We've recently moved to our new office and workshop in London Fields, up the road from our previous studio and workshop in Bethnal Green - for anyone who's visited us in the last year, you'll understand that we were outgrowing our space!
In this blog post we wanted to show you what goes on behind the scenes of the workshop and share some insights from the team into what it's like to make the IKAWA Pro Sample Roasters in the UK.
As demand for our Pro Sample Roasters has grown, we’ve been able to develop our expertise in house for the assembly of our roasters. Back in the early days, Andrew painstakingly assembled every roaster from his workshop in the Dyson Building at the Royal College of Art where IKAWA was born, and now our Product Development and Production team has grown to a team of four.
Our new office in Bayford Street comfortably accommodates the bigger team, but has also allowed us to get the workshop set up so that we can make our roasters at a production capacity.
Our roasters have over 60 components ranging from basic screws, through PCB boards, and hand spun aluminum parts, most of which are custom made by a range of suppliers to very specific tolerances, which takes some coordinating.
Our Production Coordinator Nikash, who joined us in Spring, oversees the assembly, testing and dispatch and has led the design of our new workshop space. He and Production Technician Gabor are now mid-way through the first production run from our new workshop.
Each production run is broken down into smaller runs, with sub-assemblies done in stages to allow quality control testing at each juncture. Over the time, the guys have developed favourite parts of the processes!
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Nikash’s favourite process is the final assembly where the internal components are inserted into the case and then sealed to allow the cyclone system to work effectively.
From the outside, the roaster is very clean and simple looking considering its power, precision and robustness, and inside there are a range of completely different looking components.
Like many of us in the office, Gabor is a big fan of the doser because of its simplicity and the role it plays starting the roast and dropping the beans into the roasting chamber.
As for Nikash, he’s spent too long watching Star Wars and has renamed the plate to which the PCB board is affixed the Millennium Falcon Board. Can you see any resemblance?
Andrew on the other hand prefers the blower, as it took years to find the right blower which had the correct pressure and air flow.
After assembly is complete, we conduct a series of tests to ensure that the roasters achieve consistency and are properly calibrated. This concludes with test roasts to ensure consistency which we measure by a Lighttells agron reader.
The end of line quality tests are a critical part of the manufacturing process. By taking complete ownership of production in-house we have complete control of the testing which gives us confidence in each roaster before it’s dispatched for a life of sample roasting in any corner of the world.
We feel that having our office and workshop under the same roof creates a daily connection to the product for the whole IKAWA team. Moreover, manufacturing the machines ourselves is an extension of our core values and our desire to be authentic in everything we do.
If you are ever in London Fields and are interested in having a ‘tour’ of the workshop and a coffee, please drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org