In this section we publish once a month the most important updates for our pre-orderers and interested parties. You can find weekly updates on our Instagram and Facebook pages.
UPDATE FROM SEPTEMBER
Mass production has begun and is progressing well. We are managing this process, working to source components and continue to further fine tune the software and user experience of the Heatle, which is why we are now happy receive customers at our showroom kitchen to gather your opinions and feedback.
Three new colleagues support our team on the technical side, specifically in the area of embedded software / UI (user interaction). Also the first accessories are now in production and can be purchased in limited editions.
1. The mould tooling is ready
This is how they look. They are large high value precision engineering parts, capable of creating perfect components in mass production. The moulds are CNC machined in the opposite shape. The material is heated, injected in, cooled, then released.
We plan to receive the initial batch of parts from these mould tools very soon, allowing us to check, test and analyse everything before giving the factory the go-ahead to continue mass production in the next batch.
These photos show the tool for the Triple Tray (new accessory) and a part for the main unit. It is an inner construction which supports the glass top, rotary knob and LED display. You can see the numerous inflow passages for the material to flow-in. You may recognise this technique from model making where all the parts hang from a "tree" of plastic branches.
2. First production batch of PCBs completed
Here in Berlin, Germany, our state-of-the-art electronics factory is producing the PCBs (printed circuit boards) for the first batch of deliveries. The photo shows the brand new rod PCBs, which measure the temperature inside the rod, sending its data to the base heater at high frequency.
There are 20 boards on each panel. There are 4 PCBs in each Heatle: Induction motherboard, knob, UI LED, and the rod PCB. This is a battery-less design capable of harvesting energy from the base unit very efficiently.
And this is how such a PCB looks like in our self-charging rod. This new design features a pure white LED which illuminates during heating to indicate operation, activity and modes.
3. New circuit boards for induction PCB
The heart of the Heatle is the largest Induction PCB (motherboard), which has been at the heart of the development process since 2019, continually being tested and optimised. We've had 8 revisions to the design so far, and now the new circuit boards SN8 are ready for further pre-production testing.
From the computer screen to the workbench, when all the new features, functions and optimisations can be realised and tested. The Induction PCBs from July (SN 6) have been revised and optimised many times, where the findings make their way into SN7 and finally SN8.
4. Further design optimisation of the Heatle rods and discs
At the end of September we visited our production partner in Italy global specialists in food and medical grade precision stainless steel components. They are responsible for the mass production of the rods and disks. Their experienced team are working closely with us to perfect every detail of the design and production process. From optimising the materials, shape and magnetics, through to DFM (design for manufacturing).
It is a seemingly small part, but very important to produce to our requirements, so that it not only looks and performs well, but is also clean and safe to use. During the visit we were able to address all outstanding issues regarding the finer details of the assembly process and stainless steel grades.
The stainless steel discs will receive a special polishing process that is otherwise used for sterile medical equipment. This is to improve the surface finish and cleanability. We are currently testing the latest disk design with this surface treatment, before mass production begins.
5. OTA software, "over the air (OTA)” updates
Until recently, we always had to use a programming cable to program and update every Heatle - for example, to install new features, LED icons etc.
From now on we are able to do this over the Bluetooth connection. The Heatle can receive its updates completely wirelessly via the app in your phone. This is especially important to us, because the device is always evolving and growing with us. So if we release new recipes, updates or features in the future, you can upload them to your Heatle yourself and your Heatle will be up to date.
6. Laboratory test rig for continuous operation and testing
Similar to what IKEA does to test their new chairs (they have mechanical test boxes which simulate a person sitting down thousands of times), we have built a test station that puts the Heatle through a series of long running stress tests. You can watch such a run in the video. We heat the water, measure the different temperatures, record the data, then flush the liquid and cool it back down to 15°C within just 2 minutes. After that, we can optimise the instrument and adjust the measurement accuracy of the temperature. This is all automatically controlled by software, and all of the data is logged for further analysis.
7. The Triple Tray is available now
Due to high demand we now offer 2 disk trays - the single and triple. Both are beautifully designed, engineered for harsh kitchen environments, yet being easy to use, providing a convenient location to put the disks after use.
Constructed from premium food grade Tritan material, they are able to perform well and last a lifetime. The Triple Tray is already in mass production and can be pre-ordered now:
8. Come and visit us
Please feel free to drop-in by for a cup of tea, try out the Heatle and give us your feedback. Our first investors (see picture) visited us last week and very much enjoyed the visit, tour of the facilities, showroom and lab. We are looking forward to your visit and to hearing your feedback.
UPDATE FROM AUGUST
Our focus in August was on the start of serial production. For this we had to coordinate the different partners for electronics, plastic, glass, metal, wood etc. and organize the most important components in time to be able to produce at the end of the year. You can find more detailed info on this below. In parallel, we have finished setting up our Berlin showroom to host visitors who can test our devices on site.
1. Serial production begins!
We're really getting down to business now in our state-of-the-art plastics factory (photos taken on September 02, 2021)! In August, we finally ordered the tooling for injection molding. "Tools", although it sounds more like small screwdrivers, are in fact massive, metal molds for plastic production and are not only extremely expensive (as they are durable), but also rigid - meaning we had to freeze the design, which we don't want to change for the next 100,000 or more units. Any changes also mean new, expensive tooling.
It's an important step for any manufacturer and we're glad we could finally take it. In a few weeks we will receive the first prototypes made with these tools, test them and then release the production of the first batch.
In parallel, we've started the production of the magic wands, glass, wooden buttons, cardboard and electronics. Speaking of electronics...
2. Electronics "Made in Germany"
As you already know, not only the final assembly takes place in Berlin. We produce all the electronics at our long-term partner Grünwald in Berlin, where the machines are already running at full speed. We have filmed this exciting process for you. When the plastic parts are ready and arrive in our warehouse, production is to begin, and for this we naturally need the electronic circuit boards that are now going into serial production. Among them are circuit boards for the magic wand, the display and the rotary knob. The main board will go into production immediately after successful certification. Speaking of certification...
3. Successful EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) tests
Before we take the device to the CE testing center, we must have tested it ourselves. For this we have a world-renowned partner in Berlin with the necessary equipment and technology. After months of hard work, we have finally managed to achieve the values necessary for certification. A few tweaks here and there, and once the documentation is ready, we take it to our test laboratory and have our measured values confirmed.
This may take some time and, if minor changes are necessary, there may be delays that we will inform you about. But by far the most time consuming procedure is already behind us. Only after the CE seal we can produce the final induction boards which will be running in your home. All other components are of course already organized.
4. David against Goliath: Delivery dates
Audi sends 10,000 employees into short-time work and the Playstation 5 is out of stock everywhere. You have surely already noticed - the market is going crazy right now. No matter if it's wood, metal or electronics, no matter if it's for Sony, Apple, Toyota or Heatle - everything is sold out and/or overpriced. Large corporations are grabbing every available stock and stockpiling supplies for their own use.
What does that mean for you?
We're not going on short-time work or laying off any employees - on the contrary, we're picking up speed. And we want to be completely honest and realistic with you. We promised you "hot Christmas" and we still want to deliver the first units at the end of the year. We have been fighting for this every day since the pre-sale in February. However, in view of the critical market situation, we can "only" fulfill about 10% of the pre-orders in the first batch. For more devices, we simply did not get enough chips delivered, even though we ordered and paid for them in time.
It's truly a small miracle that we, as a tiny company, have 10% of the chips in our own stock. Since the pre-sale in February, David, our founder and engineer, has been fighting hard for every chip. The chips are arriving in smaller partial shipments because we have close relationships and the manufacturers value our innovation. So we are already among the lucky ones. The rest of the components are already organized: plastic, glass, metal, wood and cardboard. So we are all just waiting for the chips.
We hope for your understanding and thank all our supporters for your trust and patience. We really make the best of the situation!
Whether your Heatle is in the first batch and how it will be handled exactly, we can unfortunately not say at this time. Please follow our updates regularly. As soon as we know more, we will communicate it immediately!
5. Wooden knobs
On Instagram and Facebook, we featured 5 different types of wood for the Heatle knob and let you vote on which wood you prefer for the white and black Heatle. The result was absolutely clear: for both device colors, natural oak was chosen with over 80% each, or a total of more than 2,000 votes. The oak comes from sustainable forestry in the EU.
In the beginning, we have to commit to one variant for all devices/customers. In the next few days, however, we would like to ask you again via email about it to make a final decision.
6. White Heatles
In July we had communicated that the white glass should be provided with a black window. After countless tests and inquiries on your part, we are returning to an all-white solution. The display looks slightly different from the black device, but is still clearly visible and readable. Therefore, we don't want to spoil the beautiful white glass surface with black patches and settle on both devices getting a unicolored glass panel. If you've already changed from white to black, drop us a line at email@example.com we'll change it back.
We also asked you on social media about the packaging. Everyone agrees that we want to avoid/reduce unnecessary waste. This includes trying to avoid product packaging wrapped in a shipping package, as at least one of them is immediately disposed of.
We will find a solution in September for your Heatle to arrive safely, but at the same time not drag along a portion of garbage in the form of a shipping box with foam or air cushion. We will also ask you about this by email. The packaging is designed in Berlin and produced in the EU.
8. Showroom in Berlin
Our showroom in Berlin-Treptow is almost ready and we want to welcome our first guests in September to try out Heatles, enjoy a cup of tea with us and give us feedback. For this purpose there will be a booking system where you can sign up. Since we also work in the said space on a regular basis, we cannot offer "open office hours" for spontaneous visits and have to receive the registered visitors one by one, also due to Covid requirements in the building complex. Anyway, we are very much looking forward to seeing you!
UPDATE FROM JULY
We are still in the middle of moving to a new office, but of course are continuing our development. Soon we want to be able to receive visitors / customers in our new space. In parallel, the certification is in the starting blocks. In August we will decide how to proceed with the beta. Due to supply bottlenecks, we unfortunately have fewer test devices available than originally planned, so we have to reschedule accordingly.
1. The new boards are here!
The new boards (right) have been specially optimized for certification and the development was supported by world-leading institutes. The new board is cleaner and more efficient. After the first tests in the test lab, we will aim for certification. Further steps towards optimization are not out of the question - it's a constant process. But we are making great progress.
2. New, battery-free magic wands
Our new hardware engineer Hai has worked long and hard on the new design. Like a jeweler, he handles with the world's smallest components, which are as big as dust grains. It's the only way we can develop a compact, efficient product.
The road to a fully self-sufficient, sealed and battery-free solution, which we have now also patented, was long and rocky, but finally we have a fully functioning system that is efficient and precise. The wand charges wirelessly via the induction field and transmits the data to the base via Bluetooth. Thus, the energy already available is used even more optimally.
3. Automatic test station is being prepared
In the public area of the MotionLab where we are located, we are setting up a Heatle test station. This will be automated and is completely digitally remote controlled to simulate heating processes 24 hours a day. The water will be circulated and cooled. The wand is moved by motor.
The station will be put into operation in August and can be publicly marveled at in the MotionLab. The data will run fully automated into our already existing dashboard (see next update) and will be evaluated there. In this way, we want to make statements about the longevity of various components as well as of the device itself, about which we are constantly asked. We then simulate not only heating processes and behavior, but also, for example, knob rotations to check for mechanical wear.
4. World-class dashboard for Heatle data
Our software wizard Ansgar has developed an excellent cloud dashboard to wirelessly analyze the data from the test equipment. The data flows into numerous charts in real time and can be used for optimization, failure analysis or remote maintenance. Through our centralized system, all Heatles also always have the latest software and thus all important heating and safety functions.
5. White Heatles - tests of new display windows
As mentioned before, the display is unfortunately not optimal (slightly blurry) due to the white tinted glass. We only noticed this when we went into pre-production and the distance between the display and the glass necessarily increased. Unfortunately, most electronic devices with white glass over the display have this problem. A sharp display can only be guaranteed with a dark window. In the meantime, we have received and tested the samples with different designs. A corresponding poll for your favorites will follow soon.
Here we tried to film the designs for you. It goes from square to rounded, then a hybrid and two ring designs with different diameters. Think about what you like more and we'll ask you about it shortly. You can, of course, switch to a black device at any time - just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. The move is progressing well
We are not quite through yet, but not much is missing. Then we can not only start working in our new showroom, but also receive guests and demonstrate the device. We'll be in touch about that shortly!
7. Test results from the chemical testing laboratory
Many of you have been concerned with the question of whether Heatle affects or changes water in any way. Bilacon, the Berlin-based world leader in chemical testing, has tested Berlin tap water heated by a standard, used kettle and a Heatle (two models). You can view the result as a PDF here. In a nutshell: it all looks wonderful!
We wanted to share the original document, but there are unfortunately separate tables per test setup (tap water, with kettle, with Heatle 1, with Heatle 2). The official result is only available in German.
UPDATE FROM JUNE
We are moving towards certification and preparing for the first production, which will take place in Berlin. The alpha went successfully and now the necessary changes are being made to go into beta. There are many processes taking place in parallel, both internally and business-wise - for example, packaging, logistics, marketing.... Many of these processes are very time-consuming. As soon as concrete results are available, they will of course be communicated.
1. From alpha to certification
This is what our circuit boards still look like, you already know that. But in all of June, we were almost exclusively busy with the new design, which we can't introduce yet because it's still in production. During the alpha, we noticed things that we directly improved and the feedback from our employees while using it went directly into the new design. Then in July, we'll have new, highly optimized boards that we'll use to aim for certification, which should happen in August if all goes according to plan.
2. Testing and optimizing wands
Perhaps the most important part of a Heatle is the magic wand. Our European producer made a small batch of 100 units so we could test the quality, magnetic strength, polish, and more before going into the thousands. While we are pleased, we continue to optimize. The current discs will still be used for the beta and of course we will use them extensively beyond that.
3. Optimization of white heatles
During the Alpha, we were not entirely happy with the LED display under the white glass. After consulting with many experts, we are now exploring possibilities of a small black window positioned above the display for optimal readability. In fact, it is extremely difficult and costly to get sharp light through white printed surfaces. In July, we will receive different samples from our producer and then let the pre-orderers of white devices decide which window they like better.
4. The warehouse is filling up
Soon we want to start the first pre-production runs - in Berlin, of course. Until June, we only had a small office, and it was filled to the ceiling with boxes of components and parts. New deliveries arrive every day - displays, LEDs, circuit boards.... Now we've got ourselves a big container to free up the work space and sort in all the components for production.
5. New showroom and workspace
The faster we move towards production, the faster the team grows and the tighter our space gets. That's why we're moving into an additional large space that until now has been used by a scooter startup. It doesn't look spectacular yet, because we're not allowed to start working on it before July 01. But in July, several modern workstations and a nice showroom should be created there, from which we will report regularly from. Depending on the Corona situation, organized visits by customers are also under consideration.
6. Heatle - integrated version
Many of you keep asking for the built-in version because you are moving or planning a new kitchen. Even though the integrated version is only planned for the 2nd half of 2022 and will be distributed indirectly, i.e. via installers and kitchen companies, we are continuously working on it. And yes, our partners will also be able to integrate it into already installed kitchens, even if it is more cumbersome and therefore possibly more expensive. For now, you still have to turn on this Heatle via a button in the back, but there will be special control units later, depending on the kitchen.
UPDATE FROM MAY
In May we saw some administrative challenges, especially the hiring of new colleagues (developers) and the move to new facilities. In parallel, we worked diligently on the assembly of the 20 alpha prototypes. This will allow us to start the alpha phase in June and prepare for the beta in late summer.
1. Alpha device assembly is complete
We are gradually preparing for mass production. To do this, we have built 20 prototypes, 10 in black and 10 in white, to test them extensively. This is done internally (employees, colleagues and families). There will be no test units for external testers until the beta phase in late summer.
The prototypes have the latest version of the software - they work faster and have better performance. We filmed the process for you to show that our new design is not only production-ready and handsome, but also works beautifully.
The display (text, font, icons, etc.) is constantly being optimized. The unit in the video runs at a whopping 2 kilowatts with the middle disc (which you receive by default).
2. Continuous development of software and functions
Our developers work tirelessly to optimize the devices. Here you can see how the so-called user interface is being developed and programmed - that is, the screen display and sound. After the alpha and beta, we have enough feedback to finalize the final version for our customers. There are no speakers, but a small beeper whose frequencies we can control. But you can also turn off the sound completely later if it bothers you.
3. The app is slowly taking shape
Sustainability in the office: when our personal phones crack but still work, we use them as test devices for our app. It will still take some time before the app is ready, because it is comparatively easy to develop and is not the focus at the moment. But we're on that too and continue to experiment. During the open beta, you'll be asked to give us your suggestions for the interface and features.
The summer will be hot - at least for us - because we want to have the device certified before the fall. To do this, we've brought on board two of the nation's top experts from the leading research institute in the field of power electronics, with whose help we're moving incredibly quickly and successfully. A lot of problems have already been ironed out.
5. Other topics
We are working in parallel on many important topics including packaging, accessories or logistics. As soon as there are concrete results, we will inform you immediately. Regarding accessories, there will be another survey for you so that we can better understand your needs. Feel free to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, so you don't miss out on smaller updates in between!
UPDATE FROM APRIL
In April, in addition to development, we had a lot of organizational and business issues such as team development, marketing and funding. We won't be able to release more information on this until May at the earliest, so feel free to follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram where we'll post regular updates so you don't have to wait until the end of the month for a big update.
1. All electronic components for prototypes finally together
Corona has made global supply chains for electronic components very unreliable. Fortunately, the electronics for our 20 prototypes were completed without major delays and we are beginning to manufacture 20 units. These should be fully operational by mid-May and the alpha testing phase will begin. Immediately after that, we'll start producing 100 devices for the beta phase, which some pre-orderers will also be able to participate in. More on that later.
2. BlueTooth successfully installed and tested in the magic wand
As you know, our wand transmits temperature wirelessly to the base to control it. Our new wands run on induction without batteries and use the latest BLE technology, for which there is not enough documentation yet, so there is a lot of experimentation to be done. In April, we were able to successfully test the code and chips. Thus, we can finalize the wand as a separate product in May and then only worry about calibrating the temperature sensor and processing the data in the base.
3. 20 vacuum-molded housings completed and tested
In the first picture you can see our well-known prototypes that we have been using since Christmas. They are handmade and not suitable for production. Therefore, the edge is quite rough and the glass is inserted there. The 20 new prototypes consist of several cast parts, as they are also used in mass production. From the outside, you hardly notice any difference, except that the surface is smooth (matte) and the glass is placed flush at the top without a rim. All the parts fit together nicely and the electronics fit in perfectly.
4. Accessories are being actively developed
Our new design colleague really went all out to come up with the optimal solution for disc storage as well as a drip tray. The white material pictured above just happens to be white because we had it in stock.
We received a lot of requests regarding this accessory. Overall, the request was for the most space-saving option possible, one that could be used universally and placed either lying down or against the wall. A large tray was the least requested, but we're still trying some things out there. With the trays made of real wood we noticed some difficulties - for example they are color hard controllable and thus for customers not plannable. We are not ruling out wood entirely for now, but are already working with alternative materials.
At the moment we are testing with CDF, a sustainable material from Switzerland, which looks and works great. It is only available in black, but such an accessory in white is also counterproductive because it would not stay white for long (heat, moisture, mechanical abrasion). Next to a white heatle, it also looks very good. This accessory consists of two parts:
The separate support for the (hot / wet) wand is compact, heat and moisture resistant and optimally suited for customers who have only one wand with a disc (standard). You can clean the pad normally with a sponge under tap water (e.g. after milk). It is not suitable for dishwashers.
The separate holder for our 3 sizes of discs can be placed horizontally or on the wall (drilling is not necessary). The wand can be stored very elegantly in it. You can attach the tray vertically or horizontally.
5. Alternative knob designs
Many of you have asked about alternatives to the wooden knob and we've tried a few - stainless steel, brass and aluminium. We filmed how these look on the black Heatle and posted them on Instagram (Accessories Highlights). It doesn't come out as well in photos. We're continuing to test with sandblasted (matte) versions and other materials. Details on possible additional costs and options will follow soon.
A lot has happened since the pre-sale, and we're working constantly on our plan to ship the first units by the end of the year. Here are the key events.
1. DFM completed, 20 prototypes in production
As you may have seen on Instagram, we have completed the DFM (design for manufacturing) with our Berlin partner, the traditional company FASTPART, and are producing 20 prototypes based on this new development, which will be ready in April. The electronics for these will also be produced in Berlin. If the 20 prototypes meet our expectations, we can aim for the production of 100 prototypes in the 2nd quarter. These will then also be lent as an open beta (test phase) to some end users.
2. GALILEO CONTRIBUTION
The popular TV show Galileo (ProSieben) visited us and aired the result on German television. If you want to see it, click here:
3. WOODEN TRAYS AND ACCESSORIES
We have produced and tested new designs for real wood trays with our EU partner. There are still some changes and improvements to come, but we've already asked you on Instagram for feedback and ideas. Would you guys like to use trays like this? Rather in big or small? What would you like to store in it? Let us know: email@example.com
4. MADE IN GERMANY
As things stand, we decided to manufacture the critical components such as all the electronics for the first 10,000 devices in Germany, more precisely in Berlin. We will publish further details on this in the course of the coming weeks and months. With this decision, we not only ensure the highest quality "made in Germany", but also support regional jobs, have short development paths and keep the most important know-how within the trusted circle of our local partners.
5. DELIVERY TIMES
You are, just like us, very curious, impatient and can hardly wait for your Heatles. That's how we feel, too, of course. As things stand, nothing has changed in our plan and we are still planning to ship the first devices by the end of the year. If anything changes, we will inform you immediately.
The first big Heatle presale ended on February 8. Almost 6.000 units were pre-purchased from all over Europe and we had been busy with answering thousands of emails, comments and questions. We would like to express our gratitude for this breathtaking support which enables the realisation of our technology!
Now we would like to share our first follow-up and answer a couple of questions frequently asked after the presale.
1. WHAT'S NEXT?
Once a month, we will share one big update with everyone who preordered or signed up to the waitlist. It will include our snapshot in development and production or other important announcements (no ads), e.g. when the open beta stats or when we need your feedback on some designs or accessories. Now we go at full speed and do our best to deliver the first units by the end of the year, as announced.
2. MISSED THE PRESALE?
We realised that many people on the waitlist missed the presale or had issues completing their purchase. In case you were on the waitlist and haven't managed to preorder yet, please let us know before February 28 (e.g. by replying to this email).
From February 9 on, the price will increase gradually up to the RRP of €249 in 2022.
3. CHANGES REQUIRED?
You can change the color of your preordered device anytime before production or preorder new devices in your preferred colors. We will announce when colors will be locked for production. A new/changed delivery address can be shared with us anytime. Please note that plug types are based on destination country. If you wish to use UK plugs, please make sure the delivery will go to the UK, otherwise please drop us a note.
In case you haven't received an order confirmation, please let us know. Some people had typos in their email address.
Your Heatle comes with one magic wand and one 45mm heating disc. Additional options such as other disc sizes, trays, cleaning tabs, alternative designs for the knob etc. will be shared in the next months and can be ordered later on.
5. SOMETHING ELSE?
We are here for you and we want to bring this innovation to life together with you. If you have any questions, feedback or ideas, please ping us anytime. It's most convenient to do so on Facebook or Instagram. We post updates and videos there regularly. Or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.