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Patent Application Titled "Liquid Ejecting Apparatus, Method for Controlling Liquid Ejecting Apparatus, and Storage Medium Storing Instructions for...

July 22, 2014



Patent Application Titled "Liquid Ejecting Apparatus, Method for Controlling Liquid Ejecting Apparatus, and Storage Medium Storing Instructions for Liquid Ejecting Apparatus" Published Online

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor Itogawa, Yoshihiro (Mizuho-shi, JP), filed on October 29, 2013, was made available online on July 10, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Brother Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to a liquid ejecting apparatus, a method for controlling the liquid ejecting apparatus, and a storage medium storing instructions for the liquid ejecting apparatus.

"As a liquid ejecting apparatus for recording an image on a recording medium, an ink-jet recording apparatus, which includes an ink-jet head for ejecting an ink from ejecting ports, has been known. In this ink-jet recording apparatus, to prevent degradation of ejecting characteristics due to thickening of ink near the ejecting ports, preliminary ejecting (flushing) of ink irrespective of image recording is carried out. For instance, an ink-jet recording apparatus, in which a ejecting pattern for the preliminary ejecting is attached to image data and the preliminary ejecting is carried out on a recording medium during image recording, has been known. In the abovementioned ink-jet recording apparatus, irrespective of the content of the image data, the same ejecting pattern for the preliminary ejecting is added to the image data all the time."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Incidentally, a liquid ejecting apparatus in which it is possible to select, as an image quality mode of an image to be recorded on a recording medium, a low image quality mode and a high image quality mode of carrying out recording of an image of a quality higher than an image in the low image quality mode has been known. Here, in a case of carrying out preliminary ejecting by using the same ejecting pattern for the preliminary ejecting all the time as in the abovementioned hitherto known ink-jet recording apparatus, in the high image quality mode, there is a possibility that the image quality is degraded due to flushing dots formed by a liquid that has been ejected in the preliminary ejecting, and that the desired image cannot be achieved.

"An object of the present invention is to provide a liquid ejecting apparatus which suppresses the degradation of an image due to the flushing dots, a method for controlling the liquid ejecting apparatus, and a storage medium storing instructions for the liquid ejecting apparatus.

"According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a liquid ejecting apparatus including: a plurality of liquid ejecting heads including a plurality of ejection nozzles and configured to eject liquids of a plurality of colors respectively from the ejection nozzles; an image data storage device configured to store image data with respect to an image to be recorded on a recording medium; a mode receiving device configured to receive one image quality mode from at least two image quality modes as an image quality mode with respect to an image quality of the image to be recorded on the recording medium, the at least two image quality modes including a low image quality mode and a high image quality mode which has an image quality higher than an image quality of the low image quality mode; and a control device configured to: control the plurality of liquid ejecting heads, based on the image data stored, to eject the liquids from the ejection nozzles of the plurality of liquid ejecting heads onto a plurality of image dot areas, among a plurality of dot areas defined on the recording medium, thereby forming image dots of the plurality of colors by the liquids landed on the plurality of image dot areas; generate a plurality of preliminary ejection data for the plurality of liquid ejecting heads respectively, the plurality of preliminary ejection data being related to preliminary ejections for recovering ejection performances of the plurality of liquid ejecting heads respectively; and control the plurality of liquid ejecting heads, based on the plurality of preliminary ejection data generated for the plurality of liquid ejecting heads respectively, to perform the preliminary ejections, thereby forming flushing dots of the plurality of colors on a plurality of flushing dot areas among the plurality of dot areas, wherein in a case that the high image quality mode is received by the mode receiving device, the control device is configured to generate the plurality of preliminary ejection data, so that a ratio of the number of dot areas, on each of which one of the image dots as well as one of the flushing dots is formed, to the number of the flushing dot areas is higher than the ratio in a case that the low image quality mode is received by the mode receiving device.

"According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium storing computer-executable instructions that, when executed by a processor, cause a liquid ejecting apparatus including: a plurality of liquid ejecting heads including a plurality of ejection nozzles and configured to eject liquids of a plurality of colors respectively from the ejection nozzles; and an image data storage device configured to store image data with respect to an image to be recorded on a recording medium, to perform: a mode receiving process of receiving one image quality mode from at least two image quality modes as an image quality mode with respect to an image quality of the image to be recorded on the recording medium, the at least two image quality modes including a low image quality mode and a high image quality mode which has an image quality higher than an image quality of the low image quality mode; and a control process of: controlling the plurality of liquid ejecting heads, based on the image data stored, to eject the liquids from the ejection nozzles of the plurality of liquid ejecting heads onto a plurality of image dot areas, among a plurality of dot areas defined on the recording medium, thereby forming image dots of the plurality of colors by the liquids landed on the plurality of image dot areas; generating a plurality of preliminary ejection data for the plurality of liquid ejecting heads respectively, the plurality of preliminary ejection data being related to preliminary ejections for recovering ejection performances of the plurality of liquid ejecting heads respectively; and controlling the plurality of liquid ejecting heads, based on the plurality of preliminary ejection data generated for the plurality of liquid ejecting heads respectively, to perform the preliminary ejections, thereby forming flushing dots of the plurality of colors on a plurality of flushing dot areas among the plurality of dot areas, wherein in a case that the high image quality mode is received in the mode receiving process, in the control process, the plurality of preliminary ejection data is generated so that a ratio of the number of dot areas, on each of which one of the image dots as well as one of the flushing dots is formed, to the number of the flushing dot areas is higher than the ratio in a case that the low image quality mode is received in the mode receiving process.

"According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a control method for controlling a liquid ejecting apparatus including: a plurality of liquid ejecting heads including a plurality of ejection nozzles and configured to eject liquids of a plurality of colors respectively from the ejection nozzles; and an image data storage device configured to store image data with respect to an image to be recorded on a recording medium, the method including: a mode receiving process of receiving one image quality mode from at least two image quality modes as an image quality mode with respect to an image quality of the image to be recorded on the recording medium, the at least two image quality modes including a low image quality mode and a high image quality mode which has an image quality higher than an image quality of the low image quality mode; and a control process of: controlling the plurality of liquid ejecting heads, based on the image data stored, to eject the liquids from the ejection nozzles of the plurality of liquid ejecting heads onto a plurality of image dot areas, among a plurality of dot areas defined on the recording medium, thereby forming image dots of the plurality of colors by the liquid landed on the plurality of image dot areas; generating a plurality of preliminary ejection data for the plurality of liquid ejecting heads respectively, the plurality of preliminary ejection data being related to preliminary ejections for recovering ejection performances of the plurality of liquid ejecting heads respectively; and controlling the plurality of liquid ejecting heads, based on the plurality of preliminary ejection data generated for the plurality of liquid ejecting heads respectively, to perform the preliminary ejections, thereby forming flushing dots of the plurality of colors on a plurality of flushing dot areas among the plurality of dot areas, wherein in a case that the high image quality mode is received in the mode receiving process, in the control process, the plurality of preliminary ejection data is generated so that a ratio of the number of dot areas, on each of which one of the image dots as well as one of the flushing dots is formed, to the number of the flushing dot areas is higher than the ratio in a case that the low image quality mode is received in the mode receiving process.

"As the quality of the image to be recorded on the recording medium becomes high, visibility of the flushing dots formed in dot areas on which the image dots are formed becomes lower than visibility of the flushing dots formed in dot areas on which the image dots are not formed. Accordingly, it is possible to suppress degradation of the image due to the flushing dots by making an arrangement such that, in the high image quality mode, a ratio of the number of dot areas on the recording medium formed by the flushing dots being overlapped with the image dots to the number of all the dot areas on the recording medium on which the flushing dots are formed is higher than the ratio in the low image quality mode.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a schematic side view of an ink-jet printer according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2 is a plan view of an ink-jet head in FIG. 1.

"FIG. 3A is an enlarged view showing an area III surrounded by alternate long and short dash line in FIG. 2, and FIG. 3B is a partial cross-sectional view along a line IIIB-IIIB in FIG. 3A.

"FIG. 4 is an electrical block diagram of the ink-jet printer in FIG. 1.

"FIG. 5 is a functional block diagram of the ink-jet printer in FIG. 1.

"FIG. 6A, FIG. 6B, and FIG. 6C are diagrams explaining creating of drive data in a low image quality mode in a drive data creating section shown in FIG. 5.

"FIG. 7 is a diagram showing a process of determining areas for forming flushing dots in a preliminary ejection data setting section shown in FIG. 5.

"FIG. 8 is a diagram explaining creating of preliminary ejection data in a high image quality mode in the drive data creating section shown in FIG. 5.

"FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing an example of a processing procedure which is carried out in a control unit shown in FIG. 5.

"FIG. 10A and FIG. 10B are diagrams showing a modified example of the process of determining areas for forming the flushing dots in the preliminary ejection data setting section shown in FIG. 5."

For more information, see this patent application: Itogawa, Yoshihiro. Liquid Ejecting Apparatus, Method for Controlling Liquid Ejecting Apparatus, and Storage Medium Storing Instructions for Liquid Ejecting Apparatus. Filed October 29, 2013 and posted July 10, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5241&p=105&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140703.PD.&OS=PD/20140703&RS=PD/20140703

Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, Information and Data Storage, Brother Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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