JP5124775B2 - Inkjet recording device - Google Patents

Inkjet recording device Download PDF

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JP5124775B2
JP5124775B2 JP2007327997A JP2007327997A JP5124775B2 JP 5124775 B2 JP5124775 B2 JP 5124775B2 JP 2007327997 A JP2007327997 A JP 2007327997A JP 2007327997 A JP2007327997 A JP 2007327997A JP 5124775 B2 JP5124775 B2 JP 5124775B2
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ink
air
recording
flow path
pressure
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JP2009148956A (en
JP2009148956A5 (en
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祐一 高橋
大輔 中村
剛史 田村
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キヤノンファインテック株式会社
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Priority claimed from US12/335,223 external-priority patent/US8342661B2/en
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  The present invention relates to an ink jet recording apparatus that performs recording by discharging a liquid onto a recording medium.
  2. Related Art Inkjet recording apparatuses that perform recording by discharging ink from a recording head onto a recording medium are known. In such an ink jet recording apparatus, high-definition recording is generally performed using a small recording head in which a plurality of nozzles from which ink is ejected are formed at high density. In addition, by arranging a plurality of small recording heads and supplying different color inks to the respective recording heads, color recording can be performed on a recording medium with a relatively inexpensive and small configuration. For this reason, ink jet recording apparatuses are used in various recording apparatuses such as printers, facsimiles, and copying machines regardless of whether they are for business use or home use.
  In such an ink jet recording apparatus, in order to stabilize the ink ejection operation from the recording head, the ink in the recording head is maintained at a predetermined negative pressure (the pressure acting on the ink in the recording head is set to a predetermined negative pressure). Is important). For this reason, a negative pressure generating means is generally provided in an ink supply system for supplying ink to the recording head, and ink to which negative pressure is applied by the negative pressure generating means is supplied to the recording head.
  As a negative pressure generating means, Patent Document 1 discloses a configuration in which a negative pressure is generated using the capillary action of a sponge-like ink absorber housed in an ink tank. As another negative pressure generating means, Patent Document 2 discloses a configuration including a flexible ink bag and a bow spring. As another negative pressure generating means, Patent Document 3 discloses a configuration in which an ink tank is disposed below the recording head and a negative pressure is applied to the ink by utilizing a water head difference between the recording head and the ink tank. ing.
  In an ink supply system having negative pressure generating means as in Patent Document 1 to Patent Document 3, the negative pressure in the recording head increases as ink is ejected from the recording head. Using this increasing negative pressure, ink is supplied from the ink tank to the recording head. For this reason, when the amount of ink ejected from the recording head per unit time is large, the ink supply from the ink tank to the recording head cannot catch up, and the negative pressure in the recording head may become larger than a predetermined negative pressure. . Conversely, when the amount of ink ejected from the recording head per unit time is small, the negative pressure in the recording head may become smaller than a predetermined negative pressure due to the inertia of the ink.
  With respect to such a problem, in Patent Document 4, ink is supplied to the recording head by a pump, negative pressure in the recording head is controlled by a fan, and ink supply and negative pressure control are performed separately. Has been proposed.
Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 2002-1988 Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 06-198904 JP 2003-11380 A JP 2006-326855 A
  However, when the negative pressure in the recording head is directly controlled by a fan, the control needs to respond sensitively to pressure fluctuations in the recording head. That is, since the negative pressure generated by the fan acts directly in the nozzle, it is necessary to immediately follow the pressure fluctuation in response to the pressure in the recording head that changes according to the ink discharge state. . Conventional fan rotation speed is kept constant and air is moved according to the differential pressure change between the fan inlet and outlet, or the fan rotation speed is controlled when the pressure change is large in a short time. There is a need to. Conventionally, the range in which pressure fluctuations in the head can be absorbed while the rotational speed of the fan is kept constant has been limited. When controlling the rotational speed of the fan, it is necessary to control the fan with high sensitivity in order to keep the negative pressure in the recording head constant, and the pressure in the recording head when the rotational speed of the fan is changed. The rotational speed of the fan must be controlled in consideration of the responsiveness of change. Therefore, it is inevitable that the fan control becomes complicated. In addition, when the negative pressure in the recording head is controlled by a fan, the ink in the recording head is directly agitated by the fan, so that evaporation of water contained in the ink is promoted and the ink may be thickened. . If the ink needs to be replaced due to deterioration due to its thickening, there is a concern that a new ink is required and the running cost increases.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to realize an ink jet recording apparatus capable of simplifying the negative pressure control of the ink supplied to the ink ejection unit and reducing the cost by simplifying the apparatus configuration.
The ink jet recording apparatus of the present invention is a liquid for storing ink to be supplied to the recording head in an ink jet recording apparatus having a recording head having a discharge section capable of discharging ink and an ink supply device for supplying ink to the recording head. Chamber, an air discharge section having a fan for discharging the air in the space provided above the liquid chamber to the outside through the air flow path, and the pressure in the air flow path provided in the air flow path A pressure detection sensor that is provided at a portion of the air flow path located between the pressure detection sensor and the space, and capable of blocking and releasing the air flow path, and external air to the space. An air introduction section that can be introduced into the air discharge section, and a control section that controls the pressure in the space by adjusting the amount of air released from the air discharge section. Before section starts an ink ejection operation, after operating the fan of the air discharge portion while being shut off the valve, when the pressure detection sensor detects a predetermined negative pressure, the On the other hand, when the pressure detection sensor does not detect a predetermined negative pressure, the rotational speed of the fan is corrected and the pressure detection sensor detects the predetermined negative pressure before the valve is released. The air discharge part releases the air in the space and the air introduced from the air introduction part to the outside by a fan through an air flow path, and the air flow path is A first flow path communicating with the air discharge section, a second flow path communicating with the air discharge section, and a third flow path communicating with the air introduction section.
  According to the present invention, a negative pressure is generated in the liquid chamber by introducing the external air into the air flow channel while discharging the air above the liquid chamber to the outside through the air flow channel. As a result, the negative pressure in the recording head can be controlled by simple control, and the cost can be reduced by simplifying the apparatus configuration.
(First embodiment)
Hereinafter, a first embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.
FIG. 1 is a front view schematically showing an ink jet recording apparatus (hereinafter also simply referred to as a recording apparatus) to which the present embodiment can be applied. The recording apparatus 10 is connected to the host PC 12, and based on the recording information transmitted from the host PC 12, ink is applied from four head units 22K, 22C, 22M, 22Y to a recording medium (hereinafter also referred to as roll paper) P. Recording is performed by discharging. The four head units 22K, 22C, 22M, and 22Y are arranged along the conveyance direction (arrow A direction) of the recording medium P. Each head unit is arranged in the order of black ink head unit 22K, cyan ink head unit 22C, magenta ink unit head 22M, and yellow ink head unit 22Y in the transport direction. The head units 22K, 22C, 22M, and 22Y are so-called line heads, and are provided in a state where the head units 22K, 22C, 22M, and 22Y are arranged in parallel over the entire recording width in the recording medium conveyance direction. When the recording apparatus performs recording, the recording is performed by ejecting ink from the nozzles by driving a heater provided in the head unit without moving each head unit.
  The head unit changes the ejection state due to foreign matters such as dust and ink droplets adhering to the surfaces having nozzles (hereinafter also referred to as ink ejection port surfaces) 22Ks, 22Cs, 22Ms, and 22Ys during recording, which affects recording. May give. Therefore, the recovery unit 40 is incorporated in the recording apparatus 10 so that ink can be stably ejected from the head units 22K, 22C, 22M, and 22Y. By periodically cleaning the ink discharge port surface by the recovery unit 40, the ink discharge state from the nozzles of the head units 22K, 22C, 22M, and 22Y can be recovered to the initial good ink discharge state. The recovery unit 40 includes a cap 50 that removes ink from the ink discharge port surfaces 22Ks, 22Cs, 22Ms, and 22Ys of the four head units 22K, 22C, 22M, and 22Y during the cleaning operation. The cap 50 is provided independently for each head unit 22K, 22C, 22M, 22Y, and includes a blade, an ink removing member, a blade holding member, a cap, and the like.
  The recording medium P is supplied from the roll paper supply unit 24 and is transported in the direction of arrow A by the transport mechanism 26 incorporated in the recording apparatus 10. The transport mechanism 26 includes a transport belt 26a for loading and transporting the roll paper P, a transport motor 26b for rotating the transport belt 26a, and a roller 26c for applying tension to the transport belt 26a.
  When recording, when the roll paper P being conveyed reaches below the black head unit 22K, black ink is ejected from the head unit 22K based on the recording information sent from the host PC 12. Similarly, ink of each color is ejected in the order of the head unit 22C, the head unit 22M, and the head unit 22Y, and color recording on the roll paper P is completed.
  Further, the recording apparatus 10 includes main tanks 28K, 28C, 28M, and 28Y that store ink supplied to each head unit, a pump that can replenish ink to each head unit, and a pump that performs a cleaning operation described later. (Refer to FIG. 3 etc.).
  FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing a control system of the recording apparatus 10 of FIG. Recording information and commands transmitted from the host PC (host device) 12 are received by the CPU 100 via the interface controller 102.
  The CPU 100 is an arithmetic processing unit that performs overall control such as reception of recording information of the recording apparatus 10, recording operation, handling of the roll paper P, and the like. After analyzing the received command, the CPU 100 renders the image data of each color component of the recording data by developing a bitmap on the image memory 106. In the operation process performed before recording, the capping motor 122 and the head up / down motor 118 are driven via the output port 114 and the motor driving unit 116, and the head units 22K, 22C, 22M, 22Y are separated from the cap 50 to the recording position. Move to. Further, as will be described later, the CPU 100 corrects the rotation of the fan motor of the fan for applying an appropriate negative pressure to the head units 22K, 22C, 22M, and 22Y based on pressure information obtained by the pressure sensor. Take control. Further, the CPU 100 drives the roll motor 126 that feeds the roll paper P through the output port 114 and the motor driving unit 116, the transport motor 120 that transports the roll paper P, and the like to transport the roll paper P to the recording position. Control.
  When performing recording, the leading end detection sensor 109 detects the leading end position of the roll paper P in order to determine the timing (recording timing) at which ink is ejected onto the rolled paper P conveyed at a constant speed. Thereafter, in synchronism with the conveyance of the roll paper P, the CPU 100 sequentially reads the recording information from the image memory 106, and the read recording information is transferred to the head units 22K, 22C, 22M, and 22Y via the head unit control circuit 112. And transfer.
  The operation of the CPU 100 is executed based on a processing program stored in the program ROM 104. The program ROM 104 stores processing programs and tables corresponding to the control flow. The CPU 100 uses a work RAM 108 as a working memory. Further, the CPU 100 drives the pump motor 124 via the output port 114 and the motor driving unit 116 during the cleaning and recovery operations of the head units 22K, 22C, 22M, and 22Y, and controls ink pressurization and suction. .
  FIG. 3 is a diagram schematically showing a path through which ink passes from the ink tank 28K to the head unit 22K in the recording apparatus of the present embodiment. Since each head unit has the same structure, only the black ink head unit 22K will be described below as an example.
  The recording apparatus 10 incorporates an ink supply device 60 that supplies ink to the head unit 22K, and the head unit 22K includes a storage portion 22Kr and an ejection portion 22KSi that can eject ink. The ink supply device 60 includes an ink tank 28K that can be attached to and detached from the main body of the recording apparatus 10, and an ink supply pump 72 that is disposed in the middle of an ink supply path 62 that connects the ink tank 28K and the head unit 22K. Yes. The supply pump 72 is responsible for supplying ink to the reservoir 22Kr via the ink filter 90.
  A liquid level detection sensor 86 for detecting the level of the liquid level 22Krs of the stored ink (hereinafter also referred to as stored ink) is attached to the storage unit 22Kr. Further, below the reservoir 22Kr, a nozzle 22Kn of the head unit 22K and an ejection unit 22KSi in which an ink supply port to the nozzle 22Kn is formed are connected.
  An air flow path 64 is connected to a space 66 (hereinafter referred to as an air chamber) 66 filled with air via an air filter 95 above the reservoir 22Kr. The air flow path 64 includes an atmospheric valve 84 and A pressure detection sensor 81 capable of measuring pressure is provided. The pressure detection sensor 81 can detect the pressure in the air chamber 66. The other end of the air channel 64 opposite to the one end where the air filter 95 is provided is connected to the decompression channel 65 in a T-shape, and the decompression channel 65 has one end. The atmosphere is released and the other end is connected to the fan 68.
  A detection sensor (not shown) for detecting the presence or absence of ink in the ink tank 28K is attached to the ink tank 28K. The ink tank 28K is provided with an air release valve 74 for setting the internal pressure of the ink tank 28K to atmospheric pressure.
  When it is determined from the measurement result of the liquid level detection sensor 86 of the storage unit 22Kr that the ink liquid level 22Krs is below a certain level, the air release valve 74 of the ink tank 28K is opened, and the supply pump 72 is operated to remove the ink tank 28K from the ink tank 28K. Aspirate the ink. Then, the sucked ink is supplied into the storage portion 22Kr. On the other hand, when the liquid level detection sensor 86 detects the ink level 22Krs above a certain level, the supply pump 72 is stopped, the air release valve 74 of the ink tank 28K is sealed, and the ink supply is stopped.
  Incidentally, a tube pump is used as the supply pump 72, and the ink supply path 62 is blocked when the supply pump 72 is not in operation (the flow path between the ink tank 28K and the storage portion 22Kr is blocked).
  FIG. 4 is a flowchart showing a procedure for cleaning the discharge port surface 22Ks of the head unit. FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram showing a procedure for wiping ink from the ejection surface 22Ks with the wiper 52, (a) showing before the start of wiping, (b) showing immediately after wiping is completed, and (c) showing completion of wiping. It is a figure which shows the waiting state after. The term “cleaning” as used herein refers to an operation performed in order to continuously maintain the ink ejection of the head unit 22K in a good state. When conditions such as elapsed time and ejection conditions are satisfied, or there is an abnormality in recording quality. This is an operation that is performed automatically or arbitrarily when viewed. Hereinafter, the cleaning operation will be described in order.
  When the cleaning command is received in step S401, the atmosphere release valve 84 is released in step S402. Thereafter, in step S403, the cleaning pump 92 is driven in a direction to depressurize the inside of the cap 50, and the ink in the reservoir 22Kr is drawn into the cap 50 from the nozzle 22Kn and discharged. By discharging the ink, it is possible to remove foreign matters such as fine bubbles accumulated around the nozzles 22Kn during the recording operation and the like, and dust attached to the ejection port surface 22Ks of the head unit. Then, after a certain period of time has elapsed, the driving of the cleaning pump 92 is stopped at step 404 and the atmospheric valve 84 is closed at step 405.
  In this state, ink may still adhere to the ejection port surface 22Ks including the opening of each nozzle 22Kn of the head unit 22K. Therefore, in order to remove the dirt, the discharge port surface 22Ks is wiped with a wiper 52 provided together with the cap 50, as will be described later. At that time, first, in step S406, the head unit 22K is moved above the recovery cap 50 as shown in FIG. Thereafter, the cap 50 is moved in the direction of arrow B in step S407, so that the dirt such as ink adhering to the face surface 22Ks is wiped off by the wiper 52 as shown in FIG. This operation is called a wiping operation. After the wiping operation is completed, as shown in FIG. 5C, the head unit 22K is capped again and enters a standby state in step S408. The head unit 22K in the standby state has the face surface 22Ks capped (closed) by the cap contact portion 54, so that there is almost no air convection in the cap 50, and the ink in the nozzles 22Kn does not flow. It is possible to prevent thickening. The head unit 22K enters a standby state, and the cleaning operation ends.
  The ink (waste ink) discharged from the nozzle 22Kn is received by the cap 50 and sucked by the suction pump 92 (see FIG. 3). The absorbed waste ink is pumped to a waste ink tank 71 (see FIG. 3). The waste ink tank 71 is provided with a minute air opening 75 and plays a role of releasing the pressure in the waste ink tank 71 that changes with the inflow of waste ink (and bubbles) to the atmosphere.
  FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of the head unit 22K and its surroundings. At the time of recording, it is necessary to apply an appropriate negative pressure to the head unit 22K in order to form a meniscus on the nozzle 22Kn. Therefore, during recording, the air valve 66 in the head unit 22K is decompressed by opening the atmospheric valve 84 and operating the fan 68 to create an air flow in the C direction. As a result, the pressure in the nozzle 22Kn is similarly reduced through the reservoir 22Kr.
  In the present embodiment, the reservoir 22Kr communicating with the atmosphere is disposed above the discharge unit 22Ks. Therefore, when the atmosphere valve 84 is opened, the opening at the tip of the nozzle 22Kn has a positive head pressure H from the liquid level 22Krs. The pressure acts on the nozzle 22Kn opening. For this reason, the amount of pressure reduction into the air chamber 66 by the fan 68 is set to a water head pressure H or higher. Thereby, a negative pressure is applied to the nozzle 22Kn of the head unit 22K. As a result, an ink meniscus is formed in the opening of the nozzle 22Kn.
  In the present embodiment, as in Patent Document 4, a method is used in which gas is not directly sucked by a fan 68 from a space in which a negative pressure is generated, but indirectly as shown in FIG. That is, the negative pressure generated by operating the fan 68 is not directly applied to the air chamber 66, but the negative pressure is indirectly reduced by providing the suction port 61 (air introduction part) through which the atmosphere can be introduced. The air chamber 66 is hung. Further, in the present embodiment, by operating the fan 68, a flow of air taken in from the suction port 61 is generated in the decompression channel 65, and the air in the air channel 64 connected to the decompression channel 65 is It is drawn into the flow of air in the decompression flow path 65 mainly by the ejector principle. As a result, a negative pressure is generated in the air chamber 66.
  When the atmospheric valve 84 is released, it is necessary to always apply a constant negative pressure to the air chamber 66 in order to maintain the ink meniscus at the nozzle in an optimum state. When ink is ejected from the ejection part 22KSi, the amount of ink in the storage part 22Kr decreases, and accordingly, the negative pressure in the air chamber 66 increases. If the negative pressure of the air chamber 66 remains high, the meniscus cannot be formed at a predetermined position and ink cannot be ejected satisfactorily. For this reason, it is necessary to adjust the pressure in the air chamber 66 in order to return the negative pressure that has increased with ink ejection to a constant negative pressure.
  In the method of indirectly sucking air in the space of the air chamber 66 as in the present embodiment, since there is a portion communicating with the atmosphere between the air chamber 66 and the fan 68, The air flow is always generated by the rotation of the fan 68. The negative pressure in the air chamber 66 is caused by the air flow in the decompression flow path 65, and the air chamber 66 increases as the rotational speed of the fan 68 increases and the flow rate (flow velocity) per unit area of air increases. The negative pressure inside increases. Conversely, the negative pressure in the air chamber 66 decreases as the rotational speed of the fan 68 decreases and the air flow rate decreases.
  In order to keep the negative pressure in the air chamber 66 constant, it is necessary to control the fan 68 according to the fluctuation of the negative pressure in the air chamber 66 and adjust the flow rate of the air in the decompression flow path 65. . In adjusting such a flow rate, air that constantly flows is advantageous. That is, when the pressure in the air chamber 66 fluctuates, the air flow rate in the decompression flow path 65 is automatically adjusted so that the pressure fluctuation in the air chamber 66 is absorbed to some extent even if the rotational speed of the fan 68 is constant. Change. Therefore, it is not necessary to control the fan 68 so finely as to follow the fine pressure fluctuation in the air chamber 66. In other words, the range in which pressure fluctuation can be followed under the constant rotation speed of the fan 68 (the extent that the pressure head can be absorbed) is wider than the configuration as in Patent Document 4, that is, the case where the air in the air chamber is directly sucked. Become. Therefore, the inside of the air chamber 66 can be stably maintained at a predetermined negative pressure by relatively simple control. By controlling the rotation of the fan 68, it is a matter of course that a constant negative pressure can be maintained even when a large amount of pressure fluctuation occurs in a short time. Moreover, in the method of indirectly sucking the air in the air chamber 66 as in this embodiment, the time until the pressure in the air chamber 66 converges to the target value by automatically taking in air from the atmosphere. It can be a short time.
  Further, by indirectly sucking the air in the air chamber 66 as in the present embodiment, the air in the air chamber 66 that comes into contact with the ink in the reservoir 22Kr is not greatly stirred. For this reason, the volatile components of the ink are less likely to evaporate and the ink is less likely to thicken. Further, in the present embodiment, since the air flow is always generated when the fan 68 is operated, the fan motor 82 can be cooled using the flow.
  Incidentally, when the air in the air chamber is directly sucked by the fan as in the configuration of Patent Document 4, it is necessary to control the fan so as to respond sensitively to pressure fluctuations in the air chamber. That is, since the negative pressure generated by the fan acts directly in the nozzle, it is necessary to finely control the rotational speed of the fan. However, in the case of pressure control by a fan, overshoot and undershoot are likely to occur, and it takes a relatively long time to converge to the target pressure. In addition, since the air in the air chamber is agitated by the fan, the evaporation of the volatile components of the ink in the reservoir may be promoted.
  FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing the operation from the reception of the recording signal to the end of recording. Normally, when the recording apparatus is not used, the atmospheric valve 84 is closed for the purpose of preventing ink leakage from the nozzle Kn. When recording is started, first, the fan 68 is operated with the atmospheric valve 84 being closed to depressurize the decompression flow path 65 and the air flow path 64, and then the atmospheric valve 84 is opened. Hereinafter, processing for performing such recording will be described in order.
  When the recording apparatus 10 receives the recording signal in step S701, the process proceeds to step S702 and the fan 68 is activated. Next, in step S703, the pressure in the air flow path 64 is confirmed by the pressure detection sensor 81 in order to confirm whether or not the pressure reduction by the fan 68 is normally performed. If the predetermined pressure is not obtained, the process proceeds to step S704 to correct the rotational speed of the fan 68. If the predetermined pressure is obtained in step S703, the process proceeds to step S705 and the atmospheric valve 84 is released. When the atmospheric valve 84 is released, the air chamber 66 is depressurized, and a negative pressure acts on the nozzle 22Kn. A meniscus is formed in an optimal state at the opening (discharge port) of the nozzle Kn.
  Next, in step S706, the head unit 22K is moved to the wiping position, and in step S707, the ejection port surface 22Ks of the head unit 22K is wiped. Thereafter, in order to perform recording in step 708, the head unit 22K is lowered and moved to the recording position. In step 709, recording is performed on the recording medium P. After the recording operation is completed, the head unit 22K is raised in step S710, moved to the standby position, and capped by the cap 50 again. Thereafter, the atmospheric valve 84 is closed in step S711, the operation of the fan 68 is stopped in step S712, and the standby mode is entered again to end this flowchart.
  While the recording operation is being performed, the ink in the storage unit 22Kr is reduced by the ink consumption due to the recording. However, in the configuration of the head unit 22K of the present embodiment, air having the same volume as the reduced ink is supplied to the suction ports 61 and 61. It is guided into the air chamber 66 via the air flow path 64. When the liquid level detection sensor 86 detects that the liquid level 22Krs is below a certain level, the ink supply pump 72 detects that the liquid level detection sensor 86 detects the upper limit level of the ink liquid level 22Krs. Supply ink to Also at this time, the air corresponding to the volume of the ink flowing into the reservoir 22Kr is released to the atmosphere through the air flow path 64. Therefore, pressure fluctuations acting on the nozzles 22Kn due to increase / decrease of ink in the reservoir 22Kr are suppressed.
FIG. 8 is a view showing a cross section taken along the line AA of FIG.
The nozzle 22Kn in the discharge part 22KSi is formed by joining two chips of the heater board 22Kh and the supply port forming member 22Kt. The supply port forming member 22Kt is in contact with the liquid chamber 25K that forms the storage portion 22Kr, and communicates with the ink flow path of the supply port forming member 22Kt. Further, the heater board 22Kh and the head substrate 24K are connected by an energizing wire 26K, and exchange signals between the head unit 22K and the external substrate. Further, the discharge portion 22KSi, the head substrate 24, the liquid chamber 25K and the like are fixed to the base plate 23K by means not shown.
  By the way, bubbles 69 may be mixed in the reservoir 22Kr due to the deposition of dissolved gas in the ink or the ink supply operation during the recording operation and standby. The dissolved gas in the ink refers to air dissolved in the ink, and generally dissolves more as the temperature is lower. As an example of depositing such gas in the ink, the temperature of the ink rises due to the heat of the heater provided in the discharge portion 22KSi as the ink moves toward the discharge portion 22KSi during the recording operation. The case of going. Further, as an example in which bubbles are included in the ink supplied into the storage unit 22Kr, gas permeation through the supply path 62 can be cited. The inside of the supply path 62 is normally filled with ink. However, when the supply path 62 is constituted by a tube or the like, air in the atmosphere permeates through the tube and mixes with the passage of time. Such bubbles 69 are mixed into the liquid chamber 22Kr with the ink supply operation. These bubbles accumulate so as to accumulate, and eventually cause a phenomenon that causes a problem in recording quality, such as blocking the ink supply path. Therefore, conventionally, ink that does not contribute to recording is discharged at a predetermined interval, and at the same time, the bubbles 69 are discharged to remove the bubbles, or the accumulated bubbles are pushed to a predetermined position (for example, an ink tank). I was taking.
  In the ink jet recording apparatus of the present embodiment, bubbles are formed so as to move upward by their buoyancy in the flow path from the contact surface between the supply port forming member 22Kt and the liquid chamber 25K to the ink liquid surface 22Krs. (The ink flow path is not blocked by air bubbles).
  The bubbles 69 mixed in the reservoir 22Kr move upward and reach the ink liquid level 22Krs and disappear (hereinafter referred to as gas-liquid separation). Further, since the ink amount in the reservoir 22Kr is maintained within a certain range by the ink supply operation described above, the gas-liquid separated bubbles 69 are not accumulated in the air chamber 66 above the reservoir 22Kr. Although the bubbles 69 may adhere to the wall surface or the like, these bubbles 69 are fine and do not cause any adverse effects such as blocking the flow path. If it becomes larger, it will be separated from the wall surface and separated from gas.
  As described above, in the ink jet recording apparatus according to the present embodiment, since the removal of the bubbles 69 is automatically performed in a normal operation cycle such as a recording operation and a standby time, it is necessary to perform a special bubble removal sequence. There is no.
  However, the nozzle 22Kn is configured by a very fine flow path, and the bubbles 69 may not come out to the storage part 22Kr through the supply port forming member 22Kt, and may remain in the discharge part 22KSi. In such a case, the bubble 69 is discharged from the nozzle 22Kn with the discharge of ink by the cleaning operation as described above. However, as noted above, most of the bubbles 69 are removed within normal operation. Therefore, only a small amount of bubbles 69 remaining in the discharge part 22KSi are removed here. Since such a small amount of bubbles 69 exist in the vicinity of the nozzle 22Kn, the bubbles 69 can be removed with a small amount of ink discharged by the cleaning operation.
  In addition, although the storage part 22Kr in the above-mentioned description has shown the structure which does not obstruct | occlude until the bubble 69 reaches the liquid level 22Krs from the nozzle 22Kn, it is not limited to this, and also has a structure as described below. Good.
  FIGS. 9 and 10 are diagrams showing head units 22Kx and 22Ky, respectively, which are modifications of the present embodiment. In the head unit 22Kx, the storage unit 22Kr is provided with a partition provided with a flow path between the ejection unit 22KSi and the ink liquid level 22Krs. Since this flow path has an interval D larger than the diameter of the generated bubble 69, it does not prevent the bubble from rising due to buoyancy, and reaches the ink liquid level 22Krs for gas-liquid separation.
  Similarly, the head unit 22 </ b> Ky includes a partition provided with a flow path between the ejection unit 22 </ b> KSi and the ink liquid level 22 </ b> Krs in the storage unit 22 </ b> Kr. The partition is provided with a retention portion 22Krt in which some of the bubbles remain. However, the staying portion 22Krt is configured so that the staying bubbles 70 are partially separated before the bubbles accumulate so as to block the ink flow path, and this partition is further separated by a distance D larger than the diameter of the separated bubbles 69. The aperture part 22Krd is provided. As a result, the separated bubbles 69 rise to the ink level 22 Krs and are separated into gas and liquid.
  In this modification, the head unit and the partition are shown as an example configured integrally, but the present invention is not limited to this, and the head unit and the partition may be configured separately.
  In this way, gas-liquid separation is possible due to the configuration in which bubbles generated in the discharge part and storage part can rise to the liquid level, and it is accumulated in the head unit by the structure that discharges bubbles simultaneously with negative pressure control by a fan There is no accumulation in. Therefore, the frequency of cleaning for removing bubbles is reduced, and at the same time, the amount of ink discharged that does not contribute to recording can be suppressed. In addition, the recording speed could be increased by reducing the cleaning frequency.
  Therefore, by using the ink jet recording apparatus of the present embodiment, the ink supply apparatus and the ink jet recording apparatus that can simplify the negative pressure control of the ink supplied to the ink ejection unit and can reduce the cost by simplifying the apparatus configuration associated therewith. Was realized.
(Second Embodiment)
Hereinafter, a second embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.
FIGS. 11A and 11B are views showing the head unit of this embodiment. The storage unit of the head unit according to the present embodiment is configured to be divided into a second storage unit that is in contact with the discharge unit and a first storage unit that performs gas-liquid separation of bubbles. FIG. 11A is a diagram illustrating a state where the discharge unit is capped, and FIG. 11B is a diagram illustrating a state where the discharge unit is not capped.
  A second storage unit 22Kra is brought into contact with the ejection unit, and is configured as a recording head unit 22Kv. The second reservoir 22Kra and the first reservoir 22Krb are connected via an intermediate tube 63. A pressure reducing mechanism such as a fan 68 and an ink supply path 62 having the same configuration as in the first embodiment are connected to the first reservoir 22Krb. The first storage unit 22Krb is fixed to the main body frame, and the recording head unit 22Kv moves relative to the first storage unit 22Krb when moving by a recording operation, a capping operation, or the like.
  FIG. 12 is an enlarged view of the intermediate tube 63. (A) shows the capping state, and (b) shows the state during the recording operation. As shown in FIG. 11A, when the recording head portion 22Kv is at the capping position, the recording head portion 22Kv is relatively close to the first storage portion 22Krb, so that the intermediate tube 63 is curved and is partially U-shaped. Are formed. Therefore, as shown in FIG. 12A, bubbles that are generated and raised in the second reservoir 22Kra during capping or recording operation form a bubble reservoir 71 in the inverted U-shaped portion, and the ink flow path. May be blocked.
  However, as shown in FIG. 11 (b), the recording head portion 22Kv moves downward again by a recording operation or the like (relatively away from the first storage portion 22Krb), so that the inverted U-shaped portion of the intermediate tube 63 becomes It will be resolved. As a result, in the intermediate tube 63, the bubbles 26 generated in the second storage unit 22Kra continuously rise and communicate with the first storage unit 22Krb. And as shown in FIG.12 (b), the bubble 69 isolate | separates from the bubble reservoir 71, and it raises by own buoyancy. In particular, since the ink flow path diameter Dc of the intermediate tube 63 is larger than the diameter of the bubble 26 to be separated, the bubble 26 reaches the first reservoir 22Krb and is gas-liquid separated as described in the first embodiment.
  Therefore, even if the ink flow path is blocked by the bubble reservoir 71 during capping, the ink flow path is not blocked during the recording operation for actually ejecting ink. At this time, a part of the bubble reservoir 71 may remain in the intermediate tube 63. In consideration of such a case, if the diameter Dc of the intermediate tube 63 is set so as to ensure the minimum ink flow path Di. Good.
  By the way, before the recording head portion 22Kv shifts from the capping position to the recording operation, the ink exposed to the atmosphere in the opening of the nozzle 22Kn may be replaced with fresh ink, so that the ink may be ejected into the cap 50. In this case, since the ink flow path is blocked by the bubble reservoir 71, the amount of negative pressure in the second reservoir 22Kra increases. However, when the discharge amount is small, the bubble reservoir 71 itself becomes the second reservoir 22Kra. There is no problem because it moves so as to be pulled to the side or it expands itself.
  Further, as described in the first embodiment, complicated control is not required for pressure adjustment corresponding to the pressure that changes at each discharge, and air in the first reservoir is indirectly generated to generate an appropriate negative pressure. The ink is difficult to thicken because of the suction.
  Therefore, by using the ink jet recording apparatus of the present embodiment, the ink supply apparatus and the ink jet recording apparatus that can simplify the negative pressure control of the ink supplied to the ink ejection unit and can reduce the cost by simplifying the apparatus configuration associated therewith. Was realized.
(Third embodiment)
Hereinafter, a third embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.
FIG. 13 is a diagram showing the head unit of this embodiment and its surroundings. The negative pressure control means by the fan 68 may be connected to the plurality of head units 22Y, 22M, 22C, and 22K as in the present embodiment.
  FIG. 14 is a diagram showing an embodiment different from FIG. 13 of the present embodiment. In each of the above embodiments, the air flow from the suction port 61 communicating with the atmosphere to the fan 68 is a linear flow. However, the present invention is not limited to this, and as shown in FIG. 14, the air flow from the air chamber 66 to the fan 68 is a straight flow, and an intake port 61 communicating with the atmosphere is provided in the middle of the flow. Also good. Here, the portion of the air flow path 64 that communicates with the air chamber 66 via the atmospheric valve 84 is the first flow path, and the portion of the air flow path 64 that communicates with the fan 68 is the second flow path. A portion communicating with the path 64 and released to the atmosphere is defined as a third flow path. In this case, the first channel and the second channel communicate with each other in a straight line, and the third channel is further communicated (coupled) to the communicating part. Further, the first, second, and third flow paths are not limited to one each. For example, the third flow path may be composed of a plurality of channels, and the flow paths may be branched or end portions. May be branched. Moreover, the structure which partitions off the inside of a flow path and an edge part with a wall, and has a 1 or several communicating hole in the wall may be sufficient. Further, as shown in FIG. 15, the fan casing is provided with a communication port with the atmosphere to form an air channel through which air is introduced from the air channel communicating with the atmosphere, and the air is sucked through the air channel. May be. The number of fans may be plural. In any case, the effect of the present invention is applicable as long as air is introduced from the air flow path communicating with the atmosphere by the suction force of the fan and the pressure in the head unit is reduced by sucking air through the air flow path. It is clear that is obtained.
  Further, as shown in FIG. 16, a communication port with the atmosphere is provided in the fan casing, and an air flow path communicating with the air chamber 66 through the atmospheric valve 84 in the air flow path 64 may be provided at another location. Good. This configuration is not a configuration for sucking air through the air flow path, but air is introduced from a communication port communicating with the atmosphere and has a buffering effect against pressure fluctuations in the air chamber 66, so that the air chamber 66 as described above is used. Has the effect of stabilizing the negative pressure inside.
  Even in such a configuration, it is possible to realize an ink supply device and an ink jet recording apparatus that can realize a reduction in cost by simplifying the negative pressure control of the ink supplied to the ink ejection unit and simplification of the device configuration.
  In each of the above embodiments, the example in which the controller that controls the negative pressure in the head unit is provided in the recording apparatus has been described. However, the present invention is not limited to this. You may have.
  In each of the above embodiments, a full-line type recording apparatus has been described. However, the present invention is not limited to this, and a serial that performs recording by alternately performing main scanning of the recording head and conveyance of the recording medium. It may be a type of recording device.
  In each of the above embodiments, a so-called non-volumetric pump, which is a propeller-type fan, is used as the negative pressure generating mechanism. However, the present invention is not limited to this, and a volumetric pump may be used.
  Moreover, in the said embodiment, a 1st storage part and a 2nd storage part are connected with an intermediate | middle tube, the intermediate | middle tube supplies the ink, and the bubble channel | path which moves from a 2nd storage part to a 1st storage part, However, it is not limited to this. In addition to the ink supply path that supplies ink from the first reservoir to the second reservoir, a communication path that guides bubbles generated in the second reservoir to the first reservoir may be provided.
  Note that “recording” (also referred to as image formation) in the present specification is not limited to forming significant information such as characters and graphics. In other words, recording means that an image, a pattern, a pattern, etc. are widely formed on a recording medium regardless of whether it is significant involuntary, or whether it is manifested so that humans can perceive it visually, or This includes cases where media are processed.
  The “recording medium” (also referred to as a sheet) is not only paper used in general recording apparatuses but also widely accepts ink such as cloth, plastic film, metal plate, glass, ceramics, wood, leather, etc. This includes what is possible.
  Further, the term “ink” should be broadly interpreted in the same way as the definition of “recording”. In other words, the ink is applied onto the recording medium to form an image, pattern, pattern, or the like, process the recording medium, or process the ink (for example, solidify or insolubilize the colorant in the ink applied to the recording medium). ) Shall be included.
  It goes without saying that liquids other than ink may be used in the apparatus of the present invention.
It is the front view which showed typically the inkjet recording device which can apply 1st Embodiment. FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a control system of the recording apparatus in FIG. 1. FIG. 2 is a diagram schematically illustrating a path through which ink passes from an ink tank to a head unit in the recording apparatus according to the first embodiment. It is the flowchart which showed the procedure at the time of cleaning the discharge port surface of a head unit. It is a schematic diagram which shows the procedure of wiping off ink with a wiper from a discharge surface, (a) shows before wiping start, (b) shows immediately after completion | finish of wiping, (c) is a figure which shows the standby state after completion | finish of wiping. is there. It is the figure which expanded and showed the head unit and its circumference | surroundings. It is a flowchart showing operation | movement from receiving a recording signal until recording is complete | finished. It is the figure which showed the AA cross section of FIG. It is the figure which showed the head unit which is a modification of 1st Embodiment. It is the figure which showed the head unit which is a modification of 1st Embodiment. (A), (b) is the figure which showed the head unit of 2nd Embodiment. (A), (b) is the figure which expanded and showed the intermediate tube. It is the figure which showed the head unit of 3rd Embodiment, and its periphery. It is the figure which showed the head unit of 3rd Embodiment, and its periphery. It is the figure which showed the head unit of 3rd Embodiment, and its periphery. It is the figure which showed the head unit of 3rd Embodiment, and its periphery.
Explanation of symbols
10 Inkjet recording device 12 Host PC
22K head unit 22C head unit 22M head unit 22Y head unit 22Kn nozzle 22Kr reservoir 22Krs liquid level 22KSi discharge unit 22Kv recording head unit 22Krb first reservoir 22Kra second reservoir 24 roll paper supply unit 26 transport mechanism 63 intermediate tube 64 Flow path 66 Air chamber 68 Fan 69 Bubble 70 Ink tank 71 Bubble pool 84 Air valve 86 Liquid level detection sensor

Claims (3)

  1. In an inkjet recording apparatus having a recording head having an ejection section capable of ejecting ink, and an ink supply device for supplying ink to the recording head,
    A liquid chamber for storing ink to be supplied to the recording head;
    An air discharge unit having a fan for discharging air in a space provided in an upper portion of the liquid chamber to the outside through an air flow path;
    A pressure detection sensor provided in the air flow path for detecting the pressure in the air flow path;
    A valve provided at a portion of the air flow path located between the pressure detection sensor and the space, and capable of blocking and releasing the air flow path;
    An air introduction part capable of introducing external air into the space;
    A control unit for controlling the pressure in the space by adjusting the amount of air released from the air discharge unit,
    The control unit operates the fan of the air discharge unit in a state where the valve is shut off before the discharge unit starts an ink discharge operation, and then the pressure detection sensor applies a predetermined negative pressure. when detecting the said valve is released, whereas, when the pressure detection sensor does not detect the predetermined negative pressure, the negative pressure the pressure detection sensor is of a predetermined performs the rotational speed of the correction of the fan The valve is released after detecting
    The air discharge part discharges the air in the space and the air introduced from the air introduction part to the outside by a fan through an air flow path,
    The air flow path includes a first flow path that communicates with the space, a second flow path that communicates with the air discharge section, and a third flow path that communicates with the air introduction section. An ink jet recording apparatus.
  2.   The inkjet recording apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the control unit performs control based on a detection result of the pressure detection sensor in order to keep the pressure in the space at a constant negative pressure.
  3.   Either the first flow path and the second flow path or the second flow path and the third flow path form a straight line. The ink jet recording apparatus described.
JP2007327997A 2007-12-19 2007-12-19 Inkjet recording device Expired - Fee Related JP5124775B2 (en)

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JP2007327997A JP5124775B2 (en) 2007-12-19 2007-12-19 Inkjet recording device
US12/335,223 US8342661B2 (en) 2007-12-19 2008-12-15 Ink supplying apparatus, inkjet printing apparatus, inkjet printing head, ink supplying method and inkjet printing method
EP20080172074 EP2072266B1 (en) 2007-12-19 2008-12-18 Ink supplying apparatus, inkjet printing apparatus, inkjet printing head, ink supplying method and inkjet printing method

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