JP3801604B2 - Droplet discharge apparatus, image forming apparatus, and preliminary discharge method - Google Patents

Droplet discharge apparatus, image forming apparatus, and preliminary discharge method Download PDF

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JP3801604B2
JP3801604B2 JP2004273929A JP2004273929A JP3801604B2 JP 3801604 B2 JP3801604 B2 JP 3801604B2 JP 2004273929 A JP2004273929 A JP 2004273929A JP 2004273929 A JP2004273929 A JP 2004273929A JP 3801604 B2 JP3801604 B2 JP 3801604B2
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discharge
purge
ejection
head
belt
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JP2005119284A (en
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浩志 井上
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富士写真フイルム株式会社
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Description

  The present invention relates to a droplet discharge device, an image forming apparatus, and a preliminary discharge method, and more particularly to a preliminary discharge technique for droplets discharged from a discharge head.

  In recent years, inkjet recording apparatuses (inkjet printers) have become widespread as recording apparatuses that print and record images taken by digital still cameras. An ink jet recording apparatus includes a plurality of recording elements (nozzles) in a head, and scans the recording head while ejecting ink droplets from the recording elements onto the recording medium to record an image for one line on the recording medium. The recording medium is conveyed by one line, and this process is repeated to form an image on the recording paper.

  Ink jet printers use a single serial head and perform recording while scanning the head in the width direction of the recording medium, and recording elements are arranged corresponding to the entire area of one side of the recording medium. Some use a line head. In the case of using a line head, image recording can be performed on the entire surface of the recording medium by scanning the recording medium in a direction orthogonal to the arrangement direction of the recording elements. A printer using a line head does not require a transport system such as a carriage that scans a short head, and does not require complicated scanning control between the carriage movement and the recording medium. In addition, since only the recording medium moves, the recording speed can be increased as compared with a printer using a serial head.

  In an ink jet printer, ink may not be ejected for some reason in some of the many recording elements, or the amount of ink ejected (dot size to be ejected onto a recording medium) and the flight direction (droplet ejection position) may be unsatisfactory. In some cases, discharge failure such as appropriateness may occur. The presence of such an improper recording element causes a decrease in the quality of the recorded image, and therefore countermeasures are necessary.

  Conventionally, by performing preliminary discharge (purge) such as dummy discharge and brim discharge periodically, the thickened ink formed near the discharge port is removed to prevent defective discharge of the recording element. Also, a method is known in which when a discharge failure is detected, the recording element is maintained by the above-described purge, test pattern printing, or the like. In general, in purging, ink is ejected to a maintenance member such as a cap, but ink may be ejected onto the conveyance belt.

  In the sheet conveying apparatus and the image forming and recording apparatus disclosed in Patent Document 1, a mechanism that can variably set the preliminary ejection position according to the position of the paper has been proposed.

  Further, the ink jet recording apparatus described in Patent Document 2 has the same number of cleaning members as the head, and cleans the conveying belt on the downstream side of the head.

  Furthermore, the image forming apparatus described in Patent Document 3 includes an ink receptor that can be attached to and detached from the conveyance belt, and performs preliminary ejection to the ink receptor.

In the printer described in Patent Document 4, a recovery area for recovering the discharge function of the printer head is provided on a conveyance belt having an opening, and the recovery operation of the printer head is executed in the recovery area.
JP 2000-272770 A JP 2000-127362 A JP 2001-105628 A JP 2002-103598 A

  However, in the method of purging on the conveyor belt, it is necessary to sufficiently clean the conveyor belt after purging. When a cleaning method for wiping the transport belt in one direction is used, problems such as insufficient removal of stains may occur. If the conveyor belt is used with insufficient cleaning, the print quality of the printed result, such as paper show-through, may be deteriorated.

  The sheet conveying apparatus and the image forming and recording apparatus disclosed in Patent Document 1 do not disclose maintenance operations such as preliminary ejection.

  In the ink jet recording apparatus described in Patent Document 2, since the number of cleaning units equal to that of the recording head is provided, the recording head and the cleaning unit are enlarged, and the control of the cleaning unit and the transport unit is complicated. End up.

  In the image forming apparatus described in Patent Document 3, there is a large opening on the conveyor belt, and the suction force necessary to prevent the sheet from floating cannot be obtained.

  Since the printer described in Patent Document 4 has a holder for holding the ink receiving member on the conveyance belt, it is necessary to retract the printer head.

  The present invention has been made in view of such circumstances, and provides a liquid droplet ejection apparatus, an image forming apparatus, and a preliminary ejection method that can reliably remove liquid droplets ejected on a belt holding a medium to be ejected. With the goal.

In order to achieve the above object, the invention according to claim 1 is directed to an ejection head provided with ejection holes for ejecting liquid droplets, and at least one of the ejection head and the ejection medium is defined as a width direction of the ejection medium. A droplet discharge apparatus comprising: a transport unit that transports in a substantially orthogonal direction to relatively move the discharge head and the medium to be ejected, wherein the discharge region is opposed to a discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head wherein the surface to hold the recording medium of the belt for holding a discharge medium, receiving the droplets discharged from the discharge head during the preliminary ejection, purging region including the absorbing member for absorbing the droplets in provided, and alignment means for aligning said the purge region and between the ejection receiving medium, and discharge mode switching means for switching a discharge mode of the ejection head, according to the discharge mode of the discharge head And a determination section for determining whether or not placing the ejection receiving medium to the purge region, said alignment means is characterized in that to adjust the position of the purge region in accordance with the determination result of the determination section .

  In other words, a purge area composed of an absorbing member that absorbs droplets is provided on the belt, and the position of the purge area (belt phase) is adjusted so that the purge area is positioned between the ejection target medium (paper). Therefore, preliminary discharge (purge) can be performed in the purge region. Even during continuous discharge, purge can be performed between discharged media, which contributes to improved productivity.

  In addition, the purge region serves as a droplet receiver during preliminary ejection, and there is no wasteful consumption of the medium to be ejected for purging. Furthermore, since the purge region is composed of an absorbing member that absorbs droplets, it is possible to prevent contamination of other portions of the belt.

  The ejection head may be an ejection head in which ink ejection holes (nozzle openings) are arranged over the entire area of the droplet ejectable area in a direction substantially orthogonal to the ejection medium conveyance direction, or a short ejection head may be conveyed to the ejection medium. An ejection head that ejects droplets while moving in a direction substantially orthogonal to the direction may be used.

  The ejected medium includes a medium called a recording medium and a recording medium (simply a medium), and is a medium on which droplets such as ink, a chemical solution, and a processing liquid are ejected by an ejection head, such as paper and an OHP sheet. Various media including resin sheets, films, cloths, and other materials and shapes are included.

  The conveying means may move the ejection medium relative to the fixed ejection head, or may move the ejection head while fixing the ejection medium.

  Preliminary discharge (purging) is used for the purpose of maintenance of the discharge holes, such as a mode in which periodic dummy discharge (brief discharge) is performed to prevent discharge failure and a mode in which dummy discharge is performed when discharge failure is detected. The discharge to be performed is included.

  A mode in which alignment (phase alignment) is performed by an alignment unit so that at least the front end or the rear end of the medium to be ejected is not disposed on the purge region is preferable.

  The absorbing member includes a member in which the droplet penetrates into the member in a predetermined time when the droplet lands on the absorbing member, and may be composed of a single material or a plurality of materials. It may be configured. The absorbing member is preferably made of a material that does not expand and contract. Further, the absorbent member is preferably made of a material that can be used repeatedly, and is preferably made of a material that can collect the liquid absorbed by the absorbent member and that can reuse the absorbent member. A porous member, a nonwoven fabric, etc. can be applied to the absorbing member.

  The purge region may be provided at a predetermined interval on the endless belt.

  The purge region and the conveyor belt may be joined so that a step between the purge region and the belt is prevented as much as possible.

  Maintaining a constant distance between the belt (ejection medium) and the surface of the ejection head facing the ejection medium is important for ensuring the quality of the ejection result, and the ejection medium holding surface ( The transport surface is preferably in the form in which the flatness is maintained.

  The alignment means may include a purge area detecting means for detecting the purge area on the belt, a discharged medium detecting means for detecting the position of the discharged medium, a speed detecting means for detecting the speed of the belt, and the like. .

  According to a second aspect of the present invention, in the first aspect of the present invention, the belt is characterized in that the support member is composed of an absorbing member that absorbs droplets.

  That is, since the belt support is made of the absorbing member, the structure of the belt can be simplified. For example, the belt support (core material) may be used as it is (exposed) in the purge region, and an appropriate coating may be applied to the belt support surface in a region other than the purge region, or a member made of another material may be attached. You may combine them.

  The belt needs to have a predetermined strength and stretchability (non-stretching property), and the support may be reinforced with metal or resin.

  According to a third aspect of the present invention, in the invention according to the first or second aspect, the belt includes a plurality of the purge areas, and the plurality of the purge areas are arranged at intervals according to a frequently used paper size. It is characterized by that.

  That is, the interval between the ejection target media can be reduced, and the productivity is improved. Moreover, since the transport area of the medium to be ejected can be increased, the transport performance of the large-size medium to be ejected is improved.

  The arrangement interval of the purge area may be adjusted to the most frequently used discharged medium size, or to the least common multiple of the most frequently used discharged medium size and the second most frequently used discharged medium size. May be. Further, a plurality of ejection target media may be arranged within the arrangement interval of the purge area. Further, it is not necessary that all the purge area arrangement intervals are the same, and a plurality of different purge area arrangement intervals may be provided.

  As a mode of joining the purge region and a region other than the purge region, a mode in which the purge region member is fitted to the discharge medium holding surface of the belt may be applied.

  According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, in the invention according to the first, second, or third aspect, the clearance between the surface of the purge region facing the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head and the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head is: It is characterized in that it is within a clearance range between the target medium holding surface of the belt and the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head.

  In other words, by setting the clearance between the surface of the purge area facing the ejection head and the ejection hole forming surface of the ejection head to be within the clearance range of the ejection head in the ejection medium transport area of the belt, Interference with the hole forming surface can be prevented.

  In particular, when the purge region is swollen by the absorbed droplets, the distance from the ejection head may be reduced. In this case as well, it is necessary to maintain the distance from the ejection hole forming surface of the ejection head. You may provide the detection means which detects the thickness of the purge area | region at the time of swelling, and the distance of a purge area | region and an ejection head.

  According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, in the invention according to any one of the first to fourth aspects, a purge region cleaning means for cleaning the purge region is provided.

  That is, since the purge area that has absorbed ink droplets is cleaned by the purge area cleaning means, the purge area does not require maintenance such as replacement.

  Cleaning includes removal of liquid absorption for removing droplets from the purge area and wiping and removal of wiping off dirt and deposits on the surface. The liquid absorption means used for liquid absorption removal may be a member having better absorption performance than the absorption member used in the purge region, or a pump that forcibly performs suction. Further, the purge region may be dried.

  According to a sixth aspect of the present invention, in the invention according to any one of the first to fifth aspects, the apparatus further comprises a discharge control means for controlling the preliminary discharge to the maintenance member at the time of non-discharge. .

  That is, since the maintenance member is controlled to be purged during non-ejection, the load on the purge region member and the member used for the purge region cleaning means can be reduced, and the life of these members can be extended.

  During non-ejection, a period during which ejection data is not sent (rest period), a period from when the power is turned on until printing is started with the first ejection data, and an image forming (recording) apparatus such as an inkjet recording apparatus This includes an interval period when printing is finished and a different image is printed next. Further, a non-ejection period may include a period during which ejection onto the ejection medium is not performed based on ejection data.

  A cap may be used as the maintenance member, or another member may be used.

  The discharge control by the discharge control means may include control for purging the purge region at the time of discharge.

It said alignment means, manner to match the position of the purge region to the on the purge region not place the ejection receiving medium is preferred.

  In other words, since the position of the purge area (belt phase) is controlled so that the discharged medium is not conveyed in the purge area, the discharged medium can be reliably adsorbed.

In order to achieve the above object, the invention according to claim 7 is directed to a recording head provided with ejection holes for ejecting ink, and at least one of the recording head and the recording medium is arranged in a width direction of the recording medium. An image forming apparatus comprising: a transport unit configured to transport the recording head and the recording medium relative to each other in a direction substantially orthogonal to the print area, the print area facing the ejection hole forming surface of the recording head wherein the surface to hold the recording medium of the belt that holds the recording medium receives ink ejected from the recording head during the preliminary ejection, purging region including the absorbing member for absorbing the ink is disposed in the the provided with alignment means for aligning said purge region and the record medium, said purge region surrounds the holding area for holding the recording medium, the excess Lee during marginless printing It is characterized by that also serves as a click receiving area.

That is, the position of the purge region (belt phase) is adjusted so that the purge region formed on the belt and made of an absorbing member that absorbs droplets is positioned between the recording media. Therefore, preliminary ejection can be performed in the purge area, and purge can be performed between recording media even in continuous printing, which contributes to improvement in productivity. In addition, since the purge area and the surplus ink receiving area at the time of borderless printing (full-screen printing) are also used (shared), the structure of the transport belt can be simplified, and there is no back of ink at the time of borderless printing.

  In addition, since the purge region is composed of an absorbing member that absorbs droplets, it is possible to prevent contamination of other portions of the belt.

  The recording head may be a full-line recording head in which ink discharge holes (nozzle openings) are arranged over the entire printable area in a direction substantially perpendicular to the recording medium conveyance direction, or a short discharge head may be recorded. A shuttle scan type recording head that ejects ink droplets while moving in a direction substantially perpendicular to the medium conveyance direction may be used.

  The recording medium is a medium (image forming medium) that receives printing by a recording head, and is various regardless of material or shape such as continuous paper, cut paper, sealing paper, resin sheet such as OHP sheet, film, cloth, and the like. Media. Of course, the recording medium described in claims 1 to 7 may be included in the recording medium.

  In this specification, the term “printing” represents not only the formation of characters but also the concept of forming an image in a broad sense including characters.

According to an eighth aspect of the present invention, in the invention according to the seventh aspect , the belt is characterized in that the support member is composed of an absorbing member that absorbs droplets .

According to a ninth aspect of the present invention, in the invention according to the seventh or eighth aspect, the belt includes a plurality of the purge areas, and the plurality of the purge areas are spaced according to the size of a recording medium that is frequently used. It is characterized by being arranged in. Further, as shown in claim 10, in the invention of claim 7, 8 or 9, the clearance between the surface of the purge region facing the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head and the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head Is within the clearance range between the target medium holding surface of the belt and the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head.

Further, as shown in claim 11, in the invention described in any one of claims 7 to 10, a purge region cleaning means for cleaning the purge region is provided. According to a twelfth aspect of the present invention, the invention according to any one of the seventh to eleventh aspects is characterized by comprising discharge control means for controlling the maintenance member to perform preliminary discharge at the time of non-discharge. . According to a thirteenth aspect of the present invention, in the invention according to any one of the seventh to twelfth aspects, the ejection mode switching means for switching the ejection mode of the recording head, and the ejection mode of the recording head. A determination unit that determines whether or not to place the recording medium in the purge area is provided, and the positioning unit aligns the position of the purge area according to a determination result of the determination unit.

The present invention also provides a method invention for achieving the above object. That is, the invention according to claim 14 is a direction in which at least one of the ejection head provided with ejection holes for ejecting droplets and the ejection medium and the ejection head is substantially orthogonal to the width direction of the ejection medium. A preliminary discharge method in a droplet discharge apparatus comprising: a transfer means that moves the discharge medium and the discharge head relative to each other, wherein the discharge head and the discharge medium are relatively A purge region detecting step for detecting a purge region provided in a belt for holding the medium to be discharged in a discharge region facing the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head, and the purge region detecting step. When the purge region is detected, a preliminary discharge step for performing preliminary discharge to the purge region, and a droplet discharged from the discharge head is absorbed by the absorbing member included in the purge region. An absorption step for performing, a discharge mode switching step for switching the discharge mode of the discharge head, a determination step for determining whether or not to place the discharge target medium in the purge region according to the discharge mode of the discharge head, and the determination And an alignment step of aligning the position of the purge region in accordance with the determination result of the step .

  In the purge area detection process, a discharge medium detection process for detecting the discharge medium using a sensor or the like is provided, and control is performed to perform preliminary discharge when the purge area is detected and the discharge medium is not detected. Also good.

  Moreover, the aspect provided with the cleaning process of cleaning the purge area | region dirty by the preliminary discharge process is preferable.

According to the present invention, a purge region composed of an absorbing member capable of absorbing liquid droplets is provided on a belt that holds a medium to be ejected, and the purge region comes between the media to be ejected according to the ejection mode of the ejection head. Alternatively, the medium to be ejected is placed in the purge area , or the positions (belt phases) of the medium to be ejected and the purge area are aligned. Therefore, productivity is improved, and the purge target medium is not wasted.

  Further, when the belt support is formed of the absorbing member, the support can be used as a purge region, and the belt structure can be simplified.

  By adjusting the interval between the purge regions to the size of the medium to be ejected that is frequently used, productivity can be expected to be improved, and the conveyance performance of the medium to be ejected can be improved.

  It is preferable that a predetermined clearance is provided between the purge region and the ejection head even during swelling after absorbing the droplet.

  Furthermore, an aspect provided with a purge area cleaning means for cleaning the purge area is preferable.

  When control is performed so that a maintenance member such as a cap is purged during non-recording, consumption of the purge region member and the purge region cleaning member can be suppressed.

  In an image forming apparatus provided with a recording head for ejecting ink onto a recording medium, if the belt that holds the recording medium in the printing area is provided with a purge area made of an absorbing member, the purge is performed between the recording media even during continuous printing. it can. Furthermore, by sharing the purge area and the surplus ink receiving area during borderless printing, the inside of the conveyor belt can be used efficiently.

  Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

[Overall configuration of inkjet recording apparatus]
FIG. 1 is an overall configuration diagram of an ink jet recording apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention. As shown in the figure, the inkjet recording apparatus 10 includes a print unit 12 having a plurality of print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, and 12Y provided for each ink color, and each print head 12K, 12C, 12M, An ink storage / loading unit 14 for storing ink to be supplied to 12Y, a paper feeding unit 18 for supplying recording paper 16, a decurling unit 20 for removing curling of the recording paper 16, and a nozzle of the printing unit 12 A suction belt transport unit 22 that is disposed to face a surface (ink ejection surface) and transports the recording paper 16 while maintaining the flatness of the recording paper 16, and a print detection unit 24 that reads a printing result by the printing unit 12, A paper discharge unit 26 that discharges printed recording paper (printed matter) to the outside.

  In FIG. 1, a magazine for rolled paper (continuous paper) is shown as an example of the paper supply unit 18, but a plurality of magazines having different paper widths, paper quality, and the like may be provided side by side. Further, instead of the roll paper magazine or in combination therewith, the paper may be supplied by a cassette in which cut papers are stacked and loaded.

  When multiple types of recording paper are used, an information recording body such as a barcode or wireless tag that records paper type information is attached to the magazine, and the information on the information recording body is read by a predetermined reader. Therefore, it is preferable to automatically determine the type of paper to be used and perform ink ejection control so as to realize appropriate ink ejection according to the type of paper.

  The recording paper 16 delivered from the paper supply unit 18 retains curl due to having been loaded in the magazine. In order to remove this curl, heat is applied to the recording paper 16 by the heating drum 30 in the direction opposite to the curl direction of the magazine in the decurling unit 20. At this time, it is more preferable to control the heating temperature so that the printed surface is slightly curled outward.

  In the case of an apparatus configuration that uses roll paper, as shown in FIG. 1, a cutter (first cutter) 28 is provided, and the roll paper is cut into a desired size by the cutter 28. The cutter 28 includes a fixed blade 28A having a length equal to or greater than the conveyance path width of the recording paper 16, and a round blade 28B that moves along the fixed blade 28A. The fixed blade 28A is provided on the back side of the print. Then, the round blade 28B is arranged on the printing surface side across the conveyance path. Note that the cutter 28 is not necessary when cut paper is used.

  After the decurling process, the cut recording paper 16 is sent to the suction belt conveyance unit 22. The suction belt conveyance unit 22 has a structure in which an endless belt 33 is wound between rollers 31 and 32, and at least portions facing the nozzle surface of the printing unit 12 and the sensor surface of the printing detection unit 24 are horizontal ( Flat surface).

  The belt 33 has a width that is greater than the width of the recording paper 16, and a plurality of suction holes (not shown) are formed on the belt surface. As shown in FIG. 1, a suction chamber 34 is provided at a position facing the nozzle surface of the print unit 12 and the sensor surface of the print detection unit 24 inside the belt 33 spanned between the rollers 31 and 32. Then, the suction chamber 34 is sucked by the fan 35 to be a negative pressure, whereby the recording paper 16 on the belt 33 is sucked and held. In this embodiment, suction conveyance by air is exemplified, but suction conveyance by static electricity or the like is also possible.

  Further, on the recording paper 16 holding surface side of the belt 33, a purge area (not shown in FIG. 1, illustrated as 100 in FIG. 6), which is an ink receiving area when purging, and the recording paper 16 are sucked and held. And a possible suction area (not shown in FIG. 1, shown as reference numeral 105 in FIG. 6).

  When the power of a motor (not shown in FIG. 1, described as reference numeral 88 in FIG. 5) is transmitted to at least one of the rollers 31 and 32 around which the belt 33 is wound, the belt 33 rotates in the clockwise direction in FIG. , And the recording paper 16 held on the belt 33 is conveyed from left to right in FIG. Details of the belt 33 will be described later.

  When a full screen (no border) print or the like is printed, ink also adheres to a surplus ink receiving area on the belt 33 (not shown in FIG. 1, but shown as reference numeral 140 in FIG. 11). A belt cleaning unit 36 is provided (at an appropriate position other than the printing area). Although details of the configuration of the belt cleaning unit 36 are not shown, for example, there are a method of niping a brush roll, a water absorbing roll, etc., an air blow method of blowing clean air, or a combination thereof. In the case where the cleaning roll is nipped, the cleaning effect is great if the belt linear velocity and the roller linear velocity are changed.

  A heating fan 40 is provided on the upstream side of the printing unit 12 on the paper conveyance path formed by the suction belt conveyance unit 22. The heating fan 40 heats the recording paper 16 by blowing heated air onto the recording paper 16 before printing. Heating the recording paper 16 immediately before printing makes it easier for the ink to dry after landing.

  The printing unit 12 is a so-called full line type head in which line type heads having a length corresponding to the maximum paper width are arranged in a direction (main scanning direction) orthogonal to the paper feed direction (see FIG. 2). Although a detailed structural example will be described later, each of the print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, and 12Y has a length that exceeds at least one side of the maximum size recording paper 16 targeted by the inkjet recording apparatus 10, as shown in FIG. A line type head in which a plurality of ink discharge holes (nozzles) are arranged is formed.

  A print head 12K corresponding to each color ink in the order of black (K), cyan (C), magenta (M), and yellow (Y) from the upstream side along the feeding direction of the recording paper 16 (hereinafter referred to as the paper transport direction). , 12C, 12M, 12Y are arranged. A color image can be formed on the recording paper 16 by discharging the color inks from the print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, and 12Y while the recording paper 16 is conveyed.

  Thus, according to the printing unit 12 in which the full line head that covers the entire area of the paper width is provided for each ink color, the operation of relatively moving the recording paper 16 and the printing unit 12 in the sub-scanning direction is performed once. An image can be recorded on the entire surface of the recording paper 16 only by performing it (that is, by one sub-scan). Thereby, it is possible to perform high-speed printing as compared with a shuttle type head in which the print head reciprocates in the main scanning direction, and productivity can be improved.

  In this example, the configuration of KCMY standard colors (four colors) is illustrated, but the combination of ink colors and the number of colors is not limited to this embodiment, and light ink and dark ink are added as necessary. May be. For example, it is possible to add a print head that discharges light ink such as light cyan and light magenta.

  In the present embodiment, the mode in which the recording paper 16 adsorbed to the belt 33 moves is illustrated, but the print head may move on the fixed recording paper 16, or the print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, 12Y. Both the recording paper 16 and the recording paper 16 may move.

  As shown in FIG. 1, the ink storage / loading unit 14 has tanks that store inks of colors corresponding to the print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, and 12Y, and each tank is connected via a conduit (not shown). The print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, and 12Y communicate with each other. Further, the ink storage / loading unit 14 includes notifying means (display means, warning sound generating means, etc.) for notifying when the ink remaining amount is low, and has a mechanism for preventing erroneous loading between colors. is doing.

  The print detection unit 24 includes an image sensor for imaging the droplet ejection result of the print unit 12, and functions as a means for checking nozzle clogging and other ejection defects from the droplet ejection image read by the image sensor.

  The print detection unit 24 of this example is composed of a line sensor having a light receiving element array that is wider than at least the ink ejection width (image recording width) by the print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, and 12Y. The line sensor includes an R sensor row in which photoelectric conversion elements (pixels) provided with red (R) color filters are arranged in a line, a G sensor row provided with green (G) color filters, The color separation line CCD sensor is composed of a B sensor array provided with a blue (B) color filter. Instead of the line sensor, an area sensor in which the light receiving elements are two-dimensionally arranged can be used.

  The print detection unit 24 reads the test pattern printed by the print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, and 12Y for each color, and detects the ejection of each head. The ejection determination includes the presence / absence of ejection, measurement of dot size, measurement of dot landing position, and the like. In addition, the print detection unit 24 includes a light source (not shown) that irradiates light to the ejected dots.

  A post-drying unit 42 is provided following the print detection unit 24. The post-drying unit 42 is means for drying the printed image surface, and for example, a heating fan is used. Since it is preferable to avoid contact with the printing surface until the ink after printing is dried, a method of blowing hot air is preferred.

  A heating / pressurizing unit 44 is provided following the post-drying unit 42. The heating / pressurizing unit 44 is a means for controlling the glossiness of the image surface, and pressurizes with a pressure roller 45 having a predetermined surface uneven shape while heating the image surface to transfer the uneven shape to the image surface. To do.

  The printed matter generated in this manner is outputted from the paper output unit 26. It is preferable that the original image to be printed (printed target image) and the test print are discharged separately. The ink jet recording apparatus 10 is provided with a sorting means (not shown) that switches the paper discharge path in order to select the print product of the main image and the print product of the test print and send them to the paper output units 26A and 26B. ing.

  Although not shown in FIG. 1, the paper output unit 26A for the target prints is provided with a sorter for collecting prints according to print orders.

  The ink jet recording apparatus 10 includes a recording paper detection unit 47 that is provided upstream of the suction belt conveyance unit 22 and detects the presence or absence of the recording paper 16. The recording paper detection unit 47 includes a light emitting unit and a light receiving unit. When the light exiting from the light emitting unit and entering the light receiving unit is blocked by the recording paper 16, the recording paper 16 is detected by the detection region of the recording paper detection unit 47. It is determined that it is located within.

  A reflective sensor that receives light emitted from the light emitting unit and reflected by the recording paper 16 at the light receiving unit may be used. Of course, the recording paper detection unit 47 may have the same configuration as the print detection unit 24.

  The recording paper 16 fed from the paper feeding unit 18 is conveyed to the detection area of the recording paper detection unit 47 via the conveyance roller 48, and passes through the detection area of the recording paper detection unit 47. It stops at a predetermined standby position 49 set immediately before. In the transport roller 48 shown in FIG. 1, one of the upstream and downstream rollers in the transport direction functions as a driving roller, and the other roller functions as a driven roller.

  In this way, the recording paper 16 is aligned before being transported by the suction belt transport unit 22.

  Although not shown in FIG. 1, in a region where the recording paper 16 is conveyed, paper detection means such as a sensor for detecting whether or not the recording paper 16 is present is appropriately provided. For example, a paper sensor for detecting whether or not the recording paper 16 is present in the print area, a skew sensor for detecting skew on the paper transport path (curvature in the recording paper 16 in the transport direction), and the recording paper 16 immediately before each processing unit. There are sensors for detecting In addition to the paper detection means, there are various types such as a purge area detection unit (not shown in FIG. 1 and shown as reference numeral 102 in FIGS. 5 and 6) for detecting the purge area of the belt 33, and a temperature sensor in a processing unit for performing heat treatment. A simple sensor (detection means) is provided.

  Next, the structure of the print head 50 will be described. Since the structures of the print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, and 12Y provided for the respective ink colors are common, they are hereinafter referred to as the print head 50 as a representative.

  The print head 50 is provided with a plurality of ink discharge holes (nozzle openings) 51. In order to increase the dot pitch printed on the recording paper surface, it is necessary to increase the density of the ink discharge hole arrangement intervals (nozzle pitch) in the print head 50. As shown in FIG. 3, the print head 50 of this example has a plurality of ink chamber units 53 including nozzles 51 that eject ink droplets and pressure chambers 52 corresponding to the nozzles 51 arranged in a staggered matrix. This makes it possible to increase the apparent nozzle pitch density. FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view showing a three-dimensional configuration of the ink chamber unit 53.

  The pressure chamber 52 provided corresponding to each nozzle 51 has a substantially square planar shape, and the nozzle 51 and the supply port 54 are provided at both corners on the diagonal line. Each pressure chamber 52 communicates with a common flow channel 55 through a supply port 54.

  An actuator 58 having an individual electrode 57 is joined to the pressure plate 56 constituting the top surface of the pressure chamber 52, and the actuator 58 is deformed by applying a driving voltage to the individual electrode 57, and the nozzle 51 Ink is ejected. When ink is ejected, new ink is supplied from the common channel 55 to the pressure chamber 52 through the supply port 54.

  In the implementation of the present invention, the arrangement structure of the ink ejection holes 51 is not limited to the above-described embodiment. In the present embodiment, a method of ejecting ink droplets by deformation of an actuator 58 typified by a piezo element (piezoelectric element) is adopted. However, in the practice of the present invention, the method of ejecting ink is not particularly limited. Instead of the piezo jet method, various methods such as a thermal jet method in which ink is heated by a heating element such as a heater to generate bubbles and ink droplets are ejected by the pressure can be applied.

  FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram showing the configuration of the ink supply system in the inkjet recording apparatus 10.

  The ink supply tank 60 is a base tank for supplying ink, and is installed in the ink storage / loading unit 14 described with reference to FIG. There are two types of ink supply tank 60: a system that replenishes ink from a replenishment port (not shown) and a cartridge system that replaces the entire tank when the remaining amount of ink is low. A cartridge system is suitable for changing the ink type according to the intended use. In this case, it is preferable that the ink type information is identified by a barcode or the like, and ejection control is performed according to the ink type.

  As shown in FIG. 4, a filter 62 is provided between the ink supply tank 60 and the print head 50 in order to remove foreign substances and bubbles. The filter mesh size is preferably equal to or smaller than the nozzle diameter (generally about 20 μm).

  Although not shown in FIG. 4, a configuration in which a sub tank is provided in the vicinity of the print head 50 or integrally with the print head 50 is also preferable. The sub-tank has a function of improving a damper effect and refill that prevents fluctuations in the internal pressure of the head.

  The mode in which the internal pressure is controlled by the subtank includes a mode in which the internal pressure in the pressure chamber unit 53 is controlled by the difference in the ink water level between the subtank opened to the atmosphere and the ink chamber unit 53 in the print head 50, or a sealed subtank. There is a mode in which the internal pressure of the sub tank and the ink chamber 52 is controlled by a connected pump, and any mode may be applied.

  Further, the inkjet recording apparatus 10 is provided with a cap 64 as a means for preventing the nozzle 51 from drying or preventing an increase in ink viscosity near the nozzle 51 and a cleaning blade 66 as a nozzle surface cleaning means. .

  The maintenance unit including the cap 64 and the cleaning blade 66 can be moved relative to the print head 50 by a moving mechanism (not shown), and is moved from a predetermined retracted position to a maintenance position below the print head 50 as necessary. The

  The cap 64 is displaced up and down relatively with respect to the print head 50 by an elevator mechanism (not shown). The cap 64 is raised to a predetermined raised position when the power is turned off or during printing standby, and is brought into close contact with the print head 50, thereby covering the nozzle surface with the cap 64.

  During printing or standby, when the frequency of use of a specific nozzle 51 decreases and the ink viscosity in the vicinity of the nozzle increases, preliminary discharge (dummy discharge, spit discharge) is performed toward the cap 64 to discharge the deteriorated ink. Done.

  Further, when air bubbles are mixed in the ink in the print head 50 (in the pressure chamber 52), the cap 64 is applied to the print head 50, and the ink in the pressure chamber 52 (ink in which the bubbles are mixed) is sucked by the suction pump 67. The ink removed and sucked and removed is sent to the collection tank 68. In this suction operation, the deteriorated ink with increased viscosity (solidified) is sucked out when the ink is initially loaded into the head or when the ink is used after being stopped for a long time.

  FIG. 5 is a principal block diagram showing the system configuration of the inkjet recording apparatus 10. The inkjet recording apparatus 10 includes a communication interface 70, a system controller 72, an image memory 74, a motor driver 76, a heater driver 78, a print control unit 80, an image buffer memory 82, a head driver 84, and the like.

The communication interface 70 is an interface unit that receives image data and various setting information (print quality, number of printed sheets, recording paper size, etc.) sent from the host computer 86. A serial interface such as USB (Universal Serial Bus) , IEEE 1394, Ethernet (registered trademark) , a wireless network, or a parallel interface such as Centronics can be applied to the communication interface 70. In this part, a buffer memory (not shown) for speeding up communication may be mounted. Image data sent from the host computer 86 is taken into the inkjet recording apparatus 10 via the communication interface 70 and temporarily stored in the image memory 74. The image memory 74 is a storage unit that temporarily stores an image input via the communication interface 70, and data is read and written through the system controller 72. The image memory 74 is not limited to a memory made of a semiconductor element, and a magnetic medium such as a hard disk may be used.

  The system controller 72 is a control unit that controls each unit such as the communication interface 70, the image memory 74, the motor driver 76, and the heater driver 78. The system controller 72 includes a central processing unit (CPU) and its peripheral circuits, and performs communication control with the host computer 86, read / write control of the image memory 74, and the like, as well as a transport system motor 88 and heater 89. A control signal for controlling is generated.

  The motor driver 76 is a driver (drive circuit) that drives the motor 88 in accordance with an instruction from the system controller 72. Although only the motor driver 76 and the motor 88 are shown in FIG. 5, the system controller 72 includes a plurality of motor drivers and motors (for example, a motor that drives the driving roller of the suction belt conveyance unit 22, and a motor driver that controls the motor). ) Is controlling.

  The heater driver 78 is a driver that drives the heater 89 such as the post-drying unit 42 in accordance with an instruction from the system controller 72.

  The print control unit 80 has a signal processing function for performing various processing and correction processing for generating a print control signal from the image data in the image memory 74 according to the control of the system controller 72, and the generated print A control unit that supplies a control signal (print data) to the head driver 84. Necessary signal processing is performed in the print controller 80, and the ejection amount and ejection timing of the ink droplets of the print head 50 are controlled via the head driver 84 based on the image data. Thereby, a desired dot size and dot arrangement are realized.

  The print control unit 80 includes an image buffer memory 82, and data such as image data and parameters such as image quality settings are temporarily stored in the image buffer memory 82 when image data is processed in the print control unit 80. In FIG. 5, the image buffer memory 82 is shown in a form associated with the print control unit 80, but it can also be used as the image memory 74. Also possible is an aspect in which the print controller 80 and the system controller 72 are integrated and configured with a single processor.

  The head driver 84 drives the actuators of the print heads 12K, 12C, 12M, and 12Y for each color based on the print data provided from the print control unit 80. The head driver 84 may include a feedback control system for keeping the head driving conditions constant.

  In the inkjet recording apparatus 10, a high speed mode (draft mode) and a high image quality mode (recommended mode) can be set (switching between the high speed mode and the high image quality mode) by the print mode setting unit 90 (discharge mode switching means). . The print mode setting unit 90 sends a signal indicating the set print mode to the print control unit 80, and the print control unit 80 controls the ejection of the print head 50 via the head driver 84 in accordance with the set print mode. .

  A switch member may be applied to the print mode setting unit 90, or it may be configured to be set from software via a man-machine interface such as a keyboard or a touch panel display device. Of course, the print mode information may be sent from the host computer 86 along with the print data.

  In addition, the ink jet recording apparatus 10 is provided with various sensors (detectors) such as a sensor that is arranged on the paper conveyance path and detects the presence or absence of the recording paper 16. Detection signals sent from these sensors are sent to a control unit such as the system controller 72 via an interface circuit corresponding to the output of the sensor, and processing and control according to the detection signals are executed.

  FIG. 5 shows the recording paper detection unit 47 and the purge area detection unit 102 shown in FIG. 1 among the sensors described above. Detection signals obtained from the recording paper detection unit 47 and the purge area detection unit 102 are sent to the system controller 72, and based on the detection signals, conveyance control (phase alignment) and discharge control (purge control) of the suction belt conveyance unit 22 are performed. Is done.

[Preliminary discharge (purge) control]
As described with reference to FIG. 4, the inkjet recording apparatus 10 periodically performs purging for the purpose of removing thickened ink formed in the vicinity of the ink ejection holes of the respective nozzles. In purging, the thickened ink may be ejected to the cap 64 shown in FIG. 4, or the thickened ink may be ejected to the purge area 100 provided in the belt 33. Hereinafter, purge control in the inkjet recording apparatus 10 will be described.

  FIG. 6 is a diagram showing details of the belt 33 shown in FIG. The belt 33 has a purge area 100 and a recording paper 16 that are ink drop receiving areas at the time of purging, which have a length necessary for droplet ejection for at least one line in the conveyance direction of the recording paper over the entire width of the belt 33. An adsorption region 105 capable of adsorbing and holding is provided. Although FIG. 6 illustrates an embodiment in which the purge region 100 and the suction region 105 have the same width as the belt 33, the width of the purge region 100 and the width of the suction region 105 may be smaller than the width of the belt 33.

  The interval between the purge areas 100 (that is, the length along the transport direction of the suction area 105) is determined according to the size of the recording paper 16. For example, it may be determined according to the maximum size of the recording paper 16 or may be determined according to the size of the recording paper 16 that is most frequently used. Further, the least common multiple of the most frequently used size and the second most frequently used size may be determined, or other modes may be used. Further, one sheet of recording paper 16 or a plurality of sheets may be placed in this area.

  The purge region 100 is composed of an absorbent member (reference numeral 110 in FIG. 7) having a good droplet absorbability such as a nonwoven fabric. The absorbing member used in the purge region 100 needs to use a material that does not expand and contract in order to ensure the conveyance performance (conveyance accuracy, conveyance speed, etc.) of the belt 33. In order to ensure a predetermined strength and expansion / contraction performance, the entire purge region 100, the edge portion, or the like may be reinforced.

  Note that members other than the purge region 100 of the belt 33 are made of a member such as polyimide, metal, or resin. Further, the mode in which the recording paper 16 is sucked and held in the suction area 105 may be a mode in which a large number of suction ports are provided in the suction area and air is sucked by a pump or the like, or the recording paper 16 may be sucked by static electricity.

  Further, a purge region detection unit 102 including a purge region detection sensor for detecting the phase of the belt 33 is provided, and when the purge region 100 is detected by the purge region detection unit 102, a detection signal is shown in FIG. Sent to the system controller 72.

  The purge region detection unit 102 may identify the purge region 100 and other regions based on the difference in the intensity of light reflected by the belt 33, or may use another type of sensor. The purge region 100 may be configured such that the difference in reflectance with other portions becomes large so that the purge region detection unit 102 can easily detect the surface, or the surface roughness may be changed with similar colors. .

  Although FIG. 6 shows a mode in which one purge region detection unit 102 is provided, a plurality of purge region detection units 102 may be provided. Further, in this example, the purge area detection unit 102 is provided on the side opposite to the side that receives ink ejection from the print head 50, but the purge area detection unit 102 is indicated by a position indicated by a reference numeral 102 'indicated by a broken line in FIG. You may prepare for.

  When the system controller 72 receives a detection signal for detecting the purge area 100 in the purge during printing, the system controller 72 causes the purge area 100 to eject ink, processing liquid, or the like from each ejection hole. The ink or the like absorbed by the absorbing member in the purge region 100 is removed by the belt cleaning unit 36 shown in FIG. The belt cleaning unit 36 may apply a mode in which liquid absorption is removed by using a cleaning roll having higher absorbability than the absorbing member, based on a difference in osmotic pressure between the absorbing member and the cleaning roll. A mode in which suction removal is performed may be used.

  Further, the suction and removal may be performed by the suction force of the adsorption chamber 34.

  Furthermore, you may apply the aspect which cleans with a cleaning liquid. In this embodiment, although the aspect which combines the cleaning means of the belt 33 and the cleaning means of the purge area | region 100 was illustrated, you may provide these separately.

  FIG. 7 is a view showing a cross section of the absorbing member 110 used in the purge region 100. The absorbing member 110 is joined to the belt 33 by an adhesive 112. Further, in order to maintain the strength of the absorbing member 110, a metal mesh material 114 such as stainless steel is provided at the lower portion of the absorbing member 110. In addition, the amount of ink that can be retained is increased by adding the water retention capacity of the filter to the water retention capacity of the absorbing member 110 (for example, non-woven fabric).

  For cleaning the absorbing member 110, the belt cleaning unit 36 (for example, suction means such as a pump) shown in FIG. 1 can be used.

  A sponge may be used for the absorbing member 110, and the pore diameter of the sponge may be continuously changed so that the purged ink is quickly absorbed inside. With such a configuration, the ink is quickly absorbed by the absorbing member 110, so that even if the recording paper 16 is placed on the absorbing member 110, the ink does not turn over.

  In general, since the sponge has a larger water retention amount of ink than the ink purge amount, the ink does not leak even if it is bent by the belt 33.

  FIGS. 8 and 9 show examples of joining of the conveyance belt support (core body) and the absorbing member 104 in the purge region 100. 8 is a view of the recording paper 16 holding surface side of the belt 33 from the print head 50 side, and FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view showing the three-dimensional configuration (cross-sectional view taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 8). It is.

  If the absorbing member 104 functioning as the purge region 100 is simply pasted on the support of the belt 33, a step is formed between the purge region 100 and the belt 33. Therefore, in the purge area 100, a predetermined clearance cannot be ensured between the print head 50 and it is necessary to control the phase of the belt 33 so that the recording paper 16 is not placed in the purge area 100. It is not preferable. Further, when the absorbing member 104 is swollen by the absorbed ink, a predetermined clearance cannot be secured between the purge area 100 and the print head 50, and therefore the distance between the purge area 100 and the print head 50 is set to the purge area 100. It is determined in consideration of the swelling time.

  On the other hand, in the fitting type joining shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 in which the absorbing member 104 is fitted to the belt 33 and joined, the step between the belt 33 and the purge region 100 can be made as small as possible. Depending on the print quality, the recording paper 16 can be placed in the purge area 100. However, it is preferable to control the purge area 100 so that the leading edge or the trailing edge of the recording paper 16 is not covered. As an example of the step between the belt 33 and the purge region 100, there are some that can be about a few tens of micrometers.

  For example, in the photographic image quality (high image quality) mode, the conveyance control means (system controller 72) that controls the suction belt conveyance unit 22 records the recording paper 16 at the purge area 100 and the joint between the belt 33 and the purge area 100. In the high-speed (draft) mode, control is performed so that the recording paper 16 can be loaded regardless of the joint between the belt 33 and the purge area 100.

  That is, the system controller 72 shown in FIG. 5 functions as a determination unit that determines whether to place the recording paper 16 on the purge area 100 according to the print mode (discharge mode). In addition, the print controller 80 may be applied to the determination unit instead of the system controller 72. In a mode in which the system controller 72 and the print control unit 80 are shared by one processor, the processor is applied to the determination unit. May be.

  8 and 9 show a fitting type joining as an example of the joining of the belt 33 and the absorbing member 104, and the mode of joining the belt 33 and the absorbing member 104 is not limited to this, and the purge A predetermined clearance between the area 100 and the print head 50 is ensured, and the flatness of the belt 33 including the purge area 100 may be ensured at least in the print area.

  As shown in FIG. 8, it is preferable that the joining portion of the belt 33 and the absorbing member 104 has an uneven shape that can be fitted to each other because the joining strength can be increased.

  FIG. 10 shows an aspect in which an absorbing member is used for the support body 120 of the belt 33. An area 122 other than the purge area 100 is subjected to a coating process suitable for transporting the recording paper 16. In order to ensure the strength and expansion / contraction performance required for the belt 33, the support 120 may be reinforced using metal, resin, or the like. Moreover, you may make it a laminated structure with another member.

  Next, purge control in the inkjet recording apparatus 10 according to the present invention will be described. As described above, in the inkjet recording apparatus 10, the purge can be executed using the purge region 100 of the belt 33 and the cap 64 as the ink receiver.

  The purge timing is determined based on the nozzle operation time, the number of droplets to be ejected, the time from power-on, etc., and is the interval period between images when printing the same image multiple times or between different print data (between print jobs). In addition, the purge is periodically executed at a predetermined timing. In the inkjet recording apparatus 10, the purge area 100 is used as an ink receiver in a purge performed between images during printing, and the cap 64 is used as an ink receiver in a purge during non-printing. By controlling in this way, the exhaustion of the purge area 100 and the belt cleaning unit 36 can be suppressed, and the life can be extended.

That is, when a purge execution command is given from the system controller 72 and the purge region detection unit 102 detects the purge region 100, the corresponding nozzle or all nozzles are purged. However, when the recording paper 16 is detected in the printing area by a recording paper detecting means (not shown) for detecting the presence or absence of the recording paper 16 in the printing area, control may be performed so as not to execute the purge. When the recording paper 16 is detected in the print area, the purge may be executed using the cap 64.

  Note that it is preferable that whether the purge region 100 or the cap 64 is used at the time of purging can be arbitrarily controlled in consideration of productivity and other controls.

  When purging using the purge area 100, it is preferable to use a cut sheet as the recording sheet 16. When roll paper is used, the roll paper is cut using the cutter 28 before the purge is executed.

  In the inkjet recording apparatus 10 configured as described above, in the purge executed between images, ink droplets are ejected to the purge region 100 provided on the belt 33, so that the print cycle is not reduced. Recovery operation can be performed. When ink is ejected to the purge area 100, the purge area detection unit 102 is used to detect the purge area 100 and to perform phase alignment with the recording paper 16.

  In addition, not only between images but also when purging is performed in an interval period between different print data, the purge can be performed using the purge region 100.

  On the other hand, in the purge executed when the power is turned on or during nozzle cleaning, control is performed so that ink droplets are ejected to the cap 64. In other words, if purging using the cap 64 is possible, control is performed so as not to perform purging using the purge region 100 as much as possible, so that the life of the purge region 100 and the belt cleaning unit 36 can be extended.

  When joining the belt 33 and the purge area | region 100, the aspect joined so that a level | step difference may not arise is preferable. Further, even when the absorbing member (for example, reference numeral 104) in the purge region 100 absorbs ink and swells, the distance between the print head 50 and the purge region 100 is configured to ensure a predetermined clearance.

  In the present embodiment, an example in which the belt 33 corresponding to the width of the recording paper 16 (the direction substantially orthogonal to the conveyance direction) is used is illustrated, but the belt 33 may be divided in the width direction of the recording paper 16. And it may be composed of a plurality of belts.

  Next, a modified example of the purge region 100 will be described with reference to FIG. 11 that are the same as or similar to those in FIG. 6 are assigned the same reference numerals, and descriptions thereof are omitted.

  FIG. 11 shows a mode in which the surplus ink receiving area 140 at the time of printing the entire surface image (without a border) and the purge area 100 shown in FIG.

  The surplus ink receiving area 140 is formed so as to surround the paper holding area 142 where the recording paper 16 is held on the belt 33. Further, the surplus ink receiving area 140 is composed of an absorbing member having a liquid absorbing performance like the purge area 100 shown in FIG.

  In the modification shown in FIG. 11, the leading edge and the trailing edge of the recording paper 16 are placed on the surplus ink receiving area 140, so that the leading edge and the trailing edge of the recording paper 16 cannot be adsorbed. Therefore, when the recording paper 16 is placed, it is necessary to perform a curl process on the leading edge and the trailing edge of the recording paper 16 or use a paper that does not curl the recording paper 16.

  In the above-described modification, the recording paper 16 is surrounded by the surplus ink receiving area 140, so that it is possible to prevent the back of the ink from being printed even when the entire image is printed. The paper holding area 142 may be the same size as the recording paper 16 or may be smaller than the recording paper 16. However, when the paper holding area 142 is made smaller than the recording paper 16, it is necessary to configure so that the recording paper 16 can be reliably held.

  Further, in the purge region 100 shown in FIG. 6, a modified example in which excess ink on the absorbing member 110 is sucked by a suction means such as a pump provided inside the belt 33 is also conceivable.

  FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing the flow of preliminary discharge control and print control applied to the inkjet recording apparatus 10.

  When the print control is started (step S10), it is determined whether the print mode is the high image quality mode or the high speed mode (step S11). If the print mode is the high image quality mode (YES determination), the recording paper 16 is sucked. 1 is supplied in front of the belt conveyance unit 22 (step S12), and after the recording paper detection unit 47 shown in FIG. 1 is turned on (that is, the recording paper 16 is detected), the recording paper 16 is fed by a specified amount 1 and is shown in FIG. It stops at the standby position 49 shown (step S14 in FIG. 12).

  The specified amount 1 is the distance from the detection position of the recording paper detection unit 47 to the standby position 49 (movement amount of the recording paper 16).

  In the embodiment using roll paper, the recording paper 16 is cut into a predetermined size while moving by the specified amount 1 (step S16). In the embodiment using cut paper, step S16 is omitted.

  In the suction belt conveyance unit 22, the purge region detection unit 102 shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 detects the purge region 100 (step S18 in FIG. 12), and when the purge region 100 is detected, the purge region 100 ( It is determined whether or not the belt 33) has moved by a specified amount 2 (step S20).

  In step S20, when the movement amount of the purge region 100 is less than the specified amount 2 (NO determination), the movement of the suction belt conveyance unit 22 (belt 33, purge region 100) is continued and the movement amount of the purge region 100 is moved. Is equal to 2 (YES determination), the leading end of the recording paper 16 waiting at the standby position 49 shown in FIG. 1 and the leading end of the suction area 105 not including the purge area 100 are aligned with each other. After the suction belt conveyance unit 22 is stopped in this state, conveyance of the recording paper 16 by the adsorption belt conveyance unit 22 is started (step S22).

  Here, the specified amount 2 is a movement amount that moves the purge region 100 (controls the phase) so that the purge region 100 and the recording paper 16 do not interfere with each other on the purge region.

  In this way, the alignment of the recording paper 16 and the phase alignment of the suction belt conveyance unit 22 are performed so that the recording paper 16 is not disposed on the purge region 100 and the joined portion of the purge region 100 (the phase is controlled). )

  When the conveyance of the recording paper 16 is started, it is determined whether or not the recording paper 16 (belt 33) has moved by the specified amount 3 (step S24), and the moving amount of the recording paper 16 is less than the specified amount 3 (NO determination), the movement of the recording paper 16 is continued, and when the movement amount of the recording paper 16 reaches the specified amount 3 (YES determination), the ejection of ink from the print head 50 (print head 12K) is started and the recording is performed. A desired image is printed on the paper 16 (step S26).

  During printing, the number of printed sheets is counted (step S28). When the number of printed sheets reaches a predetermined number (set number) (YES determination), the printing is finished and the printing control is finished (step S30).

  On the other hand, if the number of printed sheets is less than the set number (NO determination), it is determined whether the usage status of each nozzle is a nozzle check set value (step S32).

  In this example, the non-operating time of each nozzle is applied to the nozzle check setting value. That is, the limit non-operation time of each nozzle is determined based on the ink used, the temperature in and around the print head 50, and the like. The limit non-operating time is stored in advance in a database and recorded in a predetermined recording unit (for example, the image memory 74 shown in FIG. 5), and is read out from the database according to the ink type and the print head 50 temperature. You may comprise as follows.

  In step S32, it is determined whether or not the non-operating time of each nozzle exceeds the limit non-operating time. If the non-operating time of each nozzle does not exceed the limit operating time (NO determination), the process proceeds to step S22. If the non-operating time of each nozzle exceeds the limit operating time (YES determination), the process proceeds to step S34.

  In step S34, the purge region 100 is detected, and after the purge region detection unit 102 detects the purge region 100, it is determined whether or not the purge region 100 has moved by a specified amount 4 (step S36). When the amount of movement of the purge region 100 is less than the specified amount 4 (NO determination), the movement of the purge region 100 is continued, and when the amount of movement of the purge region 100 reaches the specified amount 4 (YES determination), the purge is executed. Then (step S38), the process of this control proceeds to step S20.

  Here, the specified amount 4 indicates the distance from the detection region of the purge region detection unit 102 to the print region of the print head 12K.

  When the printing mode is the high speed mode (NO determination in step S11), among the control (process) from step S12 to step S38, the processes other than the detection of the movement amount of the purge region in step S20 are from step S12 to step S38. The processing from step S40 to step S66 is performed according to the processing in step S40.

  That is, when the printing mode is the high-speed printing mode, the recording paper 16 is arranged on the suction belt conveyance unit 22 without performing phase alignment of the suction belt conveyance unit 22 (regardless of the phase of the suction belt conveyance unit 22). To be controlled.

  Specifically, the detection of the purge area 100 corresponding to the processing of step S18 and step S20 and the phase adjustment of the suction belt conveyance unit 22 are not performed, and the leading edge of the recording paper 16 is the entrance of the suction belt conveyance unit 22 in step S42. After stopping at the standby position 49 set in front, the process proceeds to step S50, where the recording paper 16 is placed on the suction belt conveyance unit 22, and conveyance of the recording paper 16 is started. When roll paper is used, the recording paper 16 is stopped at the standby position 49 in step S42, then cut to a predetermined size (step S44), and the process proceeds to step S50.

  The amount of movement of the conveyance roller 48, the suction belt conveyance unit 22 and the like corresponding to the above-mentioned prescribed amount 1 to the prescribed amount 4 is determined from a command signal (drive signal) given to the motor that drives the conveyance roller 48 and the adsorption belt conveyance unit 22. Can be calculated. Further, the belt 33 is provided with a position (phase) detector such as a linear encoder that outputs a signal (for example, a pulse signal) corresponding to the moving amount (moving speed), and the specified amount 1 is obtained from the signal obtained from the detector. The amount of movement of the conveyance roller 48, the suction belt conveyance unit 22 and the like corresponding to the prescribed amount 4 may be calculated. Instead of providing the belt 33 with a linear encoder, the conveyor motor of the belt 33 may be provided with an encoder.

  The specified amount 1 to the specified amount 4 may be determined as the moving amount (moving distance) of the belt 33, the purge region 100, and the recording paper 16, or may be determined as the moving time thereof.

  Further, the actual movement amount (movement time) of the conveyance roller 48, the belt 33, the purge area 100, and the recording paper 16 corresponding to the specified amount 1 to the specified amount 4 is calculated by the system controller 72 shown in FIG. Further, it is preferable that the system controller 72 includes a system parameter recording unit that records the specified amount 1 to the specified amount 4 as a system parameter.

  In the present embodiment, an ink jet recording apparatus provided with a full line type print head has been exemplified, but the scope of application of the present invention is not limited to this, and the present invention can also be applied to a shuttle scan type ink jet recording apparatus.

  Further, in this embodiment, a piezo method using a piezoelectric element for ejecting ink droplets is illustrated, but the present invention includes an energy generator in the ink chamber, and the energy generator generates heat by heating the ink in the ink chamber. The present invention can also be applied to a thermal ink jet recording apparatus that discharges ink using bubbles.

  The scope of application of the present invention is not limited to an ink jet recording apparatus, and can be applied to a liquid discharge apparatus that discharges liquids such as water, chemicals, and processing liquid from discharge holes (nozzles).

1 is a basic configuration diagram of an ink jet recording apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 is a plan view of the main part around the printing of the ink jet recording apparatus shown in FIG. Sectional view showing a structural example of the ink chamber Schematic diagram showing the configuration of the ink supply unit in the inkjet recording apparatus according to the present embodiment Main part block diagram which shows the system configuration | structure of the inkjet recording device which concerns on this embodiment. The figure which showed the detail of the belt of the inkjet recording device which concerns on this embodiment The figure which showed the details of the absorption member The figure which showed the joining example of the purge area | region in the belt shown in FIG. Sectional drawing along 9-9 section shown in FIG. The figure which showed the application example of the purge area | region joining example shown in FIG. The figure which showed the modification of the belt shown in FIG. The flowchart which shows the flow of the preliminary discharge control which concerns on this embodiment.

Explanation of symbols

DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 10 ... Inkjet recording device 33 ... Belt, 36 ... Belt cleaning part, 72 ... System controller, 100 ... Purge area | region, 102 ... Purge area | region detection part, 110 ... Absorption member, 120 ... Conveyance belt support body, 140 ... Excess ink receiving region

Claims (14)

  1. An ejection head provided with ejection holes for ejecting droplets, and at least one of the ejection head and the ejection target medium is transported in a direction substantially perpendicular to the width direction of the ejection target medium, and the ejection head and the ejection target A droplet discharge device comprising a transport means for relatively moving the medium,
    The surface that holds the recording medium of the belt that holds the discharge medium in the discharge region facing the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head receives droplets discharged from the discharge head during preliminary discharge , A purge region including an absorbing member for absorbing the droplets is provided;
    And alignment means for aligning said the purge region and between the ejection receiving medium,
    A discharge mode switching means for switching a discharge mode of the discharge head;
    A determination unit that determines whether or not to place the discharged medium in the purge region according to a discharge mode of the discharge head;
    Equipped with a,
    The liquid droplet ejection apparatus , wherein the alignment unit aligns the position of the purge region according to a determination result of the determination unit.
  2.   2. The droplet discharge device according to claim 1, wherein the belt comprises an absorbing member whose support body absorbs droplets.
  3.   The liquid droplet ejection apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the belt includes a plurality of the purge areas, and the plurality of the purge areas are arranged at intervals according to a size of a medium to be ejected that is frequently used. .
  4.   The clearance between the surface of the purge area that faces the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head and the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head is determined by the discharge medium holding surface of the belt and the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head. 4. The droplet discharge device according to claim 1, wherein the droplet discharge device is within a clearance range.
  5.   The droplet discharge device according to claim 1, further comprising a purge region cleaning unit that cleans the purge region.
  6.   6. The liquid droplet ejection apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising ejection control means for controlling the maintenance member to perform preliminary ejection during non-ejection.
  7. A recording head provided with ejection holes for ejecting ink, and at least one of the recording head and the recording medium is conveyed in a direction substantially perpendicular to the width direction of the recording medium, and the recording head and the recording medium An image forming apparatus comprising: a conveying unit that relatively moves the image forming apparatus;
    Wherein the surface to hold the recording medium of the belt that holds the recording medium in the discharge hole forming surface opposite to the printing area of the recording head receives ink ejected from the recording head during the preliminary ejection, the A purge region including an absorbing member for absorbing ink is provided;
    Comprising alignment means for aligning with the target record medium and the purge region,
    The image forming apparatus , wherein the purge area surrounds a holding area for holding the recording medium and is also used as an excess ink receiving area during borderless printing .
  8. 8. The image forming apparatus according to claim 7 , wherein the belt includes an absorbing member whose support body absorbs droplets.
  9. The image forming apparatus according to claim 7, wherein the belt includes a plurality of the purge areas, and the plurality of the purge areas are arranged at intervals according to a size of a recording medium that is frequently used.
  10. The clearance between the surface of the purge area that faces the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head and the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head is determined by the discharge medium holding surface of the belt and the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head. The image forming apparatus according to claim 7 , wherein the image forming apparatus is within a clearance range.
  11. The image forming apparatus according to claim 7, further comprising a purge area cleaning unit that cleans the purge area.
  12. The image forming apparatus according to claim 7, further comprising a discharge control unit configured to control the maintenance member to perform preliminary discharge when non-discharge.
  13. An ejection mode switching means for switching the ejection mode of the recording head; and a determination unit that determines whether or not to place the recording medium in the purge area according to the ejection mode of the recording head ,
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 7 , wherein the alignment unit aligns the position of the purge region in accordance with a determination result of the determination unit .
  14. A discharge head provided with discharge holes for discharging liquid droplets, and at least one of the discharge target medium and the discharge head is transported in a direction substantially perpendicular to a width direction of the discharge target medium; A preliminary ejection method in a droplet ejection apparatus comprising a transport means for relatively moving the ejection head,
    A moving step of relatively moving the discharge head and the discharge target medium;
    A purge region detecting step of detecting a purge region provided in a belt for holding the discharged medium in a discharge region facing the discharge hole forming surface of the discharge head;
    When the purge region is detected by the purge region detection step, a preliminary discharge step of performing preliminary discharge to the purge region;
    An absorption step of absorbing the liquid droplets discharged from the discharge head into the absorption member of the purge region;
    A discharge mode switching step of switching the discharge mode of the discharge head;
    A determination step of determining whether or not to place the discharged medium in the purge region according to a discharge mode of the discharge head;
    And a positioning step of aligning the purge region in accordance with the determination result of the determination step .
JP2004273929A 2003-09-22 2004-09-21 Droplet discharge apparatus, image forming apparatus, and preliminary discharge method Expired - Fee Related JP3801604B2 (en)

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JP2004273929A JP3801604B2 (en) 2003-09-22 2004-09-21 Droplet discharge apparatus, image forming apparatus, and preliminary discharge method

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