JP4273724B2 - Consumables unauthorized use prevention system - Google Patents

Consumables unauthorized use prevention system Download PDF

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Publication number
JP4273724B2
JP4273724B2 JP2002251880A JP2002251880A JP4273724B2 JP 4273724 B2 JP4273724 B2 JP 4273724B2 JP 2002251880 A JP2002251880 A JP 2002251880A JP 2002251880 A JP2002251880 A JP 2002251880A JP 4273724 B2 JP4273724 B2 JP 4273724B2
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Japan
Prior art keywords
information
rfid
toner
consumables
rewritable
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JP2002251880A
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Japanese (ja)
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JP2004093693A (en
JP2004093693A5 (en
Inventor
伸五 上原
良二 佐藤
勉 小林
智 片岡
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カシオ計算機株式会社
カシオ電子工業株式会社
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Description

[0001]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a system and method for preventing unauthorized use of consumables such as a removable toner cartridge used in an image forming apparatus such as a printer or a copier.
[0002]
[Prior art]
In recent years, with the spread of computers typified by personal computers, the demand and frequency of use of printers have also increased. In addition, with the recent increase in information, the demand for copiers, facsimile machines and the like is also increasing. These image forming apparatuses represented by printers, copiers, and facsimile machines mainly perform printing or copying by transferring toner (carbon powder) onto paper and fixing it. Therefore, this toner is consumed every time it is used, and it is necessary to replenish the toner.
[0003]
Therefore, in order to easily replenish the toner, a unit including a developing container for storing toner (hereinafter referred to as a toner set) is used. When the toner runs out, it is replaced with a new toner set, and the used toner after replacement is used. The set is picked up by an authorized collector such as a distributor. Further, after the toner set is refilled, the collected toner set is reused by the user.
[0004]
FIG. 20 shows a recycling process for consumables used in, for example, a printer. There are cartridges such as a toner set and a drum set (a unit including a photosensitive drum and peripheral devices of the photosensitive drum) as reproduction parts (consumables) of the printer. The use limit number of toner sets and drum sets is determined, and the user is notified of the replacement time by management control such as a print counter, and the user replaces with a new toner set or drum set accordingly.
[0005]
The used toner set or drum set that has been replaced is recycled by the following route for effective use of resources. First, the user A contacts the printer manufacturer's recycling reception center B and requests collection of consumables such as a used toner set or drum set. The recycling reception center B issues a collection instruction to the collection carrier order center C. The collection carrier contractor order center C instructs the sales office D closest to the user A to perform a collection operation.
[0006]
In the sales office D, a person in charge of collection is dispatched to collect consumables from the user A and transport them to the genuine recycling factory E. In the genuine recycling factory E, the recovered toner set or drum set is subjected to regeneration processing by disassembling, replacing parts, cleaning, refilling toner, etc., and inspecting.
[0007]
Those that cannot be reproduced are used as resources that are effective in many ways by the recycling process F. Then, the regenerated toner set or drum set is distributed again in the market and supplied to an unspecified user A.
As described above, normally, it is the correct usage method for consumables to be recycled at a genuine recycling factory. However, replacement parts used in an image forming apparatus represented by a toner set are consumables, and are therefore not manufactured by genuine manufacturers but are often inexpensive but generally have poor quality (hereinafter referred to as pirated versions). ) Are distributed and used. If such a pirated copy is used in the main body of the image forming apparatus, there is a risk of causing problems such as a malfunction or malfunction of the main body equipment or a bad printing state of the printed matter.
[0008]
Therefore, various techniques have been devised so far to prevent such pirated consumables. For example, in the references disclosed in JP-A-10-254305, JP-A-11-75052, and JP-A-10-239960, an EEPROM is mounted on the toner set, the number of printed sheets, sales information, etc. are written in the EEPROM, and operation history data is stored. Incorrect toner sets (non-genuine products) are identified by storing and using them as
[0009]
In addition, the use of a tag transceiver is known as another method for preventing unauthorized use. By attaching a tag transceiver to the consumable item and reading the data stored in the tag transceiver with a receiver, the authenticity of the consumable item can be determined, and thereby an unauthorized consumable item can be recognized.
[0010]
[Problems to be solved by the invention]
However, in the above conventional method, when the EEPROM is attached to the consumable and the consumable is set in the printer, the reading device in the printer and the EEPROM are electrically connected to read / write information stored in the EEPROM. Since the so-called contact type that must be used is used, the mechanism becomes complicated and high manufacturing costs are required.
[0011]
Further, since the information stored in the EEPROM is not encrypted, it can be easily decrypted. In addition, there is a device that stores information by encrypting it in an EEPROM, but it is easy to decipher because, for example, a random number is not used for encryption.
In addition, there is a case where information is copied from a genuine consumable EEPROM to an illegal consumable EEPROM, and the illegal consumable is used as a genuine product.
[0012]
In addition, there is a conventional method of identifying whether or not the consumable is an unauthorized consumable using a label such as a barcode, but this method is insufficient in security, and an unauthorized recycler easily refills toner. It was possible.
Furthermore, even if the toner set in the toner set becomes empty, even if the toner cannot be replenished, it can be used without any problem if the toner is replenished before the toner becomes empty.
[0013]
Accordingly, in view of the above problems, the present invention provides a method for preventing the use of pirated copies and consumables that have been refilled with toner illegally in order to maintain the quality of printers and consumables.
[0014]
[Means for Solving the Problems]
  According to the first aspect of the present invention, in the consumables unauthorized use prevention system for preventing unauthorized use of consumables of an image forming apparatus having consumables that can be attached and detached, the consumables areAt least a storage area in which consumable-specific information is stored in a non-rewritable manner during manufacture of consumables, and encryption information obtained by encrypting the consumable-specific information based on a predetermined algorithm is rewritable. A plurality of storage areas includingEquipped with RFID tags,The image forming apparatus includes the attached consumable item.RFID tagScan multiple storage areas sequentiallyFirst RFID information reading means for reading RFID information stored in the storage area, and read by the first RFID information reading meansStored in the first rewritable storage areaEncrypted information acquisition means for acquiring encrypted information;Stored in the non-rewritable storage area immediately before the first rewritable storage area read by the first RFID information reading meansGet information,PredefinedWith encryption algorithmDarkIssueprocessingFirst information encryptionprocessingMeans, the encrypted information acquired by the encrypted information acquisition means, and the first information encryptionprocessingEncryption by meansProcessedEncryptionProcessing resultCryptographic information collating means for collating information, and collation result of said cryptographic information collating meansDoes not matchThe image forming apparatusOperation stopControl means for controllingBy means of detecting the remaining amount of consumablesThe consumables are exhaustedDetectedIf the RFID tagRewritableStored in storage areaAboveAn erasable / non-rewritable means for making encrypted information unerasable or non-rewritableWithWhen reusing the consumed consumables,In the genuine recycling factory for the consumablesStored in the storage area of the RFID tagRFIDIncluded in the RFID information read by the second RFID information reading means for reading information and the second RFID information reading meansStored at the end of the non-rewritable areaGet information,The information is pre-definedUsing encryption algorithmTheencryptionprocessingSecond information encryptionprocessingMeans and the second information encryptionprocessingEncryption encrypted by meansProcessing resultInformationContinue to non-rewritable areaIn the storage areaRewritableThis can be achieved by providing a consumable fraud prevention system characterized in that it includes a post-recording means for additionally recording.
[0015]
With this configuration, it is possible to identify an invalidly made toner set and disable it by checking the validity of the toner set using RFID.
Further, when the toner runs out, the RFID data is processed so that it cannot be used. When the toner is replenished, the toner set after replenishment can be used only when the algorithm for calculating a value that can pass the validity check is known and the value can be added to the RFID. For this reason, it is possible to identify a toner set that has been illegally replenished with toner and disable it.
[0016]
  According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided an image forming apparatus including a consumable that can be attached and detached.At least a storage area in which consumable-specific information is stored in a non-rewritable manner during manufacture of consumables, and encryption information obtained by encrypting the consumable-specific information based on a predetermined algorithm is rewritable. A plurality of storage areas includingEquipped with RFID tags,The image forming apparatus main body includes the attached consumable item.RFID tagScan multiple storage areas sequentiallyRFID information reading means for reading RFID information stored in the storage area, and read by the RFID information reading meansStored in the first rewritable storage areaEncrypted information acquisition means for acquiring encrypted information;Stored in the non-rewritable storage area immediately before the first rewritable storage area read by the RFID information reading meansGet information,PredefinedWith encryption algorithmDarkIssueprocessingInformation encryptionprocessingMeans, the encrypted information acquired by the encrypted information acquisition means, and the information encryptionprocessingEncryption by meansProcessedEncryptionProcessing resultCryptographic information collating means for collating information, and collation result of said cryptographic information collating meansDoes not matchThe image forming apparatusOperation stopControl means for controllingImage forming apparatusCan be achieved by providing.
[0017]
  With this configuration, since the validity of the toner set is checked by RFID, it is possible to identify an improperly made toner set and disable it.
According to a third aspect of the present invention, in the invention of the second aspect, the image forming apparatus includes:When it is detected by the consumables remaining amount detecting means that the consumables are consumed,Of the RFID tagRewritableStored in storage areaDarkErasable / unrewritable means for making the coded information unerasable or rewritable.
[0018]
  With this configuration, RFID data can be disabled when toner runs out..
[0037]
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
In the present invention, unauthorized use of consumables is prevented by using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). RFID is a technology that allows data to be written to and read from a card or tag-like medium by radio waves. An IC chip and an antenna are incorporated into an object, and authentication and information management are performed by wireless communication. . As a method for reading and managing information, there is a conventional barcode technology, but RFID has much more information to store than barcodes and there are few reading errors due to dirt and the like.
[0038]
In the first embodiment of the present invention, which will be described in detail later, an RFID sheet is attached to a toner set, an antenna and an RFID control circuit are provided on the printer control board side, and a random number of bytes is written in an RFID data area. The encrypted data created from a random number according to a predetermined pattern is also written, and it is confirmed whether the random number and the encrypted data are correctly aligned when the printer is started up and when the consumable replacement door is closed.
[0039]
As a result, it is possible to check that the mounted toner set is replenished with unauthorized toner or that the cartridge itself is not improperly created.
When the toner is officially replenished, it is not possible to replenish the toner illegally unless the algorithm for creating the encrypted data is known by newly adding the encrypted data.
[0040]
The second embodiment of the present invention is to store the number of printed sheets in the RFID sheet in addition to the above embodiment. As a result, it is possible to check a toner set that has an illegally large number of printed sheets as if some hand has been added illegally, and the accuracy of the check is further improved.
[0041]
At this time, since the stored number of printed sheets is encrypted and stored, it is difficult to decipher and it is also difficult to manipulate the stored number of printed sheets illegally.
In addition to the above-described embodiment, the third embodiment of the present invention has the number of printed sheets independently on the image forming apparatus main body side, the number of printed sheets managed on the main body side, and the number of printed sheets read from the RFID sheet. It is to compare with the data. As a result, if the data of the number of printed sheets read from the RFID sheet is different, it is determined that the number of printed sheets stored in the RFID sheet has been manipulated illegally, and an unauthorized toner set can be identified.
[0042]
At this time, a table for discriminating the toner set based on the coincidence / non-coincidence of all the data on the RFID sheet is created so that it can be dealt with even when the toner set is properly replaced.
According to a fourth embodiment of the present invention, in an image forming apparatus having a toner remaining amount detection mechanism, a predicted toner remaining amount or a toner remaining amount periodically read from the toner remaining amount detecting mechanism in addition to the above embodiment. Is written on the RFID sheet, and when the information is significantly different from the information by the toner remaining amount detection mechanism, it is assumed that the toner is replenished illegally. Thereby, an unauthorized toner set can be detected.
[0043]
When the predicted toner remaining amount is used, the toner consumption amount of each color is predicted from the print image, and the predicted toner remaining amount of each color is calculated based on this.
According to a fifth embodiment of the present invention, there is provided an image forming apparatus that uses an RFID tag built in a consumable as an anti-counterfeiting measure for the consumable of the image forming apparatus, and determines whether the consumable is an unauthorized one. The image forming apparatus main body performs two-way communication with the RFID tag, stores a counter indicating the degree of consumption of consumables and encrypted data in a memory in the RFID tag, reads the data, and performs authenticity determination. At this time, the data to be encrypted includes different data for each RFID tag stored by the RFID tag manufacturer, individual consumable data stored by the image forming apparatus manufacturer, and consumables written by the image forming apparatus main body control software. It is assumed that the data is determined from two or more of different data depending on the degree of wear.
[0044]
According to a sixth embodiment of the present invention, an RFID tag is used in a printer that uses an RFID tag built in a consumable as a measure for preventing forgery of a consumable for an image forming apparatus, and determines whether the consumable is an unauthorized one. A failure history is recorded therein, and reading failure management is performed by a device different from the image forming apparatus main body.
[0045]
According to a seventh embodiment of the present invention, an RFID tag incorporated in a consumable item is used as a measure for preventing forgery of the consumable item of an image forming apparatus. If communication with the tag is possible, it indicates that the consumable is mounted in a proper position. Therefore, it is possible to detect whether or not the consumable is mounted.
[0046]
An eighth embodiment of the present invention uses an RFID tag built in a consumable as a measure for preventing forgery of a consumable for an electrophotographic apparatus, and uses a RFID tag to determine whether the consumable is illegal. The consumables life counter is stored in it, and consumables are managed. This makes it possible to accurately manage consumables.
[0047]
Furthermore, in the ninth embodiment of the present invention, an RFID tag is attached in advance in a printer toner set. When the toner set is mounted on the printer, ID and other information can be read / written.
Further, since this RFID is a non-contact type, RFID tag information can be read / written even when the toner set is in a packaged state. In the toner set of the printer, data registered as an ID can be rewritten to new data every time it is recycled.
[0048]
Next, the image forming apparatus used in each embodiment will be described. FIG. 1 shows an example of a tandem printer (image forming apparatus) used in the following embodiments.
In FIG. 1, the printer apparatus 1 includes an image forming unit 2, a duplex printing conveyance unit 3, and a paper feeding unit 4. Here, the image forming unit 2 has a configuration in which four image forming units 5 to 8 are arranged side by side, and magenta (M), cyan (C), yellow (Y), They are arranged in the order of black (K). Among these, magenta (M), cyan (C), and yellow (Y) image forming units 5 to 7 are used for color printing by subtractive color mixing, and black (K) image forming unit 8. Is used at the time of color printing and is used for monochrome printing when used alone.
[0049]
Here, each of the image forming units 5 to 8 includes a drum set C1 and a toner set C2, and has the same configuration except for the developer (color) stored in the developing container. Therefore, for example, the configuration will be described taking the image forming unit 7 for yellow (Y) as an example. The drum set C1 contains a photosensitive drum, a charger, and a cleaner, and the toner set C2 contains a developing roll and toner.
[0050]
The peripheral surface of the photosensitive drum 9 is made of, for example, an organic photoconductive material. In the vicinity of the peripheral surface of the photosensitive drum 9, a charger 10a, a print head 10b, a developing roll 10c, a transfer device 10d, and a cleaner 10e are provided. They are arranged sequentially.
The photosensitive drum 9 rotates in the direction of the arrow. First, the peripheral surface of the photosensitive drum 9 is uniformly charged by applying a charge from the charger 10a. Then, an electrostatic latent image is formed on the peripheral surface of the photosensitive drum 9 by optical writing based on print information from the print head 10b, and a toner image is formed by development processing by the developing roll 10c. At this time, the toner image formed on the peripheral surface of the photosensitive drum 9 is made of yellow (Y) toner stored in the developing container 10c. The toner image formed on the peripheral surface of the photosensitive drum 9 in this way reaches the position of the transfer unit 10d as the photosensitive drum 9 rotates in the direction of the arrow, and directly below the photosensitive drum 9 in the direction of the arrow. Transferred to moving paper.
[0051]
On the other hand, the paper is transported by the paper feed cassette 11, the standby roll 12, the transport belt 13, the drive roll 14, etc. constituting the paper feed unit 4. The unloaded paper is sent to the standby roll 12 and further sent onto the conveying belt 13 at a timing coincident with the toner image, and reaches the transfer device 10d. Then, the toner image is transferred by the transfer device 10d, and the sheet on which the toner image is transferred moves on the conveyor belt 13 in the direction of the arrow as the conveyor belt 13 moves, and the fixing unit 15 performs heat fixing processing.
[0052]
In addition to the yellow (Y) toner image, not only the yellow (Y) toner image but also magenta (M) and cyan (C) toner images transferred by the drum set C1 and toner set C2 of other colors are transferred to the upper surface of the paper. Then, color printing according to the subtractive color mixture described above is performed.
[0053]
The above-mentioned paper includes not only the paper carried out from the paper feed cassette 11 but also the paper supplied from the MPF tray 16. In this case, the paper is carried in by the paper feed roller 16a and printed by the above-mentioned route. Processing is performed.
The fixing unit 15 is composed of heat rolls 15a and 15b and a cleaner 15c. While the paper P is nipped and conveyed between the heat rolls 15a and 15b, for example, toner images of a plurality of colors transferred onto the paper are obtained. It is melted and thermally fixed on the paper P. The cleaner 15c has a function of removing toner remaining on the heat roll 15a. The paper on which the toner image is fixed by the fixing unit 15 is conveyed upward or leftward on the paper surface via the switching plate 17.
[0054]
On the other hand, the transport unit 3 for duplex printing is configured to be detachable from the apparatus main body, and is a unit to be mounted when duplex printing is performed by the printer apparatus 1 of the present example, and a plurality of transport rolls 18a to 18e are disposed therein. Has been. In the case of double-sided printing, the paper is once sent upward by the switching plate 17, and when the trailing edge of the paper reaches the transport roll 19, for example, the transport of the paper is stopped and the paper is further transported in the reverse direction. By this control, the sheet is conveyed downward on the left side of the switching unit 17 set at the position indicated by the dotted line, is carried into the sheet conveyance path of the duplex printing conveyance unit 3, and is conveyed by the conveyance rolls 18a to 18e. It reaches the standby roll 12 and is sent to the transfer device at the same timing as the toner image as described above, and the toner image is transferred to the back side of the paper.
[0055]
Next, an outline of the appearance of the printer 1 will be described with reference to FIG. There is a paper discharge roller 20 at the top of the printer, from which printed material is output, and the printed material is stored in the paper discharge stacker 21. In addition, the front cover 22, the MPF tray 16, the side cover 23, and the paper feed tray 4 are included. In addition, an operation panel 24 is provided above the printer, and the operation panel includes an operation unit 24a composed of a plurality of keys and a display unit 24b that displays an operation menu.
[0056]
FIG. 4 shows how the toner set is removed from the printer. In this figure, the front cover 24 is opened and the toner set C2 is removed.
<First Embodiment>
Example 1
A mounting diagram of the toner set and the printer control board is shown in FIG.
[0057]
As shown in FIG. 4, an RFID sheet 33 is pasted on the toner set C2 (detachable), and both are fixed so as to be at a fixed distance from the antenna 31 on the printer control board 32 (printer 1 main body side). In the actual printer 1, the printer control board 32 is fixed to the casing, and the toner set C2 is also inserted and fixed to the casing.
[0058]
The RFID sheet 33 and the RFID control circuit 30 communicate with each other through the antenna 31 in a non-contact manner.
Here, an RFID sheet capable of storing 64 bytes of data as shown in FIG. 5 will be described as an example. Each byte data (8-bit data) is provided with a lock bit 40, and an area where the lock bit 40 is set cannot be erased or rewritten. Also, the lock bit 40 cannot be released.
[0059]
In the initial state when the toner set C2 is produced, the information shown in FIG. 5 (hereinafter referred to as RFID data) is written in the RFID sheet 33.
The user ID 41 is a code determined so that the manufacturer that supplies the RFID sheet 33 is unique for each customer of the supplier, and the supplier manufacturer sets the write lock bit at the time of delivery and rewrites it to make it unerasable. .
[0060]
The random number data 42 and the random number data 43 are random numbers created from date and time information when the toner set C2 is produced. After these random number data are also written, they are locked by setting a lock bit so that they cannot be rewritten.
The encrypted data 44 is encrypted data calculated from the random number data 42 and the random number data 43 in a specific pattern. This is left without writing the lock bit after writing. As the encryption calculation pattern, for example, an encryption table is prepared, and a pattern that cannot be easily guessed, such as a sum of data on the encryption table indicated by each random number, is determined.
[0061]
Hereinafter, a check method by the RFID control circuit 30 will be described with reference to the flowchart of FIG. When the power is turned on or when the consumable replacement door is closed, there is a possibility that the toner set C2 has been replaced.
[0062]
First, the RFID control circuit 30 communicates with the RFID sheet 33 to confirm that the most significant data 41 is a normal vendor ID (step (hereinafter referred to as S) 1). If the user ID 41 is not normal, the printer displays an error message on the display unit 24b and stops (S5). As a result, it can also be determined whether a completely different toner set has been inserted or that there is no toner set itself.
[0063]
The data stored in the RFID sheet 33 is sequentially scanned from the top to find a place where no lock bit is set. In FIG. 5, no lock bit is set in the area of the encrypted data 44. Here, the encrypted data 44 is referred to as “data A”. Encrypted data is calculated from the random number data 43 above it and the random number data 42 above it according to a predetermined pattern. This data is referred to as “encrypted data B” (S2).
[0064]
Next, it is compared whether or not the read “data A” is the same as the calculated “encrypted data B” (S3). If the two data are the same, it is determined that the toner set C2 is genuine, and a print standby state is entered (S4). If they are not the same, the printer 1 displays an error message on the display unit 24b and stops (S5). As a result, an illegally modified toner set can be detected.
[0065]
Next, it is determined whether or not there is toner (S6), a lock bit is set in the area of the encrypted data 44, and the printer 1 displays no toner on the display unit 24b and stops (S7). As a result, the first data for which no lock bit is set becomes the next data after the encrypted data 44. However, nothing is written in this area, and if this process flow is performed again, an error occurs in the process of judgment (S3). Therefore, the toner set C2 that has run out of toner cannot be used.
[0066]
In order to make it possible to use the toner set C2 that has run out of toner again, after refilling the toner, this time, the encryption data 50 is calculated with a specific pattern from the random number data 43 and the encryption data 44, and this encryption data 50 is written after the encrypted data 44, and the lock bit of the encrypted data 50 is not set as shown in FIG.
[0067]
As a result, the determination (S3) becomes YES (yes), and the toner set C2 can be used again.
As described above, according to this example, unless the specific pattern for creating the encrypted data is known, even if the toner is replenished, the toner set is invalid and can be disabled.
(Example 2)
In the first embodiment, the encryption data is created from the random number and the encryption table. For example, an algorithm that cannot be easily guessed, such as combining operations such as bitwise XOR (exclusive OR) and AND (AND), etc. Any method may be used to create the encrypted data.
<Second Embodiment>
In the first embodiment, if the toner is improperly replenished before the absence of toner occurs, the lock bit of the latest encrypted data will not be set, so that the encrypted data will not be unusable and will always have a valid toner set. Misunderstood as being.
[0068]
Therefore, in addition to the first embodiment, counter data 60 for counting the number of printed sheets is stored at the end of the storage area of the RFID sheet 33 as shown in FIG. At this time, the lock bit of the counter data 60 is not set. The counter data 60 is counted up every time one sheet is printed. When storing, the counter data 60 is also encrypted using the same algorithm as that used to create the encrypted data 44 in the first embodiment. When reading, the encryption algorithm is traced in reverse and used.
[0069]
If the counter data 60 continues to greatly exceed the estimated number of printable sheets (for example, 4000 sheets), it is determined that the toner is improperly replenished, and the printer displays an error message on the display unit 24b. To display and stop.
When the toner is properly replenished, the latest encrypted data is additionally written, and the counter data 60 is also encrypted and written with “0”.
[0070]
With this method, it is possible to identify an invalid toner set and disable the printer even for unauthorized toner replenishment before the absence of toner occurs.
<Third Embodiment>
Also in the second embodiment, if the encrypted counter data 60 before replenishing the toner (when full) is read out and written back to this data after replenishing the toner, the toner set is illegally used. It cannot be prevented.
[0071]
Therefore, the printer 1 itself also stores counter data uniquely, and counts up and stores each time one sheet is printed. If the counter data is different from the counter data 60 read from the RFID sheet 33, a message is displayed on the display unit 24b as the counter data 60 is illegally rewritten, and the printer is stopped.
[0072]
However, the usage method of simply replacing the toner set C2 with another legitimate toner set is sufficiently conceivable. Therefore, by utilizing the fact that RFID data is generated by random numbers, a plurality of toner sets are supported. Counter data must be managed.
[0073]
Therefore, a plurality of management tables as shown in FIG. 9 are created on the printer 1 main body side, and are managed on the printer 1 main body side according to the flowchart shown in FIG. Here, it is assumed that the plurality of created management tables are stored in a storage device built in the printer 1.
[0074]
First, when the printer is turned on or when the consumable replacement door is closed, the RFID control circuit 30 reads all the RFID data of the attached toner set C2 (S10), and other than the read RFID data and counter data. A management table having the same part is searched from a management table group stored in a storage device built in the printer 1 (S11).
[0075]
Next, when there is no matching table in the determination (S11), a management table is newly created from the read RFID data (S13), and the counter data is managed. On the other hand, if there is a matching table in the determination (S11), the counter data in the corresponding management table is read and compared with the counter data of the RFID data (S12).
[0076]
In the comparison processing in S12, when the counter data in the corresponding management table matches the counter data of the RFID data (S14), printing is performed normally and the counter data is updated every time one sheet is printed (S15). If they do not match in the determination (S14), it is determined that the toner set is invalid and the printer is stopped (S16).
[0077]
As described above, in the determination (S11), if there is a matching table, it is assumed that the toner set corresponding to the management table is mounted, and management is performed using the counter data of the management table.
As described above, according to this example, even when the counter data of the RFID data is illegally copied and the toner set is continuously used illegally, this can be identified and the toner set can be disabled.
<Fourth Embodiment>
In addition to the first embodiment described above, in this embodiment, the remaining toner amount is stored in the RFID sheet 33 in the printer 1 having the toner remaining amount detection mechanism. The amount of remaining toner is estimated based on how much toner of which color is used from the printed image, is always updated to a value obtained by subtracting the amount, and is written back to the RFID sheet 33 after being encrypted.
[0078]
When the encrypted remaining toner amount is remarkably smaller than the toner remaining amount indicated by the toner remaining amount detecting mechanism, an error message is displayed on the display unit 24b and there is a suspicion that the toner has been illegally replenished, and the printer stops. To do.
The remaining toner amount stored in the RFID sheet 33 may be a value obtained by simply reading a value indicated by the toner remaining amount detection mechanism periodically.
<Fifth Embodiment>
Example 1
FIG. 11 is a memory map 70 in the RFID tag. The factory block 71 in the memory map 70 is unique data that is different for each RFID tag stored by the RFID tag manufacturer (in FIG. 11, this RFID tag is 1234h (“h” indicates that it is displayed in hexadecimal). The same applies to the following), that is, the 4660th product was created). The user ID is a number unique to the shipping destination (shipping printer manufacturer or the like) written in advance by the RFID tag manufacturer (in FIG. 11, 5678h is given to the shipping destination printer manufacturer).
[0079]
The factory block 71 and the user ID 72 are read-only areas and cannot be rewritten. The user area 76 is an area that can be read and rewritten. The toner set number 73 in the user area 76 is a product number stored by the printer manufacturer, for example, a number added sequentially from 1 (in FIG. 11, 9ACh, that is, the 39612th toner set). Show that).
[0080]
The toner level 74 is data written by the printer main body control firmware and is updated as needed according to the degree of toner consumption (in FIG. 11, the toner filling amount is stored in 10 stages from 0 to 9, and the maximum filling is performed at the time of toner set production. Level 9 which is an amount is stored, and this level value is hereinafter referred to as toner level value).
[0081]
The encryption area 75 is an area written by the printer control firmware when the toner set is produced (including when it is recycled) and when the printer is used. Hereinafter, an example of simple encryption of data to be written in the encryption area 75 (hereinafter referred to as encryption data) will be shown. In this example, the table data of FIG. 12 is used for encryption writing.
[0082]
It is assumed that the cipher is expressed by two hexadecimal digits. For the upper digit of the cipher, a value obtained by converting the least significant digit of the factory block 71 using the cipher table shown in FIG. 12, that is, “4” is converted to obtain “9”. Next, when the toner level value “9” is added to “9” (hexadecimal addition), “12h” is obtained, and conversion is performed again with 2 in the lower first digit to obtain “3”.
[0083]
Similarly, when calculating the lower digit of the encryption, the lowest digit value “C” of the data “9ABCh” stored in the toner set number 73 is converted to obtain “6”, and the toner is obtained from this “6”. The level value “9” is subtracted (hexadecimal number subtraction) and “FDh”, and the conversion is performed again with “D” in the lower first digit to obtain “0”. The value “30” calculated from the above is used as encryption data.
[0084]
As described above, since the encryption data depends on the toner level value, and the toner level value decreases as the toner is consumed, the encryption data that was “30” at the time of manufacturing the toner set becomes 30 → 58 → EA → AE → 85 → 03 → 6D → B9 → 4F → C7
[0085]
As described above, encryption is performed using the RFID tag individual data written by the RFID tag manufacturer, the data specific to each consumable written by the printer main body manufacturer, and the data that differs depending on the consumable consumption written by the printer main body control software. When it is converted, it becomes very difficult to decipher the code.
[0086]
In the above description, each area in the memory map 70 has been described. Next, a method of using the memory map 70 during printer operation will be described.
When the printer is operating, the RFID reader built in the printer reads the data in the memory map 70 of the RFID tag attached to the toner set, checks the RFID data, and if there is a defect in the data content, the printer Stop the operation. The defect is when the factory block 71 and the user ID 72 are different from the data that should be originally written, and when the encrypted data does not match the content derived from other data.
[0087]
Note that the toner remaining amount detection may vary depending on conditions such as toner bias, so the toner level value stored in the toner level 74 is a value before and after the toner level value detected. Can be operated, and new encryption data is updated. In the case of FIG. 12, when the toner level value “8” is detected for the toner level value “9” and the encrypted data value “30” stored in the encryption area 75, the toner level value is rewritten to “8”. The encrypted data value is rewritten to “58”.
[0088]
Also, assuming that the printer power is turned off during data rewriting, the same operation is performed when the stored toner level value deviates from the toner level value calculated backward from the encrypted data by “± 1” level. The toner level value and the encrypted data are rewritten in accordance with the toner remaining amount detection level at that time.
(Example 2)
The example of encryption used in the first embodiment is very simple and is only an example of encryption.
[0089]
In the first embodiment, the toner set has been described as an example. However, other consumables such as a drum set can be similarly applied.
(Example 3)
Here, the description of the first embodiment is supplemented for the memory map of the RFID tag. The RFID tag memory mainly includes three areas: a factory block 71, a user ID 72, and a user area.
[0090]
The data stored in the factory block 71 stores a management code for an RFID tag manufacturer to supply to a supplier manufacturer (such as a printer manufacturer). This code is unique data that is different for each RFID tag. The factory block 71 cannot be rewritten.
[0091]
The data stored in the user ID 72 is supplied by the RFID tag manufacturer to the supplier manufacturer (printer manufacturer, etc.) by writing the user code of the supplier manufacturer into the user ID 72 of the RFID tag. This user ID 72 cannot be rewritten. This user ID storage area is the first protection block.
[0092]
The user area 76 has a storage capacity of about 2K bits. This area has 64 blocks and can be freely defined. The second protection block performs unique encryption coding using the 5 to X blocks in this area. This analysis is impossible because there are 32 bits × (5 to X) blocks. In the third protection block, there are 64 blocks in 32-bit units in the user area 76, and factory lock is applied to each block. Once this lock is set, it cannot be rewritten. It can be used that the rewriting is impossible with this flag, and that the normal operation cannot be performed unless the numerical value calculated from the above-mentioned encryption code when toner is packed in the block is supplied to this block.
[0093]
As described above, the copy block can be completely formed by controlling the three protection blocks.
<Sixth Embodiment>
Serviceability is improved by storing a printer failure history in the user area 76 shown in FIG. 13 in a printer that uses an RFID tag built into a consumable to determine whether it is an unauthorized consumable. It is possible to make it.
[0094]
When some failure occurs, the printer control software displays a failure code on the printer display unit 24b, and stores the printer failure history in both the printer internal memory and the RFID user area.
Hereinafter, this example will be described with reference to FIG. First, when a failure occurs, the engine control unit 82 writes failure history information to the RFID tag 81. Next, the failure history information can be directly read from the RFID tag 81 using the service jig 80 that can read the information stored in the RFID tag 81 directly from the consumables without going through the printer 1 main body. it can.
<Seventh Embodiment>
In a printer that uses an RFID tag built into a consumable item to determine whether it is an unauthorized consumable item, the communicable distance between the RFID tag and the receiving unit of the antenna for reading the RFID tag information is several centimeters. . For this reason, when it is possible to recognize the RFID tag incorporated in each consumable, it is possible to detect the presence or absence of the consumable by assuming that each consumable is mounted at a proper position.
<Eighth Embodiment>
In a printer that uses an RFID built into a consumable to determine whether it is an illegal consumable, the number assigned to each consumable (consumable number) and the life counter of the consumable are built into the consumable By recording in the RFID user area, consumables can be managed accurately.
<Ninth Embodiment>
Example 1
FIG. 15 shows an example in which the RFID tag 90 is attached to the toner set C2. The RFID tag 90 includes an IC 93 and an antenna 94. Also, some RFID tags 90 have a small antenna 94 with a coil shape, but in FIG. The antenna 94 is attached to the side surface of the toner set C2.
[0095]
Next, the RFID module 91 will be described. A control circuit 92 is connected to the RFID module 91, and the RFID module 91 is controlled by the control circuit 92.
When the reading-side RFID module 91 is brought close to the antenna 94 of the RFID tag 90, radio waves are emitted from the RFID module 91 to the RFID tag 90, whereby data is output from the RFID tag 90, and the output data is read by the RFID module 91. .
[0096]
As data to be written to the RFID tag 90, initial data includes an ID indicating a regular toner set, destination information of the toner set (OEM (original equipment manufacturer), hardware sold under the brand of another manufacturer. Write company information). Further, since data can be written from the RFID module 91 to the RFID tag 90, the remaining amount of toner can be written.
[0097]
The RFID tag 90 can also be read / written by a handy type reader / writer, and the actual arrangement in the printer is shown in FIG. This figure shows the case of a tandem color printer, and the toner set includes four colors of black (K) 100, yellow (Y) 101, cyan (C) 102, magenta (M) 103, and an RFID reader (RFID). Module) 104 is installed only at one location in the center. This configuration is because the use of four RFID readers increases the cost and takes up extra space in the printer. The RFID reader 104 is connected to the printer controller 105.
[0098]
Each toner set has an RFID tag, but the reading area of the RFID tag is widened by tilting the surface to which the RFID tag is attached, so that the reading accuracy of the RFID tag is increased. To improve.
[0099]
On the other hand, FIG. 17 shows a case of a monochrome printer, in which only the black (K) toner set 100 is installed. In this case, the RFID tag and the RFID reader have a one-to-one relationship, and it is easy to read the RFID tag information with the RFID reader. Therefore, the monochrome printer has a simple structure compared to the color printer.
[0100]
In the above example, the RFID tag is attached to the side surface of the toner set. However, the RFID tag may be attached to the upper surface or the lower surface depending on the positions of the printer body and the toner set.
Further, since the present embodiment uses an RFID tag, unlike an EEPROM or the like, the kit can be read / written independently without a so-called engine unit. Therefore, RFID tag information can be rewritten in a state where the toner set is sealed in a bag or in a packaged state.
[0101]
FIG. 18 shows an example of data written to the RFID tag. First, the writing data in the initial state includes an ID for preventing pirated printing, unique information of a toner set (color, customer information whether or not for OEM, etc.), and the like. Data written after the toner set is mounted on the printer is printer information, user information, and the like. In addition, after regular toner refilling, the data to be written is an ID for preventing pirated printing.
[0102]
FIG. 19 is a flowchart for preventing unauthorized use of a pirated toner set. First, when the toner in the toner set runs out (S20), the current ID stored in the RFID tag attached to the toner set is erased (S21). Next, the toner set is returned to an authorized manufacturer or an authorized recycler (S22). Next, the returned toner set is filled with toner (S23). A new ID is written in the RFID tag of the refilled toner set (S24).
[0103]
The toner set is returned to the user (S25), and the user attaches the toner set to the printer (S26). At this time, an ID is sent to the user separately from the toner set (S27). The user registers the ID sent in S27 in the printer using a personal computer or the like (S28).
[0104]
In the printer, the ID stored in the RFID tag attached to the attached toner set is compared with the ID registered by the user in S28 (S29). If the compared IDs match, the printer can be used and can be printed (S30). If the IDs do not match, the printer cannot be used (S31).
[0105]
When the toner is refilled by a regular manufacturer as described above, if the ID is reissued and the ID of the RFID tag does not match the ID registered separately in the printer, the printer can be used and recycled by an unauthorized business operator. Do not use the used toner set.
[0106]
Note that maintenance support for the printer / toner set is possible by managing which user information is written in the RFID tag after the toner set is attached to the printer by using a service or the like.
(Example 2)
In the first embodiment, the toner set is used. However, in terms of recognition by ID, a drum set or other consumables may be used. The cartridge can be applied not only to an electrophotographic printer such as a laser but also to consumables such as an ink jet.
[0107]
【The invention's effect】
As an effect of the first embodiment, it is possible to identify an invalidly made toner set and make it unusable by checking the validity of the toner set by RFID.
[0108]
Further, when the toner runs out, the RFID data is processed so that it cannot be used. When the toner is replenished, the toner set after replenishment can be used only when the algorithm for calculating a value that can pass the validity check is known and the value can be added to the RFID. Therefore, it is possible to identify a toner set that has been replenished with toner illegally and disable it.
[0109]
As an effect of the second embodiment, the counter data is also included in the first embodiment against an illegal act of escaping the check of the first embodiment by replenishing the toner before the absence of toner occurs. By checking whether or not the number of printable sheets has been greatly exceeded, it is possible to recognize an illegally replenished toner cartridge and disable it.
[0110]
Further, since the counter data is encrypted and stored, it is possible to prevent the counter data from being illegally operated.
As an effect of the third embodiment, the counter data is copied independently from the printer main body side in response to the act of copying the encrypted counter data when the toner is full and escaping the check of the second embodiment. By managing the table for each toner set and confirming the consistency of the toner set being used, it is possible to prevent reuse of the toner set due to unauthorized refilling of toner.
[0111]
The effect of the fourth embodiment is that the remaining toner amount to be stored in the toner set itself from the toner remaining amount detecting mechanism in the printer main body and information estimated from the print image or periodically read from the toner remaining amount detecting mechanism. By comparing with the above information, it is possible to detect a toner set that has been illegally replenished. Since the remaining toner amount is encrypted, it is difficult to tamper with it correctly, and it becomes possible to detect and eliminate an unauthorized toner set.
[0112]
As an effect of the fifth embodiment, it is important to make a consumable that can be recycled due to environmental problems, and it is also important to prevent a printer trouble that may occur due to forgery of the consumable. The present invention satisfies both of them.
As an effect of the sixth embodiment, conventionally, a failure history is recorded in a memory inside the printer, and a service person identifies and repairs a failure location, but a memory in which the failure history itself is recorded. Memory failure history inside the printer was not helpful in case of failure of the printer, failure of the display device, printer power failure, etc. According to the present invention, even in such a situation, the failure location can be specified and repaired by reading the failure history in the RFID with a jig.
[0113]
As an effect of the seventh embodiment, a dedicated sensor or the like has been conventionally required for detecting the presence or absence of consumables, but this is not necessary and the cost can be reduced.
As an effect of the eighth embodiment, the printer control software reads the consumables life counter directly from the consumables so that the user can use the printer while exchanging two or more consumables. Even when using the same consumables with more than one printer, it is possible to accurately manage the replacement time.
[0114]
When recycling consumables, it is possible to determine whether the unit has been recycled in the past by reading the consumable number, and by reading the counter, the degree of wear can be recognized. Optimal component replacement is possible according to the design life and usage conditions of each individual product.
[0115]
As an effect of the ninth embodiment, data can be easily read / written by making the registration method of the ID of the printer to be written in the toner set non-contact using RFID. Further, each time the toner in the toner set is refilled, the ID is re-registered in the RFID tag, and the ID and the ID separately registered in the printer are collated, thereby disabling the printer if the collation results do not match. , Pirated recycled products can be disabled.
[Brief description of the drawings]
FIG. 1 is a side sectional view of a printer.
FIG. 2 is an external perspective view of a printer.
FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a state where a toner set is removed from a printer.
FIG. 4 is a mounting diagram of a toner set and a printer control board.
FIG. 5 is a diagram showing data (RFID data) stored in an RFID sheet.
FIG. 6 is a diagram showing a check flow by the RFID control circuit in the first embodiment.
FIG. 7 is a diagram showing RFID data to which encrypted data is additionally written so that a toner set that has run out of toner can be used again.
FIG. 8 is a diagram showing counter data stored at the end of the storage area of RFID data in the second embodiment.
FIG. 9 is a diagram showing a plurality of management tables in the third embodiment.
FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating a check flow by an RFID control circuit according to a third embodiment.
FIG. 11 is a diagram showing a memory map in an RFID according to a fifth embodiment.
FIG. 12 is an encryption table in the fifth embodiment.
FIG. 13 is a diagram illustrating a sixth embodiment.
FIG. 14 is an image diagram of failure history information for transitioning between media in the sixth embodiment.
FIG. 15 is a diagram illustrating an RFID tag attached to a toner set and an RFID module for reading out the information in the ninth embodiment.
FIG. 16 is a diagram illustrating an arrangement relationship between an RFID tag and an RFID reader in a tandem color printer according to a ninth embodiment.
FIG. 17 is a diagram illustrating an arrangement relationship between an RFID tag and an RFID reader in a monochrome printer according to a ninth embodiment.
FIG. 18 is a diagram illustrating an example of data written to an RFID tag according to a ninth embodiment.
FIG. 19 is a flowchart for preventing unauthorized use of a pirated toner set in a ninth embodiment.
FIG. 20 is a diagram illustrating a recycling process for consumables used in the printer.
[Explanation of symbols]
A Printer user
B Printer manufacturer recycling reception center
C Collection carrier contractor order center
D Nearest sales office
E Genuine regeneration factory
F Recycling processing
1 Printer device
2 Image forming unit
3 Transport unit for duplex printing
4 Paper feeder
5 Image forming unit (magenta)
6 Image forming unit (cyan)
7 Image forming unit (yellow)
8 Image forming unit (black)
9 Photosensitive drum
10a Charger
10b Print head
10c Developing roll
10d transfer device
10e cleaner
11 Paper cassette
12 Standby roll
13 Conveyor belt
14 Drive roll
15 Fixing unit
15a heat roll
15b heat roll
15c cleaner
16 MPF tray
16a Feed roller
17 Switching plate
18a Transport roll
18b Transport roll
18c transport roll
18d transport roll
18e Transport roll
19 Transport roll
20 Paper discharge roller
21 Output stacker
22 Front cover
23 Side cover
24 Operation panel
24a operation unit
24b Display section
30 RFID control circuit
31 Antenna
32 Printer control infrastructure
33 RFID sheet
40 rock bits
41 Vendor ID
42 Random number data
43 Random number data
44 Encryption data
50 Encryption data
60 counter data
70 Memory map
71 Factory block
72 User ID
73 Toner set number
74 Toner Level
75 Encryption area
76 User area
80 Service jig
81 RFID tag
82 Engine control unit
90 RFID tags
91 RFID module
92 Control circuit
93 IC
94 Antenna
100 Toner set (Black (K))
101 Toner set (Yellow (Y))
102 Toner set (Cyan (C))
103 Toner set (Magenta (M))
104 RFID reader
105 Printer controller

Claims (3)

  1. In the Consumables Unauthorized Use Prevention System that prevents unauthorized use of consumables for image forming devices equipped with consumables that can be attached and detached,
    The consumable has at least a storage area in which information unique to the consumable is stored in an unrewritable manner during manufacture of the consumable, and encrypted information obtained by encrypting the consumable specific information based on a predetermined algorithm. An RFID tag comprising a plurality of storage areas including a rewritable storage area ;
    The image forming apparatus includes:
    A first RFID information reading unit that sequentially scans a plurality of storage areas of the RFID tag included in the attached consumable and reads RFID information stored in the storage area;
    Encrypted information acquisition means for acquiring encrypted information stored in the first rewritable storage area read by the first RFID information reading means;
    Get the rewritable information stored in the storage area immediately before the first rewritable storage area is read by the first RFID information reading means, dark using predefined encryption algorithm Goka a first information encrypting processing means for processing,
    An encryption information collating means for collating the encryption encryption processing result information by acquired encrypted information by the encrypted information acquiring means and the first information encrypting processing means,
    A control unit that controls operation stop of the image forming apparatus when the verification result of the encryption information verification unit does not match;
    If said consumable is exhausted by consumables remaining amount detecting means is detected, erasing to disable or rewritable erase the encrypted information the stored in the rewritable memory area of the RFID tag With non-rewritable means ,
    When reusing the consumed consumables,
    In the genuine recycling factory for the consumables,
    Second RFID information reading means for reading RFID information stored in a storage area of the RFID tag;
    It acquires information stored at the end of the rewritable area is included in the RFID information read by the second RFID information reading means, for processing encrypted using the predefined encryption algorithm with the information A second information encryption processing means;
    Appending means for appending rewritable information in the storage area subsequent to the non-rewritable area to the encryption processing result information encrypted by the second information encryption processing means;
    A system for preventing unauthorized use of consumables.
  2. In an image forming apparatus provided with consumables that can be attached and detached,
    The consumable has at least a storage area in which information unique to the consumable is stored in an unrewritable manner during manufacture of the consumable, and encrypted information obtained by encrypting the consumable specific information based on a predetermined algorithm. An RFID tag comprising a plurality of storage areas including a rewritable storage area ;
    The image forming apparatus main body includes:
    RFID information reading means for sequentially scanning a plurality of storage areas of the RFID tag included in the mounted consumables and reading the RFID information stored in the storage area;
    Encrypted information acquisition means for acquiring encrypted information stored in the first rewritable storage area read by the RFID information reading means;
    Information the acquired information stored in the non-rewritable storage area immediately before the first rewritable storage area read by the RFID information reading means, for encryption processing using a predefined encryption algorithm Encryption processing means;
    An encryption information collating unit for collating the encrypted information acquired by the encrypted information acquiring unit and the encryption processing result information encrypted by the information encryption processing unit;
    A control unit that controls operation stop of the image forming apparatus when the verification result of the encryption information verification unit does not match;
    An image forming apparatus comprising:
  3. Deletion / rewriting that makes the encrypted information stored in the rewritable storage area of the RFID tag unerasable or non-rewritable when the consumables remaining amount detecting means detects that the consumables are consumed The image forming apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising an impossible unit.
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