News Column

"Inkjet Printer" in Patent Application Approval Process

August 12, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- A patent application by the inventor ARAKANE, Satoru (Nagoya, JP), filed on January 17, 2014, was made available online on July 31, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Brother Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The following description relates to an inkjet printer capable of recording an image on a recording sheet formed in a wavy shape waving along a main scanning direction.

"An inkjet printer configured to record an image by discharging ink from a recording head onto a recording sheet is known. The inkjet printer may be equipped with a wave forming mechanism to deform the recording sheet in a wavy shape waving up and down along a main scanning direction, which interests a direction to convey the recording sheet. While the recording sheet is deformed in the wavy shape, an amount of a gap between the recording head and the recording sheet may not be constant but may fluctuate along the main scanning direction depending on convexity and concavity in the wavy shape in the recording sheet. Due to the inconstant gap amount, while the amount of the gap between the convex portion and the recording head tends to be smaller and the amount of the gap between the concave portion and the recording head tends to be larger, positions of the ink droplets landing on the recording sheet may be deviated from initially targeted positions. Therefore, it may be necessary to adjust timings to discharge the ink in consideration of the convexity and the concavity of the wavy shape in the recording sheet so that the adjusted timings may absorb the deviation of the landing positions on the recording sheet."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "In the above-mentioned recording apparatus, the timings to discharge the ink may be corrected with regard to a condition of a dry recording sheet, on which no ink is discharged yet. However, amplitude of the ripples formed in the recording sheet may change between the condition of the dry recording sheet before the image is recorded thereon and a condition of a wet recording sheet swelled by the landed ink after the ink is discharged thereon. Therefore, due to the change of the amplitude in the ripples of the recording sheet, the ink may still not be discharged onto the targeted positions even in the corrected timings.

"Aspects of the present invention are advantageous in that an inkjet printer, in which ink is discharged onto a recording sheet, deformed in a wavy shape along a main scanning direction, in preferable timings adjusted in accordance with an amount of the ink to be discharged, is provided.

"According to an aspect of the present invention, an inkjet printer is provided. The inkjet printer includes a recording head, a carriage, a corrugation mechanism, and a controller. The recording head is configured to discharge ink at a sheet. The carriage has the recording head and is configured to move along a scanning direction. The corrugation mechanism is configured to form a corrugated shape that has protrusive points protruding toward the recording head and recessed points recessed from the recording head in the sheet, while each of the protruding points and each of the recessed points are arranged alternately along the scanning direction. The controller is configured to execute steps, including a discharged ink amount calculating step, a timing information obtaining step, a discharging timing correcting step, and a discharging step. The discharged ink amount calculating step is a step in which an amount of the ink having been discharged from the recording head at the sheet is calculated. The timing information obtaining step is a step in which information concerning discharging timings for discharging the ink at the protrusive points and the recessed points respectively are obtained. The discharging timing correcting step is a step in which the discharging timings for the protrusive points and the recessed points are corrected individually in accordance with the calculated amount of the discharged ink. The discharging step is a step in which the carriage is moved along the scanning direction and the recording head is manipulated to discharge the ink at the sheet in the corrected discharging timings.

"According to another aspect of the present invention, an inkjet printer is provided. The inkjet printer includes a recording head, a carriage, a corrugation mechanism, and a controller. The recording head is configured to discharge ink at a sheet. The carriage has the recording head and is configured to move along a scanning direction. The corrugation mechanism is configured to form a corrugated shape that has protrusive points protruding toward the recording head and recessed points recessed from the recording head in the sheet, each of the protruding points and each of the recessed points being arranged alternately along the scanning direction. The controller is configured to execute steps, including a discharged ink amount calculating step, a timing information obtaining step, a discharging timing correcting step, and a discharging step. The discharged ink amount calculating step is a step in which an amount of the ink having been discharged at the sheet is calculated. The timing information obtaining step is a step in which information concerning discharging timings for discharging the ink at the protrusive points, the recessed points, and other points being between the recessed points and the protrusive points respectively is obtained. The discharging timing correcting step is a step in which the discharging timings are corrected in accordance with the calculated amount of the discharged ink. The discharging step is a step in which the recording head is moved along the scanning direction and is manipulated to discharge the ink at the sheet in the corrected discharging timings.

"According to still another aspect of the present invention, a method to record an image by discharging ink from a recording head at a corrugated sheet is provided. The method includes calculating an amount of the ink having been discharged at the sheet from the recording head mounted on a carriage, while the carriage is movable along a scanning direction; obtaining information concerning discharging timings from a memory device, the information concerning the discharging timings for discharging the ink at protrusive points and recessed points formed in the corrugated sheet; correcting the discharging timings for the protrusive points and the recessed points in accordance with the calculated amount of the discharged ink; and moving the carriage along the scanning direction and manipulating the recording head to discharge the ink at the sheet in the corrected discharging timings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCOMPANYING DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is an external perspective view of a multifunction device (MFD) 10 according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of an internal structure of a printer unit 11 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a recording unit 24 supported by guide rails 43, 44 in the MFP 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 4 is a perspective view of contact pieces 80 and a platen 42 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view to illustrate relative positions between supporting ribs 52 in the platen 42 and contacting ribs 85 in the contact pieces 80 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 6 is a block diagram to illustrate configurations of a controller 130 and other related parts in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 7 is a flowchart to illustrate a flow of an image recording operation to be performed by the controller 130 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 8 is a diagram to illustrate a reference value D0, a peak deviation value Y (m), and a bottom deviation value Y (m+1) with respect to the recording sheet 12 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 9 is a diagram to illustrate a shape of a dry recording sheet 12, before the ink is discharged thereon, and a shape of a wet recording sheet 12, after the ink is discharged thereon, used in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 10 illustrates a data structure in an EEPROM 134 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 11 is a diagram indicating amounts of discharged ink on the recording sheet 12 used in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 12 is a diagram to illustrate a shape of a dry recording sheet 12, before the ink is discharged thereon, and a shape of a wet recording sheet 12, after the ink is discharged thereon, used in the MFD 10 in a first modified example according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 13 illustrates a data structure in the EEPROM 134 in the MFD 10 in a second modified example according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 14A is a flowchart to illustrate an operation to modify corrected discharging timings depending on a nipping condition of the recording sheet 12 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 14B is a flowchart to illustrate an operation to modify corrected discharging timings depending on a type the recording sheet 12 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 14C is a flowchart to illustrate an operation to modify corrected discharging timings depending on a fiber alignment in the recording sheet 12 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 14D is a flowchart to illustrate an operation to modify corrected discharging timings depending on dry-wait period applied to the recording sheet 12 in the MFD 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: ARAKANE, Satoru. Inkjet Printer. Filed January 17, 2014 and posted July 31, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4334&p=87&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140724.PD.&OS=PD/20140724&RS=PD/20140724

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

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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