesome problem. Something I’ll write about in future posts.
It’s very simple to protect your product design within the European Union. It’s rather cheap and I recently registered another design online last week.
Online protection service
Just log on to OAMI and go for it. If you can’t patent your invention you can at least try to protect its design. Make sure to have proper images of your design. From OAMI the design officially will be yours in all of Europe.
Another great thing is that you can wait registering 12 months from when first released. Sometimes you want to see if your cool design has any value by trying to sell or demonstrate it publicly. It is the “other party” that has to prove that your design registration isn’t valid.
The other day I got advised by three attorneys to “never” patent designed things. They claimed design protection is much better. Still, as stated earlier, the protection is not stronger than the size of your wallet.
You see them everywhere but what are they and how do they get there?
My own code
I spent hours researching and eventually figured out what needed to be done. It’s always scary diving into something you are completely clueless of. I’m still not sure, but it seems that www.gs1.com is the only place to get a bar code from?
You actually just log on to their website and place your order. Beware, there are lots of different types of bar codes and the information provided doesn’t help that much. You then receive a number that somehow transforms into the bar code.
Everything is relative, but I wasn’t too keen on putting up the money for this when starting out with my drill bit holder. The cheap choice would have been to force my retailer to create and print their own bar codes. I’m quite sure they wouldn’t have liked that at all. I prefer being professional and keeping my customers happy any way I can.