JP5820769B2 - Inkjet recording device - Google Patents

Inkjet recording device Download PDF

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JP5820769B2
JP5820769B2 JP2012115874A JP2012115874A JP5820769B2 JP 5820769 B2 JP5820769 B2 JP 5820769B2 JP 2012115874 A JP2012115874 A JP 2012115874A JP 2012115874 A JP2012115874 A JP 2012115874A JP 5820769 B2 JP5820769 B2 JP 5820769B2
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ink
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JP2013240933A (en
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徳昭 古川
徳昭 古川
隆志 染手
隆志 染手
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京セラドキュメントソリューションズ株式会社
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  BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to an ink jet recording apparatus that performs recording by ejecting ink onto a recording medium such as paper in a recording apparatus such as a facsimile, a copying machine, and a printer, and particularly relates to recovery of a recording head that ejects ink. It is.

  Recording devices such as facsimiles, copiers, and printers are configured to record images on recording media such as paper, cloth, and OHP sheets. However, depending on the recording method, inkjet, wire dot, thermal It can be classified into formulas and the like. The ink jet recording method can be further classified into a serial type in which recording is performed while the recording head scans the recording medium, and a line head type in which recording is performed by a recording head fixed to the apparatus main body.

  In such an ink jet recording apparatus, a cap is not attached to the nozzle surface, such as each ejection nozzle between sheets during printing standby or continuous printing, or a ejection nozzle that is not used during printing, and non-ejection. In the ejection nozzles in the state, moisture is evaporated from the ink in the nozzles, and ink thickening occurs. As a result, there is a problem in that printing is disturbed or non-ejection occurs when ink is subsequently ejected.

  In particular, in a line head type recording system in which the recording head is fixed, each nozzle of the recording head corresponds to a specific pixel (dot) in one line of the image, and therefore corresponds to a pixel in the left and right margins. There are always nozzles, such as nozzles, that do not eject ink even when printing one image. In such a nozzle, image data may be switched afterwards to form dots, and in that case, it is necessary to be able to eject ink stably.

  In general, in order to prevent the ink in the discharge nozzles with openings on the ink discharge surface of the recording head from drying and clogging of the nozzles, after ink is forcibly discharged from the nozzles, the ink adhering to the ink discharge surface is wiped off. The recording head recovery process is performed by performing the above. However, in the above procedure, a large amount of ink is discarded without being used for printing, and the ink is wasted. In addition, not only nozzles that did not eject ink but also nozzles immediately after ejecting ink are not efficient because forced ink ejection is performed.

  On the other hand, piezoelectric inkjet heads are widely used as recording heads for inkjet recording apparatuses. The piezoelectric ink jet head transmits the force generated by the piezoelectric element as pressure to the ink in the pressurizing chamber, and generates ink droplets using the oscillation of the ink meniscus in the nozzle caused by this pressure.

  Therefore, a method for preventing clogging of the nozzle by vibrating the ink meniscus in the nozzle to such an extent that ink is not discharged from the nozzle has been proposed.For example, in Patent Document 1, in a dot forming portion that does not discharge ink droplets, The volume of the pressurizing chamber is increased by discharging the driving voltage of the piezoelectric element, and the ink meniscus in the nozzle is drawn toward the pressurizing chamber, and then substantially coincides with the natural vibration period of the ink volume velocity (head). Disclosed is a method for driving an ink jet head that stirs ink in a nozzle by swinging an ink meniscus without discharging ink droplets from the nozzle by applying a driving voltage again at a timing to reduce the volume of the pressurizing chamber. Has been.

  Patent Document 2 discloses an ink jet printer that swings an ink meniscus using a plurality of continuous pulses having a narrower pulse width and a higher frequency than a driving waveform for ejecting droplets.

  In Patent Document 3, only the meniscus of each nozzle that is used for printing pixel data that is scheduled to be printed in a certain sheet (in a page) is swung, and the meniscus of each nozzle that is not used for printing is changed. An image forming apparatus that is held stationary is disclosed.

  Further, Patent Document 4 describes that at least one pixel excluding a pixel immediately before a pixel to be drawn out of two or more predetermined numbers of pixels not drawn continuously in the same nozzle is drawn by performing meniscus swing. An image forming apparatus that does not perform meniscus swing in a pixel immediately before a power pixel is disclosed. In addition, it is also described that a driving pulse close to the natural vibration period of the head channel is used as a driving pulse for swinging the meniscus.

JP 2006-150845 A JP 2009-286131 A JP 2010-184363 A JP 2006-238644 A

  However, if a driving waveform having a pulse width close to the natural vibration period of the head is used as in Patent Document 1, the meniscus can be greatly swung and the stirring effect of the ink in the nozzle is enhanced, but the meniscus is swung. When moving, a fine droplet having a low flying speed is formed, and if it adheres to the paper, it may be recognized as dust on the image. In Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 2004-228561, a minute ink droplet generated by meniscus swinging has a low flying speed, and therefore, after landing on the paper surface, the ink droplet is caught up and taken in immediately after being ejected to form a dot. For this reason, it is said that it will not be recognized as dust on the image, but the ink droplet ejection characteristics due to meniscus oscillation are not stable, and it is surely taken into the next ink droplet due to the influence of air flow etc. due to paper conveyance. If it does not exist, it cannot be landed on the paper stably, and there is a risk of image failure.

  Therefore, it is preferable to use a plurality of continuous pulses having a narrower pulse width and a higher frequency than the driving waveform for discharging droplets as in Patent Document 2. However, in this case, since the meniscus cannot be swung greatly, the ink stirring effect due to the meniscus swing is not exhibited unless the number of pulses is increased. Therefore, conventionally, a driving waveform for meniscus oscillation is applied to the printing interval (between sheets). For example, hundreds or thousands of lines of meniscus swing is performed at an interval (between sheets) before printing image data for one sheet of paper, or it corresponds to a gradation 0 pixel in the image data to be printed. The meniscus was swung by all nozzles. For this reason, the number of pulses to be applied is remarkably increased, and there is a problem that power consumption at the head is increased.

  Furthermore, when the pulse width is narrower than the driving waveform for ejecting droplets, the piezoelectric element is close to the natural vibration period, so the piezoelectric element generates heat, the ink temperature in the head rises, and the ink characteristics change. In some cases, stable droplet formation could not be performed.

  Also, when applying a meniscus swing waveform to all nozzles between papers, or replacing the pulse applied to the piezoelectric element of the nozzle corresponding to the pixel of gradation 0 with a swing waveform, for example, one sheet of paper In the image data of the minute, the dot formation is not performed once, or the meniscus swing is performed even for the nozzle that ejects the ink only several times. As a result, the ink in the nozzle is agitated, the ink thickened in the vicinity of the meniscus due to the evaporation of moisture is diffused in the back of the nozzle, and the ink not thickened moves to the vicinity of the meniscus. Here, since the ink that has not been thickened has a faster water evaporation rate than the thickened ink that has a reduced amount of water, the thickening of the ink in the vicinity of the meniscus tends to proceed.

  In this way, if dot formation is never performed in the image data for one sheet of paper, or if meniscus oscillation is performed for a nozzle that ejects ink only several times, the ink in the nozzle increases. Viscosity is promoted, and ink ejection properties gradually deteriorate. For this reason, when dot formation is performed using a nozzle that has not been dot-formed on the previous paper after switching to image data to be printed on the next paper, ink droplet ejection failure may occur. Therefore, as in Patent Document 3, it is preferable that only the nozzles that are scheduled to be printed (ink ejection) in the next sheet are caused to swing between meniscuses.

  However, the method of Patent Document 3 can obtain good ink ejection properties when using an aqueous dye ink, but when using an aqueous pigment ink, a dispersant for dispersing the pigment in the ink, etc. Therefore, there is a characteristic that the viscosity when drying the ink is much higher than that of the aqueous dye ink. For this reason, the thickening of the meniscus is increased, the number of meniscus oscillations must be increased, and power consumption at the head is increased.

  In addition, if the time from the meniscus swing to the actual ink discharge becomes longer, the ink in the nozzles continues to be stirred, so that the ink not thickened by stirring moves to the vicinity of the meniscus and increases the ink. Viscosity easily progresses. Therefore, in Patent Document 4, meniscus oscillation is performed on the nozzle before ink ejection, and meniscus oscillation is not performed on the pixel immediately before the pixel to be drawn, thereby increasing the viscosity of the ink due to meniscus oscillation. The discharge failure is suppressed.

  That is, in order to continuously perform printing corresponding to various image data, it is preferable that the meniscus swing is performed both between the sheets and immediately before the discharge, and the total number of times is smaller. However, in actuality, in water-based pigment ink, moisture evaporates from the meniscus surface, so that the components in the ink are non-uniform between the nozzle tip and the inside. Due to the non-uniformity of this component, internal flow occurs, and a phenomenon occurs in which the pigment particles move from the tip portion to the inside. In this state, if ink is ejected by swinging meniscus several times immediately before ejection, a transparent ink droplet with a small amount of pigment is ejected at the first pixel after non-ejection, and cannot be recognized as a pixel.

  In view of the above problems, an object of the present invention is to provide an ink jet recording apparatus that can stably perform ink ejection from a nozzle in a head ejection pixel after a non-ejection pixel is continuous.

In order to achieve the above object, the present invention provides a plurality of nozzles that eject ink onto a recording medium, a plurality of pressurizing chambers that communicate with the plurality of nozzles and can accommodate ink therein, and a plurality of the pressurizing chambers. A recording head having a plurality of piezoelectric elements disposed corresponding to the pressure chambers and applying pressure to the ink in each of the pressurizing chambers to eject the ink from each of the nozzles; and a driving waveform of a driving voltage of the piezoelectric element A plurality of ink ejection driving waveforms set according to the number of ink ejections from the nozzles, and a meniscus oscillation driving waveform that causes the meniscus in the nozzles to oscillate without performing ink ejection. A drive pulse generator that generates a drive waveform, and which drive waveform generated by the drive pulse generator is applied to the piezoelectric element, or which drive waveform is not applied to the piezoelectric element. And a selector that selects each nozzle, and for each pixel constituting the image data to be printed, a head that executes at least one ink ejection determined according to the gradation of the pixel to each nozzle. A drive unit, an image processing unit that generates print data in which each pixel constituting image data to be printed is indicated by multi-value gradation, and each pixel that constitutes print data generated by the image processing unit, In the ink jet recording apparatus comprising: a data processing unit that generates drive waveform selection data representing the number of ink ejections of each nozzle corresponding to the gradation of each pixel, the drive pulse generating unit includes: After one or more preliminary pulses having a pulse width narrower than 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head, one or more ink ejections determined according to the gradation of the pixel are performed. The leading ejection pixel driving waveform can be generated by relaying one or more ink ejection pulses to be generated, and the leading ejection pixel driving waveform is the first ejection pulse of the ink ejection pulse from the end of the preliminary pulse. When the standby time until the start is b, the pulse width of the ink ejection pulse is c, and the natural vibration period of the recording head is T, the following equation (I) is satisfied, and the head driving unit A line buffer for storing drive waveform selection data for the next and subsequent print N lines (N is an integer of 10 or more) transmitted from the processing unit is provided, and the selector includes the same nozzles stored in the line buffer. The drive waveform selection data for the print N lines from the next time on is all 0, and the drive waveform for the print N + 1 line transmitted from the data processing unit next time When the selection data is not 0, the meniscus swing driving waveform is selected as the driving waveform for the next and subsequent printing N lines for the nozzle, and the driving waveform for the printing N + 1 line corresponds to the gradation of each pixel. If the drive waveform selection data for the print N + 1 line is not 0, the ink discharge drive waveform corresponding to the gradation of each pixel is selected and driven. If the waveform selection data is 0, no drive waveform is selected.
1.8 × T / 2 ≦ b + c ≦ 3.2 × T / 2 (I)

The present invention also relates to a plurality of nozzles that eject ink onto a recording medium, a plurality of pressure chambers that communicate with the plurality of nozzles and that can accommodate ink therein, and the plurality of pressure chambers. A recording head having a plurality of piezoelectric elements that are arranged to apply pressure to the ink in each of the pressurizing chambers and eject the ink from each of the nozzles; Drive that generates a plurality of drive waveforms including two or more ink discharge drive waveforms set according to the number of ink discharges and a meniscus swing drive waveform that swings the meniscus in the nozzle without performing ink discharge. For each nozzle, a pulse generator and which drive waveform generated by the drive pulse generator is to be applied to the piezoelectric element, or which drive waveform is not applied to the piezoelectric element. A head driving unit that causes each of the nozzles to perform one or more ink ejections determined according to the gradation of the pixel for each pixel constituting the image data to be printed. An image processing unit that generates print data in which each pixel constituting the image data to be printed is indicated by multi-value gradation, and each pixel that constitutes the print data generated by the image processing unit And a data processing unit that generates drive waveform selection data for the next and subsequent print N lines (N is an integer of 10 or more) representing the number of ink ejections of each nozzle corresponding to the gradation. In the inkjet recording apparatus, the drive pulse generation unit may be determined according to the gradation of the pixel after one or more preliminary pulses having a pulse width narrower than ½ of the natural vibration period of the recording head. It is possible to generate a leading discharge pixel driving waveform by relaying one or more ink discharging pulses for performing one or more ink dischargings, and the leading discharge pixel driving waveform is 1 from the end of the preliminary pulse. When the waiting time until the start of the first ink ejection pulse is b, the pulse width of the ink ejection pulse is c, and the natural vibration period of the recording head is T, the following equation (I) is satisfied. In the selector, the drive waveform selection data for the next and subsequent printing N lines for the same nozzle transmitted from the data processing unit are all 0, and the printing N + 1 transmitted from the data processing unit next time If the drive waveform selection data of the line is not 0, the meniscus swing drive waveform is selected as the drive waveform for the next and subsequent print N lines for the nozzle. In addition, the driving waveform for the first ejection pixel corresponding to the gradation of each pixel is selected as the driving waveform for the printing N + 1 line. In other cases, the driving waveform selection data for the printing N + 1 line must be 0. For example, the drive waveform for ink ejection corresponding to the gradation of each pixel is selected, and if the drive waveform selection data is 0, no drive waveform is selected.
1.8 × T / 2 ≦ b + c ≦ 3.2 × T / 2 (I)

According to the present invention, in the ink jet recording apparatus having the above-described configuration, the driving waveform for the first ejection pixel is such that the number of preliminary pulses is n, the pulse width is a1, the standby time between the preliminary pulses is a2, and the recording head driving frequency When H is H, the following formula (II) is satisfied.
a1 × n + a2 × (n−1) + b ≦ 1 / H × 1/3 (II)

  According to the present invention, in the ink jet recording apparatus having the above-described configuration, a plurality of print modes having different driving frequencies H of the recording head can be selected, and the driving pulse generator is calculated from the driving frequency H of the recording head. Based on the number of preliminary pulses n, the driving waveform for the first ejection pixel corresponding to the selected print mode is generated.

  In the ink jet recording apparatus having the above-described configuration, the meniscus swing driving waveform has a narrower pulse width than the ink ejection driving waveform, and a pulse having a high frequency is continuously repeated a plurality of times. It is characterized by that.

  According to the present invention, in the ink jet recording apparatus having the above-described configuration, all the piezoelectric elements that eject ink at least once onto the next recording medium with a driving voltage of the driving waveform for meniscus oscillation between the recording media during continuous printing. It is characterized by being applied to the element.

According to the first configuration of the present invention, when ink is ejected from a nozzle having 10 or more non-ejection pixels, the non-ejection pixel performs only meniscus oscillation driving waveform meniscus oscillation and the leading ejection pixel. In this case, by selecting the head discharge pixel driving waveform in which the ink discharge pulse is relayed after the preliminary pulse, a pixel that can be reliably recognized by increasing the ink discharge force at the head discharge pixel from the normal time is selected. Can be formed. In particular, when water-based pigment-based ink is used, it is possible to suppress a problem that pixels cannot be recognized due to ejection of transparent ink droplets due to non-uniform ink components. Further, the time from the end of the preliminary pulse to the end of the ink ejection pulse (b + c) is a driving waveform for the first ejection pixel that satisfies the formula (I), so that the vibration due to the preliminary pulse and the vibration due to the ink ejection pulse are canceled out. Without matching, it is possible to reliably amplify the vibration caused by the ink ejection pulse and increase the ink ejection force.

Further, according to the second configuration of the present invention, similarly to the first configuration, it is possible to form a pixel that can be reliably recognized by increasing the ejection force of the ink at the head ejection pixel as compared with the normal time. . In particular, when water-based pigment-based ink is used, it is possible to suppress a problem that pixels cannot be recognized due to ejection of transparent ink droplets due to non-uniform ink components. Further, the time from the end of the preliminary pulse to the end of the ink ejection pulse (b + c) is a driving waveform for the first ejection pixel that satisfies the formula (I), so that the vibration due to the preliminary pulse and the vibration due to the ink ejection pulse are canceled out. Without matching, it is possible to reliably amplify the vibration caused by the ink ejection pulse and increase the ink ejection force. Further, since the drive waveform selection data for N lines is generated by the data processing unit, a line buffer is not required and the control is simplified.

  According to the third configuration of the present invention, in the ink jet recording apparatus having the above first or second configuration, the number of preliminary pulses of the drive waveform for the first ejection pixel is n, the pulse width is a1, and the standby between the preliminary pulses. When the time is a2 and the drive frequency of the recording head is H, by satisfying the formula (II), the application time of the preliminary pulse becomes 1/3 or less of the time allotted to the formation of one pixel, Can be suppressed to such an extent that there is no practical problem.

  Further, according to the fourth configuration of the present invention, in the ink jet recording apparatus of the third configuration, a plurality of print modes having different recording head driving frequencies H can be selected. On the basis of the number n of preliminary pulses calculated from the drive frequency H, the head discharge pixel drive waveform corresponding to the selected print mode is generated, so that the appropriate print mode such as the photo mode or the character mode can be obtained. A driving waveform for the first discharge pixel can be generated.

  According to the fifth configuration of the invention, in the ink jet recording apparatus having any one of the first to fourth configurations, a pulse having a narrower pulse width and a higher frequency than the ink ejection drive waveform. By using a driving waveform for meniscus oscillation that repeats a plurality of times in succession, the meniscus does not significantly swing, so that it is possible to prevent a problem that minute ink droplets with a low flying speed are formed and recognized as dust on the image. .

  According to the sixth configuration of the present invention, in the ink jet recording apparatus having any one of the first to fifth configurations, the driving voltage of the meniscus oscillation driving waveform between the recording media during continuous printing is By applying to all the piezoelectric elements that eject ink at least once on the recording medium, nozzle clogging and ink ejection failure can be more effectively prevented.

1 is a side view schematically showing a schematic structure of an inkjet recording apparatus 100 of the present invention. The top view which looked at the 1st conveyance unit 5 and the recording part 9 of the inkjet recording device 100 shown in FIG. 1 from upper direction. 1 is a block diagram showing an example of a control path used in the inkjet recording apparatus 100 of the present invention. Cross-sectional enlarged view showing the main configuration of the recording head 17 Waveform diagram showing a first drive waveform (1) which is a drive waveform for ink ejection Waveform diagram showing a second drive waveform (2) which is a drive waveform for ink ejection Waveform diagram showing a third driving waveform (3) which is a driving waveform for meniscus A graph showing a drive voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and a flow rate of ink in the nozzle 18 when the first drive waveform (1) is selected. A graph showing a drive voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and a flow rate of ink in the nozzle 18 when the second drive waveform (2) is selected. A graph showing a drive voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and a flow rate of ink in the nozzle 18 when the third drive waveform (3) is selected. Waveform diagram showing the fourth drive waveform (4) which is the drive waveform for the first ejection pixel Waveform diagram showing the fifth drive waveform (5) which is the drive waveform for the first ejection pixel The time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse of the fourth drive waveform (4) shown in FIG. 11 to the end of the ink ejection pulse is set to 1.6 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. Graph showing the driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 The time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse of the fourth drive waveform (4) shown in FIG. 11 to the end of the ink ejection pulse is set to 1.8 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. Graph showing the driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 The time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse of the fourth drive waveform (4) shown in FIG. 11 to the end of the ink ejection pulse is set to 2.0 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. Graph showing the driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 The time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse of the fourth drive waveform (4) shown in FIG. 11 to the end of the ink ejection pulse is set to 2.5 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. Graph showing the driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 The time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse of the fourth drive waveform (4) shown in FIG. 11 to the end of the ink ejection pulse is set to 3.0 times half the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. Graph showing the driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 The time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse of the fourth drive waveform (4) shown in FIG. 11 to the end of the ink ejection pulse is set to 3.2 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. Graph showing the driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 The time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse of the fourth drive waveform (4) shown in FIG. 11 to the end of the ink ejection pulse is set to 3.4 times 1/2 the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. Graph showing the driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 The time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse to the end of the ink ejection pulse of the fourth drive waveform (4) shown in FIG. 11 is set to 4.0 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. Graph showing the driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 Waveform diagram showing another example of the fourth drive waveform (4) which is the drive waveform for the first ejection pixel Waveform diagram showing another example of the fifth drive waveform (5) which is the drive waveform for the top discharge pixel 21 is a graph showing the drive voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of ink in the nozzle 18 when the fourth drive waveform (4) shown in FIG. 21 is selected. The flowchart which shows the sequence of the ink discharge operation of the recording head 17 in the inkjet recording device 100 of this invention. The block diagram which shows the other example of the control path | route used for the inkjet recording device 100 of this invention.

  Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings. FIG. 1 is a side view schematically showing a schematic configuration of an ink jet recording apparatus 100 of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a plan view of the first transport unit 5 and the recording unit 9 of the ink jet recording apparatus 100 shown in FIG. FIG.

  As shown in FIG. 1, a paper feed tray 2 that accommodates paper P (recording medium) is provided on the left side of the ink jet recording apparatus 100, and the paper P accommodated at one end of the paper feed tray 2. Are fed in order from the uppermost sheet P one by one to a first transport unit 5 to be described later, and a driven roller 4 that is pressed against the sheet feed roller 3 and driven to rotate is provided. ing.

  A first transport unit 5 and a recording unit 9 are disposed on the downstream side (right side in FIG. 1) of the paper feed roller 3 and the driven roller 4 with respect to the paper transport direction (arrow X direction). The first transport unit 5 includes a first drive roller 6 disposed on the downstream side in the paper transport direction, a first driven roller 7 disposed on the upstream side, the first drive roller 6 and the first driven roller 7. The first conveyance belt 8 is stretched and the first driving roller 6 is driven to rotate in the clockwise direction, whereby the paper P held by the first conveyance belt 8 is conveyed in the direction of the arrow X. Is done.

  Here, since the first drive roller 6 is disposed on the downstream side in the paper conveyance direction, the conveyance surface of the first conveyance belt 8 (upper side surface in FIG. 1) comes to be pulled by the first drive roller 6. The tension on the conveyance surface of the first conveyance belt 8 can be increased, and the sheet P can be conveyed stably. In addition, a sheet made of dielectric resin is used for the first transport belt 8, and a (seamless) belt mainly having no seam is used.

  The recording unit 9 includes a head housing 10 and line heads 11C, 11M, 11Y, and 11K held by the head housing 10. These line heads 11C to 11K are supported at such a height that a predetermined interval (for example, 1 mm) is formed with respect to the conveying surface of the first conveying belt 8, and as shown in FIG. A plurality (three in this case) of recording heads 17a to 17c are arranged in a zigzag pattern along the orthogonal paper width direction (vertical direction in FIG. 2). The line heads 11 </ b> C to 11 </ b> K have a recording area that is equal to or larger than the width of the transported paper P, and ink is applied to the paper P transported on the first transport belt 8 from the nozzles 18 corresponding to the print positions. Can be discharged. Further, each of the recording heads 17a to 17c is arranged such that a part of the nozzle 18 provided in each recording head overlaps in the transport direction.

  In the recording heads 17a to 17c constituting the line heads 11C to 11K, inks of four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) stored in ink tanks (not shown) are respectively stored in the line heads 11C to 11K. Supplied for each color. The recording heads 17a to 17c use piezoelectric inkjet heads that generate ink droplets by transmitting pressure due to deformation of the piezoelectric element 31 (see FIG. 3) to the ink in the nozzle 18 to oscillate the meniscus.

  Each of the recording heads 17a to 17c ejects ink from the nozzle 18 toward the paper P that is sucked and held on the transport surface of the first transport belt 8 in accordance with image data received from an external computer or the like. As a result, a color image in which four colors of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black are superimposed is formed on the paper P on the first transport belt 8.

  In addition, in order to prevent ink discharge failure due to drying or clogging of the recording heads 17a to 17c, at the start of printing after being stopped for a long period of time, from the nozzles 18 of all the recording heads 17a to 17c and between printing operations. Prepares for the next printing operation by executing a purge for ejecting ink with increased viscosity in the nozzles from the nozzles 18 of the recording heads 17a to 17c having an ink ejection amount equal to or less than a specified value.

  A second transport unit 12 is disposed on the downstream side (right side in FIG. 1) of the first transport unit 5 with respect to the paper transport direction. The second transport unit 12 includes a second drive roller 13 disposed on the downstream side in the paper transport direction, a second driven roller 14 disposed on the upstream side, and the second drive roller 13 and the second driven roller 14. The second conveyance belt 15 is stretched over and the second driving roller 13 is driven to rotate in the clockwise direction, whereby the paper P held by the second conveyance belt 15 is conveyed in the direction of the arrow X. Is done.

  The paper P on which the ink image is recorded by the recording unit 9 is sent to the second transport unit 12, and the ink ejected on the surface of the paper P while passing through the second transport unit 12 is dried. A maintenance unit 19 is disposed below the second transport unit 12. The maintenance unit 19 moves below the recording unit 9 when performing the purge described above, wipes the ink ejected from the nozzles 18 of the recording head 17, and collects the wiped ink.

  Further, on the downstream side of the second transport unit 12 with respect to the paper transport direction, a discharge roller pair 16 that discharges the paper P on which an image has been recorded to the outside of the apparatus main body is provided. Is provided with a discharge tray (not shown) on which sheets P discharged outside the apparatus main body are stacked.

  Next, drive control of the recording unit 9 in the inkjet recording apparatus 100 of the present invention will be described. FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating an example of a control path used in the ink jet recording apparatus 100 of the present invention, and FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view illustrating the main configuration of the recording head 17. In addition, since various control of each part of an apparatus is performed when using the inkjet recording device 100, the control path | route of the inkjet recording device 100 whole becomes complicated. Therefore, here, a portion of the control path that is necessary for the implementation of the present invention will be mainly described. In addition, the recording heads 17a to 17c are described with the symbols a to c omitted.

  The inkjet recording apparatus 100 includes a control unit 20 that mainly performs control related to image processing. The control unit 20 generates an image processing unit 21 that generates print data (i) in which each pixel constituting the image data to be printed is indicated by multi-value gradation, and each pixel that constitutes the print data (i). Which drive voltage of the first drive waveform (1) to the fifth drive waveform (5) to be described later is applied to each piezoelectric element 31 of each nozzle 18 that performs ink ejection corresponding to each pixel, or A data processing unit for generating drive waveform selection data (ii) indicating whether any drive voltage is applied.

  The recording unit 9 includes a recording head 17 constituting the line heads 11 </ b> C to 11 </ b> K (see FIG. 2) for each color, and a head driving unit 25 that drives the recording head 17. The head driving unit 25 causes the recording head 17 to perform one or more ink ejections determined in accordance with the gradation of the pixel for each pixel constituting the image data to be printed, so that the pixel is recorded on the paper. I do.

  The head drive unit 25 generates a first drive waveform (1), a second drive waveform (2), a third drive waveform (3), a fourth drive waveform (4), and a fifth drive waveform (5), which will be described later. A drive pulse generator 27 to be driven, a line buffer 29 for storing drive waveform selection data (ii) for N lines after the next time, and drive waveform selection data (ii) for N lines stored in the line buffer 29 The first driving waveform (1) to the fifth driving waveform (5) are selected and selected based on the driving waveform selection data (ii) of the (N + 1) -th line transmitted from the data processing unit 23. A selector 30 for applying a driving voltage of the driving waveform to the piezoelectric element 31 of the recording head 17 or selecting any driving waveform and holding the driving voltage of the piezoelectric element 31 of the recording head 17 constant; With

  The recording head 17 is a line head type as shown in FIG. 2, and has an ejection surface 33 facing the paper as shown in FIG. The discharge surface 33 is provided with a plurality of discharge ports 18 a having a minute diameter, which is an opening of the nozzle 18, at least over the maximum width of the print region in the longitudinal direction of the discharge surface 33 (main scanning direction).

  As shown in FIG. 4, the recording head 17 includes a water repellent film 33a that covers a portion of the ejection surface 33 other than the ejection port 18a, and a pressurizing chamber 35 that is provided for each ejection port 18a. An ink tank (not shown) that stores ink, and a common flow path 37 that supplies ink from the ink tank to the plurality of pressure chambers 35 are provided. The pressurizing chamber 35 and the common channel 37 are communicated with each other through a supply hole 39, and ink is supplied from the common channel 37 to the pressurizing chamber 35 through the supply hole 39. The nozzle 18 continues from the pressurizing chamber 35 to the discharge port 18a. Of the walls of the pressurizing chamber 35, the wall on the opposite side to the discharge surface 33 is constituted by a diaphragm 40. The diaphragm 40 is formed continuously over the plurality of pressurizing chambers 35, and the common electrode 41 formed continuously over the plurality of pressurizing chambers 35 is similarly laminated on the diaphragm 40. Yes. A separate piezoelectric element 31 is provided for each pressurizing chamber 35 on the common electrode 41, and a separate individual electrode 43 is provided for each pressurizing chamber 35 so as to sandwich the piezoelectric element 31 together with the common electrode 41. .

  The drive pulses generated by the drive pulse generator 27 of the head driver 25 are applied to the individual electrodes 43, whereby each piezoelectric element 31 is driven individually. The deformation of the piezoelectric element 31 due to this driving is transmitted to the diaphragm 40, and the pressurizing chamber 35 is compressed by the deformation of the diaphragm 40. As a result, pressure is applied to the ink in the pressurizing chamber 35, and the ink that has passed through the nozzle 18 is ejected from the ejection port 18a as ink droplets onto the paper. It should be noted that while the ink droplets are not ejected, the ink is contained in the nozzle 18, and the ink forms a meniscus surface M in the nozzle 18.

  5 to 7 are waveform diagrams showing the first drive waveform (1) to the third drive waveform (3) generated by the drive pulse generator 27. FIGS. 8 to 10 are diagrams showing the first drive waveform (1). FIG. 6 is a graph showing a driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and a flow rate of ink in the nozzle 18 when the third driving waveform (3) is selected. In FIGS. 8 to 10, the drive voltage (Volt) is indicated by a thin line, and the ink flow velocity (Vn) is indicated by a thick line.

  The first drive waveform (1) and the second drive waveform (2) are used at the time of normal ink ejection determined in advance for each gradation of the pixels constituting the image data to be printed (the number of ink ejections of the nozzles 18). It is a waveform to be generated. The first drive waveform (1) is a drive waveform corresponding to drive waveform selection data (ii) having a gradation value of 1 that causes the head drive unit 25 to eject ink once by the nozzles 18 of the recording head 17 for one pixel. As shown in FIG. 5, during the pulse width T1 from the voltage value (V0) of the driving power source, the voltage value (V0) of the driving power source becomes a predetermined value (V1) lower than the voltage value of the driving power source. There is something to return. When such a first drive waveform (1) is applied to the piezoelectric element 31, as shown in FIG. 8, the ink flow rate in the nozzle 18 exceeds 10 m / s at a time, so that an ink droplet from the ejection port 18a. Is discharged once.

  The second driving waveform (2) is a driving waveform corresponding to driving waveform selection data (ii) having a gradation value of 2 that causes the head driving unit 25 to eject ink twice by the nozzle 18 of the recording head 17 for one pixel. As shown in FIG. 6, during a pulse width T1 from the voltage value (V0) of the driving power source, the voltage value (V0) of the driving power source becomes a predetermined value (V1) lower than the voltage value of the driving power source. There is prepared one that repeats the pulse of the returning first driving waveform (1) twice. When such a second drive waveform (2) is applied to the piezoelectric element 31, the ink flow rate in the nozzle 18 exceeds 10 m / s twice as shown in FIG. Is discharged twice.

  On the other hand, the third drive waveform (3) is a drive waveform that is determined in advance so that the meniscus M can be swung without ejecting the ink droplets in the nozzles 18. 1) It has a different waveform from the second drive waveform (2). As shown in FIG. 7, the third drive waveform (3) has a narrower pulse width T2 than the drive waveform for ejecting ink (see FIGS. 5 and 6), and a higher frequency than the drive waveform for ejecting ink. There is prepared a pulse that repeats a plurality of times continuously. When such a third drive waveform (3) is applied to the piezoelectric element 31, as shown in FIG. 10, the flow velocity of the ink in the nozzle 18 does not exceed 10 m / s, and the meniscus surface M oscillates. Ink droplets are not ejected.

  The oscillation of the meniscus surface M using the third drive waveform (3) is not limited to the nozzles 18 immediately before the dot formation, but all the nozzles that eject ink at least once on the next sheet between sheets for continuous printing. 18 is also preferable. The number of oscillations of the meniscus surface M between the sheets (the number of pulses of the third drive waveform (3) applied to the piezoelectric element 31) is in the vicinity of the ejection port 18a due to non-uniform ink liquid components in the nozzle 18. Even if the ink liquid becomes more transparent, the number of times that the ink liquid in the nozzle 18 is re-stirred by the meniscus swing and the landing dots do not become transparent must be 100 times or more.

  Note that if the meniscus surface M of the nozzle 18 immediately before the dot formation is largely swung, minute ink droplets having a low flying speed may be formed and recognized as dust on the image. Therefore, by making the pulse width T2 of the third drive waveform (3) narrower than the natural vibration period of the recording head 17, it is possible to prevent the generation of minute ink droplets due to the oscillation of the meniscus surface M.

  Next, ink discharge control of the recording head 17 in the inkjet recording apparatus 100 of the present invention will be described in detail. In the present invention, the drive generated by the data processing unit 23 based on the print data (i) in which each pixel is indicated by multi-value gradation at the top discharge pixel after the non-discharge pixels have continued for a predetermined number of pixels or more. The ink ejection drive waveform selected corresponding to the waveform selection data (ii) is changed to the head ejection pixel drive waveform.

  FIG. 11 is a waveform diagram showing a fourth drive waveform (4) that is a drive waveform for the first pixel of gradation value 1, and FIG. 12 is a fifth waveform that is a drive waveform for the first pixel of gradation value 2. It is a wave form diagram which shows a drive waveform (5).

  In the fourth driving waveform (4), the head driving unit 25 ejects ink once by the nozzles 18 of the recording head 17 for one pixel in the first ejection pixel after the number of non-ejection pixels continues for a predetermined number of pixels or more. Drive waveform selection data (ii) with a gradation value of 1 to be used, and as shown in FIG. 11, a preliminary pulse having a pulse width a1 narrower than 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head After that, a drive waveform is prepared in which an ink ejection pulse having a pulse width c (= T1) for ejecting ink is relayed once.

  In the fifth driving waveform (5), the head driving unit 25 ejects ink twice by the nozzles 18 of the recording head 17 for one pixel in the first ejection pixel after the number of non-ejection pixels continues for a predetermined number of pixels or more. Drive waveform selection data (ii) having a gradation value of 2 to be used. As shown in FIG. 12, a reserve waveform having a pulse width a1 narrower than 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17 is used. After the pulse, a drive waveform is prepared in which an ink ejection pulse having a pulse width c (= T1) for ejecting ink is relayed twice.

  As described above, particularly when water-based pigment-based ink is used, the first discharge pixel after the non-discharge pixel has continued for a predetermined number of pixels or more is transparent with less pigment due to non-uniform ink liquid components in the nozzle 18. Ink droplets are ejected and cannot be recognized as pixels. Therefore, the ink ejection drive waveform (first drive waveform (1) or second drive waveform (2)) at the time of forming the first ejection pixel is changed to the head ejection pixel drive waveform (fourth drive waveform (4) or second drive waveform (4). By changing to the 5 drive waveform (5)), the amplitude of the ink ejection pulse is increased by the preliminary pulse, and the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 is also increased. As a result, the ink ejection force can be increased compared to the first drive waveform (1) and the second drive waveform (2), which are normal ink ejection drive waveforms, and a pixel that can be reliably recognized as the leading ejection pixel is formed. Is done.

  13 to 20, the time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse of the fourth drive waveform (4) to the end of the ink ejection pulse is 1.6 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. , 1.8 times, 2.0 times, 2.5 times, 3.0 times, 3.2 times, 3.4 times, and 4.0 times, the driving voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 And a flow rate of ink in the nozzle 18. In FIGS. 13 to 20, the drive voltage (Volt) is indicated by a thin line, and the ink flow velocity (Vn) is indicated by a thick line.

  When b + c is made smaller than 1.8 times half of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17, the oscillation of the meniscus by the preliminary pulse is not stable. Further, the vibration due to the preliminary pulse and the vibration due to the ink ejection pulse cancel each other. For this reason, in FIG. 13 in which b + c is 1.6 times half the natural vibration period of the recording head 17, the ink flow velocity in the nozzle 18 does not exceed 10 m / s, and the ink ejection force cannot be increased.

  Further, when b + c is larger than 3.2 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17, similarly to the case where it is smaller than 1.8 times, the vibration due to the preliminary pulse and the ink ejection pulse are caused. Vibrations cancel each other. In addition, since the standby time b from the preliminary pulse to the ink ejection pulse is long, the vibration due to the preliminary pulse is attenuated. Therefore, in FIGS. 19 and 20 in which b + c is 3.4 times and 4.0 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17, the flow rate of the ink in the nozzle 18 is the first driving shown in FIG. It becomes smaller than the waveform (1), and the ink ejection force cannot be increased.

  On the other hand, when b + c is set to 1.8 times to 3.2 times 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17, the vibration caused by the preliminary pulse amplifies the vibration caused by the ink ejection pulse. As shown in FIG. 18, the ink flow velocity in the nozzle 18 becomes larger than the first drive waveform (1) shown in FIG. 8, and the ink ejection force can be increased. Although not described here, the same result is obtained for the time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse of the fifth drive waveform (5) to the end of the first ink ejection pulse.

As described above, the driving waveform for the first ejection pixel is set such that the time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse to the end of the first ink ejection pulse satisfies the following formula (I).
1.8 × T / 2 ≦ b + c ≦ 3.2 × T / 2 (I)
However,
b: waiting time from the end of the preliminary pulse to the start of the ink ejection pulse c; the pulse width T of the ink ejection pulse; the natural vibration period of the recording head.

  FIGS. 21 and 22 respectively show a fourth drive waveform (4) that is a drive waveform for the first pixel with a gradation value of 1, and a fifth drive waveform (5) that is a drive waveform for the first pixel with a gradation value of 2. It is a wave form diagram which shows another example. FIG. 23 is a graph showing the drive voltage applied to the piezoelectric element 31 and the flow rate of ink in the nozzle 18 when the fourth drive waveform (4) in FIG. 21 is selected. In FIG. 23, the driving voltage when the time (b + c) from the end of the preliminary pulse to the end of the first ink ejection pulse is set to 2.5 times 1/2 the natural vibration period of the recording head 17. (Volt) is indicated by a thin line, and the ink flow velocity (Vn) is indicated by a thick line.

  In FIG. 21, after two preliminary pulses having a pulse width a1 narrower than half the natural vibration period of the recording head 17, an ink ejection pulse having a pulse width c that causes ink ejection is relayed once. It has a waveform. In FIG. 22, after two preliminary pulses with a pulse width a1 narrower than 1/2 of the natural vibration period of the recording head 17, an ink ejection pulse with a pulse width c that causes ink ejection is relayed twice. It has a waveform.

  When a user selects a mode with different image quality (resolution) such as a character mode or a photo mode, the output speed of the ink jet recording apparatus 100 changes, so that the resolution from each nozzle 18 matches the resolution in the paper transport direction. It is necessary to change the ejection timing of the ink droplets. Here, when a mode with a high resolution is selected, the time required for printing one page becomes long, so that the meniscus drying is promoted in the nozzle 18 in which non-ejection pixels are continuous. Therefore, as shown in FIGS. 21 and 22, it is preferable to further amplify the ink ejection pulse and further increase the ink ejection force by using the driving waveform for the first ejection pixel in which the preliminary pulse is repeated a plurality of times.

  At this time, as the number of preliminary pulses increases, the amplification effect of the ink ejection pulse increases, but the time until the ink ejection pulse is applied also becomes longer. Therefore, if the number of preliminary pulses is increased too much, a normal ink ejection driving waveform (first driving waveform (1) or second driving waveform (from the nozzle 18 having no non-ejection pixels) among ink droplets forming the same line ( The ejection timing of the ink droplets ejected by the application of 2)) is shifted. As a result, the landing position of the ink droplets is shifted in the transport direction, and if a deviation of a certain level or more occurs, the line that should be a straight line may not be a straight line.

  In order to suppress the deviation of the ink ejection timing between the head ejection pixel and the normal pixel after the non-ejection pixel continues, the application time of the preliminary pulse is limited to such an extent that the deviation of the landing position of the ink droplet cannot be recognized. Can be considered. Here, the time allotted to one pixel is the reciprocal of the drive frequency of the recording head 17, and any practical amount is within 1/3 dot (pixel). That is, if the application time of the preliminary pulse is set to 1/3 or less of the reciprocal of the drive frequency, the deviation between the first ejection pixel and the normal pixel can be suppressed to a practically non-problematic level.

From the above, the beginning of the time (a1 × n + a2 × (n−1) + b) from the start of the preliminary pulse to the start of the ink ejection pulse when applying the preliminary pulse n times satisfies the following formula (II) The ejection pixel drive waveform is used.
a1 × n + a2 × (n−1) + b ≦ 1 / H × 1/3 (II)
However,
a1; preliminary pulse width a2; standby time b from the end of the preliminary pulse to the start of the next preliminary pulse b; standby time H from the end of the preliminary pulse to the start of the ink ejection pulse; drive frequency of the recording head .

  The drive frequency H of the recording head 17 is determined according to the image quality (resolution) and the print mode when the user selects the image quality (resolution) and the print mode at the start of printing. Based on the determined driving frequency H, the number n of preliminary pulses in the driving waveform for the first ejection pixel is calculated, and the driving pulse generator 27 generates the fourth driving waveform (4) and the fifth driving waveform (5). Is done.

  In this embodiment, the driving waveform selection data (ii) of the pixels stored in the line buffer 29 is set to 10 lines, and the meniscus swing immediately before the ejection is performed from 10 pixels before the top ejection pixel. This is because when there are 10 or more non-ejection pixels, ink ejection failure from the nozzle 18 becomes a problem, and meniscus oscillation needs to be performed. Further, in order to recognize the presence of the subsequent non-ejection pixel, the drive waveform selection data (ii) must be placed in the vicinity of the head drive unit 25, and the line buffer 29 is required. If the number of lines that can be stored in the line buffer 29 is increased, the meniscus can be swung from 10 pixels or more. However, since this leads to an increase in cost, 10 pixels are used here.

  FIG. 24 is a flowchart showing the sequence of the ink ejection operation of the recording head 17 in the inkjet recording apparatus 100 of the first embodiment. The ink ejection operation when recording an image using the inkjet recording apparatus 100 of the present embodiment will be described along the steps of FIG. 24 with reference to FIGS.

  When a print command is input from a printer driver or the like of a personal computer, first, print data (i) based on the image data input by the image processing unit 21 in the control unit 20 is generated (step S1). Next, the print data (i) is transmitted to the data processing unit 23, and for each pixel constituting the print data (i), a drive waveform indicating the number of ink ejections of each nozzle 18 that performs ink ejection corresponding to each pixel. Selection data (ii) is generated (step S2).

  In addition, the drive frequency of the recording head is determined according to the image quality (resolution) and print mode selected by the user, and the drive waveform for the first ejection pixel is generated based on the number of preliminary pulses calculated from the determined drive frequency. (Step S3). For example, when the number of reserve pulses is 1, the fourth drive waveform (4) and the fifth drive waveform (5) shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 are generated, and when the number of reserve pulses is 2, FIGS. The fourth drive waveform (4) and the fifth drive waveform (5) shown in FIG.

  In the present embodiment, the recording head 17 can form three gradation dots having gradation values 0, 1, and 2. In the data processing unit 23, after the 256 gradation printing data (i) is converted to the three gradation driving waveform selection data (ii), ink is ejected at the same timing according to the arrangement of the nozzles 18 of the recording head 17. The drive waveform selection data (ii) of pixels for one line to be transmitted is transmitted to the selector 30, and the drive waveform selection data (ii) of pixels for the next N lines (here 10 lines) is transmitted to the head drive unit 25. The data is transmitted and stored in the line buffer 29 at a timing synchronized with the drive frequency (step S4).

  Next, the drive waveform selection data (ii) of the (N + 1) th line (here, the 11th line) transmitted to the line buffer 29 and the drive waveform selection data (ii) for 10 lines stored in the line buffer 29 are included. The corresponding drive waveform is determined. First, it is determined for each nozzle 18 whether or not the gradation values of the drive waveform selection data (ii) of the pixels for 10 lines stored in the line buffer 29 in step S4 are all 0 (the number of ink ejections is 0). (Step S5). If all the gradation values are 0, whether or not the gradation value of the drive waveform selection data (ii) of the image of the 11th line transmitted to the line buffer 29 is 0 for each nozzle 18. Determination is made (step S6).

  When the gradation value of the drive waveform selection data (ii) of the image on the 11th line is not 0, dots are formed by the nozzle 18 on the 11th line, so pixels for 10 lines stored in the line buffer 29 are stored. As the drive waveform, the third drive waveform (3) that performs only meniscus oscillation without ink ejection is selected (step S7). Then, the head discharge pixel drive waveform is selected based on the drive waveform selection data (ii) of the pixels on the 11th line (step S8). For example, when the drive waveform selection data (ii) has the gradation value 1, the fourth drive waveform (4) corresponding to the gradation value 1 is selected. When the drive waveform selection data (ii) has the gradation value 2, the fifth drive waveform (5) corresponding to the gradation value 2 is selected.

  On the other hand, if at least one gradation value of the pixels for 10 lines stored in the line buffer 29 in step S4 is not 0 (NO in step S5), the 11th line transmitted to the line buffer 29 in step S5. When the gradation value of the drive waveform selection data (ii) of the image is 0 (YES in step S6), the drive voltage is held or the gradation value of the drive waveform selection data (ii) of each line is set. A corresponding drive waveform is selected (step S9).

  For example, the first driving waveform (1) or the second driving waveform (2) corresponding to the pixel having the gradation value 1 or 2 among the pixels for 10 lines stored in the line buffer 29 is selected, A pixel having a gradation value of 0 holds the drive voltage (V0) because no dot is formed. In addition, when the pixel on the 11th line transmitted to the line buffer 29 has a gradation value of 0, dot formation is not performed, and thus the drive voltage (V0) is held.

  Then, it is determined whether or not printing for one line is completed (step S10). If printing is continued, 1 of the drive waveform selection data (ii) for 10 lines stored in the line buffer 29 is displayed. The drive waveform selection data (ii) of the line is read to the selector 30, and the drive waveform selection data (ii) of the second line to the tenth line is shifted by one line, and the drive waveform selection data (ii) of the pixel of the eleventh line. Is stored in the 10th line of the line buffer 29. Then, the drive waveform selection data (ii) for the next one line (11th line) is transmitted from the data processing unit 23 to the line buffer 29 (step S11). Thereafter, the procedure from step S5 to step S10 is repeated.

  By performing the ink ejection operation of the recording head 17 in the above procedure, the driving waveform for the first ejection pixel having a strong ink ejection force is selected for the first ejection pixel after the non-ejection pixels are continuous. It is possible to effectively suppress image defects caused by the discharge of water. Therefore, in single page or continuous page printing, ink can be stably ejected even when dots are to be formed by the nozzle 18 after a non-ejection or low printing rate section continues for a long time.

  Further, in the nozzle 18 that has swung the meniscus, the ink viscosity in the nozzle 18 is slightly increased as a whole by stirring the ink having increased viscosity in the vicinity of the meniscus. However, since the nozzle 18 that has oscillated the meniscus always discharges ink at the printing timing of the first discharge pixel, the thickened ink is immediately discharged out of the nozzle 18 and the viscosity increase in the nozzle 18 further proceeds. There is no. Therefore, clogging of the nozzles 18 due to the thickened ink and ink ejection failure due to this can be effectively prevented.

  FIG. 25 is a block diagram showing another example of the control path used in the inkjet recording apparatus 100 of the present invention. In FIG. 25, the line buffer 29 is not provided in the head drive unit 25, and the drive waveform selection for the next and subsequent print N lines (N is an integer of 10 or more) is performed in the data processing unit 23 in the control unit 20. Data (ii) is generated.

  Then, based on the drive waveform selection data (ii) for the next and subsequent print N lines transmitted from the data processing unit 23 to the selector 30, any drive waveform generated by the drive pulse generation unit 27 is applied to the piezoelectric element 31. It is selected for each nozzle whether to apply, or which drive waveform is not applied to the piezoelectric element 31. The drive waveform selection procedure is the same as steps S4 to S11 in FIG.

  According to the configuration of FIG. 25, since the data processing unit 23 generates drive waveform selection data (ii) for N lines, the line buffer 29 for storing drive waveform selection data (ii) for N lines after the next time is provided. It becomes unnecessary and the control is simplified.

  In addition, the present invention is not limited to the above embodiment, and various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit of the present invention. For example, in the above embodiment, the drive waveform selection data (ii) generated by the data processing unit 23 is three gradations with gradation values 0 to 2. However, the present invention is not limited to this, and two gradations 0 and 1 may be used. It is good and it is good also as four or more gradations. In that case, the type of the drive waveform generated by the drive pulse generator 27 is also set corresponding to the drive waveform selection data (ii). In addition, driving waveforms for the first ejection pixels corresponding to the number of gradations are generated.

  Further, the number of nozzles 18 and the nozzle interval of the recording head 17 can be appropriately set according to the specifications of the inkjet recording apparatus 100. The number of recording heads 17 for each line head 11C to 11K is not particularly limited. For example, one recording head 17 can be arranged for each line head 11C to 11K, and four or more recording heads can be arranged. You can also. Hereinafter, the effects of the present invention will be described in more detail with reference to examples.

  Two types of recording heads 17 having a nozzle density in the main scanning direction of 300 dpi, 600 dpi, and 1200 dpi, respectively, were prepared. The recording heads 17 having the same resolution are arranged so that the nozzle positions are on the same straight line, and one recording head 17 has a first driving waveform (1) which is an ink ejection driving waveform of gradation value 1 shown in FIG. ) Was selected. For the other recording head 17, the fourth driving waveform (4), which is the driving waveform for the first ejection pixel having the gradation value 1 shown in FIG. 21, is selected, and a1 × n + a2 × (n−1) + b is driven. By changing the number n of preliminary pulses so that the reciprocal of the frequency is 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4, the dot line of one horizontal row at gradation 1 is applied to glossy paper from both recording heads 17. Printing was performed and the linearity was evaluated visually. The paper conveyance speed was fixed at 847.6 mm / sec. The results are shown in Table 1.

  In Table 1, a case where it can be recognized as a dot line in one horizontal row without any problem. A case where a slight level difference can be seen at the boundary between dot lines printed by two heads, but a case where it can be recognized as a dot line in one horizontal row. A case where an apparent level difference can be seen at the boundary between the dot lines printed by the two heads is indicated by x.

  As is apparent from Table 1, in the recording head 17 that has selected the fourth drive waveform (4), the number of spare pulses n so that a1 * n + a2 * (n-1) + b is 1/3 or 1/4. When the nozzle density was 300 dpi, 600 dpi, and 1200 dpi, the dot lines printed by the two heads could be recognized as one horizontal horizontal dot line with almost no problem.

  On the other hand, in the recording head 17 in which the fourth drive waveform (4) is selected, when the number of preliminary pulses n is set so that a1 × n + a2 × (n−1) + b is ½, the nozzle density is At 600 dpi and 1200 dpi, the dot lines printed by the two heads could be recognized as one horizontal horizontal dot line with almost no problem, but at 300 dpi, a clear step was seen at the boundary of the dot lines.

  From the above results, if the application time of the preliminary pulse is set to 1/3 or less of the reciprocal of the drive frequency (the time allocated to one pixel), the first ejection pixel formed by the fourth drive waveform (4) and the first It was confirmed that the deviation from the normal pixel formed by the drive waveform (1) can be suppressed to a practically satisfactory level.

  The present invention is applicable to an ink jet recording apparatus that performs recording by ejecting ink from a recording head. By using the present invention, in the head discharge pixel after the non-discharge pixels are continuous, the ink is generated using the head discharge pixel drive waveform in which the preliminary pulse and the ink discharge pulse are relayed instead of the normal ink discharge drive waveform. Thus, an ink jet recording apparatus capable of suppressing printing defects by a simple control of discharging the ink is obtained.

DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 9 Recording part 11C-11K Line head 17 Recording head 18 Nozzle 20 Control part 21 Image processing part 23 Data processing part 25 Head drive part 27 Drive pulse generation part 29 Line buffer 30 Selector 31 Piezoelectric element 35 Pressure chamber 100 Inkjet recording apparatus M Meniscus

Claims (4)

  1. A plurality of nozzles for ejecting ink onto the recording medium, a plurality of pressure chambers communicating with the plurality of nozzles and accommodating ink therein, and disposed corresponding to the plurality of pressure chambers, A plurality of piezoelectric elements that apply pressure to the ink in the pressurizing chamber to discharge the ink from the nozzles;
    As the drive waveform of the drive voltage of the piezoelectric element, two or more ink discharge drive waveforms set according to the number of ink discharges from the nozzles, and a meniscus that swings the meniscus in the nozzles without performing ink discharge A drive pulse generator that generates a plurality of drive waveforms including a drive waveform for oscillation, and any drive waveform generated by the drive pulse generator is applied to the piezoelectric element, or any drive waveform is applied to the piezoelectric element. A selector for selecting whether to apply to each element for each nozzle, and for each pixel constituting image data to be printed, each ink discharge is determined at least once depending on the gradation of the pixel. A head driving unit to be executed for the nozzle;
    An image processing unit that generates print data in which each pixel constituting the image data to be printed is indicated by multi-value gradation, and each pixel that constitutes the print data generated by the image processing unit A control unit having a data processing unit for generating drive waveform selection data representing the number of ink ejections of each nozzle corresponding to a gradation;
    In an inkjet recording apparatus comprising:
    The drive pulse generator causes at least one ink ejection determined according to the gradation of the pixel after one or more preliminary pulses having a pulse width narrower than ½ of the natural vibration period of the recording head. It is possible to generate a leading discharge pixel driving waveform by relaying one or more ink discharging pulses, and the leading discharge pixel driving waveform is the start of the first ink discharging pulse from the end of the preliminary pulse. When the standby time until b is b, the pulse width of the ink ejection pulse is c, and the natural vibration period of the recording head is T, the following equation (I) is satisfied:
    The head drive unit includes a line buffer for storing drive waveform selection data for the next and subsequent print N lines (N is an integer of 10 or more) transmitted from the data processing unit,
    In the selector, the drive waveform selection data for the next and subsequent print N lines for the same nozzle stored in the line buffer are all 0, and the next print N + 1 line transmitted from the data processing unit When the eye driving waveform selection data is not 0, the meniscus oscillation driving waveform is selected as the driving waveform for the next and subsequent printing N lines for the nozzle, and the gradation of each pixel is selected as the printing waveform for the printing N + 1 line. Select the driving waveform for the first discharge pixel corresponding to
    In cases other than the above, if the drive waveform selection data for the print N + 1 line is not 0, the ink ejection drive waveform corresponding to the gradation of each pixel is selected, and if the drive waveform selection data is 0, any one is selected. Without selecting the drive waveform
    The driving waveform for the first ejection pixel is expressed by the following formula (II), where n is the number of spare pulses, a1 is a pulse width, a2 is a standby time between the preliminary pulses, and H is a driving frequency of the recording head. Meet,
    A plurality of printing modes having different driving frequencies H of the recording head can be selected, and the driving pulse generator is selected based on the number n of preliminary pulses calculated from the driving frequency H of the recording head. An ink jet recording apparatus that generates the driving waveform for the leading ejection pixel in accordance with a print mode .
    1.8 × T / 2 ≦ b + c ≦ 3.2 × T / 2 (I)
    a1 × n + a2 × (n−1) + b ≦ 1 / H × 1/3 (II)
  2. A plurality of nozzles for ejecting ink onto the recording medium, a plurality of pressure chambers communicating with the plurality of nozzles and accommodating ink therein, and disposed corresponding to the plurality of pressure chambers, A plurality of piezoelectric elements that apply pressure to the ink in the pressurizing chamber to discharge the ink from the nozzles;
    As the drive waveform of the drive voltage of the piezoelectric element, two or more ink discharge drive waveforms set according to the number of ink discharges from the nozzles, and a meniscus that swings the meniscus in the nozzles without performing ink discharge A drive pulse generator that generates a plurality of drive waveforms including a drive waveform for oscillation, and any drive waveform generated by the drive pulse generator is applied to the piezoelectric element, or any drive waveform is applied to the piezoelectric element. A selector for selecting whether to apply to each element for each nozzle, and for each pixel constituting image data to be printed, each ink discharge is determined at least once depending on the gradation of the pixel. A head driving unit to be executed for the nozzle;
    An image processing unit that generates print data in which each pixel constituting the image data to be printed is indicated by multi-value gradation, and each pixel that constitutes the print data generated by the image processing unit A control unit having a data processing unit that generates drive waveform selection data for the next and subsequent printing N lines (N is an integer of 10 or more) representing the number of ink ejections of each nozzle corresponding to the gradation;
    In an inkjet recording apparatus comprising:
    The drive pulse generator causes at least one ink ejection determined according to the gradation of the pixel after one or more preliminary pulses having a pulse width narrower than ½ of the natural vibration period of the recording head. It is possible to generate a leading discharge pixel driving waveform by relaying one or more ink discharging pulses, and the leading discharge pixel driving waveform is the start of the first ink discharging pulse from the end of the preliminary pulse. When the standby time until b is b, the pulse width of the ink ejection pulse is c, and the natural vibration period of the recording head is T, the following equation (I) is satisfied:
    In the selector, the drive waveform selection data for the next and subsequent printing N lines for the same nozzle transmitted from the data processing unit are all 0, and the printing N + 1 line transmitted from the data processing unit next time When the eye driving waveform selection data is not 0, the meniscus oscillation driving waveform is selected as the driving waveform for the next and subsequent printing N lines for the nozzle, and the gradation of each pixel is selected as the printing waveform for the printing N + 1 line. Select the driving waveform for the first discharge pixel corresponding to
    In cases other than the above, if the drive waveform selection data for the print N + 1 line is not 0, the ink ejection drive waveform corresponding to the gradation of each pixel is selected, and if the drive waveform selection data is 0, any one is selected. Without selecting the drive waveform
    The driving waveform for the first ejection pixel is expressed by the following formula (II), where n is the number of spare pulses, a1 is a pulse width, a2 is a standby time between the preliminary pulses, and H is a driving frequency of the recording head. Meet,
    A plurality of printing modes having different driving frequencies H of the recording head can be selected, and the driving pulse generator is selected based on the number n of preliminary pulses calculated from the driving frequency H of the recording head. An ink jet recording apparatus that generates the driving waveform for the leading ejection pixel in accordance with a print mode .
    1.8 × T / 2 ≦ b + c ≦ 3.2 × T / 2 (I)
    a1 × n + a2 × (n−1) + b ≦ 1 / H × 1/3 (II)
  3. 3. The meniscus oscillation driving waveform has a narrower pulse width than the ink ejection driving waveform, and a pulse having a high frequency is continuously repeated a plurality of times. The ink jet recording apparatus described.
  4. Between the recording medium during continuous printing, claim 1乃, characterized in that applied to the all of the piezoelectric elements for ejecting at least once ink driving voltage of the meniscus oscillating drive waveform on the next recording medium the ink-jet recording apparatus according to any one of Itaru claim 3.
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