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HOW DOES VOLUME PRICING WORK AT STRETCHSENSE?

One of the first questions we’re asked by customers who see the potential of prototypes developed with StretchSense technology is related to scalability — particularly when it comes to pricing.

After all, should a prototype bear fruit and be successfully sold to the relevant stakeholders within your company, very soon the talk will turn towards commercializing the prospect, and that means ramping up production.

It’s all very well to have a handful of prototypes to share between internal people, but commercializing those ideas is a whole different ballgame. The good news is that we have oriented our product around scalability, to make buying stretch sensing arrays as easy and affordable as possible.

To illustrate how the volume pricing model works, we decided to experiment with our glove array that — while an internal development project and not an available product — was built under the same manufacturing processes you will encounter when making a volume order. The glove array in our example is made up of the following:

  • Array of machine-deposited sensing elements — 13 sensors in our example, up to 14 in total — bonded to fabric.
  • StretchSense Sensing Electronics.
  • Cabling to connect the two above items, deposited through the same process as the sensing elements (no coax cables).
  • Battery pack (3x AAA).
  • Approximately four hours of CAD engineer design time.

For our example, the fabric bonded to the sensing elements is provided by us, but we can also accommodate a range of fabrics supplied by the customer. All of the elements above — essentially a pattern of smart fabric — would be included in the price, ready for shipping to the customer to be sewn into a garment.

FROM PROTOTYPING TO PRODUCTION WITH STRETCH SENSOR ARRAYS

Our volume pricing model is designed to cater to all customers, whether they are interested in just a few arrays for the early stages of prototyping and testing, or a few hundred thousand to take their new wearable product to market. What makes it possible to satisfy the needs of customers of all sizes is the scalability built into our pricing.

For the sake of this example, let’s start with a customer interested in low volumes to highlight the pricing model works. We’ll use our glove to represent each “unit”.

For those interested in low volumes, an Evaluation Board will be provided that incorporates StretchSense’s electronics and processing chip, offering a straightforward way to communicate with the stretch sensor arrays to make prototyping and small-scale production easier and cheaper.

An important part of what makes volume pricing possible is that, regardless of how many arrays we are producing, they’re all based on a single pattern. The development of the tooling required to manufacture from this pattern represents a significant portion of the initial cost — particularly at low volumes — but as production increases, the cost of that development is averaged across the quantity ordered. Hence, the price for a single unit may seem high at first glance, but it’s actually designed to be immensely scalable, with the volume pricing model taking effect as the quantity grows.

Once we have the finalized pattern, our manufacturing team calculates a pricing model based on the scale of the order and the most efficient method of production. For a single glove, the price sits just under US$3,000, at 10 units it drops below $450 and at 100 units it’s below $200.

Our volume pricing scalability is designed to be favorable for all parties in terms of dollars and cents, but also encourages you to get creative with prototyping — the more units available, the more freedom you have to experiment. When it comes time to introduce your product to the world, however, you’re going to need to investigate mass manufacturing.

Take a further step up in scale and the value of ordering sensors in bulk begins to reveal itself. At 1,000 units, the price plummets to around $30 per unit, while at 10,000 units the steep decline continues to less than $16, due to significant reductions in our two largest cost drivers:

  • Manufacturing: At a higher volume, the manufacturing of sensor arrays transitions to machinery capable of production on a much greater surface area, concurrently outputting larger quantities of arrays with new levels of automation throughout the process.
  • Electronics: The inclusion of the Evaluation Board with low-volume orders — necessary for customers beginning prototyping — increases the amount of electronics associated with each array. Customers placing a larger order will integrate StretchSense’s electronics into their own system (with assistance from our team), cutting down the cost, size and power consumption of components needed.

These two critical factors allow us to produce glove arrays much more cost-effectively at higher volumes — savings that are passed onto our customers.

Our facility is ready to meet whatever volume of production you require for your custom sensing arrays and is committed to delivering for our customers quickly and at an agreeable price; just tell us your specifications, lead time and volume requirements, and our team will help you with your request.

Ultimately it’s a pretty simple concept — you can purchase as many units of your original pattern design as you like, and while the cost for lower numbers may be high, the more you buy, the more affordable each unit becomes.

*The prices mentioned in this study are accurate at the time of publication, however they are subject to change.

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