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Latest Product Roll-Out Timeline

Today we’re sharing a new timeline for when those of you who have pre-ordered or backed us on Kickstarter can anticipate receiving your FLUID meters. First, we’d like to state the obvious – we underestimated both the difficulty and time it takes to ship a product like FLUID. 

Let’s recap:
For our Kickstarter, we had working prototype that cost us +$900 to manufacture because it was made mostly of off the shelf parts. The process of re-engineering this into a product that can be produced for under $299 (our retail price) has plagued us since our Kickstarter ended. We tried using a threshold based time-to-digital converter (ASIC solution) that we were purchasing – but found we couldn’t achieve a good enough signal to noise ratio. We scrapped that plan and went to China to leverage existing clamp-on ultrasonic technology. After months of testing we found the Chinese meters were inconsistent and inaccurate. We scrapped the China partner plan and tried building our own again. Thankfully we had a number of break-throughs during this process and instead of using an ASIC we have achieved the proper noise to signal ration using our completely proprietary design.

Now we are testing this and while we’re happy with the flow sensor itself, it’s been taking longer than we hoped to iron out all the bugs. We’ve encountered bugs in the firmware with features like WiFi setup and we’ve noticed there are some issues around long-term accuracy that we’re rectifying. We’re crunching through these issues and are making progress.

We’ve given ourselves a couple of months to work these kinks out in the small pilot. Once we get to a point where we are satisfied with the performance we’ll be ready to get meters manufactured and begin shipping.

Please know that we are committed to this project and are working as fast as we can. The last thing we want to do is ship a product that doesn’t work properly or becomes inaccurate over-time. An inoperable meter and bad water usage data isn’t worth anything to you or to us.

Below you’ll find the new product roll-out timeline we’ve developed. Thank you for your continued patience. 

– The FLUID Team

FLUID Participating in ASPIRE Program

We’re proud to announce that FLUID was selected as one of the 10 companies to participate in Venturewell’s 2017 ASPIRE Program – Cleantech Cohort. The program takes place this week (Sept 11-15th) in Detroit. 

 

The program will help FLUID articulate our case for investment and prepare the documents and materials we’ll need to secure partners and investors. We’ll have a chance to meet with experienced mentors and facilitators who have expertise in early-stage financing and commercialization partnerships for cleantech innovators like FLUID. 

Our hope is to leverage this program to gain the necessary momentum to accelerate our business. Please know that we are working very hard and are fully committed to getting FLUID through to commercialization. 

Small run of meters to be deployed shortly

Just a quick update to let everyone know that we’re assembling a small run of 50 meters that will be deployed in the upcoming week. Here’s a few pics of them getting assembled:

A number of boards ready to go!
A number of boards ready to go!

 

Transducers mounted in enclosures. 
Transducers mounted in enclosures.

 

Boards in enclosures.
Boards in enclosures.

 

Finished units.
Finished units.

 

FLUID Live Demo @ Minnedemo 26

Here is a video of FLUID’s first live demo at Minnedemo 26 last night. Thanks to https://minnestar.org/ for putting on such an awesome event and to http://tech.mn for recording the demo!

Enjoy!

Minnedemo 26 | FLUID from TECHdotMN on Vimeo.

Video Update – Progress on FLUID

Video Update – Progress on FLUID

MN Cup Semi-finalist

Excited to be selected as a semi-finalist in the MN Cup Energy/CleanTech/Water division. See all the semi-finalists here: https://carlsonschool.umn.edu/faculty-research/blog/entrepreneurship/mn-cup-2017-semifinalists

 

Manufacturing Visit A Success

Late last month our team visited our manufacturing partner in Shenzhen, China. We spent time reviewing the results of the EVT (Engineering Validation Test) and DVT (Design Validation Test). We were also able to visit the facilities where the PCBA as well as the final product will be assembled, calibrated and quality tested.

Thankfully, we have a handful of WiFi modules, so our manufacturing partner will be able to complete a PVT (Product Validation Test) in the months to come prior to receiving our large order of WiFi modules that are experiencing lead-time issues. Having this PVT done will allow us to go right into mass production once we receive our WiFi module order. We will be sure to share the results of the PVT when we have them. Thank you for your continued patience – we are making significant progress.

All in all the visit was a success and we found the facilities provided a dignified, clean and climatized working environment for the employees. Here are a few pictures from our trip:

 

 Our PCBA 

 PCBA Assembly

 Partners

 Final Assembly

 Calibration of their other ultrasonic product.

 QA of their other ultrasonic product.

 Heading home.

NRE With Manufacturing Partner Nearing Completion

We’ve been hard at work with our manufacturing partner, completing final revisions of FLUID. This process has taken a few weeks longer than we had projected. On September 19th we will be spending a week at our manufacturing partner’s facility and all the non-recurring engineering (NRE) will be completed by then. This is a huge milestone because we’ll be returning with our engineering and design verification testing completed and a small batch of finalized meters in hand. We will post updates from this visit when we return on September 25th.

We’ve also been working with our parts suppliers and have run into a lead time challenge. Recently we ordered 1,000 WiFi modules and received the following message:

“Currently we are experiencing a delay for this item and will not be able to ship your order until the end of December. (Please keep in mind this is estimated and we will notify you as the product becomes available at an earlier date.)”

Thankfully we have close to 100 WiFi modules on hand. This will allow us to complete our production verification tests. This is important because it allows us to go right into mass production as soon as we receive the 1,000 WiFi modules.

Based on this information we should be shipping in early 2017. Obviously, if the WiFi modules become available at an earlier date – then our shipping timeline will also move up.

A lot of progress has been made and we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We are excited to get these meters into the world as soon as possible.

Thanks for your continued support.

The FLUID Team

FLUID in San Francisco for Imagine H2O Accelerator

Open House 2

Colin and Josh just returned from an exciting week in San Francisco as part of the Imagine H2O accelerator program. This program runs throughout 2016 and was developed to help water technologies get to market quicker. While FLUID didn’t win the grand prize – being selected as one of the ten finalists was quite an honor.

The team had three full days of meetings with investors, lawyers, PR professionals, other entrepreneurs and officials from the public and private sectors. FLUID was very well received and a number of excellent opportunities have resulted from our participation. The week culminated in a Gala where over 300+ people related to the water sector from the Bay Area learned about FLUID and the other companies and all of the finalists were honored.

Here are just a few pictures from the weeks events:

Josh Pitching FLUID to Investors
Open House 2

Open House 2

Colin and Josh goofing around at Target’s new “Open House” – a space Target created to show off new IoT products. Hopefully someday FLUID will form part of this exhibit!

Open House 2

Open House 2

Colin and Josh at the Imagine H2O Gala.

Open House 2

Open House 2

We’ve Got Improved Signal with Amplification

This one is for all you signal processing geeks out there! All is looking good and running steady.

Signal