JP2012203425A - Image processing apparatus, image processing method and printing device - Google Patents

Image processing apparatus, image processing method and printing device Download PDF

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Publication number
JP2012203425A
JP2012203425A JP2011064386A JP2011064386A JP2012203425A JP 2012203425 A JP2012203425 A JP 2012203425A JP 2011064386 A JP2011064386 A JP 2011064386A JP 2011064386 A JP2011064386 A JP 2011064386A JP 2012203425 A JP2012203425 A JP 2012203425A
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Prior art keywords
image
display
printing
nozzle
medium
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JP2011064386A
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Japanese (ja)
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Shingo Watanabe
真悟 渡辺
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Seiko Epson Corp
セイコーエプソン株式会社
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Abstract

In an ink jet printer, unnecessary cleaning operations are reduced.
Based on print data representing an image composed of fine dots, ink ejected from each of a plurality of nozzles N is landed on the medium S as the dots, whereby the image is placed on the medium. An image processing apparatus 100 that is communicably connected to the printing apparatus 1 to be formed, stores the nozzle arrangement information, includes a display device 104 and a control unit 101, and the control unit is displayed on the display device. Based on step s1 for converting image data that is the origin of an image into print data, information for specifying an abnormal nozzle Nf that has an ejection abnormality transmitted from the printing apparatus, print data, and nozzle arrangement information. Step s8 for generating actual image data corresponding to the image formed on the medium by the printing apparatus using the abnormal nozzle, and a step for displaying and outputting the actual image data on the display apparatus. To run-up s10.
[Selection] Figure 5

Description

  The present invention relates to an image processing technique for processing information that is the origin of an image printed on a medium by a printing apparatus. Specifically, the present invention relates to an image processing technique for processing information of an image printed by an inkjet printer that intermittently ejects ink from a nozzle toward a medium.
  2. Related Art Inkjet printers that perform printing by discharging ink onto various media such as paper, cloth, and film are known. This inkjet printer ejects ink from nozzles to form fine dots on a medium to form an image. In such an ink jet printer, there is a case where the nozzle is clogged due to thickening of ink or adhering dust, resulting in an ejection abnormality in which ink is not ejected normally. When a discharge abnormality occurs in a nozzle, there is no ink droplet to be formed on the medium by the nozzle, and a so-called “dot missing” portion is formed in the printed image. Therefore, it is necessary to inspect whether the ink is normally ejected by periodically performing an ejection abnormality inspection of the nozzles. Various ejection abnormality inspection methods have been proposed (see, for example, Patent Document 1 and Patent Document 2). In addition, when a nozzle ejection abnormality is detected, clogging can be eliminated by performing nozzle cleaning automatically or in accordance with a user operation by a method such as flushing or pump suction (for example, (See Patent Document 3)
JP 2002-361863 A JP 2006-272633 A JP 2004-299140 A
  With the techniques described in Patent Documents 1 and 2, in an inkjet printer, it is possible to identify a nozzle in which ejection abnormality has occurred, and to output information about the fact of ejection abnormality to the user. Furthermore, a cleaning operation for eliminating nozzle clogging can be performed by the technique described in Patent Document 3. However, depending on the content of the image to be printed, even if clogging occurs, the image quality may not be greatly affected. In that case, the ink is wasted by the cleaning operation.
  SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, the main object of the present invention is to provide an image processing apparatus capable of reducing unnecessary cleaning operations in an ink jet printer. Other purposes will be clarified in the following description.
The main invention for achieving the above object is to make ink ejected from each of a plurality of nozzles land on a medium as the dots based on print data representing an image composed of fine dots. An image processing apparatus communicably connected to a printing apparatus for forming the image on the medium,
A display device, a storage unit, and a control unit;
The storage unit stores arrangement information of the nozzles in the printing apparatus,
The control unit executes a print data generation step, a real image data generation step, and a real image display step,
In the print data generation step, the image data that is the origin of the image displayed on the display device is converted into the print data,
In the actual image data generation step, the printing apparatus performs the printing apparatus based on the information for identifying an abnormal nozzle having an ejection abnormality transmitted from the printing apparatus, the print data, and the nozzle arrangement information. Generate actual image data corresponding to the image formed on the medium using the abnormal nozzle,
In the actual image display step, the actual image data is displayed and output on the display device.
The image processing apparatus is characterized by this. The other features of the present invention will be clarified by the description of the present specification and the accompanying drawings.
1 is an external view of a printing system including a printer and an image processing apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a schematic configuration of the printer. FIG. 2 is a schematic structural diagram of the printer, in which FIG. 2A is a partially broken perspective view of the entire structure, and FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional view of a part of the printer. It is explanatory drawing which shows the arrangement | sequence of the nozzle which comprises the said printer. 4 is a flowchart of information processing related to a data generation function of an actual image actually printed by the printer in the image processing apparatus. It is a flowchart of the information processing regarding the display function of the real image in the said image processing apparatus. It is a figure which shows an example of the display screen of a real image displayed on the display apparatus of the said image apparatus. It is a figure which shows an example of the screen which notifies the clogging of the nozzle displayed on the display apparatus of the said image device. It is a figure which shows the other example of the display screen of a real image displayed on the display apparatus of the said image device. It is a figure which shows the display screen of the real image which receives the movement operation of a printing area displayed on the display apparatus of the said image apparatus.
=== About abnormal ink ejection ===
As described above, some inkjet printers (hereinafter referred to as printers) are equipped with a function for automatically detecting ink ejection abnormality. If an abnormal discharge is detected, the user can be notified accordingly. For example, the fact of clogging is displayed on a display device of an information processing device such as a personal computer that is communicably connected to a printer. Schematically, the information processing apparatus executes a printer driver, which is a printer control program installed in the information processing apparatus, and displays information related to the presence or absence of clogging transmitted from the printer on an attached display. Alternatively, in a printer equipped with a display device, the fact of clogging can be displayed on the display device.
  When the printer user recognizes the fact of clogging when printing an image, for example, the printer user operates the printer body or operates the information processing device while the printer driver is running, and performs cleaning. Make the printer execute the operation to eliminate the clogging, and then let the printer print the image. Alternatively, printing is performed as it is, with clogging.
  By the way, the position of a nozzle where an abnormal discharge has occurred (hereinafter referred to as an abnormal nozzle) and the color of the ink discharged from the abnormal nozzle are various. Depending on the image to be printed, the abnormal nozzle can be used without performing a cleaning operation. Even if printing is performed while the image is left unattended, there may be no significant image degradation. In other words, even in a printer including an abnormal nozzle, the degree of deterioration of the printed image varies greatly depending on the image to be printed. Accordingly, even if printing is performed in a clogged state, if there is no significant deterioration in image quality, the ink ejected by the cleaning operation is wasted. On the contrary, if printing is performed without executing the cleaning operation in preparation for some deterioration in image quality, the image quality may deteriorate more than expected and the medium may be wasted.
=== Summary of disclosure ===
Embodiments or examples of the present invention are an image processing apparatus, an image processing method, and a printing apparatus that are made in view of problems when printing is performed in a state where there is missing dots due to nozzle clogging or the like, At least the following embodiments and examples will become apparent from the following description of the present specification and the accompanying drawings.
  An input unit that receives a user input, and the control unit receives a predetermined user input indicating an arbitrary position of the real image during display of the real image data, and includes a predetermined value including the specified position An image processing apparatus that executes a step of enlarging and displaying pixels within a range at a resolution of a pixel formed by the printing apparatus.
  In the actual image display step, an indicator indicating the position of a dot to be formed by the abnormal nozzle is displayed together with the actual image data.
  An image processing apparatus, wherein when there are a plurality of abnormal nozzles, an indicator that individually indicates a position of a dot to be formed by each abnormal nozzle is displayed on the display screen of the actual image data.
It is connected so as to be able to communicate with a printing apparatus capable of executing the cleaning operation for receiving the information instructing the execution of the cleaning operation and eliminating the clogging of the nozzle,
When information indicating the execution of the cleaning operation is not transmitted to the printing apparatus from the time when the detection data of the abnormal nozzle is received, the elapsed time from the time when the detection data is received is displayed as the actual image data. Display on screen,
An image processing apparatus. Furthermore, when there are a plurality of abnormal nozzles, the image processing apparatus can be characterized in that the elapsed time corresponding to each abnormal nozzle is identified and displayed on the display screen of the actual image data. .
Based on print data representing an image composed of fine dots, ink ejected from each of a plurality of nozzles is landed on the medium as the dots, thereby communicating with a printing apparatus that forms the image on the medium An image processing method using a computer connected to the computer,
The computer includes a display device and stores arrangement information of the nozzles in the printing device,
The computer
Converting image data that is the origin of an image displayed on the display device into the print data;
Based on the information for identifying an abnormal nozzle having an ejection abnormality transmitted from the printing apparatus, the print data, and the nozzle arrangement information, the printing apparatus uses the abnormal nozzle on the medium. Generating actual image data corresponding to the image to be formed;
Displaying the actual image data on the display device;
The image processing method characterized by performing.
A printing apparatus that forms an image on a medium by causing ink ejected from each of a plurality of nozzles to land on the medium as the dots based on print data representing an image composed of fine dots. And
A display device, a nozzle inspection unit, a storage unit, and a control unit;
The nozzle inspection unit individually detects presence / absence of abnormality of the plurality of nozzles and outputs the detection information to the control unit,
The storage unit stores arrangement information of the nozzles,
The control unit executes a real image data generation step and a real image display step,
In the actual image data generation step, when detection information from the nozzle inspection and inspection information for specifying an abnormal nozzle that is always present are input, based on the inspection information, the print data, and the nozzle arrangement information Generating actual image data corresponding to an image formed on the medium using the abnormal nozzle,
In the actual image display step, actual image data is displayed and output on the display device.
A printing apparatus characterized by that.
=== Embodiment ===
As an embodiment of the image processing apparatus of the present invention, a personal computer (hereinafter referred to as a PC) connected to an ink jet printer so as to be communicable is exemplified. It is assumed that a printing system is configured by the ink jet printer and the PC. FIG. 1 shows an outline of the printing system 200. The image processing apparatus 100 has the same hardware configuration as a general PC including a PC main body 101, an input device such as a keyboard 102 and a mouse 103, and a display device 104 such as a liquid crystal display. An inkjet printer (hereinafter referred to as a printer) 1 is communicably connected via a predetermined communication interface. In the illustrated example, the PC main body 101 and the printer 1 are connected via a cable 105 compliant with a predetermined standard such as USB. A printer driver is installed in the PC main body 101.
  As is well known, the printer driver is a program for converting image data that is the origin of an image printed by the printer 1 into print data that can be processed by the printer 1 and various information transmitted from the printer 1. (Remaining ink, running out of medium, etc.) are displayed on the display device 104 of the PC 100, and various operations (printing instructions and cancellation, cleaning operation instructions, etc.) are performed on the printer 1 based on user operations on the PC 100. It is also a program for running. Accordingly, the PC main body 101 that is executing the printer driver functions as a control unit of the printing system 200. In the following description, the processing procedure for information related to the image formed on the medium by the printer 1 in the image processing apparatus 100 is described as an example of the present invention. Example
=== Printer configuration and basic operation ===
First, the configuration and basic operation of the printer 1 to be controlled by the image processing apparatus 100 of the present embodiment will be described. FIG. 2 shows the configuration of the printing system 200 based on the functional block diagram of the printer 1. FIG. 3 shows the internal structure of the printer 1. FIG. 3A is a perspective view of the internal structure, and FIG. 3B is a side view. The printer 1 includes a controller 10, a transport unit 20, a carriage unit 30, a detector group 40, a head unit 50, and an inspection unit 60 as main components.
  The controller 10 is substantially a computer for controlling the printer 1, and controls each unit (20, 30, 50, 60) according to a command from the CPU 11, which is an arithmetic processing unit, and the CPU 11, and outputs each unit. A unit control unit 12 for transferring data to the CPU 11, a storage area for a program executed by the CPU 11, a memory 13 for securing a work area for the program, and a data communication between the image processing apparatus 100 and the CPU 11. The communication interface unit (communication IF) 14 and the like are included.
  The transport unit 20 is for transporting the medium S in a predetermined direction (hereinafter referred to as a transport direction). Here, the conveyance direction is defined on the assumption that the medium S is supplied from the upstream side and discharged from the downstream side. In the medium S, the surface on which the image is formed is defined as the upper surface or the front surface. Define the vertical direction. The transport unit 20 includes a paper feed roller 21, a transport motor 22, a transport roller 23, a platen 24, a paper discharge roller 25, and the like. The paper feed roller 21 is a roller for feeding the medium S inserted into the insertion opening of the medium S into the printer 1. The transport roller 23 is driven by the transport motor 22, sandwiches the medium S together with the driven roller 26, and transports the medium S fed by the paper feed roller 21 to a printable area.
  The platen 24 is for supporting the medium S being printed from below. The paper discharge roller 25 is provided on the downstream side in the transport direction with respect to the printable region, and rotates in synchronization with the transport roller 23. Then, the medium S is sandwiched together with the roller 27 driven by the rotation of itself 25, and the medium S is discharged to the outside of the printer 1.
  The carriage unit 30 is for moving a carriage 31 containing a head 41 having nozzles for ejecting ink in a horizontal plane in a direction (hereinafter referred to as a scanning direction) orthogonal to the transport direction. The carriage 31 is driven by a carriage motor 32 and is guided by a carriage guide shaft 33 so as to reciprocate in the scanning direction. In this embodiment, inks of a plurality of colors (cyan C, magenta M, yellow Y, black K) for multicolor printing are individually filled in the ink cartridge 34, and each color corresponding to each color is printed. An ink cartridge 34 is detachably attached to the carriage 31.
  The detector group 40 includes various sensors for detecting various states in the printer 1, and each sensor included in the detector group 40 outputs a detection result (detection data) to the controller 10. In this example, the detector group 40 includes a linear encoder 41 for detecting the position of the carriage 31 and a roller rotary encoder 42 for detecting the rotation amount of the transport roller 23 (see FIG. 3). ).
  The head unit 50 mainly composed of the head 51 is configured to eject ink droplets (hereinafter referred to as ink droplets) toward the medium S, and as shown in FIG. In this case, a plurality of nozzles N are opened side by side at regular intervals p1 along the transport direction, and nozzle rows (53C, 53M, 53Y, 53K) corresponding to each color of cyan C, magenta M, yellow Y, and black K. Is forming. Each nozzle row (53C, 53M, 53Y, 53K) is arranged at a constant interval p2 along the scanning direction, and each nozzle row (53C, 53M, 53Y, 53K) corresponds to an ink having a different color. ing. Each nozzle N is provided with an ink chamber (not shown) and a piezoelectric element. When the ink chamber expands and contracts by driving the piezo element, an ink droplet is ejected from the nozzle N. The head unit 50 includes a head 51 and a drive circuit for piezoelectric elements. The head 51 having the above configuration moves in the scanning direction integrally with the carriage 31, and ejects ink droplets intermittently during the movement, so that a dot line (raster line) along the scanning direction is obtained. ) Is formed on the front surface of the medium S. Therefore, when one or more of the nozzles N are abnormal nozzles Nf, a raster line corresponding to the abnormal nozzle Nf is not formed on the medium S. In the printing method in which one raster line is formed by a plurality of nozzles N, the raster line corresponding to the abnormal nozzle Nf is dotted.
=== Discharge inspection unit ===
The printer 1 includes an inspection unit 60 for inspecting whether ink is normally ejected from each nozzle N. As an ink ejection inspection method, for example, the technique described in Patent Document 2 can be used. Schematically, the discharged ink droplet is charged, and a conductive plate member having a surface parallel to the discharge path of the charged ink droplet is disposed. Then, an induced current is generated in the plate-like member by the charged ink droplets in flight, and the presence / absence of abnormal discharge of the nozzle N is determined based on the value of the induced current.
  As an ink ejection inspection procedure, the unit control unit 12 controls the head unit 50 to sequentially eject ink from each nozzle N, and the inspection unit 60 detects an induced current along with the ejection operation, The current value is converted into digital data (inspection data). The unit controller 12 transfers the inspection data to the CPU 11. The CPU 11 determines whether or not ink has been ejected based on the inspection data, and stores the determination result in the memory 13 while correlating with the nozzle N that ejected the ink droplet. Then, inspection result data indicating inspection results for all nozzles N is created, and the inspection result data is transmitted to the image processing apparatus 100 via the communication interface unit 14. Alternatively, information for specifying the nozzle N that has ejected ink and inspection data for the nozzle N are sequentially transmitted to the image processing apparatus 100, and inspection result data for all the nozzles N is created on the image processing apparatus 100 side. To do. In any case, the image processing apparatus 100 can identify the presence / absence of the abnormal nozzle Nf and its position by receiving the inspection result information for each nozzle N transmitted from the printer 1.
=== Print support function ===
As is well known, the image processing apparatus 100 can display a print image of an image to be printed on the display device 104 as a so-called “preview image”. However, the preview image reflects the print data to be transmitted to the printer 1. Of course, when the abnormal nozzle Nf exists, the preview image is actually formed on the medium S. It will be different from the image. Therefore, the image processing apparatus 100 according to the present embodiment displays in advance an image (actual image) of an image that is actually printed by reflecting an ink ejection abnormality, and allows the user to continue printing or perform cleaning. A function (print support function) for supporting the user's printing work is provided so that the user can make a determination and prevent consumption of unnecessary ink and medium S.
  FIG. 5 illustrates a flow of information processing related to the print support function in the image processing apparatus 100. First, print data is generated (s1). That is, the image data expressed in the RGB color system displayed on the display device 104 is color-converted into CYM color system data that can be processed by the printer 1 (s2), and the data after the color conversion is targeted. Then, halftone processing is executed (s3). Thereby, the image processing apparatus 100 can acquire information on the color, number, and arrangement of ink droplets assigned to each pixel on the medium S from this print data. Further, the image processing apparatus 100 stores information related to the physical arrangement of the nozzles N on the printer 1 side (see FIG. 4) as information attached to the printer driver, and acquires the arrangement information of the nozzles N (s4). ). In the image processing apparatus 100, each pixel on the medium S is configured with an ink droplet that is landed on which position on the medium S by using which nozzle N based on the arrangement information and print data of the nozzle N. Can be identified.
  Next, the presence / absence of the abnormal nozzle Nf is determined from the information on the ejection inspection transmitted from the printer 1, and if there is an abnormal nozzle Nf, the ink droplets ejected by the abnormal nozzle Nf are used on the medium S. The dots to be formed are thinned out from the print data. Thereby, data (actual image data) reflecting an image (actual image) that the printer 1 is actually printing is generated. Then, the actual image data is displayed on the display device 104 in a timely manner prior to printing. If the user confirms the displayed actual image and determines whether to continue or stop the printing operation or execute the cleaning, the user does not waste ink or the medium.
=== User interface ===
With the printing support function described above, an image reflecting an actual image can be confirmed in advance. However, if the display timing and the display method of the actual image are wrong, the flow of a series of printing operations for the user is hindered, which is troublesome for the user. In addition, even when there is no ejection abnormality in the nozzle N, if actual image data is generated for each printing process opportunity, the processing load on the image processing apparatus 100 may increase. An example of the actual image display timing and the execution condition of the actual image data generation process in a series of printing operations will be described below.
  FIG. 6 shows the flow of information processing related to the display processing of the real image. First, when a user operates an appropriate application to select an image to be printed and issues an instruction to print the image, the corresponding image data is transferred to the printer driver, and print data is generated. (S11 → s12). Next, the image processing apparatus 100 communicates with the printer 1 and receives inspection result information (s13). When there is no abnormal nozzle Nf and the user has instructed to display a preview image in advance, a preview screen is displayed (s14 → s15 → s16), and the composition of the image on the medium S is confirmed. Then, if there is a print confirmation instruction, the print data is transmitted to the printer 1 to execute the print operation (s17 → s18 → s19). If there is no prior preview instruction, the print data is transmitted to the printer 1 when the first print instruction is given (s15 → s19).
  On the other hand, when an abnormal nozzle Nf is detected, actual image data is generated (s14 → s21), and a screen (actual image screen) for notifying that there is an abnormal nozzle Nf is displayed on the display device 104 together with the actual image data. (S22). FIG. 7 shows an example of a real image screen on the display device 104. As shown in FIG. 7A, in this example, the actual image 301a is displayed together with a frame 303 indicating the area of the medium S and a print area 302 indicated by a dotted line in the frame 303. . In the real image 301a, white thin lines extending to the left and right corresponding to missing dots are displayed. In the illustrated real image 301a, missing dots are conspicuous in dark portions, and missing dots are not conspicuous in light portions (white and halftone dots in the figure). The actual image screen 300a also displays the fact 304 that the abnormal nozzle Nf is present, a message 304 that recommends a cleaning operation, an explanation 305a about the actual image screen, and the like. The actual image screen 300a also includes a cleaning operation execution instruction and a button (306 to 308) for accepting the continuation or cancellation of printing. By the operation on the screen 300a, the next processing that changes to the printing work is executed. Be able to.
  Furthermore, in this embodiment, when an operation for specifying a specific position is received, such as performing a click operation by moving the mouse cursor 309 to an arbitrary position of the actual image 301a displayed on the actual image screen 300a, the designation is performed. A predetermined area around the position is enlarged in accordance with the actual print resolution. The so-called “same size display” is set. Thereby, the user can check the deterioration state of the print image in more detail. FIG. 8 illustrates a real image screen 300b including a real image 301b displayed at the same magnification. This screen 300b also includes messages and explanations (304, 305b) and buttons (306 to 308) for receiving various instructions. When the user confirms the actual image (301a, 301b) in this way, the printing is stopped, the cleaning operation is executed as necessary, the printing instruction is issued again, and the cleaning operation is performed. You can print it without executing it.
  Note that the procedure for displaying the real images (301a, 301b), the conditions for displaying the real images (301a, 301b), etc. are not limited to the above-described embodiment, and a notification that there is an abnormal nozzle Nf is provided. Thus, the actual image may be displayed according to the user input. For example, the warning screen 400 as shown in FIG. 10 may be displayed when the presence of the abnormal nozzle Nf is detected after receiving the first print instruction. The warning screen 400 includes a display 402 for the remaining amount of ink in each cartridge 34, a text 402 for notifying the fact of ejection abnormality, a message 403 for recommending the explanation and cleaning of the screen 400, and an actual image. Buttons (404 to 406) for receiving a display instruction, an instruction to execute a cleaning operation, and an instruction to cancel printing are included. Of course, an actual image may be displayed at every printing opportunity regardless of the presence or absence of the abnormal nozzle Nf.
=== Other Embodiments ===
<Presentation of missing dots>
In the above embodiment, when the actual image screen (300a, 300b) is displayed on the image processing apparatus 100, in particular, when the actual image screen 300a displaying the entire print area 302 shown in FIG. The actual ink droplets are extremely small, and it may be difficult to accurately confirm the dot missing portion due to the abnormal discharge of the nozzle N at the resolution of the display device 104. In addition, even if there is a missing dot in a light-colored area, it may be difficult to confirm similarly. Therefore, a sign indicating the position of missing dots may be included in the display screen of the actual image.
  For example, when the printer 1 forms an image by ejecting ink droplets while scanning the head in a direction orthogonal to the conveyance direction of the medium S, as shown in FIG. 9, the raster scanned by the abnormal nozzle Nf By displaying the position of the line by the arrow 310 next to the actual image 301a, the user is urged to pay attention to the extension line of the arrow 310 in the display area of the actual image 301a. You may make it easy to confirm.
  Further, when there are a plurality of abnormal nozzles Nf, dot missing portions corresponding to each of the plurality of abnormal nozzles Nf may be individually identified. For example, if the arrow 310 indicating the missing dot portion is color-coded according to each abnormal nozzle Nf, the respective dot missing portions due to the plurality of abnormal nozzles Nf can be distinguished.
<Move print area>
If one nozzle N corresponding to a predetermined color ink is an abnormal nozzle Nf and there is almost no color expressed using the color ink in the image to be printed, printing on the medium S is performed. If the area is moved, there is a possibility that the missing dots are hardly noticed. For example, an image in which a line segment using only black ink extending in the scanning direction is included in a light background or design as a whole, and ejection failure occurs in one of the black ink nozzles N. If the error occurs, even if the position of the raster line to be formed by the abnormal nozzle Nf corresponds to the line segment to be printed, there is a possibility that the missing dot can be eliminated by simply moving the print area up and down. is there. Therefore, a function of moving the print area 302 within the plane of the medium S may be included in the actual image screen 300d.
  FIG. 10 illustrates an actual image screen (300d, 300e) including a function for moving the print area 302. FIG. 10A shows a real image screen 300d before movement, and FIG. 10B shows a real image screen 300e after movement. In the actual image screen (300d, 300e) shown in FIG. 10, buttons (311 and 312) for accepting an operation for moving the print area 302 in the up and down direction, and an operation description 305d for the buttons (311 and 312). Is displayed on the actual image screen (300d, 300e) by pointing the button (311, 312) using a mouse or the like to move the initial print area 311 up and down to move the medium S The ratio of the vertical width of the upper and lower margins can be changed.
  Specifically, as illustrated in FIG. 10A, the image to be printed includes a black line segment 313 extending left and right in a design composed entirely of light color, In the original real image 301d, the line segment 313 is divided vertically by dot missing. Here, for example, when the downward movement button 312 is instructed by a mouse click operation or the like, the image processing apparatus 100 sequentially displays the actual image 301d in which the printing area 302 on the medium S is moved downward at each instruction opportunity. Redisplay. As shown in FIG. 10B, the user continues the instruction to move the print area 302 until the missing dot of the line segment 313 in the actual image 301d becomes inconspicuous. If it becomes inconspicuous, a button 307 for instructing printing may be indicated. Accordingly, the image processing apparatus 100 regenerates the print data so as to change the margin setting value, and transmits the print data to the printer 1.
<Notification of cleaning period>
As described above, if the printed image does not deteriorate greatly even if there is a missing dot due to the abnormal nozzle Nf, the printing may be continued without performing the cleaning operation. However, if the abnormal nozzle Nf is left for a long period of time, clogging may not be eliminated even if cleaning is performed. Therefore, the time when the image processing apparatus 100 first receives the inspection result information indicating the ejection abnormality from the printer 1 is stored, and the time when the abnormal nozzle Nf has been left on the actual image display screen until then is stored. May be displayed. In addition, the expression of a message that prompts execution of cleaning may be changed every time a predetermined time elapses. For example, initially, only the neglected time is displayed, and when a predetermined time or more has elapsed, a message to recommend the execution of the cleaning operation is displayed, and when the predetermined time has elapsed, it is left as it is. A message indicating that there is a possibility of a failure due to the fact that the cleaning operation is strongly urged is displayed. Alternatively, the cleaning operation may be automatically executed.
  In addition, when there is a time difference in the leaving times of the plurality of abnormal nozzles Nf, the degree of the leaving time may be individually known. For example, the width of the arrow 310 in FIG. 9 may be changed according to the elapsed time. Alternatively, the elapsed time for the abnormal nozzle Nf that has been left for the longest time may be displayed as a representative. A legend indicating the correspondence with the elapsed time may be displayed for the arrows 310 corresponding to each of the plurality of abnormal nozzles Nf.
=== Other Embodiments ===
The printer 1 that is the control target of the image processing apparatus 100 according to the above embodiment is a serial printer in which the carriage 31 moves in a direction orthogonal to the conveyance direction of the medium S, but may be a line printer. In other words, the head may be arranged in the line direction across the width of the medium S. In this case, the image processing apparatus 100 stores the arrangement of the nozzles N arranged in a line over the width direction of the medium S. When a discharge abnormality occurs in the predetermined nozzle N, the missing dot is generated in the actual image so as to be parallel to the transport direction. In any case, it suffices if the position of the abnormal nozzle Nf and the position on the medium S of the dot to be formed by the ink ejected from the nozzle Nf can be specified.
  Further, the ink ejection method in the printer is not limited to the piezo method in which a fluid is ejected by applying a voltage to the drive element (piezo element) to expand and contract the ink chamber, and the inside of the nozzle N using a heating element. Alternatively, a thermal method may be used in which bubbles are generated and liquid is ejected by the bubbles.
  Some printers directly read image data stored in a medium such as a memory card to print an image, or directly communicate with a digital camera to print. That is, there is a printer that can print an image without using an external information processing apparatus such as a PC. Therefore, the embodiment of the present invention includes a printing apparatus that includes a display device and that implements functions related to the real image data generation processing and the real image data display output processing in the above-described image processing device.
  The present invention is applicable to, for example, quality inspection of a fluid ejection device that forms an image by landing droplets of ejected ink on a medium, such as an ink jet printer.
1 printer, 10 controller, 11 CPU, 12 unit control unit,
13 Memory 14, Interface, 20 Transport unit,
21 paper feed roller, 22 transport motor, 23 transport roller, 24 platen,
25 discharge roller, 26 driven roller, 30 carriage unit,
31 carriage, 32 ink cartridge, 40 detector group,
41 Rotary encoder, 42 Linear encoder,
50 head unit, 51 head, 52 head lower surface,
53C, 53M, 53Y, 53K Nozzle array, 60 inspection units,
100 image processing device (personal computer), 101 PC main body,
102 keyboard, 103 mouse, 104 display device, 200 printing system,
300a to 300e real image display screen, N nozzle, Nf abnormal nozzle, S medium

Claims (8)

  1. Based on print data representing an image composed of fine dots, ink ejected from each of a plurality of nozzles is landed on the medium as the dots, thereby communicating with a printing apparatus that forms the image on the medium An image processing apparatus connected to the computer,
    A display device, a storage unit, and a control unit;
    The storage unit stores arrangement information of the nozzles in the printing apparatus,
    The control unit executes a print data generation step, a real image data generation step, and a real image display step,
    In the print data generation step, the image data that is the origin of the image displayed on the display device is converted into the print data,
    In the actual image data generation step, the printing apparatus performs the printing apparatus based on the information for identifying an abnormal nozzle having an ejection abnormality transmitted from the printing apparatus, the print data, and the nozzle arrangement information. Generate actual image data corresponding to the image formed on the medium using the abnormal nozzle,
    In the actual image display step, the actual image data is displayed and output on the display device.
    An image processing apparatus.
  2.   The display unit according to claim 1, further comprising an input unit that receives a user input, wherein the control unit receives a predetermined user input that indicates an arbitrary position of the real image during display of the real image data, An image processing apparatus that executes a step of enlarging and displaying pixels within a predetermined range including a position at a resolution of a pixel formed by the printing apparatus.
  3.   3. The image processing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein in the actual image display step, a sign indicating a position of a dot to be formed by the abnormal nozzle is displayed together with the actual image data.
  4.   4. The image processing according to claim 3, wherein when there are a plurality of the abnormal nozzles, an indicator that individually indicates a position of a dot to be formed by each abnormal nozzle is displayed on the display screen of the actual image data. apparatus.
  5. In any one of 1 to 4,
    It is connected so as to be able to communicate with a printing apparatus capable of executing the cleaning operation for receiving the information instructing the execution of the cleaning operation and eliminating the clogging of the nozzle,
    When information indicating the execution of the cleaning operation is not transmitted to the printing apparatus from the time when the detection data of the abnormal nozzle is received, the elapsed time from the time when the detection data is received is displayed as the actual image data. Display on screen,
    An image processing apparatus.
  6.   6. The image processing apparatus according to claim 5, wherein when there are a plurality of abnormal nozzles, the elapsed time corresponding to each of the abnormal nozzles is displayed on the display screen of the actual image data in an identifiable manner.
  7. Based on print data representing an image composed of fine dots, ink ejected from each of a plurality of nozzles is landed on the medium as the dots, thereby communicating with a printing apparatus that forms the image on the medium An image processing method using a computer connected to the computer,
    The computer includes a display device and stores arrangement information of the nozzles in the printing device,
    The computer
    Converting image data that is the origin of an image displayed on the display device into the print data;
    Based on the information for identifying an abnormal nozzle having an ejection abnormality transmitted from the printing apparatus, the print data, and the nozzle arrangement information, the printing apparatus uses the abnormal nozzle on the medium. Generating actual image data corresponding to the image to be formed;
    Displaying the actual image data on the display device;
    The image processing method characterized by performing.
  8. A printing apparatus that forms an image on a medium by causing ink ejected from each of a plurality of nozzles to land on the medium as the dots based on print data representing an image composed of fine dots. And
    A display device, a nozzle inspection unit, a storage unit, and a control unit;
    The nozzle inspection unit individually detects presence / absence of abnormality of the plurality of nozzles and outputs the detection information to the control unit,
    The storage unit stores arrangement information of the nozzles,
    The control unit executes a real image data generation step and a real image display step,
    In the actual image data generation step, when detection information from the nozzle inspection and inspection information for specifying an abnormal nozzle that is always present are input, based on the inspection information, the print data, and the nozzle arrangement information Generating actual image data corresponding to an image formed on the medium using the abnormal nozzle,
    In the actual image display step, actual image data is displayed and output on the display device.
    A printing apparatus characterized by that.
JP2011064386A 2011-03-23 2011-03-23 Image processing apparatus, image processing method and printing device Withdrawn JP2012203425A (en)

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