Two weeks ago I shared a major challenge facing Coolest production; the company that makes our motor for the Coolest went on strike and stopped production. This really caught us by surprise as this is a high quality motor company that manufactures and supplies major brands around the world.
We spent so much time testing this motor to make sure it would stand up for the long life of a Coolest, and it really felt like a sucker punch to have our supply suddenly cut off without warning. Since swearing loudly didn’t seem to fix anything we realized the only way to move on is to march forward. Here’s what we’ve done:
1. We reached out to four motor manufactures to get samples to test as replacements. The Coolest motor has more speed and torque at our voltage than almost any similar sized motors, plus it also needs an internal fan to keep it cool. Only one of these four manufactures even currently even sells a motor in this configuration, and luckily they’ve been the most responsive in getting us samples quickly.
2. We started testing this motor and, knock-on-wood, the initial tests look good. The speed/torque curves are very similar, and even under a heavy blending load it’s not overheating. This is amazing news, especially given how many motors failed this test last fall.
3. Two days ago we began an expedited abuse test to make sure if we put this motor in your Coolest it can handle your next 5+ years of vodkarita and smoothie needs. This means blending 384 full pitchers of our ‘Abuse Recipe’… this to works out to enough blended drinks to fill four 6-person hot tubs. Not sure why hot tubs should be the unit of measurement, but the point is it’s a lot of damned blending.
4. If things look good by early next week we’ll place a first PO for this new Coolest motor, and the motor supplier will get right to work making motors for us. Unfortunately the process to make these motors in volume is expected to take four weeks, which puts us back in production right around the week of December 20th. In parallel we’re still hopeful the strike will end at our primary supplier and we can start up earlier, but we’re not holding our breath.
Hindsight is always 20/20, and I’m kicking myself that we didn’t have a second motor supplier in place before this as a back-up. Given the first motor company’s reputation and quality level we just didn’t imagine this was a realistic scenario, but the lesson has certainly been learned.
Stay tuned for another update /Countdown update on the 27th, or earlier if something significant changes, and thanks as always for your support.