Jed Board’s intention has always been to provide customers with an enjoyable experience that stays true to the form of a longboard. User safety and experience are the forefront of our design decisions and define the standards our engineering team rises to meet and exceed with every component of our designs. In early March, members of our team traveled to China to supervise and improve all stages of production to ensure that our standards were met as part of our commitment to our customers that the Jed Board will deliver. They will continue to be stationed in Huaqiangbei until production and delivery is well underway to our customers.
Our close proximity to the suppliers, electronic markets, and Shenzen metro has accelerated our proofing process as production of the Jed Boards begins. With that said, production is never without issues and delays are something we are very aware of as our customers wait patiently for their Jed Boards. Fine tuning processes, manually inspecting sourced components, and being present at these key facilities would not be possible without being physically present in the Silicon Valley of China.
We are as committed to the Jed Board design as we are to ensuring the delivery of the Jed Board experience to each of our customers. Despite a temporary bottleneck between electronic components sources (PCBs) and our manufacturing partners, we are excited to say that the final assembly will begin imminently.
At Jed, we believe it’s important to share the story of the detail of components and give credit to the work that happens behind the scenes to deliver Jed Boards. We work with over 13 different suppliers to produce 95% of the bespoke components that go into each board.
The integration of bamboo and electronics would not be possible on the Jed Board without several crucial nylon and plastic components. Our engineering team collaborates intensely with our suppliers throughout the engineering process to ensure that each complex injection mould is tooled correctly and will meet our tolerances and production standards. Our injection mould partner is responsible for producing the swappable battery enclosure, ESC enclosure, remote control, and other components.
While finalising details for the production moulds, our supplier recommended printing high accuracy SLA (70 micros) functional prototypes of each component for testing before cutting any tool steel, reducing the time and money was wasted between iterations.
Our injection mould partner specialises in automotive grade parts and has contracts with other automotive grade companies such as Audi. After careful evaluation with their technicians and our engineers, we chose a glass reinforced nylon made by DuPont for many of our parts. It's a durable material that is naturally fire retardant and (after careful formulations) flexes without breaking. Although is it possible to be sold fake materials and formulas, our suppliers relationship with Audi and DuPont ensures that the specialized materials we use are authentic and unadulterated. Such chemical purchases have been directly verified with DuPont.
The combined experience of our suppliers technicians and our engineering teams application of FEA (Finite Element Analysis) have improved and optimised many aspects of the production and design process for injection moulded parts. We have greater control over the quality and tolerances of the finished parts because our supplier tools each injection mould in house. This is a great advantage over smaller manufacturers who often outsource tooling to specialised mould making shops.
The bamboo deck is an essential part of the Jed Board. Like the backbone of any longboard, they are subjected to a great deal of wear and tear so it’s important to ensure they're both durable and can take the abuse. Without the use of strong chemicals or materials that cannot be reclaimed, we produced a deck both comfortable and grown more sustainably material than traditional wood used in the skateboard industry. Bamboo grows at a rate of 3-4 meters per week!
Although our bamboo factory is located in Hunan, an 8-hour trip from Shenzhen by a mixture of bullet train and car, we have been blown away by our supplier’s adherence to sustainability and detail. Watching the continuous flow that starts with harvesting raw material and ends with some finishing touches was a great experience for the whole team and really showed us the level of detail that goes into making each of our decks.
The raw bamboo is sourced locally and first cut into vertical strips which are pressed into vertical laminated sheets. These are carefully inspected for uniformity to ensure that imperfections or cracks are eliminated or addressed before processing it into the final sheet.
These finalised bamboo sheets are hot pressed and cooled before being trimmed to the correct thickness and dimension. We added a personal touch by carbonising the sheets to bring out the natural variations in the bamboo, resulting in a unique deck for each customer.
The next step is arranging and pressing the deck layers with fibreglass and resin. By changing the qualities of these layers, we can refine the experience of each deck while increasing its core strength and protecting its finishing layers from wear and cracking. The properties of the resin we use defines the heat and pressure applied to the deck moulds as well as how long the decks are pressed. During the pressing, the decks are inspected manually multiple times to ensure that they meet the thickness tolerance before being taken to a humidity controlled room for 3 days before being further processed to ensure moisture has stabilised in the bamboo.
Finishing touches after the decks are pressed are performed by precision CNC and manual treatment. The sheets are cut to shape and drilled, sanded and varnished, and lastly laser etched with the Jed Boards logo and serial number before being coated with our USA sourced, recycled glass grip.
Comfort defines longboarding, which is why we took some extra time to include a few more features. The Jed Board’s natural W concave and additional camber makes the deck very comfortable for rides of all lengths and speeds. The additional flex profile further increases the amount of vibrational energy that the deck can dissipate, regardless of the surface you’re riding on.
What about the Jed Jr?
The deck we had originally selected for the Jed Jr was made by a different company and was contracted to press the decks from bamboo. However, when we landed in Shenzhen we found that our deadlines had not been met. Without hesitation, we contacted our main bamboo supplier and contracted them to produce the Jed Jr deck as well. With their experience with the materials, we redesigned the deck to be more uniform with the Jed Board product line and to avoid infringing on the original manufacturer's deck design.
Despite this temporary setback, we're very excited with the results and hope you are too! Finalised decks are being pressed and processed and we expect to start receiving them next week.
The new deck features the same 34.5" length by 9.6" width but features a kicktail with a W concave along the length of the deck with added microdrops. These features will let riders feel locked into the deck regardless of whether they stand centre or rest their back foot on the kicktail.
We designed the motors used in the Jed Board to the specific needs of our drive train. After 13 iterations of the design and extensive testing, the final production motors are a marvel for their size (40mm diameter). The team visited the motor production facility to oversee production.
Each motor begins as a billet of aluminium which is precisely CNC'd to our design. The motor thickness is especially important as a natural defence against debris and other foreign objects to ensure the motors longevity. They're also sealed for further protection.
The high-quality motor stators are machine wound through a complex feed of copper spools. The motor is balanced for precision and silent operation, and tested at each of the 12-different production and assembly stages that separate materials from motor. We employ a thorough QC processes to serialise every motor and track their deployment during final assembly.
The greatest challenge we have had to overcome during production has been in the production of our custom electronics. The original supplier we had agreed to enter production with realised they couldn't produce what we wanted as we prepared to start production. We defaulted to one of our backup suppliers who were better equipped to continue production with.
We expect to receive finished motor controller and battery management system electronics by the end of next week, thus allowing us to begin assembly!
Our engineering team designed a custom battery management system to accommodate our swappable battery system design and to manage communication with our motor controller to ensure accurate power status at all times.
It features unique subsystems including multiple fuel gauge processing to provide more accurate battery levels by accounting for cell temperature as well as charge cycles, and redundant protection circuits to maintain a safe battery back at all times. This not only ensures the greatest lifespan for the cells, but also eliminates the possibility of overcharging and excessive discharging.
The glass reinforced nylon enclosure offers significant protection against weathering and abuse while also providing a level of fire resistance not matched by traditional plastic enclosures.
The Jed Board motor controller also incorporates several unique features to improve user safety such as automotive grade braking resistors to ensure that even on a completely full charge the board can always safely brake, even on the steepest of hills.
With our companion iOS and Android apps, we provide over the air updates and support to ensure your board is always up to date with the latest software additions and safety features.
The design team has spent a considerable amount of time and energy into the research and development of the Jed Board remote. As the remote is often the more foreign part of an electric longboard, we wanted to deliver a seamless and intuitive experience that lets your focus on your ride.
There are no buttons on the remote as our inbuilt sensors detect the presence of your hand.
The remote is ready as quickly as you pick it up, because our inbuilt sensors detect the presence of your hand, eliminating the need for buttons or switches. They also play a role in other safety features such as intelligent braking when the remote is dropped or no longer connected to reduce risk to the rider.
PCB manufacturing samples for the first batch of remotes is complete and en-route to us in Shenzhen. We will begin to assemble and program the remotes this week.
Like the remote’s physical form, we wanted its user interface to be as simple and easy to read as possible. Thanks to our ePaper display, the remote is easily visible during direct sunlight as well as night with side lighting.
A product is the implementation of specified components in the correct arrangement.
An experience is what the user feels as they interface with a product.
The weakest link in the product can defeat it. The many components, engineering manhours, and designs that resulted in the Jed Board would be worthless without the careful assembly and testing we perform before delivery. We hold our final assembly team accountable for the combined standards of the components and final product.
We are able to identify and inventory each component before assembly and after delivery with their serialized QR codes. These codes allow us to hold our suppliers and assembly team accountable for the product they deliver.
The combined quality control by our suppliers and at our assembly facility allows us to know each board as intimately as you do. Once the components enter the inventory system, they are tested up until the moment they are marked completed and boxed.
Our engineering team and final assembly team collaborated on a custom designed, built-in final automated test suite and on a dynamometer tester that stresses all finished parts to ensure that each board is within our tolerance and meets their individual performance specifications (Jr, Dual and AWD).
Our final assembly team is headquartered in Europe, and their local management team is also from Europe and stationed in China.