First, the FI-16 circuit boards’ bases were manufactured in – you guessed it! – Wuhan China, the region where the novel virus originated. The circuit board bases made it as far as an airport cargo shelf in Hong Kong, where they sat for a couple more weeks waiting for a flight to USA because they were non-essential and non-medical. Essential medical supplies had first priority for aircraft cargo space at the time.
The board bases finally reached the factory in California where the chips get added on, and then they get installed inside the Scouts for final assembly and quality control. Around that time, the factory was also dealing with safety protocols for their staff working from home, disinfection protocols, social distancing, masks and all the rest. I wanted to go to the factory to be hands-on, but domestic USA flights were restricted to essential travelers.
Eventually I got to go to the factory and put hands on. The factory gave me a huge table to myself so I could spread out our circuit drawings and our parts and check everything for labeling, part numbers, wire harness lengths, connectors, etc. Some parts are custom machined in the factory so I needed to see and touch them all.
Ansync is a wonderful factory, very smart people work there, and it’s well-equipped with sophisticated computer-aided machines and diagnostic tools. But we are not the only company having their devices manufactured in that factory, and so their other customers, just like us, decided to have the factory make any components that might have been made in China faster. So the factory got slammed with additional work orders, and all their projects got bigger and needed more people on them.
Everything seems to take longer in a pandemic crisis. USA also had some social unrest (Black lives matter!), and FedEx trucks were delayed on some of their routes, affecting our shipments of parts from our lab inventory in Baton Rouge to California.
Stay safe, and talk to your loved ones whenever you can 📞.