The end of delays: Instrumental launches an intelligent quality system to modernize manufacturing

Anna-Katrina Shedletsky

After over a year in stealth, today we proudly announce Instrumental Inc. We’re modernizing manufacturing, enabling our customers to continuously improve their parts, processes, and products. We’ve started by attacking the dreaded “schedule delay” — an acute issue that is pervasive throughout the manufacturing industry.

The “end of delays” is personal for me: I spent over 300 days on assembly lines in China as a product design engineer for three iPods and as the product design lead for the first Apple Watch. My cofounder and Instrumental’s CTO, Sam Weiss, spent three years working on key innovations for the Apple Watch. We have both spent countless nights working the “engineer’s double shift” when a build was blocked by an issue, and we have been on the hook for daily updates to executives. In the process, we have learned how to build millions of things. When our customers tell us about the issues they have or they fear, we get it and we know how to help because our world-class team has been there ourselves. Dozens of leaders at hardware companies large and small agree that the hardware development process is painful, takes too long, and costs too much. Sam and I founded Instrumental because we envisioned a better way. The “end of delays” is just the first step towards the future of hardware development.

Instrumental founders, Sam Weiss and Anna Shedletsky

Manufacturing has a long way to go. If you step into a consumer electronics factory today, you’ll see that most products are still assembled by human hands, measured with simple gauges, and inspected by human eyes. If you want to see, understand, or fix something, you have to be there yourself. On these manual assembly lines, the amount of valuable data that is not collected, is trapped on individual machines, or is simply over-written is mind-boggling. Instrumental’s mission is to extract actionable information from this data with artificial intelligence — turning it into a trail of breadcrumbs that engineers can use to quickly root cause issues, increase yields, and most importantly, stay on schedule.

We’ve already made great progress. Chrissy Meyer, Director of Hardware Product Development at Pearl Auto, says that “Across the board, Instrumental saved us time by giving us a really quick feedback loop.” Most of our customers start seeing the value of our system within days of installation on their assembly lines, and once installed, they keep it through development, through ramp, and into production. Our beta system has captured and analyzed data on over 200,000 units across consumer electronics, apparel, and other industries. We’ve installed Instrumental equipment on the factory floors of top manufacturers around the world including Flextronics, Primax and Goertek. With Instrumental, our customers better understand their assembly process, improve their product quality, and save crucial days in their development schedule.

If you lead a hardware team and would like to learn more about how our system can help you and your team to find and fix issues on your manufacturing lines, improve product quality, and keep on schedule, please contact us for a demo. Or sign up below to receive future posts and feature announcements.

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