Suddenly they told me we had to wait 3 weeks more for the material delivery!? This was not included in their estimated production time and sabotaged my deadline completely. On top of this the material company sent the wrong stuff adding even more delay to the injury.
I pledged to the retailer if they could accept a divided delivery, half now & half later. They replied -”All or nothing!”. A worrying comment indeed.
The degree of elasticity was hard to decide. Just before the first production batch I figured out how stiff it had to be. A problem with elastic gadgets is that you want a combination of maximal stretchiness with sturdy stiffness. It will always be a compromise and I will do my best to never invent anything elastic again.
I did get a fair price for the injection mould to start with. The price later doubled and they talked about more money to fix the problematic nature of elastic moulding materials.
Early on I got some rubber samples that seemed OK. But when they actually moulded the first real samples of my invention I got a worrying conversation. The guy was rather pessimistic but I was mostly disturbed of his wining and lack of enthusiasm.
Bubbles & beard There was a long row of issues building up. Bubbles not escaping the material and a nasty casting beard from the high pressure. He said it was like moulding a chewing gum, very difficult.
Boardroom hustle We discussed problems, solutions and I pointed out that they also had forgot my Gearfix logo in relief. I also pointed out that I wasn’t pleased with doubling the price tag. Especially when they now were talking about even more expenses. You pay, you learn.
What I’m paying for
The solution was to alter the mould increasing the casting intakes, adding a “hot nose” and some minor changes like putting on the logo etc. This resulted in another time consuming problem you can read about here & here.
Other successful rubber products Why were they having so much trouble moulding my simple drill bit holder? There are tons of rubbery toys and stuff all over the world. What was the problem with my gadget, the shape was fairly simple?
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.