Back in October I wrote about the QA process for our Coolest Cooler, and we’ve made great strides since then making every Coolest at the highest level of quality. Most of the issues we discovered were fixed fairly easily by bringing more attention to it within the production process, and we’ve driven most of these occurrences down to almost nothing. Our existing drain plug design currently works perfectly fine almost all the time, but because ‘almost’ isn’t the same as ‘all the’ we decided to change the design.
Here’s what we learned:
Our original design had a higher number of parts than most drain plug designs – which is positive because we were thinking about many ways to stop a leak, but also negative because it increased the likelihood that one of those parts can get damaged, or there can be a compounding error effect.
Most of the leaks folk experienced happened because they just weren’t tightened enough at the factory. We addressed this at the factory level, and then fired up our 3D printer and made a tightening tool to let folks tighten this up themselves. That worked for most of our backers, but unfortunately didn’t clear our 100% mark.
We dove deeper into the issue during the strike-imposed lull in our production, and found that the normal small variations in plastic parts could sometimes line up just ‘wrong’, occasionally giving us drain shafts that were slightly small and a drain gasket and cover that were slightly too large. That meant our tightening tool wouldn’t solve this issue, so we went back to the drawing board to create something better, and took feedback from the factory to make installation easier as well.
Our new cap uses a tried-and-true design that has been proven leak-proof and successfully implemented in other coolers. It’s a screw-off drain plug, and when it’s hand tightened a little rubber gasket presses up against the drain to seal off 100% of the water.
The good news is the vast majority of every Coolest never had any leaking issues at all, and any issues brought to our attention have been addressed right away. This improvement should mean that even those small issues don’t crop up again in the future.
Tooling for the new drain plug will be finished later this month, then we’ll be ramping up Coolest production after Chinese New Year. Stay tuned for pics and test results as soon!