Our very first product, Orbiloc Safety Light, celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year. Thank you to all of you who have been a part of this adventurous journey so far. We are so happy and proud of these 10 years! Especially because the journey has been challenging and filled with obstacles.
In 2009, Anette Kristensen and Jan Jægergaard founded the company Orbiloc. Their goal was initially to offer quality-conscious dog owners a light that both makes walks in the dark safer and takes up the fight against cheaper disposable lights. Cheap dog lights already pervaded the dog market at the time, which both Anette and Jan had learned through previous jobs.
The result of their ambition was the Orbiloc Safety Light which now celebrates 10 years on the market.
Below, you can read the whole story.
The story of Orbiloc Safety Light
The story begins with the Orbiloc Safety Light Generation 1. The first generation of the Orbiloc Safety Light was manufactured in China by a Canadian military manufacturer and therefore, already back in 2010, it was very robust and durable.
Quality comes at a cost
Due to the quality of the light, it had a higher price than the cheap dog lights on the market, which, of course, did not seem to be an advantage for consumers. Therefore, as one of the first initiatives, we introduced a three-year warranty. Because we thought it was important for our customers to understand that over the course of three years it would be wise to invest in one quality light rather than a handful of cheaper lights. The fact that it is also better for the environment is obvious. We still offer the three-year warranty today.
Dedicated right from the beginning
If you, as a retailer, did business with us back then, you may have seen us throw the light on the floor, stand on it or throw it in a fish tank of water in front of you in a dedicated attempt to demonstrate that a dog light should not break after a short time. Fortunately, you welcomed us with open arms. Thank you very much.
Limitations of the design
Of course, it was not all perfect from the start. Because the light was developed for military use, in some cases the construction was not optimal for private individuals and dog owners.
Among other things, users criticised that they had to flip the batteries to switch between constant light and flashing light – an understandable criticism. On top of that, we started getting inquiries from runners and water sports people who could see that lights with such specifications could be used in their sport – but this also demanded more from the light. For instance, it had to be possible to mount it in several ways – for example on the arm or on a backpack or wetsuit.
Therefore, we decided to rethink the light to make it more user-friendly, more versatile and not least more streamlined in its design. Generation 2 should be a practical flashlight that you would want to be seen with when you take the dog for a walk, go for a run or enjoy a trip out on the water. At the same time, the light should remain extremely robust and 100 % waterproof.
As the light had to be the ultimate version, we consulted the reputable Danish design company Friis & Moltke, which today can be said to be the originator of the current design of the light.
The design process started in 2013, and in 2014, Orbiloc Safety Light Generation 2 saw the light of day.
From China to Denmark
With the transition from Orbiloc Safety Light Generation 1 to 2, we also decided to move our production from China to Denmark. We wanted to have 100 % control over the quality of the light.
We were not supposed to manufacture the light ourselves from the beginning, but it gradually proved necessary in order to keep production costs at a reasonable level.
Since we could not afford our own production plant from the beginning, we first invested in a robot table for assembling the light as well as a production line to make the electronics. The plastic parts, however, were cast at another Danish company, and the finished lights were packaged by a supported employment workshop in the Danish town of Randers.
Today we produce and package Orbiloc Safety Light under our own roof and the processes are fully automated. But the road that led us there almost cost the company its life.
When we almost turned the key
Many of our machines are not standard and therefore had to be custom-built for us. We chose to collaborate with smaller Danish engineering, forging and automation companies. They were nearby so we could monitor the production, and they also had a good understanding of what it was like to be a small Danish company.
But this solution also presented challenges, such as when one of the automation companies went bankrupt because of another project. Just before the start of our season, we were suddenly left with a half-finished solution for automating packaging – without knowing when the project could be completed and by whom. It was a giant mess and we were close to closing up shop.
A happy end – for the time being
Today, we can happily say that we managed to find a company that could help pick up the pieces and finish building the machine. In 2018, most machines were functional, and since 2019, everything has been fully automated – from production to packaging.
Now, we are finally able to produce our Orbiloc Safety Lights and give more outdoor people, athletes and not least dog owners the freedom to engage in their interests while being visible in the dark.
Thank you, everyone
The fact that we are able to celebrate 10 years of Orbiloc Safety Lights was not always clear as day, which is why we are so happy about it. Therefore, a huge THANK YOU to present and former employees, sparring partners, business partners and of course our many loyal customers.
Status 2020 – relocation and COVID-19
It is no secret that 2020 is already teaching us new lessons.
As 2019 was a good year for Orbiloc, the plan was to expand. Therefore, in January, we moved to new, larger premises, and the entire production as well as the offices had to be packed up, moved and rebuilt.
Before we even got there, as you know, the world was completely changed by COVID-19. We have come through the first period, but like so many other individuals and companies, we do not know what the future holds. We are facing the challenges and working hard day and night to pull through.
COVID-19 cannot change our strong values, the wonderful relationships we have built with our customers and business partners, and the 10 years of experience in the lighting market that we bring.
We look forward – optimistically – to many more good years with you!
Do you consider becoming an Orbiloc retailer? Feel free to send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
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