JP5857523B2 - Liquid ejection device - Google Patents

Liquid ejection device Download PDF

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JP5857523B2
JP5857523B2 JP2011178802A JP2011178802A JP5857523B2 JP 5857523 B2 JP5857523 B2 JP 5857523B2 JP 2011178802 A JP2011178802 A JP 2011178802A JP 2011178802 A JP2011178802 A JP 2011178802A JP 5857523 B2 JP5857523 B2 JP 5857523B2
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recording medium
liquid
ejection
discharge
image
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JP2013039760A (en
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和成 松浦
和成 松浦
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ブラザー工業株式会社
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Description

  The present invention relates to a liquid ejection device that ejects liquid.
  In Patent Document 1, when one recording medium is used as a flushing medium and continuous printing is performed on a plurality of recording media, the flushing medium is transported between recording media for printing, and the recording head is placed on the flushing medium from the recording head. An ink jet recording apparatus that performs the flushing is described. When the flushing medium reaches the use limit, a new recording medium is adopted as the flushing medium.
JP 2007-125814 A
However, since the technique described in Patent Document 1 employs one recording medium as a flushing medium, there is a problem that a recording medium is required separately from the recording medium for printing.
Further, in continuous printing in which a recording medium having a width larger than that of the previously transported recording medium is transported and printing is performed on these recording media, when the previously transported recording medium is used as a flushing medium, a small recording is performed. Flushing cannot be performed from an ejection port facing a large recording medium without facing the medium. Therefore, it is necessary to discharge the flushing medium (small recording medium) and newly adopt a large recording medium as the flushing medium. For this reason, in continuous printing in which the paper size changes from small to large, it is necessary to replace the recording medium as a flushing medium, and there is a problem that the number of recording media employed as the flushing medium increases.
  Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide a liquid ejecting apparatus capable of maintaining image quality without using a dedicated flushing medium when performing continuous printing.
  The liquid ejection apparatus of the present invention is orthogonal to the one direction so that a plurality of ejection ports for ejecting liquid pass through a position facing the ejection port, and a liquid ejection head arranged at equal intervals in one direction. A transport mechanism for transporting a recording medium in the transport direction, a retransmission mechanism for reversing the recording medium transported by the transport mechanism and retransmitting the recording medium upstream of the liquid ejecting head in the transport direction, the liquid discharge head, A transport mechanism and control means for controlling the retransmission mechanism. Then, the control means follows the first recording medium having a width smaller than the distance between the two outermost ejection ports with respect to the one direction, and then the width of the first recording medium with respect to the one direction. When the second recording medium having a large size is conveyed and continuous printing is performed to form an image based on image data on the second recording medium, the second recording medium is conveyed by the conveyance mechanism and at least the second Forming a non-image dot not based on the image data by discharging a liquid from the discharge port in a region facing the second recording medium and not facing the first recording medium toward the surface of the second recording medium. After performing the discharge flushing, the retransmission mechanism retransmits the second recording medium to the upstream side of the liquid discharge head, and the retransmitted second recording medium is conveyed by the conveyance mechanism and the As towards the rear surface of the second recording medium by ejecting liquid to form an image dots constituting an image based on the image data, the liquid ejection head, the conveying mechanism, and to control the retransmission mechanism.
  According to this, since discharge flushing is performed on the surface of the second recording medium during continuous printing, the quality of the image formed on the back surface of the second recording medium can be reduced without using a dedicated flushing medium. It becomes possible to maintain. In addition, it is not necessary to interrupt the conveyance of the recording medium in order to perform a maintenance operation (recovering the discharge performance of the liquid discharge head), which contributes to an improvement in throughput.
  In the present invention, when the image forming is performed on both sides of the second recording medium in the continuous printing, the control unit is configured such that after the image is formed on the back surface of the second recording medium, the retransmission mechanism The second recording medium is retransmitted to the upstream side of the liquid ejection head, the retransmitted second recording medium is conveyed by the conveyance mechanism, and an image based on the image data is formed on the surface of the second recording medium. It is preferable that the liquid ejection head, the transport mechanism, and the retransmission mechanism are controlled so as to form image dots constituting the image. Thereby, even when image formation is performed on both sides of the second recording medium in continuous printing, the image quality formed on the second recording medium can be maintained.
  Further, in the present invention, when the discharge flushing is performed, the control unit is configured such that the liquid discharge amount from the discharge port facing the second recording medium without facing the first recording medium is It is preferable to control the liquid discharge head so that the liquid discharge amount from the discharge port facing the first recording medium is larger. As a result, it is possible to effectively recover the liquid discharge performance from the discharge port facing the second recording medium without facing the first recording medium.
In the present invention, in the continuous printing, a measuring unit that measures a time from when printing on one or more first recording media is started until printing on the second recording medium is started. It has more. Then, as the time measured by the measuring unit becomes longer, the control unit discharges the liquid from the ejection port facing the second recording medium without facing the first recording medium. It is preferable to control the liquid discharge head so that a difference between the amount and the liquid discharge amount from the discharge port facing the first recording medium becomes large. As a result, the quality of the image formed on the second recording medium can be maintained even if the printing period on one or more first recording media becomes longer.
In the present invention, in the continuous printing, the control unit may cause the discharge port facing the first recording medium to discharge liquid from the discharge port in a low-temperature and high-humidity environment where the liquid is difficult to thicken. Non-ejection flushing is performed to vibrate the liquid meniscus formed at the ejection port without causing ejection, and the liquid ejection head is controlled to perform the ejection flushing in a high-temperature and low-humidity environment where the liquid tends to thicken. It is preferable.
In the present invention, the control means may include a period between the start of printing on the one or more first recording media and the start of printing on the second recording medium in the continuous printing. The non-ejection flushing is performed so as to vibrate the liquid meniscus formed at the ejection port without ejecting the liquid from the ejection port facing the second recording medium without facing the first recording medium. It is preferable to control the liquid discharge head. As a result, it is possible to more effectively recover the liquid discharge performance from the discharge port facing the second recording medium without facing the first recording medium.
In the present invention, when the control unit forms an image on the first and second recording media, the ejection port facing the recording medium forms an image dot that forms an image based on the image data. When the non-ejection period from the formation of the image dot to the next formation of another image dot is a predetermined time or more, non-image dots that are not based on the image data during the non-ejection period It is preferable to control the liquid discharge head so as to perform the discharge flushing to be formed.
In the present invention, it is preferable that the discharge flushing timing is set based on a random number.
In the present invention, when the control unit performs image formation on the first recording medium, the ejection port facing the recording medium forms an image dot that forms an image based on the image data. In this case, when a non-ejection period from the formation of the image dot to the next formation of another image dot is a predetermined time or more, the ejection port without ejecting liquid during the non-ejection period It is preferable to control the liquid discharge head so as to perform non-discharge flushing that vibrates the liquid meniscus formed on the surface. Thereby, wasteful discharge of liquid is suppressed.
  According to the liquid ejection apparatus of the present invention, when continuous printing is performed, ejection flushing is performed on the surface of the second recording medium. Therefore, the liquid ejection apparatus is formed on the back surface of the second recording medium without using a dedicated flushing medium. Image quality can be maintained. In addition, it is not necessary to interrupt the conveyance of the recording medium in order to perform a maintenance operation (recovering the discharge performance of the liquid discharge head), which contributes to an improvement in throughput.
1 is a schematic side view showing an internal structure of an ink jet printer according to an embodiment of a liquid ejection apparatus of the present invention. It is a top view which shows the head main body of the inkjet head contained in the printer of FIG. FIG. 3 is an enlarged view showing a region surrounded by an alternate long and short dash line in FIG. 2. FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional view taken along line IV-IV shown in FIG. 3. It is an enlarged view which shows the area | region enclosed with the dashed-dotted line of FIG. It is a functional block diagram of the control part shown in FIG. It is a figure for demonstrating the content of the area | region determination part shown in FIG. FIG. 2 is a flowchart showing a series of operation flows related to continuous printing executed by a control unit of the printer of FIG. 1.
  Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.
  First, an overall configuration of an ink jet printer 1 that is an embodiment of the liquid ejection apparatus of the present invention will be described with reference to FIG.
  The printer 1 has a rectangular parallelepiped casing 1a. A paper discharge unit 4 is provided on the top of the casing 1a. The internal space of the housing 1a can be divided into spaces A, B, and C in order from the top. In the spaces A and B, a paper transport path from the first paper feed section 23 and the second paper feed section 17 to the paper discharge section 4, and a paper retransmission path from the downstream side to the upstream side with the paper transport path interposed therebetween Is formed. As shown in FIG. 1, the paper P is transported along a thick black arrow in the paper transport path, and is transported along a thick thick arrow in the paper retransmission path. In the space A, paper feed from the second paper feed unit 17 to the transport path, image formation on the paper P, transport of the paper P to the paper discharge unit 4, and retransmission of the paper P are performed. In the space B, paper is fed from the first paper feeding unit 23 to the transport path. From the space C, ink is supplied to the inkjet head 2 in the space A.
  In the space A, four inkjet heads 2 (hereinafter referred to as the head 2), a transport mechanism 40, two guide portions 10a and 10b for guiding the paper P, a retransmission mechanism 60, a second paper feed portion 17, and a control The part 100 and the like are arranged.
  From the four heads 2, ink droplets of any one of magenta, yellow, cyan, and black are ejected. These four heads 2 have a substantially rectangular parallelepiped shape elongated in the main scanning direction. The four heads 2 are arranged at a predetermined pitch in the sub-scanning direction, and are supported by the housing 1a via a head holder (not shown). By the head holder, a predetermined gap suitable for recording is formed between the lower surface of the head 2 and the conveyor belt 43 (conveying mechanism 40).
  Each head 2 is a laminated body in which an actuator unit 21, a reservoir unit, a flexible printed circuit board (FPC), a control board, and the like are laminated in addition to the head body 3. On the lower surface of the head body 3 (flow path unit 9), the discharge port 108 is open and is the discharge surface 2a. The signal adjusted by the control board is converted into a drive signal by a driver IC on the FPC, and further output to the actuator unit 21. When the actuator unit 21 is driven, the ink supplied from the reservoir unit is ejected from the ejection port 108.
  The transport mechanism 40 includes two belt rollers 41 and 42, a transport belt 43, a platen 46, a nip roller 47, and a peeling plate 45. The conveyor belt 43 is an endless belt wound between the rollers 41 and 42. The belt roller 42 is a driving roller and causes the transport belt 43 to travel. The belt roller 42 is rotated clockwise in FIG. 1 by a motor (not shown). The belt roller 41 is a driven roller and is rotated by the travel of the transport belt 43. A weak adhesive silicon layer is formed on the outer peripheral surface of the conveyor belt 43. The nip roller 47 presses the sheet P conveyed from the first sheet feeding unit 23, the second sheet feeding unit 17, and the retransmission mechanism 60 against the outer peripheral surface of the conveyance belt 43. The pressed paper P is held on the conveyor belt 43 by the silicon layer and conveyed toward the head 2. The peeling plate 45 peels the conveyed paper P from the transport belt 43 and guides it to the paper discharge unit 4 on the downstream side.
  The two guide portions 10a and 10b are arranged with the transport mechanism 40 interposed therebetween. The guide unit 10a on the upstream side in the transport direction includes two guides 31a and 31b and a feed roller pair 32, and connects the first paper feed unit 23 and the transport mechanism 40. Further, a guide 18 is connected to an intermediate portion of the guide 31b, and the second paper feeding unit 17 and the transport mechanism 40 are also connected. The image forming paper P is transported toward the transport mechanism 40. The guide unit 10b on the downstream side in the transport direction has two guides 33a and 33b and two feed roller pairs 34 and 35, and connects the transport mechanism 40 and the paper discharge unit 4. The paper P after image formation is conveyed toward the paper discharge unit 4. Moreover, the guide part 10b switches a conveyance path | route by switchback operation | movement. When double-sided printing or maintenance operation is performed on the paper P, the guide unit 10 b transports the paper P transported toward the paper discharge unit 4 toward the retransmission mechanism 60.
  The retransmission mechanism 60 includes three feed roller pairs 61 to 63 and four guides 64 to 67 in addition to the above-described guide portion 10b. As shown in FIG. 1, four guides 64 to 67 are arranged in this order to form a paper retransmission path. The paper retransmission path is connected to the upstream vicinity of the feed roller pair 34 on the downstream side in the transport direction, and joins the downstream end of the guide 33a. The paper re-transmission path is connected to the vicinity of the upstream side of the feed roller pair 32 on the upstream side in the transport direction, and joins the downstream end of the guide 31a. The three feed roller pairs 61 to 63 are arranged in this order between the two adjacent guides 64 to 67. Such a retransmission mechanism 60 conveys the sheet P conveyed to the paper discharge unit 4 in the reverse direction, and retransmits it upstream of the head 2, that is, upstream of the conveyance mechanism 40 in the conveyance direction. At this time, the retransmitted paper P is supplied again to the transport mechanism 40 in a state where the front and back of the paper P are reversed.
  The second paper feed unit 17 includes a manual feed tray 15 and a paper feed roller 16, and joins to a middle part of the guide 31 b via the guide 18. The manual feed tray 15 is a plate-like member that is rotatably supported by the housing 1a, on which a sheet P2 of a predetermined size (for example, B5 size) is placed. The paper feed roller 16 sends out the uppermost paper P2 on the tray 15 to the paper transport path under the control of the control unit 100. Here, the tray 15 can be accommodated in an opening formed in the housing 1a, and is accommodated in the opening to constitute a side wall of the housing 1a.
  In the space B, the first paper feeding unit 23 is arranged. The first paper feed unit 23 includes a paper feed tray 24 and a paper feed roller 25. Among these, the paper feed tray 24 is detachable from the housing 1a. The paper feed tray 24 is a box that opens upward, and can store a plurality of papers P1. In the present embodiment, A4 size paper P1 can be stored. The paper feed roller 25 sends out the uppermost paper P 1 in the paper feed tray 24.
  Here, the sub-scanning direction is a direction parallel to the paper transport direction D transported by the transport mechanism 40, and the main scanning direction is a direction parallel to the horizontal plane and perpendicular to the sub-scanning direction.
  In the space C, four cartridges 22 for storing ink are detachably attached to the housing 1a. The four cartridges 22 store magenta, cyan, yellow, and black inks, and are connected to the corresponding heads 2 via tubes (not shown) and pumps (not shown). Each pump is driven by the control unit 100 when ink is forcibly sent to the head 2 (that is, when a purge operation or initial introduction of liquid is performed). Other than this, it is in a stopped state and does not hinder ink supply to the head 2.
  Next, the control unit 100 will be described. The control unit 100 controls the operation of each part of the printer 1 and controls the operation of the entire printer 1. The control unit 100 controls an image forming operation based on a print signal supplied from an external device (such as a PC connected to the printer 1). Specifically, the control unit 100 controls the transport operation of the paper P, the ink ejection operation synchronized with the transport of the paper P, the maintenance operation (for example, the flushing operation) of the head 2 during continuous printing, and the like. Details of the flushing operation will be described later.
  For example, when receiving a print signal for performing single-sided printing on A4 size paper P1 from an external device, the control unit 100, based on the print signal, the first paper feed unit 23, the transport mechanism 40, and each feed roller Drive pairs 32, 34, and 35. The paper P1 sent out from the paper feed tray 24 is guided by the upstream guide portion 10a and sent to the transport mechanism 40. When the paper P <b> 1 transported by the transport mechanism 40 passes immediately below the head 2, the head 2 is controlled by the control unit 100, and ink droplets are sequentially ejected from each head 2. Thereby, a desired color image is formed on the surface of the paper P1. The ink ejection operation (ink ejection timing) is based on a detection signal from the paper sensor 26. The paper sensor 26 is disposed upstream of the head 2 in the transport direction and detects the leading edge of the paper P1. The sheet P1 on which the image is formed is peeled off from the transport belt 43 by the peeling plate 45, then guided by the downstream guide part 10b, and discharged from the upper part of the housing 1a to the paper discharge part 4.
  For example, when receiving a print signal for performing double-sided printing on A4 size paper P1 from an external device, the control unit 100, based on the print signal, the first paper feed unit 23, the transport mechanism 40, and each The feed roller pairs 32, 34, and 35 are driven. First, as in the case of single-sided printing, an image is formed on the front side of the paper P1, and the paper P1 is conveyed toward the paper discharge unit 4. As shown in FIG. 1, a sheet sensor 27 is disposed in the vicinity of the upstream side of the feed roller pair 34 in the guide portion 10b in the middle of conveyance. When the paper sensor 27 detects the trailing edge of the paper P1, under the control of the control unit 100, the two feed roller pairs 34 and 35 are rotated in reverse to reverse the transport direction of the paper P1. The feed roller pairs 61 to 63 are also driven. As a result, the route of the paper P1 is switched, and the paper P1 is conveyed along the paper retransmission route (the route indicated by the white arrow). Further, the sheet P1 is re-supplied to the transport mechanism 40 by turning it over, and an image is formed on the back surface. Prior to image formation on the back surface, when the leading edge of the paper P1 is detected by the paper sensor 26, the pair of feed rollers 34 and 35 are returned to the normal rotation. The paper P1 printed on both sides is discharged to the paper discharge unit 4 through the guide unit 10b. When performing single-sided or double-sided printing on the paper P2 set in the second paper supply unit 17, the paper P2 is fed out from the second paper supply unit 17 instead of the first paper supply unit 23. The same control as described above is performed.
  Next, the head body 3 of the head 2 will be described in detail with reference to FIGS. In FIG. 3, for convenience of explanation, the pressure chamber 110, the aperture 112, and the discharge port 108 that are to be drawn with broken lines below the actuator unit 21 are drawn with solid lines.
  As shown in FIG. 2, the head body 3 is a laminated body in which four actuator units 21 are fixed to the upper surface of the flow path unit 9. The lower surface of the flow path unit 9 is the discharge surface 2a. An ink flow path is formed inside the flow path unit 9, and the actuator unit 21 applies ejection energy to the ink in the flow path.
  As shown in FIG. 4, the flow path unit 9 is a laminated body in which nine metal plates 122 to 130 made of stainless steel are laminated. As shown in FIG. 2, a total of ten ink supply ports 105 b communicating with the reservoir unit are opened on the upper surface of the flow path unit 9. As shown in FIGS. 2 to 4, a manifold channel 105 having an ink supply port 105 b as one end and a plurality of sub-manifold channels 105 a branched from the manifold channel 105 are formed inside the channel unit 9. Has been. Furthermore, a plurality of individual ink flow paths 132 are formed from the outlets of the respective sub-manifold flow paths 105a through the pressure chambers 110 to the discharge ports 108. A large number of discharge ports 108 formed on the discharge surface 2a are arranged in a matrix, and are arranged at intervals of 600 dpi, which is the resolution in this direction, with respect to the main scanning direction (one direction).
  As shown in FIGS. 2 to 4, the ink supplied from the reservoir unit to the ink supply port 105 b flows into the manifold channel 105 (sub-manifold channel 105 a). The ink in the sub-manifold channel 105 a is distributed to each individual ink channel 132 and reaches the ejection port 108 through the aperture 112 and the pressure chamber 110.
  Next, the actuator unit 21 will be described. As shown in FIG. 2, each of the four actuator units 21 has a trapezoidal planar shape, and is arranged in a staggered manner in the main scanning direction so as to avoid the ink supply ports 105b. Furthermore, the parallel opposing sides of each actuator unit 21 are along the main scanning direction, and the oblique sides of the adjacent actuator units 21 are superposed along the sub-scanning direction.
  As shown in FIG. 5, the actuator unit 21 is a piezoelectric actuator composed of three piezoelectric layers 161 to 163 made of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramics having ferroelectricity. The uppermost piezoelectric layer 161 is polarized in the thickness direction. A plurality of individual electrodes 135 are formed on the upper surface of the piezoelectric layer 161. The individual electrode 135 faces the pressure chamber 110. An individual land 136 is provided at the tip of the individual electrode 135. A common electrode 134 formed on the entire interface is interposed between the piezoelectric layer 161 and the lower piezoelectric layer 162. The common electrode 134 is equally applied with the ground potential in the region corresponding to all the pressure chambers 110. On the other hand, a drive signal is selectively supplied to the individual electrode 135 via the individual land 136.
  When the individual electrode 135 has a potential different from that of the common electrode 134, a portion sandwiched between the individual electrode 135 and the pressure chamber 110 is deformed with respect to the pressure chamber 110. In this way, the portion corresponding to the individual electrode 135 functions as an individual actuator. That is, the actuator unit 21 has a number of actuators corresponding to the pressure chambers 110, and each discharge energy is selectively given to the ink in the pressure chambers 110.
  Here, a driving method of the actuator unit 21 will be described. The actuator unit 21 uses the upper one piezoelectric layer 161 away from the pressure chamber 110 as a layer including a drive active portion (a portion sandwiched between both electrodes 134 and 135), and the lower two layers close to the pressure chamber 110. This is a so-called unimorph type actuator in which the piezoelectric layers 162 and 163 are inactive layers. For example, if the polarization direction and the electric field application direction are the same, the drive active portion contracts in a direction (plane direction) orthogonal to the polarization direction. At this time, since a difference in strain in the plane direction occurs with respect to the lower piezoelectric layers 162 and 163, the entire piezoelectric layers 161 to 163 (individual actuators) are deformed convexly (unimorph deformation) toward the pressure chamber 110 side. . As a result, pressure (discharge energy) is applied to the ink in the pressure chamber 110, and ink droplets are discharged from the discharge ports 108.
  In the present embodiment, when a predetermined potential is applied to the individual electrode 135 in advance, a drive signal is supplied to temporarily become a ground potential, and then return to the predetermined potential again at a predetermined timing thereafter. . At the timing when the individual electrode 135 becomes the ground potential, the piezoelectric layers 161 to 163 return to the original state, and the volume of the pressure chamber 110 increases, so that ink is sucked from the sub manifold channel 105a into the individual ink channel 132. . Further, at the timing when a predetermined potential is again applied to the individual electrode 135, the individual actuator portions in the piezoelectric layers 161 to 163 are deformed so as to protrude toward the pressure chamber 110, and the volume of the pressure chamber 110 decreases (ink). Ink pressure is ejected from the ejection port 108.
  Next, the control unit 100 will be described with reference to FIG. The control unit 100 includes a CPU (Central Processing Unit), a program executed by the CPU and a ROM (Read Only Memory) that stores data used for these programs in a rewritable manner, and temporarily stores data when the program is executed. RAM (Random Access Memory). Each functional unit constituting the control unit 100 is constructed by cooperation of these hardware and software in the ROM. As shown in FIG. 6, the control unit 100 includes a conveyance control unit 141, an image data storage unit 142, a data writing unit 143, a head control unit 144, a flushing data creation unit 150, and a time measurement unit 154. have.
  The conveyance control unit 141 includes a first sheet feeding unit 23, a second sheet feeding unit 17, and a guide unit so that the sheet P is conveyed at a predetermined speed along the conveyance direction based on a print signal received from an external device. Each operation of the transport mechanism 40 and the retransmission mechanism 60 is controlled. The control of the retransmission mechanism 60 by the transport control unit 141 is performed when the paper size is changed in addition to the duplex printing. During continuous printing in which the paper size changes from small to large, the first large-size paper (A4-size paper P1) is retransmitted. In the present embodiment, in continuous printing, a small size paper P2 is set on the second paper feed unit 17 by the user. Then, the paper P <b> 2 is transported from the second paper feed unit 17, and then the paper P <b> 1 is transported from the first paper feed unit 23. If the size of the paper P1 is larger than the paper P2, the paper P1 is not limited to the A4 size, and the paper P2 is not limited to the B5 size.
  The head controller 144 controls driving of each actuator included in the actuator unit 21. The head control unit 144 includes a drive data storage unit 145 that stores drive data of each actuator, and a drive unit 146 that outputs a drive signal for driving the actuator to each actuator. The drive data is composed of image data and flushing data described later. The drive unit 146 includes a driver IC that generates a drive signal amplified based on the drive data. The head controller 144 outputs a drive signal at a timing synchronized with the conveyance of the paper P based on the output of the paper sensor 26.
  The image data storage unit 142 stores image data included in a print signal from an external device. The image data indicates the dot size (any one of four levels of zero, small, medium, and large), the dot formation position, and the like for each ejection port 108 over a plurality of printing cycles. One printing cycle is the time required for the head 2 and the paper P to move relative to each other by a unit distance corresponding to the printing resolution in the paper transport direction. In the present embodiment, the large, medium, and small dot sizes are respectively formed with ink having a total ejection amount of 15 pl, 10 pl, and 5 pl.
  The data writing unit 143 writes the image data stored in the image data storage unit 142 to the drive data storage unit 145 of the head control unit 144. Accordingly, the head controller 144 can selectively control the driving of each actuator based on the image data.
  The time measuring unit (measuring unit) 154 starts printing of the small size paper P2 and starts printing of the large size paper P1 in continuous printing in which the paper size to be conveyed changes from small to large. Measure time. The time measuring unit 154 resets the measured time when printing of the paper P1 is started.
  The flushing data creation unit 150 includes an area determination unit 151, a random number generation unit 152, and a flushing allocation unit 153, and generates flushing data through the cooperation of the units. The flushing data instructs a flushing operation for each ejection port 108. The flushing data includes non-ejection flushing data and ejection flushing data. Based on the non-ejection flushing data, the head controller 144 drives the actuator to vibrate the meniscus of the corresponding ejection port 108 (non-ejection flushing). During meniscus vibration, ink droplets are not ejected. On the other hand, based on the ejection flushing data, the head controller 144 drives the actuator to eject ink droplets from the corresponding ejection port 108 (ejection flushing). About 3 pl of ink is ejected toward the paper P in one ejection flushing. The single ejection flushing here refers to preliminary ejection (formation of one non-image dot) performed during one printing cycle. For example, a plurality of ink drops are ejected continuously during one printing cycle. What is discharged from the outlet 108 is also included. Further, the non-image dots formed by the discharge flushing are much smaller than the image dot size and are not noticeable.
  The flushing data creation unit 150 outputs the created flushing data to the drive data storage unit 145. Thereby, the head controller 144 can control the drive of each actuator based on the flushing data. Here, the drive data storage unit 145 stores image data and flushing data. In the present embodiment, at the stage where the flushing data is written, the flushing data creating unit 150 writes the combined data as the combined data. This synthesized data is drive data.
  As shown in FIG. 7, the area determination unit 151 determines an area 91 that faces the paper P <b> 2 (B5 size) and an area 92 that does not face the ejection surface 2 a of the head 2. In the region 91, the ejection ports 108 at both ends in the main scanning direction are opposed to both edges of the paper P2. The area determination process by the area determination unit 151 is performed during continuous printing in which the paper size changes from small to large, and is based on a print signal instructing this continuous printing. In the present embodiment, the separation distance between the discharge ports 108 at both ends on the discharge surface 2a is the same as the width of the paper P1. In other words, the maximum sheet size that can be printed on the entire borderless surface of the head 2 is the A4 size.
  The random number generator 152 generates random numbers corresponding to the areas 91 and 92. The generated random number information is used for setting the arrangement position of the non-image dots by the flushing allocation unit 153.
The flushing assignment unit 153 assigns the type and timing of the flushing operation to be performed to the region determined by the region determination unit 151. The allocation is performed for each ejection port 108 and is based on the image data. In continuous printing, continuous discharge flushing is assigned in the area 91, and discharge flushing following non-discharge flushing is assigned in the area 92, with the paper size being changed.
When image dots are formed on the sheets P1 and P2 based on the image data, the discharge flushing between them is assigned to the discharge port 108 in which the non-discharge state (elapsed time between image dots) continues for a predetermined time or more. The timing of ejection flushing (arrangement position of non-image dots) is set based on the random number generated by the random number generator 152 starting from the previous image dot formation time. This setting is performed for all the sheets P1 and P2.
On the other hand, periodic non-ejection flushing is set at the ejection port 108 in the region 92 after printing on the paper P2 is started. This non-ejection flushing is set corresponding to all the sheets P2. After the sheet is switched to the sheet P1, the discharge port 108 in the region 92 is assigned discharge flushing based on the image data in the same manner as the discharge port 108 in the region 91.
  The present embodiment is characterized by the flushing process when the paper is switched (immediately after). For the first sheet P1, for example, in single-sided printing, the discharge ports 108 in both areas 91 and 92 are assigned instructions for front surface discharge flushing and front / back reversal. In response to the front / back reversal instruction, image formation on the first sheet P1 is performed on the back side. Even in double-sided printing, instructions for front-side ejection flushing and front-back inversion are assigned to all ejection openings 108. In response to the front / back reversal instruction, the target surface for image formation is reversed. For example, an image that should originally be formed on the front surface is formed on the back surface. At this time, the flushing allocating unit 153 sets the number of ejection flushing more for the ejection ports 108 in the region 92 than for the ejection ports 108 in the region 91. The amount of ink discharged onto the paper P1 is greater at the ejection openings 108 in the region 92.
  Further, the flushing assignment unit 153 changes the number of ejection flushing operations related to the ejection ports 108 in the region 92 based on the measurement result of the time measurement unit 154. As the measurement time becomes longer, the flushing assignment unit 153 increases the number of times. For example, every time it becomes longer than a predetermined time by one second, the number of ejections is increased by one. The process of changing the number of ejections by the flushing assignment unit 153 may be performed even in an environment where the thickening of the meniscus portion is advanced. For example, every time the temperature surrounding the head 2 rises to a predetermined temperature, the above-described increase rate of the number of ejections is increased. Further, every time the humidity surrounding the head 2 decreases by a predetermined humidity, the increase rate of the number of ejections described above is increased.
  Thus, flushing data is generated and output from the flushing data creation unit 150 to the drive data storage unit 145. When the time measured by the time measuring unit 154 is equal to or shorter than a predetermined time, the flushing allocating unit 153 is configured so that the amount of ink discharged by the ejection flushing becomes a predetermined amount (that is, the number of liquid discharges is a predetermined number). Determine timing. As a modification, the predetermined time may be zero. In this way, the number of discharge flushing increases every time.
  Next, an example of a processing procedure for continuous printing performed by the control unit 100 will be described with reference to FIG. The state at the start of the operation flow in FIG. 8 is a state in which a print signal indicating continuous printing in which the paper size changes from small to large is received. The image data storage unit 142 stores image data. Therefore, the controller 100 determines that non-ejection flushing is performed during printing of the small size paper P2 and ejection flushing is performed on the first large size paper P1.
  First, the data writing unit 143 writes the image data in the image data storage unit 142 into the drive data storage unit 145. The flushing data creation unit 150 generates flushing data based on the image data and writes it to the drive data storage unit 145 (step F1). In addition to the ejection flushing data corresponding to the ejection openings 108 in the area 91 and the non-ejection flushing data corresponding to the ejection openings 108 in the area 92 during the printing of the paper P2, the flushing data includes all ejection during the printing of the paper P1. It comprises discharge flushing data corresponding to the outlet 108. In addition, at the data writing stage, the flushing data creating unit 150 combines the flushing data with the image data. This synthesized data is drive data. Note that the number of ejection flushes for the first sheet P1 is set to a predetermined initial number. The initial set number of times is larger in the discharge port 108 in the region 92 than in the region 91.
  Next, in step F2, the control unit 100 determines whether or not double-sided printing is performed, and in the case of single-sided printing, the process proceeds to step F3. In step F <b> 3, the transport control unit 141 drives the second paper feed unit 17 and the transport mechanism 40. As a result, the paper P <b> 2 is sent out from the manual feed tray 15 and is transported by the transport mechanism 40.
  Next, in step F4, a printing process for the paper P2 is performed. Based on the drive data stored in the drive data storage unit 145, the drive unit 146 controls the drive of the actuator of each head 2. The actuator corresponding to the area 91 is driven based on the image data, and an image is formed on the surface of the paper P2. The actuator corresponding to the region 92 is driven based on the non-ejection flushing data, and the meniscus of each ejection port 108 is vibrated. The meniscus vibration suppresses the thickening of the ink near the ejection port 108. Note that, at the ejection port 108 in the region 91, even during a printing operation, ejection flushing is performed according to the non-ejection period, and the ink ejection characteristics are maintained throughout. When the image formation is completed, the conveyance control unit 141 drives the pair of feed rollers 34 and 35, and the paper P2 is discharged to the paper discharge unit 4.
  As a modification, the ejection port 108 in the area 91 may perform non-ejection flushing instead of ejection flushing when printing on the paper P2. Wasteful ink discharge is suppressed. Furthermore, the content of the flushing operation may be switched according to environmental conditions. For example, the discharge port 108 in the region 91 performs discharge flushing in an environment where high temperature and low humidity are easy to increase viscosity, and conversely, non-discharge flushing is performed in an environment where low temperature and high humidity is difficult to increase. In response to changes in environmental conditions, the number of times of driving may be changed instead of simply switching from non-ejection flushing to ejection flushing. You should increase the number of times each time you approach an environment that tends to thicken. Wasteful ink discharge can be suppressed while maintaining the ejection characteristics.
  In step F5, if there is printing on a new sheet P2, the process returns to step F3, and if not, the process proceeds to step F6. In step F6, the control unit 100 determines whether or not the time measured by the time measuring unit 154 exceeds a predetermined time. If it exceeds, the process proceeds to step F7, and if not, the process proceeds to step F8. . In step F <b> 7, the flushing data creation unit 150 resets the number of ejection flushing times corresponding to the ejection ports 108 in the region 92. This number of times is changed according to the length of the measurement time with respect to the predetermined time, and is set larger as the measurement time is longer. At this time, the flushing data creation unit 150 generates new ejection flushing data and updates the flushing data (drive data) in the drive data storage unit 145. Then, the process proceeds to Step F8.
  In Step F <b> 8, the conveyance control unit 141 drives the first paper feeding unit 23, the feed roller pair 32, and the conveyance mechanism 40. As a result, the first paper P1 is sent out from the paper feed tray 24 and is transported by the transport mechanism 40.
  Next, in step F <b> 9, the drive unit 146 controls the drive of the actuator of each head 2 based on the ejection flushing data stored in the drive data storage unit 145. On the surface of the conveyed paper P1, ink droplets are ejected from all the ejection ports 108, and non-image dots are formed. At this time, more non-image dots are formed in the ejection port 108 in the region 92 than in the region 91. For this reason, the thickened ink can be effectively discharged from all the ejection ports 108.
  Next, in step F10, the conveyance control unit 141 drives each of the feed roller pairs 34 and 35 to once convey the paper P1 to the paper discharge unit 4 side. When the trailing edge of the paper P1 is detected by the paper sensor 27, the transport control unit 141 reverses the feed rollers 34 and 35 and drives the feed roller pairs 61 to 63. Thus, the first sheet P1 is retransmitted to the upstream side of the head 2.
  Next, in step F <b> 11, the drive unit 146 controls driving of the actuator of each head 2 based on the drive data stored in the drive data storage unit 145. As a result, image dots based on the image data are formed on the back surface of the retransmitted paper P1. Thus, an image is formed only on one side of the paper P1. Thereafter, the conveyance control unit 141 rotates the feed rollers 34 and 35 in the normal direction and discharges the paper P1 to the paper discharge unit 4. Then, it progresses to step F12.
  Next, in step F12, it is determined whether or not printing is performed on a new sheet P1. If there is, the process proceeds to Step F13. In step F13, as in step F8, the next sheet P1 is sent out under the control of the conveyance control unit 141. Proceeding to step F14, the drive of the actuator is controlled by the drive unit 146. The control is performed based on the drive data, and image dots and non-image dots are formed by each ejection port 108.
  If there is no printing on the new paper P1, a series of printing operations are terminated. At the end of the printing operation, if there is a next print command within a predetermined time, the process returns to step F1. On the other hand, if there is no new command, the transport control unit 141 stops all transport operations, and the control unit 100 covers all the ejection surfaces 2a with caps (not shown) and shifts to a standby state. By capping, thickening due to drying of each discharge port 108 is suppressed.
  When the control unit 100 determines that double-sided printing is performed in step F2, the process proceeds to step F15. In step F15, as in step F3, the conveyance control unit 141 drives the second paper feeding unit 17 and the conveyance mechanism 40, and the paper P2 is conveyed by the conveyance mechanism 40. Then, the process proceeds to Step F16.
  In step F16, double-sided printing is performed on the paper P2. First, as in single-sided printing (step F4), the actuator corresponding to the region 91 performs image formation on the surface based on image data and formation of appropriate non-image dots based on ejection flushing data. The actuator corresponding to the region 92 is driven based on the non-ejection flushing data, and the meniscus of each ejection port 108 is vibrated. When the image formation on the front side is completed, the transport control unit 141 transports the paper P2 once toward the paper discharge unit 4. When the trailing edge of the paper P2 is detected by the paper sensor 27, the transport control unit 141 retransmits the paper P2 to the upstream side of the head 2 by reversing the feed roller pairs 34 and 35 and driving the feed roller pairs 61 to 63. To do. Thereafter, the image forming process on the back surface is performed in the same manner as the process on the front surface. The double-side printed paper P2 is discharged to the paper discharge unit 4 by a pair of forward rollers 34 and 35 that rotate in the forward direction.
  In step F17, if there is printing on a new sheet P2, the process returns to step F15, and if not, the process proceeds to step F18. In step F18, as in step F6, the control unit 100 determines whether or not the time measured by the time measurement unit 154 exceeds a predetermined time. If it exceeds, the process proceeds to step F19, and step F7 and Similar control is performed. On the other hand, when not exceeding, it progresses to step F20 and the same control as step F8 is performed.
  Next, in steps F20 to F23, the same control as in steps F8 to F11 is performed. That is, formation of non-image dots on the front surface of the paper P1, reverse re-transmission of the paper P1, and formation of image dots on the back surface are sequentially performed. Again, in this case, the recording area of the paper P1 corresponding to the area 92 is larger than the recording area corresponding to the area 91. At this stage, the non-image dots are formed on the front surface of the paper P1, and the image dots are formed on the back surface (non-flushing surface).
  Next, in Step F24, the conveyance control unit 141 normally drives the feed roller pairs 34 and 35 to temporarily convey the paper P1 to the paper discharge unit 4 side. When the trailing edge of the paper P1 is detected by the paper sensor 27, the conveyance control unit 141 reverses the feed rollers 34 and 35 and drives the feed roller pairs 61 to 63. In this way, the paper P1 having the image dots formed on the back surface is retransmitted. At this time, the non-image dot forming surface faces the ejection surface 2a.
  Next, in step F25, the drive unit 146 controls the drive of the actuator of each head 2 based on the drive data. Thereby, image dots based on the image data are formed on the surface on which the non-image dots are formed. Thus, images are formed on both sides of the paper P1, and the paper P1 is discharged to the paper discharge unit 4.
Next, in step F26, it is determined whether or not printing is performed on a new sheet P1. If there is, the process proceeds to step F27. In step F27, as in step F20, the next sheet P1 is sent out under the control of the conveyance control unit 141. Proceeding to step F 28, the drive of the actuator is controlled by the drive unit 146. The control is performed based on the drive data, and image dots and non-image dots are formed by each ejection port 108. Thereafter, the reverse retransmission of the paper P1, the image formation on the back surface, and the paper discharge to the paper discharge unit 4 are sequentially performed. The individual operations are as described above.
If there is no printing on the new paper P1, a series of printing operations are terminated. The process at the end of the printing operation is the same as that for single-sided printing.
  As described above, according to the printer 1 of this embodiment, when performing continuous printing in which the paper size changes from small to large, ejection flushing is performed on the surface of the paper P1 (the thickened ink in the vicinity of the ejection port 108 is discharged). Therefore, it is possible to maintain the quality of the image formed on the paper P1 whose size is changed without using a dedicated flushing medium. In addition, in order to perform a recovery operation of the head 2 (for example, a purge operation forcibly sending ink to the head 2 and forcibly discharging ink from all the ejection openings 108), it is necessary to interrupt the conveyance of the paper P1. This contributes to an improvement in throughput. This is the same effect even when printing on both sides of the paper P1 in continuous printing.
  Further, when performing continuous printing in which the paper size changes from small to large, the number of ejection flushing is greater from the ejection port 108 in the area 92 than in the area 91. That is, the amount of ink discharged from the ejection port 108 in the area 92 is larger than that in the area 91 for the first sheet P1. Thereby, it is possible to effectively recover the ink ejection performance regardless of the position of the ejection port 108.
  In addition, as the time measured by the time measuring unit 154 becomes longer than the predetermined time, the number of discharge flushing performed from the discharge port 108 in the region 92 increases. That is, the amount of ink discharged from the ejection port 108 in the region 92 is larger than that in the region 91 for the paper P1. This makes it possible to maintain the quality of the image formed on the paper P1 even when the printing period on the paper P2 becomes long.
  In addition, when performing continuous printing in which the paper size changes from small to large, each ejection port 108 in the region 92 is between the start of printing on the paper P2 and the start of printing on the paper P1. , Non-ejection flushing is performed. As a result, the ink ejection performance at the ejection port 108 in the region 92 can be recovered more effectively.
  The preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described above. However, the present invention is not limited to the above-described embodiments, and various modifications can be made as long as they are described in the claims. For example, in the above-described embodiment, when performing continuous printing in which the paper size changes from small to large, discharge flushing is performed from all of the discharge ports 108 facing the paper P1, but at least in the region 92. The discharge flushing may be performed from the discharge port 108 (the discharge port facing the large size paper without facing the small size paper). That is, the discharge flushing may not be performed from the discharge port 108 in the region 91. Even in this case, ink droplets cannot be ejected during printing on the paper P2 (small size paper), and the thickened ink near the ejection port 108 is discharged to the paper P1 (large size paper) by ejection flushing. Therefore, the same effect as that of the above-described embodiment can be obtained.
In the above-described embodiment, when the above-described continuous printing is performed, the discharge flushing is performed on the discharge port 108 corresponding to the region 92. However, non-ejection flushing may be performed on the ejection port 108 corresponding to the region 91. At this time, the content of the flushing operation may be switched according to the environmental conditions. For example, discharge flushing is performed in an environment where it is easy to increase the viscosity at high temperature and low humidity, and non-discharge flushing is performed in an environment where it is difficult to increase the viscosity at low temperature and high humidity. Even if the environmental conditions change, the number of times of driving may be changed instead of simply switching from non-ejection flushing to ejection flushing. Increase the number of times each time you approach a thickening environment. Wasteful ink discharge can be suppressed while maintaining the ejection characteristics.
In the above-described embodiment, when performing the above-described continuous printing, the non-ejection flushing and the ejection flushing may be alternately performed on the ejection port 108 corresponding to the region 92.
  Further, the non-ejection flushing need not be executed. Applicable when thickening is difficult to proceed at low temperature and high humidity, or when printing on paper P2 is completed in a short time (for example, when performing single-sided printing on one sheet or in addition to smaller size paper) Is possible. In addition, when performing continuous printing in which the paper size changes from small to large, the amount of ink discharged by the discharge flushing from the discharge ports 108 in the regions 91 and 92 may be the same. This simplifies control.
  The present invention can be applied to both a line type and a serial type, and is not limited to a printer, and can also be applied to a facsimile machine, a copier, and the like. Further, recording is performed by discharging a liquid other than ink. The present invention can also be applied to a liquid ejection apparatus that performs the above. The recording medium is not limited to the paper P, and may be various recording media. Furthermore, the present invention can be applied regardless of the ink ejection method. For example, although a piezoelectric element is used in this embodiment, a resistance heating method or a capacitance method may be used.
1 Inkjet printer (liquid ejection device)
2 Inkjet head (liquid discharge head)
2a Discharge surface 40 Transport mechanism 60 Retransmission mechanism 100 Control unit (control means)
108 Discharge port 154 Time measuring unit (measuring means)

Claims (9)

  1. A liquid discharge head in which a plurality of discharge ports for discharging liquid are arranged at equal intervals in one direction;
    A transport mechanism for transporting the recording medium in a transport direction orthogonal to the one direction so as to pass through a position facing the discharge port;
    A re-transmission mechanism that reverses the recording medium transported by the transport mechanism and retransmits the recording medium upstream of the liquid ejection head in the transport direction;
    A control means for controlling the liquid ejection head, the transport mechanism, and the retransmission mechanism;
    The control means has a width larger than that of the first recording medium in the one direction following the first recording medium having a width smaller than the distance between the two outermost ejection ports in the one direction. When the second recording medium is transported and continuous printing is performed to form an image based on image data on the second recording medium, the second recording medium is transported by the transport mechanism and at least the second Discharge that forms non-image dots that are not based on the image data by discharging liquid from the discharge port in a region facing the recording medium and not facing the first recording medium toward the surface of the second recording medium. After the flushing, the retransmission mechanism retransmits the second recording medium to the upstream side of the liquid ejection head, and the second recording medium that has been retransmitted is conveyed by the conveyance mechanism and the second recording medium. The liquid ejection head, the transport mechanism, and the retransmission mechanism are controlled so as to form an image dot that forms an image based on the image data by ejecting liquid toward the back surface of the medium. Liquid ejection device.
  2.   When the image forming is performed on both sides of the second recording medium in the continuous printing, the control unit forms the second recording medium after the image is formed on the back surface of the second recording medium. An image that retransmits the medium upstream of the liquid ejection head, conveys the retransmitted second recording medium by the conveying mechanism, and forms an image based on the image data on the surface of the second recording medium The liquid ejection apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the liquid ejection head, the transport mechanism, and the retransmission mechanism are controlled so as to form dots.
  3.   When the discharge flushing is performed, the control means is configured such that a liquid discharge amount from the discharge port facing the second recording medium without facing the first recording medium is the same as that of the first recording medium. The liquid discharge apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the liquid discharge head is controlled so as to be larger than a liquid discharge amount from the opposed discharge port.
  4. The continuous printing further includes a measuring unit that measures a time from when printing on the one or more first recording media is started until printing on the second recording medium is started,
    As the time measured by the measuring means becomes longer, the control means has a liquid discharge amount from the ejection port facing the second recording medium without facing the first recording medium. 4. The liquid ejection apparatus according to claim 3 , wherein the liquid ejection head is controlled so that a difference between a liquid discharge amount from the ejection port facing the first recording medium is increased. 5.
  5. In the continuous printing, the control unit may cause the discharge port facing the first recording medium to discharge the liquid without discharging the liquid from the discharge port in a low-temperature and high-humidity environment where the liquid does not thicken easily. The liquid ejection head is controlled to perform non-ejection flushing that vibrates a liquid meniscus formed at an outlet, and to perform the ejection flushing in a high-temperature and low-humidity environment where the liquid tends to thicken. Item 5. The liquid ejection device according to any one of Items 1 to 4.
  6. In the continuous printing, the control unit performs the first recording between the start of printing on one or more first recording media and the start of printing on the second recording medium. The liquid discharge head is configured to perform non-discharge flushing that vibrates a liquid meniscus formed at the discharge port without discharging liquid from the discharge port facing the second recording medium without facing the medium. apparatus according to any one of claim 1 5, characterized in that control.
  7. When the image forming is performed on the first and second recording media, the control unit forms the image dots constituting the image based on the image data when the ejection port facing the recording medium forms the image dot. When the non-ejection period from when an image dot is formed to when another image dot is formed is equal to or longer than a predetermined time, ejection flushing is performed to form a non-image dot that is not based on the image data during the non-ejection period. The liquid ejecting apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the liquid ejecting head is controlled as described above.
  8. The liquid ejection apparatus according to claim 7, wherein the timing of the ejection flushing is set based on a random number.
  9. When the image forming is performed on the first recording medium, the control unit forms the image dot when the ejection port facing the recording medium forms an image dot constituting an image based on the image data. When the non-ejection period from formation to the next formation of another image dot is a predetermined time or more, the liquid meniscus formed at the ejection port without ejecting liquid from the ejection port during the non-ejection period The liquid discharge apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the liquid discharge head is controlled to perform non-discharge flushing that vibrates the liquid.
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