JP2004114675A - Method for forming image and image forming apparatus - Google Patents

Method for forming image and image forming apparatus Download PDF

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JP2004114675A
JP2004114675A JP2003301034A JP2003301034A JP2004114675A JP 2004114675 A JP2004114675 A JP 2004114675A JP 2003301034 A JP2003301034 A JP 2003301034A JP 2003301034 A JP2003301034 A JP 2003301034A JP 2004114675 A JP2004114675 A JP 2004114675A
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ink
image
intermediate transfer
material
transfer member
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JP4006374B2 (en
JP2004114675A5 (en
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Akihiro Mori
Hiroshi Yanai
毛利 明広
谷内 洋
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Canon Inc
キヤノン株式会社
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Abstract

<P>PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To provide a method of forming an image and an image forming apparatus that can record an image on various kinds of media insusceptible of ink absorption characteristics of the recording media without sacrificing recording flexibility in an inkjet recording technology. <P>SOLUTION: This method of forming an image comprises a process for applying a wettability improving material on an intermediate transfer body having a surface layer with a releasability, a process for applying an image fixing material on an intermediate transfer body supplied the wettability improving material, and a process for transferring ink on the transfer body to a printing medium. <P>COPYRIGHT: (C)2004,JPO

Description

The present invention relates to an image forming method and an image forming apparatus using an ink jet recording method, and more particularly to an image forming method which is hardly affected by an ink absorption amount of a recording medium and an image forming apparatus for realizing the method.

オ フ セ ッ ト Currently, the mainstream of image formation using paper as a recording medium is offset printing. Offset printing is suitable for mass production because high-quality printed matter can be produced at high speed, and the cost per sheet is very low because of mass production. This is because, in offset printing, if a single plate is made in the plate making process, a large number of copies can be made based on the plate, so that the proportion of plate making costs occupied by individual printed materials can be reduced. Such offset printing has very closely matched the requirements of the market up to now.

However, in recent years, with the diversification of information and the diversification of small and large lots of printed materials, plate making costs for individual printed materials have become large and expensive. Furthermore, in recent years, the immediacy of information has become even more important, and there has been an increasing demand for a short delivery time in the market, "I want to obtain printed matter immediately." In response to this demand, the current offset printing has a long lead time from original creation to plate making and printing preparation (device stabilization), and the actual printing time can be output at about 9000 sheets / min. At present, small lots of copies do not lead to short delivery times. In addition, enormous capital investment is required, and all process operations require a high level of skill, so production sites are limited, and it takes time for printing to be handed over to customers. Was.

印刷 In view of such changes in market requirements, in recent years, printing by an ink jet recording method has attracted attention. The ink jet recording method is a method of recording an image pattern on a recording medium in a non-contact manner without using a plate. However, since it is a plateless method, it is suitable for printing a small number of copies. Furthermore, with the advance of computerization of information and the fact that image information can be easily manipulated, it is possible to immediately improve the quality of information without requiring high expertise and without requiring large-scale equipment. The ink-jet recording method has become an expected information recording method in combination with obtaining printed matter.

By the way, as a recent trend, it is required to be able to record high-quality images by the ink jet recording method regardless of the type of recording medium. However, in the case of the ink jet recording method, it is difficult to record a high-quality image regardless of the type of the recording medium because the ink absorption characteristics of the recording medium are not so small. It is difficult to print a high-quality image on a non-absorbing recording medium that does not absorb ink at all. When recording is performed on a recording medium with poor ink absorption capacity, a phenomenon called bleeding in which ink droplets that have landed adjacently mix with each other, or ink that has landed subsequently to ink that has landed earlier is drawn and ink droplets are drawn. A phenomenon called beading, which causes aggregation, occurs, and image quality is often deteriorated.

抑制 す る In order to suppress such bleeding and beading, it is effective to lower the fluidity of the ink on the surface of the recording medium. However, in the case of the ink jet recording system, only low-viscosity ink having high fluidity can be ejected in order to satisfy ejection suitability. In other words, in the case of the ink jet recording method, contradictory characteristics are required such that the ink fluidity at the time of ejection must be increased, while the ink fluidity must be decreased on the recording medium.

In order to simultaneously satisfy such conflicting requirements, an ink image is formed on an intermediate transfer member (hereinafter, also simply referred to as a transfer member), and the ink image formed on the transfer member is transferred to a desired recording medium. In addition, a method of forming an ink image on a desired recording medium (an image forming method using an intermediate transfer body) has been proposed (for example, see Patent Document 1, Patent Document 2, Patent Document 3, etc.). In this method, ink ejected from an ink jet head is once landed on an intermediate transfer member to lower the fluidity of the ink to some extent, and then the ink image having the reduced flow is transferred from the transfer member to a recording medium.

In an image forming method using such an intermediate transfer body, in order to increase the quality of the ink image on the recording medium after transfer, it is necessary to increase the quality of the ink image on the intermediate transfer body before transfer. This is important, and for that purpose, it is necessary to have a high ink image holding property on the intermediate transfer member (the degree to which the ink does not move from the landing position and stays there). However, in Patent Documents 1 to 3, the ink image retention on the intermediate transfer member is low, and beading and bleeding occur on the intermediate transfer member as in the non-absorbent recording medium described above. Therefore, it is a problem to reduce the fluidity of the ink on the intermediate transfer member.

様 々 Various proposals have been made for such problems of the transfer type ink jet. For example, Patent Literature 4 proposes a method in which a hot-melt ink is discharged to an intermediate transfer body by heating an ink-jet head and an ink supply system, and heat is released and fluidity of the ink is reduced.

Further, Patent Document 5 proposes a method of heating an intermediate transfer member to promote the evaporation of water of the ink applied to the intermediate transfer member, thereby reducing the fluidity of the ink on the intermediate transfer member. .

In Patent Document 6, a liquid (reaction liquid) that reacts with ink is applied on an intermediate transfer body, and ink droplets are landed on the intermediate transfer body to react the ink with the reaction liquid. A method for reducing the fluidity of the ink has been proposed.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,538,156 U.S. Pat. No. 5,099,256 JP-A-62-22849, etc. JP-A-7-22312 JP-A-5-330035 Japanese Patent No. 2916864

However, with any of the above-mentioned methods, ink fluidity on the intermediate transfer body is suppressed to increase the quality of the ink image on the intermediate transfer body, and the ink on the recording medium after transfer is obtained. The technology which can make an image high quality has not been realized.

For example, when a hot melt ink is used as in Patent Literature 4, an ink containing an extremely large amount of a binder with respect to a coloring material is used to generate phase change characteristics (solid-liquid phase change due to heat) of the ink. Inevitably, the amount of ink applied to obtain a desired density increases. As a result, a large ink thickness of the output image leads to a decrease in image quality. In other words, according to this method, since the thickness of the attached ink is large, the ink image on the recording medium after transfer is uncomfortable, and the quality of the ink image on the recording medium after transfer cannot be high. It is. Further, since solid ink is used at a steady temperature, it is necessary to heat and melt the ink in the ink flow path at the time of startup, and it takes time until an image is output. Moreover, since it is necessary to keep this during operation of the apparatus, enormous energy is required.

ビ ー Beading and bleeding cannot be suppressed simply by heating the transfer body as in Patent Document 5. Because ink beading and bleeding occur at the moment of ink landing, beading and bleeding occur before the ink fluidity is sufficiently reduced by heating. In this method, only the effect of drying the ink image formed on the transfer body can be obtained, the retention of the ink image on the transfer body is still low, and the ink image on the transfer body is of high quality. In addition, the quality of the ink image on the recording medium after the transfer cannot be high.

In Patent Document 6, although the fluidity of the ink image on the intermediate transfer member can be reduced, the quality of the ink image on the intermediate transfer member cannot be high. That is, since the reaction liquid itself is a liquid, if such a reaction liquid is applied on the intermediate transfer member, beading of the reaction liquid occurs on the intermediate transfer member. Then, the ink is ejected to a position where beading of the reaction liquid is occurring, so that the ink cannot be held at a regular place, and the ink image on the transfer body has high quality. It does not matter. In addition, if an intermediate transfer body having a surface having excellent ink absorbency is used to suppress beading, a good ink image can be formed on the intermediate transfer body. In addition to the above, the transfer to the recording medium cannot be performed properly, and cleaning becomes difficult.

As is apparent from the above, even with the method using the intermediate transfer member, various inks including recording media having poor ink absorption ability (for example, non-absorbing recording media) are not affected by the ink absorption characteristics of the recording medium. It has not been possible to form a high-quality ink image on a recording medium.

Therefore, an object of the present invention is to provide an image forming method that enables image recording on a wide range of media, regardless of the ink absorption characteristics of the recording medium, without sacrificing the high printability of the inkjet recording system. And an image forming apparatus.

In order to achieve the above object, the present invention provides a process for applying a first material for improving the wettability of the surface of an intermediate transfer member to an intermediate transfer member, and a second material for reducing the fluidity of ink. Applying the ink to the intermediate transfer body to which the first material has been applied, and applying the ink from an inkjet recording head to the intermediate transfer body to which the first material and the second material have been applied. And a step of forming an image of the ink on the intermediate transfer body, and a step of transferring the image of the formed ink to a recording medium.

Another aspect of the present invention is a method of forming an image of the ink on the recording medium by transferring the image of the ink formed on the intermediate transfer body having a non-absorbable surface to the recording medium. A step of applying a first material for improving the surface energy of the intermediate transfer body to the intermediate transfer body, and a step of applying the first material to the second material for aggregating the coloring material of the ink. Applying the ink from an inkjet recording head to the intermediate transfer body to which the first material and the second material have been applied, and applying the ink onto the intermediate transfer body. An image forming method comprising: a step of forming an ink image; and a step of transferring the formed ink image to a recording medium.

Here, the surface of the intermediate transfer member is preferably a compound containing at least fluorine or silicone. Preferably, the surface of the intermediate transfer member has a rubber hardness in the range of 10 to 100 °. Further, it is preferable that the first material is a liquid containing a surfactant. Further, it is preferable to change the position where the first material is applied according to the image to be formed. Further, the second material is preferably a liquid containing metal ions. Further, it is preferable to change the position where the second material is applied according to the image to be formed. Preferably, the second material contains a surfactant. It is preferable that at least one of the first material, the second material, and the ink contains a crosslinking agent. 2. The image forming method according to claim 1, further comprising a step of promoting removal of a solvent contained in an image of the ink formed on the intermediate transfer member. In addition, it is preferable that at least one of the first material and the second material is applied using an inkjet head.

In another aspect of the present invention, a step of applying a first liquid containing a surfactant to an intermediate transfer member having a surface containing at least one of a fluorine rubber and a silicone rubber, and aggregating the coloring material of the ink. Applying a second liquid to the intermediate transfer member to which the first liquid has been applied, and applying an inkjet recording head to the intermediate transfer member to which the first liquid and the second liquid have been applied. Applying the ink from above to form an image of the ink on the intermediate transfer body, and transferring the formed image of the ink to a recording medium. is there.

Another aspect of the present invention is an apparatus for forming an image of the ink on the recording medium by transferring the image of the ink formed on the intermediate transfer body having a release surface to the recording medium. A first applying means for applying a first liquid for improving the wettability of the surface of the intermediate transfer member to the intermediate transfer member, and a second liquid for reducing the fluidity of the ink, the first liquid being provided by the first liquid. A second application unit that applies the liquid to the intermediate transfer body to which the liquid is applied, and an inkjet recording head that applies the ink to the intermediate transfer body to which the first liquid and the second liquid are applied based on image data An image forming apparatus comprising:

ADVANTAGE OF THE INVENTION According to this invention, image formation which enables image recording to various recording media, including recording media (for example, non-absorbent recording media) having a poor ink absorption capability, regardless of the ink absorption characteristics of the recording media. A method and an image forming apparatus are provided.

本 Hereinafter, the present invention will be described in more detail with reference to embodiments of the present invention.

First, before giving a detailed description of the present embodiment, the features of the present embodiment will be briefly described. The feature of this embodiment is that the second material (image fixing component) for reducing the fluidity of the ink on the intermediate transfer member can be uniformly applied on the intermediate transfer member, or the second material (image fixing component) is provided on the intermediate transfer member. Before applying the second material, the first material (wetting property improving component) for improving the wettability of the surface of the intermediate transfer member is applied to the intermediate transfer member so that the second material can be held at a desired position. It is to give above. As a result, since the image fixing component is not repelled on the surface of the intermediate transfer member and beading of the image fixing component does not occur, the image fixing component can be uniformly applied on the intermediate transfer member, and also provided on the intermediate transfer member. The image fixed component thus obtained can be held at a desired position. Then, ink is applied to the intermediate transfer body in a state where the image fixing component is uniformly applied or in a state where the image fixing component is held at a desired position. The fixed component reacts with the ink, and the ink can be held at a desired position on the intermediate transfer member. As a result, the quality of the ink image on the intermediate transfer member can be high, and as a result, the quality of the ink image on the recording medium after the transfer can be high.

On the other hand, when a reaction liquid (image fixing component) that reacts with ink is directly applied to the intermediate transfer body as in Patent Document 6 described above, that is, the image is fixed on the intermediate transfer body to which no wettability improving component is applied. When the component is applied, the image fixing component is repelled on the surface of the intermediate transfer member, and beading of the image fixing component occurs. Therefore, the image fixing component cannot be uniformly applied on the intermediate transfer member, and is also applied on the intermediate transfer member. It is not possible to hold the image fixed component at a desired position. Then, the ink is applied to the intermediate transfer body in a state where the image fixing component is unevenly applied, or in a state where the image fixing component is present at a position different from the desired position. The image fixing component and the ink react at a position different from the position, and the ink is held at a position different from the desired position. In other words, the ink cannot be held at a desired position on the intermediate transfer member, thereby deteriorating the quality of the ink image on the intermediate transfer member. As a result, the ink image on the recording medium after the transfer has been reduced. Can not be high quality.

As described above, in order to increase the quality of the ink image on the transfer body, it is important to maintain an image fixing component that reduces the fluidity of the ink on the intermediate transfer body at a desired position on the intermediate transfer body. For this reason, it is important to add a wettability component before applying the image fixing component.

Next, a detailed description of the embodiment of the present invention will be given. FIG. 1 is a schematic view of an image forming apparatus of the present invention for realizing an image forming method according to an embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 1, reference numeral 1 denotes an intermediate transfer member having a surface layer 2. A coating apparatus 4 for providing an image fixing component, a coating apparatus 3 for providing a wettability improving component, and an ink jet recording apparatus 5 for ejecting ink droplets from an ink jet recording head to form an ink image. The intermediate transfer member 1 rotates in the direction of the arrow in the drawing, and first, a wettability improving component is applied to the surface by the coating device 3, and then, the image fixing component is applied by the coating device 4. Further, after these components are applied, ink droplets are ejected from the inkjet recording device 5 to form an image on the surface of the intermediate transfer body 1. Then, an image is formed on the recording medium 9 by bringing the recording surface of the recording medium 9 into contact by pressing the recording surface with a pressure roller 10. In the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1, a water removal accelerating device 7 is disposed, the water in the ink constituting the image on the intermediate transfer body 1 is removed, and then the image is transferred to the recording surface of the recording medium 9. It has a configuration. Further, the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1 has a configuration in which the intermediate transfer body is repeatedly used a plurality of times by cleaning the surface of the intermediate transfer body with the cleaning device 12.

According to the image recording method in the embodiment of the present invention using the image forming apparatus having the above-described configuration, it is possible to output a different image for each sheet with high quality, with few restrictions on types of usable recording media. It becomes. That is, since the fixing of the ink in the normal ink jet recording method is performed by penetrating the paper as the recording medium, the image state may change depending on the ink absorption amount of the recording medium, and the image can be formed on the non-absorbent. Did not. On the other hand, the offset printing apparatus aims at providing a large amount of the same printed matter, and cannot output a different image for each sheet. The present invention provides an image forming method which solves these disadvantages at the same time.

工程 The steps constituting the image forming method according to the embodiment of the present invention can be roughly classified into the following four steps. Hereinafter, members or devices for performing these steps will be described in detail.

1. Step (a): a step of providing a wettability-improving component on the intermediate transfer body. The intermediate transfer body used in this step may be in the form of a roller, a belt, a sheet (continuous treatment), or a pad (batch). Processing) etc. can be used. In the example shown in FIG. 1, a drum-shaped intermediate transfer member made of a lightweight metal such as an aluminum alloy is selected in view of required characteristics such as rigidity and dimensional accuracy that can withstand pressure during transfer and reduction of rotation inertia. .

The surface layer 2 may have ink permeability (ink absorbency) when the intermediate transfer body is not used repeatedly, but a non-permeable (non-absorbent) material is used when the intermediate transfer body is used repeatedly. Any material that is permeable and can be cleaned by cleaning can be used repeatedly. However, since the penetrable material has a poor ink transfer rate and requires more ink to be applied to the intermediate transfer member, the cleaning efficiency of the intermediate transfer member is reduced in terms of material use efficiency and image quality. It is not preferable in terms of aspect. The surface layer of the intermediate transfer member is preferably a non-permeable (non-absorbable) material, and more preferably a release material, from the viewpoints of transfer rate and cleaning properties. Here, the releasability refers to a property in which materials such as an ink, an image fixing component, and a wettability improving component are hardly adhered to the surface and can be peeled off later. The higher the releasability, the more advantageous in terms of the load at the time of cleaning and the transfer rate of the ink, but the critical surface tension of the material is lowered, and the material is easily repelled even when a liquid such as ink adheres, and retains an image. Difficult. The standard as a suitable release material in the present invention is a material having a critical surface tension of 30 mN / m or less, or a contact angle with water of 75 ° or more.

Specifically, the surface layer 2 can be formed on the surface of the intermediate transfer member 1 by, for example, surface treatment such as Teflon (registered trademark) processing or application of silicone oil, but in consideration of followability to a recording medium. It is preferably an elastic body, and the rubber hardness (value measured with a rubber hardness meter type A (based on JIS K6253)) is suitably in the range of 10 to 100 °. If it is ~ 80 °, it can correspond to most recording paper. Specifically, NBR, urethane rubber, chloroprene rubber, or a material subjected to a surface treatment thereof, or a fluorine rubber, silicone rubber, or fluorosilicone rubber having a material itself having ink repellency can be suitably used. The surface shape of the surface layer 2 is not limited. The selection can be made in consideration of the surface shape of the recording medium and the printing effect. For example, if an image such as a general offset printed matter is desired, a smooth surface shape should be selected for a smooth printing paper. On the other hand, when a surface having a high roughness or a surface such as a gravure cell is used for a smooth recording medium, a printing effect corresponding to the intended use can be obtained. In the following text, unless otherwise specified, the “surface of the intermediate transfer member” means “the surface of the surface layer on the intermediate transfer member”.

In the step (a), a wettability improving component is provided on the intermediate transfer body 1 by using the coating device 3 (see FIG. 1). Here, the wettability improving component is a material that improves the wettability of the surface of the intermediate transfer member, and a liquid containing a surfactant is preferably used. It plays a role of increasing the surface energy of the surface of the intermediate transfer member and making it difficult to repel an image fixing component applied subsequently.

The reason for providing the wettability-improving component is, as described above, for uniformly providing the image fixing component on the intermediate transfer member, or for holding the image fixing component at a desired position on the intermediate transfer member. is there. If this step is not performed, the image fixing component will beaded on the intermediate transfer member, resulting in a non-uniform application state or a state where it is present at a position different from a desired position. Even if an image is formed by applying ink as it is, a high quality image cannot be obtained. There is also a method of applying an image fixing component to which a wettability improving component is added without performing the step of applying the wettability improving component.However, in this case, since the addition amount of the wettability improving component is increased, image quality and drying are reduced. In addition to its properties, it has an adverse effect on water resistance. In order to minimize the application amount of the wettability improving component and obtain the desired effect to the maximum, by applying the wettability improving component alone, after aligning and aligning the surfactant on the surface of the intermediate transfer member, It is a more preferable embodiment to add an image fixing component.

界面 As the wettability improving component, a surfactant can be suitably used. The surfactant that can be used is not particularly limited. For example, a surface used from among general cationic surfactants, anionic surfactants, nonionic surfactants, amphoteric surfactants, fluorine surfactants, and silicone surfactants. It can be selected according to the layer. It is also possible to use a mixture of two or more of these materials. Among them, a fluorine-based or silicone-based surfactant has a high effect and is a suitable material. The application amount of the wettability improving component is free within a range in which the image-fixing component can be applied uniformly, but from the viewpoint of image stability and dryness, the smaller the application amount, the better. It is also possible to limit the application area (application position). For example, it is possible to improve the material use efficiency and the drying property by applying only to the image forming area (the position where the image fixing component and the ink are applied). it can. There is no limitation on the application means, and a conventionally known technique can be used. Specific examples include a roll coater, a spray coater, and a slit coater. In the case where the application position of the wettability improving component is changed according to an image to be formed, an inkjet head is a preferable application device. Further, the surfactant to be applied may be a non-liquid surfactant. For example, by contacting or sliding a solid or waxy surfactant on the surface of the intermediate transfer member, a wettability improving component can be provided.

2. Step (b): Step of Applying Image Fixing Component to Intermediate Transfer Body In step (b), the image fixing component is applied by the coating device 4 to the intermediate transfer body to which the wettability component has been added. Here, the image fixing means (1) a case where the viscosity of the ink is increased, or (2) a color material or a resin which is a part of the composition constituting the ink by contact with the ink. This includes not only the case where the flow property of the ink is reduced due to chemical reaction or physical adsorption, but also the case where the flow property is locally reduced due to the aggregation of the solid content of the ink composition. It is. That is, the image fixing component is a material for reducing the fluidity of the ink on the intermediate transfer member, and in particular, a liquid that reacts with the ink and aggregates the coloring material in the ink is preferably used.

(4) The reason for providing the image fixing component is to suppress the fluidity of the ink on the intermediate transfer member and to maintain the ink image on the intermediate transfer member in a favorable manner, as described above. That is, since the surface of the transfer body to which the wettability improving component has been applied is in a state where the ink is more likely to flow, the ink flows without the image fixing component, and causes defects such as bleeding and beading. Therefore, the image fixing component is applied before the ink is applied, and the ink is landed on the image fixing component. According to this, since the ink and the image fixing component react at the position where the ink has landed, the ink can be retained at the ink landing position.

画像 The image fixing component used in step (b) needs to be appropriately selected depending on the type of ink used for image formation. For example, it is effective to use a polymer flocculant for dye ink and to use metal ions for pigment (dispersed fine particles) ink. Further, when a metal ion is used in combination with the dye ink as an image fixing component, a pigment of the same color as the dye is mixed into the ink, or fine particles of white or transparent color having little effect on color tone are mixed. It is good to mix.

In the present invention, examples of the polymer flocculant used as the image fixing component include, for example, a cationic polymer flocculant, an anionic polymer flocculant, a nonionic polymer flocculant, and an amphoteric polymer flocculant. No. Examples of the metal ions include divalent metal ions such as Ca2 +, Cu2 +, Ni2 +, Mg2 +, and Zn2 +, and trivalent metal ions such as Fe3 + and Al3 +. When these ions are provided, it is desirable to provide them as a metal salt aqueous solution. Examples of the anion of the metal salt include Cl-, NO3-, SO4-, I-, Br-, ClO3-, RCOO- (R is an alkyl group), and the like. Further, a material having an inverse property to the ink used can be used as an image fixing component. For example, if the ink is anionic or alkaline, the opposite cationic or acidic material can be the image fixing component. These image fixing components can be used as a mixture of two or more as necessary.

In the step (b), the same surfactant as used in the step (a) or another surfactant is image-fixed for the purpose of increasing the affinity of the previously formed wettability improving component with the layer. It is also effective to add it to the components. It is desirable that the amount of the image-fixing component to be applied is, for example, such that the total number of charges of metal ions is equal to or more than one times the total number of charges of opposite polarity ions in the coloring ink. For this purpose, an aqueous solution of the above-listed metal salts having a concentration of about 10% by mass may be used, and the coating layer functions sufficiently as a thin film. FIG. 1 illustrates an apparatus using a roll coater as the application apparatus 4 as the application means, but is not limited thereto. The coating apparatus as described in the step (a) is preferably used. In the coating state, it is not essential to form a two-layer structure completely independent of the wettability improving component previously formed, and mixing of some components in the boundary layer lowers the effect. It is not a factor to make it happen.

樹脂 Also, a resin component can be added to improve the transferability and the robustness of the finally formed image. A water-soluble resin or a water-soluble crosslinking agent can be added. The material to be used is not limited as long as it can coexist with the image fixing component. In particular, when a highly reactive metal salt is used as the image fixing component, PVA, PVP or the like is preferably used as the water-soluble resin. As the water-soluble crosslinking agent, oxazoline or carbodiimide, which reacts with a carboxylic acid suitably used for dispersing a coloring material in an ink, is preferably used. Further, allidine and the like are materials that relatively balance both image fixing and image fastness.

3. Step (c): Step of Forming an Ink Image by Injecting Ink on the Intermediate Transfer Member In the step (c), the inkjet recording device 5 applies the ink to the intermediate transfer member to which the wettability component and the image fixing component have been added. Ink is ejected from the recording head to form an ink image on the intermediate transfer member. Here, the reason why the ink jet recording head is used as the image forming means is that it is technically non-contact recording in addition to the plateless method. This is because even if the image fixing component can be uniformly applied, it is difficult to apply the ink to the surface of the transfer body having high releasability by the contact method.

イ ン ク ジ ェ ッ ト The ink jet recording system to be used is not particularly limited, and a device such as a bubble jet (registered trademark) system, a piezo system, and a continuous system can be appropriately selected and used. Further, the inkjet head to be used may be a line head or a serial head.

The ink used in the step (c) is not particularly limited, and a general dye or pigment as a coloring material of the ink and an aqueous ink having an aqueous liquid medium for dissolving and / or dispersing the same are used. It can be suitably used. If only the printing effect is to be obtained, it may of course be colorless. In particular, a pigment ink can provide a recorded image having good fastness, and particularly when a metal ion is used as an image fixing component, a particularly good image can be obtained.

的 に Specific examples of the dye include, for example, C.I. I Direct Blue 6, 8, 22, 34, 70, 71, 76, 78, 86, 142, 199, C.I. Acid Blue 9, 22, 40, 59, 93, 102, 104, 117, 120, 167, 229, C.I. I Direct Red 1, 4, 17, 28, 83, 227, C.I. Acid Red 1, 4, 8, 13, 14, 15, 18, 21, 26, 35, 37, 249, 257, 289, C.I. I Direct Yellow 12, 24, 26, 86, 98, 132, 142, C.I. Acid Yellow 1, 3, 4, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 23, 25, 34, 44, 71, C.I. I Food Black 1, 2, C.I. I Acid Black 2, 7, 24, 26, 31, 52, 112, 118 and the like.

As the pigment, for example, C.I. Pigment Blue 1, 2, 3, 15: 3, 16, 22, C.I. Pigment Red 5, 7, 12, 48 (Ca), 48 (Mn), 57 (Ca), 112, 122, C.I. I Pigment Yellow 1, 2, 3, 13, 16, 83, carbon black No. 2300, 900, 33, 40, 52, MA7, 8, MCF88 (manufactured by Mitsubishi Kasei), RAVE1255 (manufactured by Columbia), REGAL330R, 660R, MOGUL ( Cabot), Color Black FW1, FW18, S170, S150, Printex 35 (made by Degussa), and the like.

顔料 These pigments are not limited in form, and for example, any of self-dispersion type, resin dispersion type, microcapsule type and the like can be used. As a dispersant for the pigment used in this case, a water-soluble dispersant having a weight average molecular weight of about 1,000 to 15,000 can be suitably used. Specifically, for example, a vinyl-based water-soluble resin, styrene and its derivatives, vinyl naphthalene and its derivatives, aliphatic alcohol esters of α, β-ethylenically unsaturated carboxylic acids, acrylic acid and its derivatives, maleic acid and its derivatives Derivatives, block copolymers or random copolymers composed of derivatives, itaconic acid and its derivatives, fumaric acid and its derivatives, and salts thereof, and the like.

These ink materials can be used by mixing two or more kinds of dyes, pigments, dispersion forms and dispersants.

水溶 In addition, a water-soluble resin or a water-soluble cross-linking agent can be added to improve the fastness of the finally formed image. The material to be used is not limited as long as it can coexist with the ink component. As the water-soluble resin, it is preferable to further add the above-mentioned dispersion resin or the like. As the water-soluble cross-linking agent, oxazoline or carbodiimide having low reactivity is preferably used in terms of ink stability.

(4) An organic solvent can be contained in the aqueous liquid medium constituting the ink together with the above-mentioned coloring material, and the amount of the organic solvent is an important factor which determines the physical properties of the ink at the time of image transfer. This is because, in the image recording method of the present invention, the ink used for transfer from the intermediate transfer member to the recording medium is substantially only a color material and a high-boiling organic solvent. As the organic solvent to be used, the following water-soluble solvents are suitably used.

For example, polyethylene glycol, polypropylene glycol, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, triethylene glycol, thiodiglycol, hexylene glycol, diethylene glycol, ethylene glycol monomethyl ether, diethylene glycol monomethyl ether, glycerin and the like, among which It is also possible to select and use two or more kinds in combination. Further, alcohols such as ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol and a surfactant can be added to the ink as components for adjusting viscosity, surface tension and the like.

There is no limitation on the mixing ratio of the components constituting the ink, and the ink can be appropriately adjusted within a range in which the ink can be ejected from the selected ink jet recording method, the ejection force of the head, the nozzle diameter, and the like. Generally, on a mass basis, the colorant is 0.1 to 10%, the resin component is 0.1 to 20%, the solvent is 5 to 40%, the surfactant is 0.01 to 5% or less, and the rest is pure water. The adjusted ink can be used.

When the ink is ejected onto the surface of the intermediate transfer member, the coating layer of the wettability improving component and the image fixing component formed in the steps (a) and (b) previously has no problem if it is a thin layer. Although formation is possible, in some cases, it may be better to perform a drying step prior to step (c) to sufficiently dry the above-described components before discharging the ink. When forming an image, ink ejection is performed in consideration of inversion of the image due to transfer. That is, a mirror image obtained by mirror-inverting the image to be formed on the recording medium that is the transfer destination is formed on the intermediate transfer body.

4. Step (d): a step of transferring the ink image formed on the intermediate transfer body to the recording medium 9 The recording medium 9 is brought into contact with the image forming surface of the intermediate transfer body 1 by the pressure roller 10 to remove the ink. To receive. According to the embodiment of the method of the present invention, at this stage, since the ink is sufficiently thickened on the intermediate transfer body 1, recording on a printing paper having a small amount of ink absorption, a film having no amount of ink absorption, or the like. A good image can be formed on a medium.

However, if the time from the formation of the ink image in the step (c) to the transfer in the step (d) is extremely short, the water content in the ink may not drop to the water content permitted by the recording medium due to natural evaporation. The case is conceivable. In consideration of such a case, as shown in FIG. 1, it is desirable to arrange the water removal promoting device 7 between the time of ink image formation and transfer, and to promote the removal of water in the ink by such a device. As means for promoting the removal of water, for example, blowing or heating the ink image forming surface, or contacting the heating roller 8 from the back side of the intermediate transfer body 1 as shown in FIG. It is effective. When the time from the steps (c) to (d) becomes extremely long, it is desirable to adjust the means for suppressing the volatilization of the solvent in the ink and the volatility of the ink solvent used.

Further, the image recording apparatus according to the embodiment of the present invention can be provided with a unit for promoting the fixing of the image formed on the recording medium. By applying pressure through a fixing promoting device such as the fixing roller 11 shown in FIG. 1, the recorded image has excellent surface smoothness. Further, by heating the fixing roller 11, the printed matter can be immediately provided with robustness.

In the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1, the intermediate transfer body after the transfer of the ink image is further washed by the cleaning unit 12 disposed next to receive the next image. As means for washing, it is basically desirable to use means such as washing with water or wiping with water or direct washing such as contacting with a water surface, or means such as wetting a Molton roller and wiping the surface. Of course, it is also effective to use these in combination.

Further, if necessary, it is also effective to dry the surface of the intermediate transfer member by a method such as applying a dry Molton roller after washing or blowing air. Depending on the ink used, it is also effective to perform cleaning with a wettability improving component. In that case, the coating device 3 for applying the wettability improving component described above also serves as a cleaning unit.

Although the respective steps have been described above, the technical point in the embodiment of the present invention is that the image fixing component can be uniformly applied to the surface of the intermediate transfer member, or at a desired position on the surface of the intermediate transfer member. The main point is to be able to hold image fixed components. Proposals have been made in the past to suppress a disturbance (beading, bleed, etc.) of an ink image on an intermediate transfer member by adding a component (image fixing component) capable of fixing an ink image to the surface of the intermediate transfer member ( For example, see Patent Document 6). However, in these proposals, the image fixing component itself cannot be uniformly applied on the intermediate transfer member, or the image fixing component cannot be held at a desired position on the surface of the intermediate transfer member. Can not. In the prior art, the only way to uniformly apply the image fixing component is to use an infinitely wettable material as the intermediate transfer member. However, a material having good wettability has a high surface energy, and the ink image is fixed via the image fixing component and cannot be transferred, or a system having a very low transfer rate even if not fixed is used. is there. If the transfer rate is low, more ink must be applied to the intermediate transfer member to obtain the required image density on the recording medium. An increase in the amount of applied ink and a decrease in the transfer rate have the following adverse effects.

1) Increase in bleeding and beading Both bleeding and beading are caused by contact between ink droplets. As the amount of ink supplied on the intermediate transfer member increases, the probability of ink droplet contact increases.

2) Increase in Water Evaporation Amount When the amount of ink per unit surface area on the intermediate transfer member increases, the time required for removing water and the amount of energy increase. This leads to an increase in the size of the device.

3) Deterioration of dot gain during transfer As the amount of ink on the intermediate transfer body increases, the dot diameter is greatly collapsed by the pressure during transfer, which causes a reduction in resolution.

4) Increase in load during cleaning The more ink remaining on the surface of the intermediate transfer member after the transfer, the more difficult the cleaning becomes. This leads to an increase in the size of the device.

5) Reduction in ink use efficiency The ratio of ink used for image formation is reduced, running costs are increased, and waste is increased.

と If the transfer rate is low, various problems occur, which is not preferable. Therefore, it is desirable that a high transfer rate can be realized. In order to improve the transfer rate, it is necessary to use an intermediate transfer member having a surface of a release material or a non-absorbable material having a low surface energy. However, simply applying the image fixing component to the intermediate transfer member having a release or non-absorbable surface without any treatment causes the image fixing component to be repelled on the surface of the intermediate transfer member. Would.

In view of the above, a technique capable of uniformly applying an image fixing component to an intermediate transfer body having a surface of a release material or a non-absorbable material, or an intermediate transfer having a surface of a release material or a non-absorbable material These problems can be solved if a technique capable of holding the image fixing component at a desired position on the body can be established.

According to the image forming method in the embodiment of the present invention, prior to applying an image fixing component to an intermediate transfer member having a surface of a release material or a non-absorbable material capable of realizing a high transfer rate, Since the intermediate transfer member surface is provided with a wettability improving component for improving the wettability of the transfer member surface, the image fixing component can be uniformly applied to the intermediate transfer member, and the image can be fixed at a desired position on the intermediate transfer member. The components can be retained, and as a result, a high-quality ink image can be formed on the intermediate transfer body, and this ink image can be transferred to a recording medium at a high transfer rate. Accordingly, efficient and good image formation can be performed regardless of the absorption characteristics of the recording medium at the transfer destination.

Next, the present invention will be specifically described with reference to Examples and Comparative Examples. In the following description, “parts” and “%” are based on mass unless otherwise specified.

Hereinafter, the image recording method of this embodiment will be described for each process.

(A) Addition of wettability improving component In this example, an aluminum drum coated with silicone rubber having a rubber hardness of 40 ° (KE12 manufactured by Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd.) with a thickness of 0.5 mm was used as the intermediate transfer member. . First, a fluorine-based surfactant (Fugent FT-400S manufactured by Neos Co.) was applied to the surface of the intermediate transfer member by a roll coater.

(B) Application of Image Fixing Component Next, a 10% by mass aqueous solution of aluminum chloride hexahydrate was applied by a roll coater.

(C) Formation of Ink Image Using an ink jet recording apparatus (nozzle density 1200 dpi, discharge amount 4 pl, drive frequency 8 kHz), the above-described components (a) and (b) were used on the transfer body having the components applied to the surface. Thus, a mirror-inverted character image was formed. Here, the ink having the following composition was used. At this time, no beading occurred when the recorded image was formed on the intermediate transfer member.
・ Pigment (Mitsubishi Chemical carbon black MCF88) 5 parts ・ Styrene-acrylic acid-ethyl acrylate copolymer (acid value 240, weight average molecular weight 5000) 1 part ・ Glycerin 10 parts ・ Ethylene glycol 5 parts ・ Surfactant ( 1 part of acetylenol EH manufactured by Kawaken Fine Chemicals, 78 parts of ion-exchanged water

(D) Transfer The intermediate transfer body after the above-mentioned series of steps is brought into contact with a surface-coated printing paper (Npi coat made by Nippon Paper Co., Ltd., 40.5 Kg continuous weight) with a pressure roller to perform intermediate transfer. The recorded image on the body was transferred. At this time, no beading was observed in the image on the printing paper, and good character quality was obtained. Further, there was almost no residual ink on the surface of the intermediate transfer member after the transfer, and no adverse effect was observed even if the next image was received as it was.

Hereinafter, the image recording method of this embodiment will be described for each process.

(A) Addition of wettability improving component In this example, an aluminum drum coated with silicone rubber having a rubber hardness of 60 ° (KE30 manufactured by Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd.) with a thickness of 0.5 mm was used as the intermediate transfer member. . First, a fluorinated surfactant (Surflon S-141 manufactured by Seimi Chemical Co., Ltd.) was applied to the surface of the intermediate transfer member by a roll coater.

(B) Application of Image Fixing Component Next, the following aqueous solution was applied by a roll coater.
・ Calcium chloride dihydrate 10 parts Fluorosurfactant 1 part (Surflon S-141 manufactured by Seimi Chemical Co., Ltd.)
-1 part of crosslinking agent (Carbodilite V-02 manufactured by Nisshinbo)
・ 88 parts of ion exchange water

(C) Formation of Ink Image On an intermediate transfer member on which the respective components are applied to the surface in (a) and (b) described above using an ink jet recording apparatus (nozzle density 1200 dpi, discharge amount 4 pl, drive frequency 8 kHz). Then, a mirror-inverted character image was formed using four color inks. Here, inks having the following compositions were used, respectively. At this time, no beading or bleeding occurred when the recorded image was formed on the intermediate transfer member.
・ 5 parts each of the following pigments Black: Carbon black (MCF88, manufactured by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation)
Cyan: pigment blue 15
Magenta: Pigment Red 7
Yellow: Pigment Yellow 74
1 part of styrene-acrylic acid-ethyl acrylate copolymer (acid value 240, weight average molecular weight 5000) 1 part of glycerin 5 parts of ethylene glycol 5 parts of surfactant (Acetylenol EH manufactured by Kawaken Fine Chemicals) 1 part Ion exchange 78 parts of water

(D) Transfer First, air is blown on the surface of the recorded image on the intermediate transfer body by a blower installed between the ink jet printing apparatus and the pressure roller. Thereafter, the intermediate transfer body was brought into contact with a surface-coated printing paper having a low ink absorbency (Npi coat made by Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd., 40.5 kg continuous weight) with a pressure roller to transfer a recorded image. As a result, no beading or bleeding was observed in the image on the printing paper, and good image quality was obtained. The abrasion of the recorded image improved with time, and was completely fixed after 12 hours.

Next, the slightly remaining ink on the intermediate transfer member was removed by contact with a wet Molton roller.

Hereinafter, the image recording method of this embodiment will be described for each process.

(A) Addition of wettability improving component In this example, an aluminum drum coated with silicone rubber having a rubber hardness of 80 ° (KE24 manufactured by Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd.) with a thickness of 0.5 mm was used as the intermediate transfer member. . First, a silicone-based surfactant (SILWET L77 manufactured by Nippon Unicar Co., Ltd.) was applied to the surface of the intermediate transfer member using a roll coater.

(B) Application of Image Fixing Component Next, a 5% by mass aqueous solution of a polymer flocculant (C577S manufactured by Mitsui Cytec) was applied by a roll coater.

(C) Formation of Ink Image On the intermediate transfer body, on which the respective components are applied to the surface as described in (a) and (b) above, using an ink jet recording apparatus (nozzle density 1200 dpi, discharge amount 4 pl, drive frequency 8 kHz). Then, a mirror-inverted character image was formed using four color inks. Here, the ink having the following composition was used. At this time, no beading occurred when the recorded image was formed on the intermediate transfer member.
-4 parts of each of the following dyes: Black: CI. Food black 2
Cyan: CI. Direct Blue 199
Magenta: CI. Acid Red 289
Yellow: CI. Acid Yellow 23
・ 10 parts of glycerin ・ 5 parts of diethylene glycol ・ 1 part of surfactant (Acetyleneol EH manufactured by Kawaken Fine Chemicals) ・ 80 parts of ion-exchanged water

(D) Transfer First, the surface of the recorded image on the intermediate transfer member is heated by an infrared heater provided between the inkjet recording device and the pressure roller. Thereafter, the intermediate transfer body was brought into contact with a surface-coated printing paper having a low ink absorbency (Npi coat made by Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd., 40.5 kg continuous weight) with a pressure roller to transfer a recorded image. As a result, no beading was observed in the image on the printing paper, and good image quality was obtained.

Next, the residual ink slightly remaining on the intermediate transfer member was removed by contact with a wet Molton roller.

Hereinafter, the image recording method of this embodiment will be described for each process.

(A) Addition of wettability-improving component In this example, an aluminum drum coated with fluorine rubber having a rubber hardness of 30 ° (Afras 150c manufactured by Asahi Glass) with a thickness of 0.7 mm was used as the intermediate transfer member. . First, a solid fluorine-based surfactant (Surflon SC101 manufactured by Seimi Chemical Co., Ltd.) was brought into contact with and coated on the surface of the intermediate transfer member.

(B) Application of Image Fixing Component Next, an image fixing component having the following prescription was applied only to an image forming portion by an ink jet recording apparatus (nozzle density: 1200 dpi, ejection amount: 4 pl, drive frequency: 1 kHz).
-Calcium chloride dihydrate 10 parts-Glycerin 10 parts-Diethylene glycol 5 parts-Surfactant (Acetyleneol EH manufactured by Kawaken Fine Chemicals) 1 part-Ion exchange water 74 parts

(C) Formation of Ink Image On the intermediate transfer body, on which the respective components are applied to the surface as described in (a) and (b) above, using an ink jet recording apparatus (nozzle density 1200 dpi, ejection amount 4 pl, drive frequency 1 kHz). Then, a mirror-inverted character image was formed using four color inks. Here, the ink having the following composition was used. At this time, no beading occurred when the recorded image was formed on the intermediate transfer member.
-4 parts of each of the following dyes: Black: CI. Food black 2
Cyan: CI. Direct Blue 199
Magenta: CI. Acid Red 289
Yellow: CI. Acid Yellow 23
6 parts of styrene-acrylic acid-ethyl acrylate copolymer (acid value 330, weight average molecular weight 4000) 6 parts of glycerin 5 parts of diethylene glycol 1 part of surfactant (acetylenol EH manufactured by Kawaken Fine Chemicals) 79 parts

(D) Transfer First, the surface of the recorded image on the intermediate transfer member is heated by an infrared heater provided between the inkjet recording device and the pressure roller. Thereafter, the intermediate transfer body was brought into contact with a surface-coated printing paper having a low ink absorbency (Npi coat made by Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd., 40.5 kg continuous weight) with a pressure roller to transfer a recorded image. Subsequently, a heated mirror-finished metal roller (surface temperature: 60 ° C.) was contact-pressed to the image recording surface to fix the image. As a result, no beading was observed in the image on the printing paper, and good image quality was obtained. Further, the rubbing property immediately after the output was good.

Next, the residual ink slightly remaining on the intermediate transfer member was removed by contact with a wet Molton roller.

<Comparative Example 1>
In Example 3, an image was recorded in the same manner as in Example 3, except that no ink wettability improving component was added to the intermediate transfer member. As a result, the ink image on the intermediate transfer member was distorted, and a sufficient image on the printing paper after transfer was not obtained.

<Comparative Example 2>
Image recording was performed in the same manner as in Example 1 except that the surface material of the intermediate transfer member was butyl rubber having no releasability. As a result, in order to reproduce the image obtained in Example 2, about 1.5 times as much ink as in Example 2 was required, and it was necessary to remove moisture by blowing air from image formation to transfer. Was 1.7 times. Further, the dot gain was slightly larger than the image obtained in Example 2.

It is a conceptual diagram of a device applicable in the present invention.

Explanation of reference numerals

DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 1 Intermediate transfer body 2 Releasable surface layer 3 Coating device A
4 Coating device B
Reference Signs List 5 inkjet recording device 6 ink dot 7 moisture removal promotion device 8 heating roller 9 recording medium 10 pressure roller 11 fixing roller 12 cleaning unit

Claims (14)

  1. Applying a first material to the intermediate transfer member to improve the wettability of the surface of the intermediate transfer member;
    Applying a second material for reducing the fluidity of the ink to the intermediate transfer body to which the first material has been applied;
    Applying the ink from an inkjet recording head to the intermediate transfer body to which the first material and the second material have been applied, and forming an image of the ink on the intermediate transfer body;
    Transferring the image of the formed ink to a recording medium,
    An image forming method comprising:
  2. A method of forming an image of the ink on the recording medium by transferring an image of the ink formed on the intermediate transfer body having a non-absorbable surface to a recording medium,
    Applying a first material to the intermediate transfer member to improve the surface energy of the surface of the intermediate transfer member;
    Applying a second material for aggregating the color material of the ink to the intermediate transfer member to which the first material has been applied;
    Applying the ink from an inkjet recording head to the intermediate transfer body to which the first material and the second material have been applied, and forming an image of the ink on the intermediate transfer body;
    Transferring the image of the formed ink to a recording medium,
    An image forming method comprising:
  3. Applying a first liquid containing a surfactant to an intermediate transfer member having a surface containing at least one material of fluorine rubber and silicone rubber;
    Applying a second liquid for aggregating the color material of the ink to the intermediate transfer member to which the first liquid has been applied;
    Applying the ink from an inkjet recording head to the intermediate transfer body to which the first liquid and the second liquid have been applied, and forming an image of the ink on the intermediate transfer body;
    Transferring the image of the formed ink to a recording medium,
    An image forming method comprising:
  4. The image forming method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the surface of the intermediate transfer member is a compound containing at least fluorine or silicone.
  5. 3. The image forming method according to claim 1, wherein the surface of the intermediate transfer member has a rubber hardness of 10 to 100 degrees.
  6. The image forming method according to claim 1, wherein the first material is a liquid containing a surfactant.
  7. 3. The image forming method according to claim 1, wherein a position where the first material is applied is changed according to an image to be formed.
  8. The image forming method according to claim 1, wherein the second material is a liquid containing metal ions.
  9. 3. The image forming method according to claim 1, wherein a position where the second material is applied is changed according to an image to be formed.
  10. The image forming method according to claim 8, wherein the second material contains a surfactant.
  11. The image forming method according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the first material, the second material, and the ink contains a crosslinking agent.
  12. 2. The image forming method according to claim 1, further comprising: a step of promoting removal of a solvent contained in an image of the ink formed on the intermediate transfer member.
  13. The image forming method according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the first material and the second material is applied using an inkjet head.
  14. An apparatus for forming an image of the ink on the recording medium by transferring an image of the ink formed on the intermediate transfer body having a release surface to a recording medium,
    First applying means for applying a first liquid for improving the wettability of the surface of the intermediate transfer member to the intermediate transfer member;
    A second applying unit that applies a second liquid for reducing the fluidity of the ink to the intermediate transfer body to which the first liquid has been applied;
    An inkjet recording head that applies the ink based on image data to an intermediate transfer body to which the first liquid and the second liquid have been applied;
    An image forming apparatus comprising:
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