Version 0.16.0 of the Voltera software released earlier today! Once your app updates, you’ll notice a few important changes to the workflow and UI:
Software Prompts You to Select Ink/Paste
The most visible change is also the most important - once you select your workflow (Print or Paste), the software will now prompt you to select which ink or paste you’ll be using, based on the label on the cartridge:
Right off the bat, this screen highlights two major differences:
Our cartridge labels have gotten a redesign! Material types can now be easily distinguished based on the label color - no more fumbling with cartridges to see which one is which.
Our Lot numbering is now following an <animal><adjective> convention. Besides being easier to read at a glance, this change serves a greater purpose, under the hood…
Print Settings depend on the material you choose, AND the LOT number.
Over the past year, your feedback has prompted us to grow the selection of materials we offer on the store - We now stock Conductive Ink for flexible substrates, as well as Solder Paste specifically for HASL-finished fabbed PCBs.
By prompting users to select which paste or ink they’re using, we make sure the V-One is using the right print settings for the right material - ensuring you get the best print possible.
However, this change doesn’t just apply to different materials - it also applies to the Lot number of your material. There are a few reasons why:
One of the realities of producing chemicals in large volumes is that there will be slight variations between production lots, even those that pass quality control. While these usually don’t impact print quality, in some cases it may require slight tweaks to the print settings (as some of our users recently noticed when their solder paste flow rate was decreasing over time).
With lot-specific print settings, which we configure during our QC process, we can now ensure that everyone is getting the best print possible.
We can include information like best-by dates right in the app, to help you ensure your conductive ink and solder paste will perform as expected. You can also easily check available lot numbers from settings window - no need to disassemble your dispenser if you forget!
For those of you play it fast and loose with the best-by date (not recommended) - don’t worry. ‘Historical’ lots and their associated settings will continue to be stored in the app after the rest of the world has moved on.
Cool things to come!
This change also signals the starting point for something we’re really excited about here at Voltera - custom dispensing profiles! While the V-One started out as a PCB prototyping tool, more and more of our users have been using it to print all kinds of materials for many different applications - printed batteries, encapsulants, biosensors… the list goes on.
We’re constantly astounded at the ways our users have found to push the boundaries, and we’d like to support this type of experimentation as much as possible. We’ll continue to build on this concept incrementally in future updates, to help simplify the process of dispensing your own materials and tweaking settings.
Settings Window UI Update
Gone are the days of a cluttered settings window that smashed paste, ink, and general settings in one pane. To support the changes described above, the settings window can now be navigated by material type and lot number, with print settings and special instructions for each clearly stated.
That’s it for this update - if you have any questions / comments, let us know!