Welcome to another Kokoon update.
Last time, we looked at preparations for the second pre-production run (PP2). This time, PP2 is complete, so we’ll be updating you on the results and sharing content from the factory to give insight into how your headphones will be made. We will also be updating you on our shipping schedule, now that PP2 is complete and we’ve been able to review it against our spec.
The PP2 production process
As mentioned above, we wanted to give more insight into what’s going on in China and how we got to this point. We’ve been working hard over the last months on setting up our production line, in partnership with our factory, testing and improving. We wanted to give you an idea of what the production process actually looks like so we’ve prepared this short video:
Completed PP2 units
We’re thrilled to announce that PP2 was completed largely without any issues at the factory. We included a lot of feedback from PP1, intended to make a higher quality product, and we’re very happy with the result. Below you’ll find a few photos of the units themselves.
An exciting day, PP2 units boxed up and ready for shipping
Some of the PP2 units when they arrived with us here in the UK
The headphone package in their shipping carton. This is how they will be sent you, our customers, to ensure they’re not damaged in shipping.
As you may have noticed from the above images, we’ve updated the box design slightly from PP1. We discovered that our previous design had some quality issues but also wasn’t very easy for our customers to open. You can see a more detailed look at a PP2 box and unit below:
The new packaging
The PP2 headphones, accessories, and packaging
Packaged in the case
We’re excited to say that many of these units have now been sent out to customers as part of our test shipping. These units have been sent to customers in four countries, via our distribution partners, and through their distribution centres in the US and EU.
The shipping of PP2 units to customers marks our next stage in testing, as we continue to evaluate the customer experience. This stage of testing and evaluation will be ongoing, throughout shipping and onwards. As more customers are able to test and use the Kokoon headphones and app, we want to gather as much information as possible on how our customers interact with them on a daily basis, so we can further refine the app, customer experience, and our algorithms.
In other good news, we’ve successfully negotiated the major certification testing for our headphones. The headphones must pass all of the certifications before we are able to ship and, so far, we have passed most required tests for the following certifications (whilst we wait for the last few to complete): CE (EU), FCC (US) and IC (Canada).
Work has been continuing on the app and our algorithms, and we’re expecting to release a new version of the Kokoon app as part of an “Early Access” programme.
The app will include content designed to introduce our customers to the platform and show you how to get the most out of your Kokoon headphones. We have also been working on new guided content designed to help you relax and sleep. The scripts for these have been written and we’re in the process of getting this content recorded now.
In this early access release, some of our features will be in their very early stages. This is due to the fact the platform is driven by data; the more data we have, the more we can refine our algorithms and the features those power. While we have been collecting as much data as possible until now, our algorithms will benefit from wider data sets and more data to analyse. There will be a lot to learn as more and more Kokoon units are out ‘in the wild’ and every backer using their headphones helps us train our algorithms to deliver a better experience.
PP2 testing feedback
We’ve learnt a lot from PP2 about how production-ready our headphones are, and identified a few areas that need attention.
Grey Headband Sock
Following PP1 testing, one of the changes identified was to the headband cushioning to improve comfort. We adapted our headband cushioning, however during PP2 assembly, we then found this required changes to the grey headband sock shape, due to different stretch properties between the black and grey fabrics.
The production line
One of our focus areas for this pre-production run was improving the efficiency and quality from the manufacturing line. After the review of our processes, we are seeing improvements in multiple areas; for example, the gluing process, which has helped to improve the gap between the silicone earcup cushion and the outer frame of the earcup.
Unfortunately, PCBA programming was not as quick as we were aiming to achieve on the line. Each station on the production line has a time limit of about 60 seconds so that we can maintain our desired throughput of units. For the PCBA programming, we were unable to increase our programming speed above 145 seconds, meaning we will have to programme one of our Micro-Controller Units (the one inside our Bluetooth module) before the PCB population phase, or ‘SMT’ (surface mount technology) phase where the module is soldered onto the PCB.
Metal headband grounding
During testing, we found some intermittent issues with our metal headband grounding spring. This was temporarily fixed for the PP2 run by increasing the spring force. For the next run (MP1) however, we have sourced a higher force spring, that is thicker, to combat the issue.
Earcup shorting issues
Another intermittent issue has been wires shorting in the earcup sub-assembly. The image below shows the solder points where we have found wires shorting. We are tackling this problem by adjusting our production methods and by adding extra production testing steps to detect these issues at the earliest stage in the production chain.
The solder points where wires have been shorting
While we are making great progress, and no major issues have been found with PP2, the issues with grounding and wires shorting have pushed back our schedule. These issues must be rectified and retested thoroughly before we can progress to MP1.
This means that the first mass production units will start shipping to customers in July. This is several weeks later than we had planned which is disappointing, however, to ensure the final quality of the product, this was unfortunately necessary. We’re sorry for the delay, but we must ensure the product doesn’t disappoint when it arrives. We will contact customers via email when your order is ready to confirm your address as we begin shipping out soon.
That’s all for now, we hope you enjoyed reading. We’ll keep you up to date with photos from MP1 as soon as possible and update you on progress with mass manufacture. As always, we love hearing from you either through email or our social media channels Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Kokoon Team