Introducing Carbon Version Lock
We’re excited to share a new feature that gives you more control over your on-printer software: Version Lock 1.31. Version Lock is a new feature that extends Carbon support to a fixed version of the printer software. With the release of software version 1.31, customers may now “lock” version 1.31 to their printer for up to two years. This is a solution for process-sensitive, high-volume manufacturers that pauses future software updates to maintain consistent print parameters.
Evolving the Carbon Platform
The Carbon Digital Light Synthesis™ (Carbon DLS™) process has proven itself repeatedly as a groundbreaking technology, suitable for use across each stage of product development. Pushing the boundaries of 3D printing requires constant innovation in materials, part quality, and process efficiency. The development of Carbon DLS has been enabled in part by the consistent improvements to printing made through OTA software updates. Yet, some manufacturers must perform extended process validations whenever their printer software changes. This presents a challenge for these process-sensitive, high-volume manufacturers for whom the Carbon DLS process is optimized in its current state. They need certainty that parts will be printed the same each time.
Less Validation Time, More Control
Version Lock is a new feature of Carbon software that maintains full support for an existing version for a predetermined period of time. Starting with Carbon software version 1.31 (v1.31), Version Lock 1.31 guarantees that the functionality of v1.31 will be maintained for two years from the subsequent printer software release, v1.32. Version Lock 1.31 begins with the completion of the release of v1.32 in September 2021, with the lock maintained through September 2023. Note that until the customer opts into the lock, v1.31 is subject to the usual patch updates for functionality enhancement that are the norm during a release’s standard supported lifetime. If you are a process-sensitive, high-volume production customer with a need for Version Lock 1.31, you can:
- Spend less time validating: By opting in to Version Lock 1.31, you can produce without concern for revalidation through its scheduled end date in September 2023.
- Control your fleet: Version Lock is available printer-by-printer, such that production-oriented printers can have Version Lock 1.31 while prototyping printers can continue to accept updates to benefit from new resins, better part quality, and improved efficiency.
- Upgrade anytime: If you opt a printer into Version Lock 1.31, you can choose to unlock it and accept new updates at any time.
Version Lock 1.31 will be available on Carbon M-Series and L1 printers in all regions where Carbon printers are available. Note that Version Lock 1.31 does not alter any other aspects of the Carbon offering: devices must still maintain an internet connection to operate, and Carbon support is unchanged. Additionally, Carbon cares deeply about customer security and maintains the ability to release major security patches and critical bug fixes to locked printers.
Example: Using Version Lock in Practice
To demonstrate how this feature works in practice, below is an example to illustrate the choices and tradeoffs that Version Lock 1.31 presents.
In July 2021, Widgets Co. has many high-volume parts in production using the Carbon DLS process. Their quality process dictates that they must validate that any software updates do not change how their parts are printed (even if the updates make their parts print better).
Today, they produce these parts across three printers named: Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Widgets Co. typically produces parts on two printers (Huey and Dewey) and reserves one printer (Louie) exclusively for prototyping new parts.
- Before the release of v.1.32 in September 2021, Widgets Co. opts in to Version Lock 1.31 for their two production-oriented printers (Huey and Dewey). Widgets Co. would lock with Version Lock 1.31 for each of these two printers.
- Widgets Co. can continue producing parts consistent with the feature set of v.1.31 through September 2023 without the need to revalidate those parts.
- Widgets Co. keeps accepting updates for Louie, the prototyping printer, in order to try new features, resins, and other platform improvements.
In October 2021, Widgets Co. realizes they have more process-sensitive parts they have been designing on Louie, now on v.1.34. However, projects made on later versions are not guaranteed to be compatible with earlier versions like Version Lock 1.31. They intend to produce these new parts on a Version Lock 1.31 printer. This is also pushing their utilization high enough that they need a new printer.
- To address the capacity, Widgets Co. orders a new Version Lock 1.31 printer from Carbon. Version Lock 1.31 would be set to expire at the same time as all other printers on Version Lock 1.31, in September 2023.
- Knowing they want to produce on a Version Lock 1.31 printer, Widgets Co. would do their validation work on Huey or Dewey.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us—current customers can talk to Carbon Technical Partners or Account Managers to learn more. If you’re not a customer yet, please reach out to us here.
Reach out to Carbon
The Version Lock 1.31 start date will be set to coincide with the release of v.1.32, the first update beyond v.1.31. Version Lock 1.31 prevents the use of new resins, print planner improvements, and other efficiency and quality-of-life improvements. Specifically, over the duration of the lock, Version Lock 1.31 maintains the same:
- Prepare to print software
- Print planner
- Printer menus
- Resin support
Downgrading a printer from a later version to Version Lock 1.31 will also incur a cost and requires an onsite calibration visit from Carbon Technical Support. Because of this cost and complexity, Carbon strongly encourages users considering Version Lock v.1.31 to decide before updating to the next version release (v.1.32). Please note that Carbon expects for Version 1.32 to begin rolling out in August and be available to all customers by the end of September.
3D as It’s Meant to Be
Thanks to our subscription model and connected 3D printers, we’re able to easily roll these innovations out to customers as soon as they are ready. To learn more about our subscription model, check out this blog.