PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP0496596 14.01.1999
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0496596
Titel Wärme-Aufzeichnungskopf mit Endkontakten und Heizabschnitten, die auf schmalwandigen Stirnseiten eines Keramikteiles angebracht sind
Anmelder NGK Insulators, Ltd., Nagoya, Aichi, JP
Erfinder Takeuchi, Yukihisa, Miyoshi-cho, Nishikamo-gun, Aichi-ken, JP;
Hirota, Toshikazu, NGK Insulators, Ltd., Tenpaku-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi-ken, JP
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 69227710
Vertragsstaaten DE, FR, GB, IT
Sprache des Dokument En
EP-Anmeldetag 22.01.1992
EP-Aktenzeichen 923005441
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 29.07.1992
EP date of grant 02.12.1998
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 14.01.1999
IPC-Hauptklasse B41J 2/395
IPC-Nebenklasse B41J 2/345   

Beschreibung[en]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an end-contact type thermal recording head suitably used for printers, facsimile equipment and other recording devices, which use heat-sensitive recording media or thermally imaging ribbons, films or other intermediate media interposed between the recording head and the recording medium.

Discussion of the Prior Art

As a thermal recording head for a recording apparatus such as a printer and a facsimile receiver, there is known a side-contact type thermal head in which an integrated-circuit driver portion and an electrically resistive heat-generating portion are both disposed on the same side of a substrate, which corresponds to one of opposite major surfaces of the substrate. Also known is an end-contact type thermal head as disclosed in laid-open Publications 60-24965, 60-8081 and 61-40168 of unexamined Japanese Patent Applications. In the end-contact type thermal head, only the electrically resistive heat-generating portion is formed on one end face of the substrate. US 4 968 996 shows a thermal head formed on a chamfered edge of a base plate.

In particular, the end-contact type thermal head is commonly used for various advantages thereof over the side-contact type. These advantages include: better contact of the heat-generating portion with a heat-sensitive paper or thermal print ribbon or film; elimination of a relief portion required for the side-contact type, for avoiding a contact between the driver circuit and a platen of the recording apparatus; reduced size of the head; and easy formation of an end face having a high degree of flatness for the heat-generating portion.

For improving the quality of images recorded by the end-contact type thermal head, on the other hand, there is a need for minimizing a distance between recording electrodes and a return-circuit electrode or electrodes, which are electrically connected to electrically resistive films of the heat-generating portion. Further, the above distance should be uniform for all the recording electrodes. Since the recording and return-circuit electrodes are disposed on the opposite sides of the substrate, the thickness of the substrate should be reduced to meet the above need. However, a reduction of the substrate thickness to an extent sufficient to meet the need will lead to difficulty in handling or processing such thin substrate, insufficient mechanical strength of the substrate, and other drawbacks. It is also recognized that the known end-contact type thermal head is not completely satisfactory in its contact characteristic or behavior and heat-generating response.

The known end-contact type thermal printing head has another drawback, which arises from its structural arrangement as shown in Fig. 18, in which the heat-generating portion 104 projects toward the heat-sensitive paper or thermal imaging ribbon or film, from a base member 108 on which is supported the thermal head assembly, is supported. Namely, the known end-contact type thermal head is generally incapable of rapidly or efficiently radiating the heat generated by the heat-generating portion, toward the base or other members of the printer, and accordingly suffers from blurring, blotting or expansion of recorded image dots, distortion of the image dots' due to prolonged heat application from the heat-generating portion, and other drawbacks.

Further, the known end-contact type thermal head shown in Fig. 18 includes a glaze layer 106 formed on the end face of the substrate 102, so that the electrically resistive films of the heat-generating portion 104 are formed on the glaze layer 106. The glaze layer 106 is provided since it is difficult to obtain a sufficiently high surface finish quality of the end face. The glaze layer 106 assures improved thermal characteristic of the heat-generating portion 104, and is effective to reduce failure of electrical connection of the electrical resistive films of the heat-generating portion 104 to the recording and return-circuit electrodes 110 and 112. However, it is difficult to form the glaze layer 106 uniformly on the end face of the substrate 102. Further, there are limitations in the configurations of the substrate 102 and glaze layer 106 for obtaining desired thermal characteristic of the heat-generating portion 104. In other words, the freedom of design of the glaze layer 106 for the desired thermal characteristic of the heat-generating portion 104 is too low to attain the intended function of the glaze layer.

There is also proposed in, for example, Japanese Patent Application laid-open No. 54-118842, an end-contact type thermal recording head which uses a substrate having a thin-walled end portion on which the electrically resistive heat-generating portion is formed. This recording head has a problem of insufficient mechanical strength at the thin-walled end portion. This problem is serious particularly where the heat-generating portion is adapted to contact the heat-sensitive paper or thermally imaging film or ribbon under a comparatively high pressure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore a first object of the present invention to provide an end-contact type thermal recording head which assures improved characteristic of contact with a recording medium or thermal ribbon or film or other thermally imaging intermediate medium, and improved heat-generating response, for excellent quality of images recorded.

It is a second object of the present invention to provide an end-contact type thermal recording head which also assures sufficiently high mechanical strength at its recording end portion, and prolonged life expectancy with improved operating reliability.

A third object of the invention is to provide an end-contact type thermal recording head which assures improved heat-generating characteristics for high accuracy of image reproduction even at a comparatively high recording speed.

A first aspect of the present invention provides an end-contact type thermal recording head as described in claim 1.

In the end-contact type thermal recording head constructed according to the first aspect of the present invention , the electrically resistive heat-generating portion is formed on at least the end face of the thin-walled portion of the ceramic substrate, and the recording and return-circuit electrodes for energizing the heat-generating portion are formed on the substrate. In this arrangement, the heat-generating portion can be suitably contacted with a heat-sensitive paper or other recording medium or a thermally imaging intermediate medium such as an ink ribbon or film, and has a high operating response. Accordingly, the present recording head is capable of Performing a high-quality recording operation. Further, the heat radiating member provided at the thin-walled end portion of the ceramic substrate permits the heat generated by the heat-generating portion to be rapidly radiated, whereby the recording head is capable of recording images, without blurring, blotting or expansion of recorded image dots, and without distortion of the recorded images due to prolonged heat application from the heat-generating portion to the recording medium or thermally imaging intermediate medium.

The heat radiating member may be bonded to the common return-circuit electrode in the form of a sheet. Alternatively, the heat radiating member may be disposed in contact with the recording electrodes.

The ceramic substrate is preferably made of free-cutting glass ceramic containing mica. The heat radiating member is preferably made of a material having at least one major component selected from the group consisting of free-cutting glass ceramic, free-cutting glass ceramic containing mica, free-cutting alumina, free-cutting boron nitride, free-cutting aluminum nitride, brass, copper, aluminum and bronze.

The thickness of the thin-walled portion of the ceramic substrate as measured at the end face is preferably held within a range of 10-400µm, and more preferably within a range of 20-100µm.

The heat-generating portion may be formed directly on the end face of the thin-walled end portion of said ceramic substrate, without a glaze layer between the heat-generating portion and the ceramic substrate.

A second aspect of the present invention provides an end-contact type thermal recording head as described in claim 10

The thermal conductivity of the material of the ceramic substrate is preferably held within a range between 0.0084 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.002 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C) and 0.042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.01 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C). The heat radiating member may be made of a material having a thermal conductivity which is higher than that of the material of the ceramic substrate and which is higher than 0.042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.01 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C).

A third aspect of the present invention provides an end-contact type thermal recording head as described in claim 13.

For effectively utilizing the heat generated by the electrically resistive heat-generating portion, for thermally recording images, it is necessary to accurately control the thermal characteristic or heat accumulating characteristic of the end portion of the substrate on which the heat-generating portion is provided. In a known thermal recording head using a substrate made of alumina or metal having a comparatively high thermal conductivity, the heat accumulating ability of the head is low, and the heat generated by the heat-generating portion tends to be dissipated without being effectively utilized for thermal recording of images. In the known thermal recording head shown in Fig. 18, the glaze layer 106 of a glass material is formed on the substrate 102 for increasing the heat accumulating ability of the substrate. However, the formation of the glaze layer 106 increases the cost of manufacture of the recording head, and reduces the freedom of design in respect of the thermal characteristic of the head, because of the limitations in the material, configuration and formation process of the glaze layer 106. While a thermal recording head using a cylindrical glass rod as a substrate is known, this type of recording head suffers from deterioration of the quality of recorded images, due to an excessively high heat accumulating ability of the glass rod.

The above problem may be solved by using a ceramic substrate made of a material having a thermal conductivity which is lower than a relatively high thermal conductivity of alumina or metal and which is higher than a relatively low thermal conductivity of a glass material. The use of the substrate whose thermal conductivity is determined as described above according to the second aspect of the invention makes it possible to eliminate the conventionally required glaze layer, thereby lowering the cost of manufacture of the recording head.

Further, the use of the ceramic substrate whose thermal conductivity is determined as described above makes it possible to control the heat accumulating ability of the thin-walled end end portion of the recording head, by suitably determining the shape and volume of the substrate. Thus, the instant recording head has an improved degree of freedom of design in respect of the thermal characteristics.

The provision of the heat radiating member adjacent to the heat-generating portion formed on the thin-walled end portion of the substrate according to the second and third aspects of the invention permits the heat generated by the heat-generating portion to be efficiently dissipated, after the generated heater is effectively utilized for thermal recording. Namely, the heat radiating member made of a material having a thermal conductivity which is higher than that of a material of the ceramic substrate and which is higher than 0.042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.01 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C) functions to prevent blurring, blotting or expansion of recorded image dots, and distortion of the images due to prolonged heat application from the heat-generating portion to the recording medium or thermally imaging intermediate medium. The present recording head exhibits improved heat radiating characteristic, particular where the recording operation is effected at a high speed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and optional objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood by reading the following detailed description of presently preferred embodiments of the invention, when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

  • Fig. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view showing one embodiment of an end-contact type thermal recording head outside the present invention;
  • Fig. 2 is a fragmentary cross sectional view in elevation of another embodiment outside the invention;
  • Fig. 3 is a fragmentary cross sectional view showing an example of an end-contact type thermal recording head using a laminated type substrate outside the invention;
  • Fig. 4 is a fragmentary cross sectional view of a still further embodiment outside the invention wherein two reinforcing members are provided on opposite sides of a substrate corresponding to opposite major surfaces of the substrate;
  • Fig. 5 is a fragmentary cross sectional view showing a modified form of the recording head of Fig. 4;
  • Fig. 6 is a fragmentary perspective view showing a further embodiment outside the present invention which has a heat radiating member;
  • Figs. 7-10 are fragmentary cross sectional views showing modifications of the embodiment of Fig. 6 which are embodiments of the present invention
  • Figs. 11-12 are fragmentary cross sectional views showing ceramic substrates of the present invention whose end faces are not perpendicular to the opposite major surfaces;
  • Fig. 13 is a fragmentary cross sectional view showing the ceramic substrate of the present invention whose end face is rounded at its ends;
  • Fig. 14 is a fragmentary perspective view showing another embodiment of the end-contact type thermal recording head of the invention;
  • Fig. 15 is a fragmentary cross sectional view of the recording head of Fig. 14;
  • Fig. 16 is a fragmentary perspective view showing a still another embodiment of the invention;
  • Fig. 17 is a fragmentary cross sectional view of the recording head of Fig. 16; and
  • Fig. 18 is a known end-contact type thermal recording head.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring first to Figs. 1-3, there are illustrated three different embodiments of end-contact type thermal recording heads outside the present invention, wherein a multiplicity of recording electrodes 4 in the form of parallel spaced-apart strips are formed on one of opposite major surfaces of a ceramic substrate 2, such that the recording electrodes 4 are spaced apart from each other in a direction parallel to the major surfaces and perpendicular to an end face of the substrate 2. On the other major surface of the substrate 2, there is disposed a common return-circuit electrode 6 in the form of a sheet having a shape similar to that of the substrate 2. On the end face indicated above of the substrate 2, there is formed an electrically resistive heat-generating portion 8 consisting of a multiplicity of electrically resistive films which electrically connects the respective recording electrode strips 4 to the common return-circuit electrode sheet 6. Each electrically resistive film 8 has a length sufficient to cover at least the thickness of the ceramic substrate 2, and a suitable thickness as measured from the end face of the substrate 2. Reference numeral 8 will be used to denote both the heat-generating portion, and the electrically resistive films which constitute the heat-generating portion.

The thermal recording heads shown in Figs. 1-3 all have a reinforcing member 12 having a suitable thickness. In the recording head of Fig. 1, the reinforcing member 12 is bonded to the common return-circuit electrode 6 by an adhesive layer 10. In the recording heads of Figs. 2 and 3, the reinforcing member 12 is bonded by the adhesive layer 10 to the major surface of the substrate 2 on which the recording electrode strips 4 are formed. In each recording head of Figs. 1-3, the reinforcing member 12 is provided at least near or adjacent to the end portion of the substrate 2. Thus, the recording head has an integral laminar structure.

As shown in Figs. 1-3, the ceramic substrate 2 of the end-contact type thermal recording heads is thin-walled at least at the end portion at which the heat-generating portion 8 (electrically resistive films) is provided. In Fig. 1, the substrate 2 has a relatively small, constant thickness. In Fig. 2, the thin-walled end portion is formed by a press forming technique or by cutting or machining the blank for the substrate, to remove some stock from the blank for thereby reducing the thickness over a predetermined length as measured from the end face on which the heat-generating portion 8 is formed. In Fig. 3, a thin fired or green ceramic sheet 2a and a comparatively thick fired or green ceramic sheet 2b are laminated or bonded together and heat-treated as needed for integration, so that the thin-walled end portion of the ceramic substrate is provided by the thin ceramic sheet 2a. In the thermal recording head of Fig. 2, the ceramic substrate 2 is formed with a shoulder surface between the thin-walled end portion and the thick-walled proximal portion. While this shoulder surface is a flat inclined surface which forms an obtuse angle to the adjacent surfaces of the thin-walled and thick-walled portions of the substrate 2, the shoulder surface may be at right angles to the adjacent surfaces or a curved surface.

The thickness of the thin-walled end portion of the ceramic substrate 2 is suitably selected depending upon the required recording or thermal imaging characteristics of the recording head.

The recording electrodes 4 and the common return-circuit electrode 6 which are formed on the opposite major surfaces of the ceramic substrate 2 are provided to energize the electrically resistive films 8, which in operation of the recording head are held in contact with a suitable recording medium such as a heat-sensitive paper or a thermally imaging intermediate medium such as a ribbon or film interposed between the recording head and the recording medium. It will be understood that the distance between the recording and return-circuit electrodes 4, 6 is determined by the thickness of the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 2. Since the end portion of the substrate 2 is thin-walled as described above, the electrically resistive films of the heat-generating portion 8 can be effectively contacted with the heat-sensitive paper or thermally imaging intermediate medium.

The recording and return-circuit electrodes 4, 6 formed on the opposite major surfaces of the substrate 2 are generally made of an electrically conductive material, usually, an electrically conductive material whose wear resistance is higher than that of the substrate 2. It is preferable to select the electrically conductive material for the electrodes 4, 6, from among: metals such as chromium, titanium, molybdenum, tungsten, nickel, gold and copper; and alloy, nitride, carbide and boride which includes one or more of the metals indicated above. The electrodes 4, 6 are formed of the selected material, by an ordinary thin-film or thick-film forming technique or other suitable techniques, on the respective major surfaces of the substrate 2. The recording electrodes 4 in the form of strips are formed to a suitable pattern depending upon the desired recording density, i.e., dot-to-dot spacing, while the common return-circuit electrode 6 is formed as a sheet on the substrate 2 by a suitable technique, or by bonding a suitably shaped sheet to the substrate 2. However, the common return-circuit electrode 6 may be replaced by multiple return-circuit electrodes 6 corresponding to the recording electrodes 4. The electrodes 4, 6 may have two or more layers formed of the same material or respective different materials selected from among the electrically conductive materials indicated above.

The electrically resistive films 8 of the heat-generating portion formed on the end face of the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 2 are films formed by a thin-film or thick-film forming method, preferably of a highly electrically resistive material which exhibits excellent pulse characteristics at an elevated temperature. Generally, the material for the electrically resistive films 8 is selected from the group consisting of: a composition principally consisting of a metal having a high melting point, or an alloy of such high-melting-point metal; a composition principally consisting of a mixture of such high-melting-point metal or alloy and an oxide, nitride, boride or carbide; a composition principally consisting of a nitride, carbide, boride or silicide of at least one element selected from the group consisting of titanium, tantalum, chromium, zirconium, hafnium, vanadium, lanthanum, molybdenum and tungsten; and a composition principally consisting of an oxide of ruthenium. The electrically resistive films 8 are formed by an ordinary thin-film or thick-film forming technique, to a suitable pattern depending upon the desired recording density. However, these separate films 8 may be replaced by a single continuous strip covering the entire end face of the substrate. The films 8 are formed so as to cover at least the entire thickness of the end face of the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 2.

The films 8 cover the end portions of the electrodes 4, 6, as shown in Figs. 1-3, so that the films 8 connect the recording and return-circuit electrodes 4, 6. In this case, the films 8 are formed after the electrodes 4, 6 are formed on the respective major surfaces of the substrate 2.

Since the end portion of the thermal recording head on which the heat-generating portion consisting of the electrically resistive films 8 is formed is thin-walled as described above, the reinforcing member 12 is provided on at least one side of the substrate 2, so as to reinforce at least the thin-walled end portion of the head. The reinforcing member 12 is bonded by the adhesive layer 10 to the return-circuit electrode 6 or to the major surface of the substrate 2 on which the recording electrodes 4 are formed.

The adhesive layer 10 for bonding the reinforcing member 12 to the substrate 2 or the common return-circuit electrode 6 may consist of an inorganic material containing alumina, silica or boron nitride, or a resinous material containing epoxy resin, phenol or polyimide. The adhesive layer 10 may be a mixture of such inorganic and resinous materials. However, it is desirable to use an inorganic material containing alumina, silica or boron nitride.

Referring to Fig. 4, there is shown a thermal recording head outside the invention, in which two reinforcing members 12 are provided on the opposite sides of the substrate 2. The reinforcing member 12 formed on the surface of the substrate 2 on which the recording electrodes 4 are provided covers only the end portion of the substrate 2 adjacent to the heat-generating portion 8. Further, a glaze layer 14 made of a glass material or other electrically insulating material is formed so as to cover the end face and the opposite major surfaces of the substrate 2, so that the recording and return-circuit electrodes 4, 6 are formed on the glaze layer 14. The glaze layer 14 functions to not only lower the heat transfer speed of the electrically resistive films 8, but also increase the bonding strength between the films 8 and the substrate 2.

In Fig. 5, two reinforcing members 12 are bonded by the respective adhesive layers 10 to the return-circuit electrode 6 formed on one major surface of the substrate 2, and to the major surface of the substrate 2 on which the recording electrodes 4 are formed. The reinforcing members 12 are formed after the electrically resistive films 8 are formed to cover the end face of the substrate 2. The reinforcing member 12 on the return-circuit electrode 6 covers only the end portion of the substrate 2 which has an inclined shoulder surface.

Referring next to Figs. 6-10, there will be described end-contact type thermal recording heads which have a heat radiating member 26 in place of the reinforcing member 12 provided in the recording heads described above. Like the reinforcing member 12, each heat radiating member 26 is disposed such that one end of the member 26 is located near or adjacent to the heat-generating portion 8 (electrically resistive members 8) formed on the end face of the substrate 2.

In Figs. 6-10, the thickness of the substrate 2 as measured at the end face on which the heat-generating portion 8 is formed is selected within a range of about 10-400µm, preferably within a range of about 20-100µm. If the thickness is smaller than 10µm, the length of the electrically resistive films 8 as measured in the direction of thickness of the substrate 2 is insufficient for assuring high quality of images recorded by the head. If the thickness is larger than 400µm, the end of the electrically resistive films 8 remote from the heat radiating member 26 is so distant from the heat radiating member 26 that the heat generated by the resistive films 8 tends to be accumulated in the end portion of the recording head. For achieving the intended recording result, the thickness of the substrate 2 as measured at the end face should be held within the range specified above.

The thermal recording head Fig. 6 which is outside the present invention is structurally identical with the head of Fig. 1, except for the heat radiating member 26. The recording head of Fig. 7 which is an embodiment of the present invention uses the substrate 2 having the same thin-walled end portion as shown in Fig. 2. In this embodiment of Fig. 7, the heat radiating member 26 is bonded to the return-circuit electrode 6 by the adhesive layer 10. In the embodiment of Fig. 8 which is an embodiment of the present invention, the substrate 2 has a thin-walled end portion having a flat inclined surface, which terminates in the end face of the substrate, contrary to the inclined shoulder surface of the substrate 2 of Fig. 7. In the embodiment of Fig. 8, the electrically resistive films 8 are formed before the electrodes 4, 6 are formed on the substrate 2.

The recording heads of Figs. 9 and 10 are structurally identical with the heads of Fig. 3 and Fig. 5 , respectively, except for the heat radiating member 26. In the embodiment of Fig. 10, the heat radiating member 26 is disposed in contact with the return-circuit electrode 6, while the reinforcing member 12 is disposed in contact with the recording electrodes 4. The reinforcing member 12 is provided for the same purpose as described above and is made of the material described above.

The ceramic substrate 2 used in Figs. 6-10 is made of a suitable material such as a glass material, a glass ceramic material, highly machinable or free-cutting ceramic material and zirconia, preferably free-cutting glass ceramic material containing mica. Namely, the substrate 2 is required to exhibit a suitable degree of heat accumulating property in order to efficiently concentrate the generated heat on the desired local spots on the recording medium or thermally imaging intermediate medium. In this respect, the substrate 2 is preferably formed of a free-cutting glass ceramic material containing mica, since its heat accumulating ability is higher than those of alumina and aluminum nitride, and is lower than that of a glass material.

The use of the free-cutting glass ceramic containing mica is also desirable where the substrate 2 is mechanically cut or machined to form the thin-walled end portion, as in the embodiments of Figs. 7 and 8. The free-cutting glass ceramic containing mica can be easily cut with high precision, whereby the thin-walled end portion can be shaped and dimensioned as desired.

Further, the use of a free-cutting glass ceramic material which has a suitable heat accumulating ability eliminates a glaze layer conventionally interposed between the substrate and the heat-generating portion 8 (electrically resistive films), thereby lowering the cost of manufacture of the recording head, and avoiding shortening of the life expectancy of the heat-generating portion 8 due to a reaction of the heat-generating portion and the glaze layer.

The heat radiating member 26 located so as to be adjacent to the heat-generating portion 8 formed on the end face of the substrate 2 functions to effectively radiate the heat generated by the heat-generating portion 8, whereby the recording head is capable of performing a recording operation, without blurring, blotting or expansion of image dots and distortion of the recorded images due to prolonged heat application from the electrically resistive films of the heat-generating portion 8 to the recording medium or thermally imaging intermediate medium such as a thermally fusible ink ribbon.

The heat radiating member 26 is preferably made of a material which consists principally of a highly machinable or free-cutting alumina, free-cutting machinable boron nitride, free-cutting aluminum nitride, brass, copper, aluminum, bronze, or a mixture of these materials. For good sliding contact of the recording head, it is desirable that the heat radiating member 26 consists principally of free-cutting alumina, or free-cutting boron nitride or aluminum nitride. For improved heat radiation, the heat radiating member 26 is preferably disposed so that its end adjacent to the heat-generating portion 8 can directly contact the heat-sensitive paper (recording medium) or the thermally imaging intermediate medium such as an ink ribbon or film. That is, it is desirable that the end face of the heat radiating member 26 be almost flush with the contact surfaces of the electrically resistive films 8.

The end face of the substrate 2 on which the heat-generating portion 8 is formed need not be perpendicular to the opposite major surfaces of the substrate on which the recording and return-circuit electrodes 4, 6 are formed, as in the embodiments of Figs. 7-10. Namely, the end face of the substrate 2 may be inclined relative to the major surfaces, as shown in Fig. 11, or may be rounded or arcuately curved surface contiguous to the major surfaces, as shown in Fig. 12. Further, the end face of the substrate 2 may be chamferred or rounded at the edges adjacent to the major surfaces, as shown in Fig. 13.

Referring next to Figs. 14-17, there will be described still further embodiments of the end-contact type thermal recording head of this invention.

In Figs. 14-17, reference numeral 60 designates a ceramic substrate 60 which has a thin-walled end portion. The substrate 60 has a multiplicity of recording electrodes 62 in the form of strips formed on one of its opposite major surface, and a common return-circuit electrode 64 in the form of a sheet formed on the other major surface. The thin-walled end portion of the substrate 60 has an end face on which is formed a heat-generating portion consisting of electrically resistive films 66. The recording and return-circuit electrodes 62, 64 are electrically connected to the electrically resistive films 66. A heat radiating member 68 is bonded by an adhesive layer 70 to the common return-circuit electrode 64, such that one end of the heat radiating member 68 is located adjacent to the end face of the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 60.

In the embodiment of Figs. 14 and 15 the thin-walled end portion of the ceramic substrate 60 is partially defined by a flat inclined surface which extends from the major surface on which the return-circuit electrode 64 is formed. The inclined surface approaches the other major surface on which the recording electrodes 66 are formed. The heat radiating member 68 is formed so as to cover the inclined surface and an end portion of the major' surface from which the inclined surface extends. The end face on which the electrically resistive films 66 are formed is inclined to form an obtuse angle between an extension line of the end face and the major surface on which the recording electrodes 62 are formed. The electrically resistive films 66 are covered by a protective layer 72.

In the embodiment of Figs. 16 and 17, the substrate 60 has the same configuration as the substrate 2 of Fig. 2, and has a glaze layer 74 covering the end face of the thin-walled end portion and one of the opposite major surfaces. The electrically resistive films 66 and the recording electrodes 62 are formed on the respective portions of the glaze layer 74 which cover the end face and the above-indicated one major surface. The common return-circuit electrode 64 formed on the other major surface and the recording electrodes 62 are electrically connected to the electrically resistive films 66 formed on the end face. As in the preceding embodiment of Figs. 14, 15, the heat radiating member 68 is disposed in contact with the return-circuit electrode sheet 64, while a reinforcing member 76 is provided in contact with the recording electrodes 62, for increasing the mechanical strength of the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 60. The heat radiating and reinforcing members 68, 76 are bonded by respective adhesive layers 70. In this embodiment, too, the films 66 are covered by the protective layer 72.

While the end portion of the substrate having the end face is shaped differently in the embodiment of Figs. 14 and 15 and the embodiment of Figs. 16 and 17, the configuration of the thin-walled end portion may be suitably selected. The thin-walled end portion of the substrate 60 of Figs. 14, 15 having the inclined surface terminating directly in the end face has a relatively large mechanical strength, which permits the films 66 to be pressed onto a heat-sensitive paper or a thermally imaging film or ribbon with a relatively high contact pressure. In the embodiment of Figs. 16 and 17, the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 60 has a constant thickness portion having the end face, and a varying thickness portion partially defined by an inclined surface which forms an obtuse angle with respect to the major surface on which the return-circuit electrode 64 is formed. However, the inclined surface may be replaced by a shoulder surface which is perpendicular to the major surfaces as in Fig. 3, or a curved surface.

The thickness "d" of the substrate 60 as measured at the end face on which the electrically resistive films 66 are formed is selected within a range of about 10-400µm, preferably within a range of about 20-100µm, as in Figs. 6-13, for the same reason as described above with respect to Figs. 6-13.

In the embodiments of Figs. 14-17, the ceramic substrate 60 is made of a material whose thermal conductivity is lower than that of the heat radiating member 68 and falls within a range between 0.0084 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.002 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C) and 0.13 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1 0.03 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C, preferably within a range between 0.0084 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.002 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C) and 0.042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1 (0.01 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C). More preferably, the material for the substrate 60 whose thermal conductivity falls within the range specified above has a heat capacity of not higher than 2.3 J&peseta;K-1&peseta;cm-3(0.55 cal/°C&peseta;cm3) per unit volume. The thermal characteristics of the thin-walled head portion of the substrate 60 can be controlled by suitably selecting the material of the substrate having the thermal properties indicated above. For instance, the ceramic substrate 60 may be made of a glass ceramic material, a highly machinable or free-cutting glass ceramic material, or a free-cutting glass ceramic containing mica. While the material of the substrate 60 is determined depending upon the thermal conductivity of the heat radiating member 28 used, a free-cutting glass ceramic material containing mica is most preferred.

Namely, the ceramic substrate 60 is required to exhibit a suitable degree of heat accumulating property in order to efficiently concentrate the generated heat on the desired local spots on the recording medium or thermally imaging intermediate medium. In this respect, the substrate 60 is preferably formed of a free-cutting glass ceramic material containing mica, since its heat accumulating ability is higher than those of alumina and aluminum nitride, and is lower than that of a glass material having a relatively low thermal conductivity. The free-cutting glass ceramic material containing mica is also preferred for fast rise of the temperature of the substrate 60 and effective utilization of the heat generated by the electrically resistive films 66, since its heat capacity per unit volume is smaller than that of alumina and metals. The suitable selection of the material of the substrate 60 permits a desired heat-generating response of the head, i.e., a desired heat transfer from the electrically resistive films 66 to the recording medium or thermally imaging intermediate medium, so that the quality of images recorded by the head is improved. The free-cutting glass ceramic material containing mica is advantageous for easy and accurate formation of the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 60, where the substrate 60 is mechanically cut or machined to form the thin-walled end portion.

As described above with respect to the preceding embodiments, a glaze layer as indicated at 74 in Figs. 16 and 17 may be eliminated where a glass ceramic material is used for the substrate 60. The heat radiating member 68 disposed adjacent to the electrically resistive films 66 on the end face of the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 60 is made of a material whose thermal conductivity is not lower than 0.042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.01 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C). The heat radiating member 68 having such thermal conductivity is effective to efficiently radiate the heat generated by the electrically resistive films 66, thereby preventing blurring or blotting or expansion of image dots recorded by the head. Although the heat radiating member 68 is desirably used together with the substrate 60 whose thermal conductivity falls within the range specified above, the thermal conductivity of the substrate material need not fall within the specified range, provided the thermal conductivity of the heat radiating member 68 is not lower than 0.042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.01 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C).

The heat radiating member 68 is made of a material as described with respect to the heat radiating member 26 in Figs. 6-10. For improved heat radiation, it is desirable that the heat radiating member 68 be adapted for direct contact with the recording or intermediate medium. Preferably, the reinforcing member 76 is made of a material whose hardness is lower than those of the electrodes 74, 64 and whose wear resistance is lower than that of the electrically resistive films 66. Where a protective layer 72 is provided, the wear resistance of the material for the reinforcing member 76 is preferably lower than that of the protective layer 72. It is particularly desirable to use a metallic, ceramic, glass or glass ceramic material whose knoop hardness is not higher than 1000kgf/mm2, preferably, not higher than 500kgf/mm2. The relatively low wear resistance of the reinforcing member 76 assures the electrically resistive films 66 to project a suitable small distance endwise of the substrate 60, from the reinforcing member 76, so that the films 66 are held in sliding contact with the heat-sensitive paper or thermally imaging intermediate ribbon or film. Thus, the reinforcing member 76 reinforces the recording head to give the head a sufficiently large mechanical strength, while allowing good contact of the films 66 with the recording medium or thermally imaging intermediate medium.

The reinforcing member 76 is preferably made of a easily-worn material having at least one major component selected from among highly machinable or free-cutting glass ceramic material, free-cutting glass ceramic material containing mica, free-cutting alumina, free-cutting boron nitride, free-cutting aluminum nitride, brass, copper, aluminum and bronze. For improved characteristic of sliding contact of the recording head, the reinforcing member 76 is principally made of free-cutting glass ceramic containing mica, free-cutting alumina, free-cutting boron nitride or free-cutting aluminum nitride. It is noted that the reinforcing member 76 principally made of free-cutting alumina, free-cutting boron nitride or free-cutting alumina nitride has considerably high thermal conductivity, permitting the heat generated by the electrically resistive films 66 to be effectively radiated.

The thermal recording head having the reinforcing member 76 located to cover at least the thin-walled end portion has increased mechanical strength at its end portion, and is thus protected from separation or flake off of the electrically resistive films 66 (and the protective layer 72), which may occur due to the sliding contact of the films 66 (or protective layer 72) with the heat-sensitive recording medium or thermally imaging intermediate medium. Accordingly, the present recording head is free from deterioration of the quality of the recorded images, which would otherwise arise from the material separated from the films 66 and inserted between the heat-generating portion and the recording medium or intermediate medium. Thus, the present recording head has a structural advantage over the known end-contact type thermal recording head.

The protective layer 72 is made of an electrically insulating material such as silicon oxides, silicon nitrides, silicon carbides, tantalum oxides and glass materials. The protective layer 72 effectively protects the films 66 and end portions of the electrodes 74, 64 against oxidation and wear and also functions as an electric insulator. The protective layer 72 is formed by a known method such as sputtering, CVD and thick-film forming technique. The layer 72 may be a single layer of a selected insulating material indicated above, or a laminar structure consisting of two or more layers of different insulating materials.

The adhesive layers 70 and glaze layer 74 are similar to the adhesive layers 10, and glaze layer 14 which have been described above. The recording and return-circuit electrodes 62, 64 and the electrically resistive films 66 are made of the materials as described with respect to the electrodes 4, 6 and the electrically resistive films 8.

The width of the heat-generating films 66 need not be the same as the width "d" of the end face of the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 60. Further, the angle and shape of the end face carrying the films 66 relative to the major surfaces of the substrate 60, and the configuration of the thin-walled end portion of the substrate 60 are not limited to those of Figs. 15 and 17. For instance, the end face may be a convex surface or have rounded ends.

Five end-contact type thermal recording heads were prepared for comparison of the recording heads of Figs. 14-15 and Figs. 16-17 as Examples 1 and 2 with Comparative Examples 3, 4 and 5. The recording heads according to Comparative Examples 3 and 4 are structurally identical with the heads according to Examples 1 and 2, but use a ceramic substrate whose thermal conductivity does not fall within the range specified above. The recording head according to Comparative Example 5 is a known head as shown in Fig. 18. The thermal conductivity of the substrate and the heat radiating member of Examples 1-5 are indicated in Table 1 below. Example No. Type of Head Thermal Conductivity * Remarks Substrate Heat Radiator 1 Figs. 14-15 0.008 0.04 Invention 2 Figs. 16-17 0.004 0.02 Invention 3 Figs. 14-15 0.001 0.004 Comparative 4 Figs. 16-17 0.04 0.04 Comparative 5 Fig. 18 0.002 No radiator Comparative
*: Unit = cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C ≡ 4.2 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1

The thermal recording heads of Examples 1-5 were tested for quality of images recorded. The recording heads of Examples 1 and 2 according to the present invention were capable of recording high-quality images at a high speed, without undesirable blurring or expansion of image dots, or without distortion of the images due to prolonged heat application from the head.

On the other hand, the recording heads of Comparative Examples 3 and 5 suffered from blurring or expansion of image dots, and distortion of the images due to the prolonged heat application from the head, which are considered to arise from the heat accumulation in the head. The resolution and clarity of the recorded images were not satisfactory. The recording head of Comparative Example 4 suffered from low image reproduction sensitivity and low density of the recorded images.

While the the present invention has been described in its presently preferred embodiments by reference to the accompanying drawings, with a certain degree of particularity, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the details of the illustrated embodiments, but may be embodied with various changes, modifications and advantages, which may occur to those skilled in the art, in the light of the foregoing teachings.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ, mit einem Keramiksubstrat (2), das eine Endfläche am Aufzeichnungsende des Kopfes aufweist, wobei der Kopf ferner einen wärmeerzeugenden elektrischen Widerstands-Abschnitt (8), der auf zumindest der Endfläche des Substrats ausgebildet ist, Aufzeichnungs- und Rückleitungselektroden (4, 6), die auf dem Substrat ausgebildet und elektrisch mit dem wärmeerzeugenden Abschnitt verbunden sind, um ihn mit Energie zu versorgen, und zusätzlich zu den Elektroden ein wärmabestrahlendes Element (26) besitzt, das an einer von gegenüberliegenden Oberflächen des Substrats angeordnet ist, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß:
    • das Keramiksubstrat (2) ein plattenförmiges Element aus Keramikmaterial ist und einen dicken Abschnitt zwischen zueinander parallelen Abschnitten gegenüberliegender Hauptflächen des plattenförmigen Elements und einem dünnen Abschnitt, der aus dem dicken Abschnitt in seitlicher Richtung des plattenförmigen Elements zur Endfläche ragt, besitzt, wobei der dünne Abschnitt eine Dicke besitzt, die kleiner ist als jene des dicken Abschnitts, wobei der wärmeerzeugende Abschnitt (8) in Dickerichtung des plattenförmigen Elements eine Länge besitzt, die zumindest gleich der Dicke des plattenförmigen Elements an der Endfläche davon ist, und wobei ein Abschnitt des wärmeabstrahlenden Elements (26) auf einer der gegenüberliegenden Hauptflächen am dünnen Abschnitt des Keramiksubstrats positioniert ist.
  2. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach Anspruch 1, worin die Rückleitungselektrode aus einer gemeinsamen Rückleitungselektrodenplatte (6) besteht und das wärmeabstrahlende Element (26) mit der gemeinsamen Rückleitungselektrodenplatte verbunden ist.
  3. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach Anspruch 1, worin das wärmeabstrahlende Element (26) im Kontakt mit der Vielzahl an Aufzeichnungselektroden (4) angeordnet ist.
  4. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach Anspruch 1 oder 3, worin die zumindest eine Rückleitungselektrode aus einer gemeinsamen Rückleitungselektrode 6 in Form einer Platte besteht, die mit der anderen Hauptfläche des plattenförmigen Elements (2) verbunden ist als jene, auf der das wärmeabstrahlende Element (26) angeordnet ist.
  5. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, worin das wärmeabstrahlende Element (26) aus einem Material besteht, das zumindest eine Hauptkomponente aufweist, die aus der Gruppe, bestehend aus Automatenglaskeramik, Automatenglaskeramik mit Glimmer, Automatenaluminiumoxid, Automatenbornitrid, Automatenaluminiumnitrid, Messing, Kupfer, Aluminium und Bronze ausgewählt ist.
  6. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, worin die Dicke des dünnen Abschnitts des plattenförmigen Elements (2), gemessen an der Endfläche, innerhalb des Bereichs von 10 - 400 µm liegt.
  7. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach Anspruch 6, worin die Dicke des dünnen Abschnitts des plattenförmigen Elements (2) innerhalb des Bereichs von 20 - 100 µm liegt.
  8. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, worin das Keramikmaterial des plattenförmigen Elements (2) Automatenglaskeramik mit Glimmer ist.
  9. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, worin der wärmeerzeugende Abschnitt (8) direkt auf der Endfläche des dünnen Abschnitts des plattenförmigen Elements (2) ausgebildet ist.
  10. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ, umfassend ein Keramiksubstrat (60) mit einem Endabschnitt am Aufzeichnungsende des Kopfes, einen wärmeerzeugenden elektrischen Widerstands-Abschnitt (66) am Endabschnitt des Substrats, Aufzeichnungs- und Rückleitungselektroden (62, 64), die elektrisch mit dem wärmeerzeugenden Abschnitt verbunden sind, uni ihn mit Energie zu versorgen, und zusätzlich zu den Elektroden ein wärmeabstrahlendes Element (68), das solcherart angeordnet ist, daß ein Abschnitt des wärmeabstrahlenden Elements an den wärmeerzeugenden elektrischen Widerstands-Abschnitt (66) angrenzt, wobei das Keramiksubstrat aus einem Material mit einer Wärmeleitfähigkeit besteht, die geringer ist als jene des Materials des wärmeabstrahlenden Elements (68) und innerhalb des Bereichs von 0,0084 bis 0,13 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1 (0,002 cal&peseta;cm/s&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C und 0,03 cal&peseta;cm/s&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C) liegt, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß:
    • das Keramiksubstrat (60) ein plattenförmiges Element aus einem Keramikmaterial ist und einen dicken Abschnitt zwischen zueinander parallelen Abschnitten gegenüberliegender Hauptflächen und einen dünnen Abschnitt mit dem besagten Endabschnitt, der vom dicken Abschnitt in seitlicher Richtung des plattenförmigen Elements zur Endfläche ragt, besitzt, wobei der dünne Abschnitt eine Dicke aufweist, die kleiner ist als jene des dicken Abschnitts, wobei der wärmeerzeugende Abschnitt (8) in Dickerichtung des plattenförmigen Elements eine Länge aufweist, die zumindest gleich der Dicke des plattenförmigen Elements an der Endfläche davon ist.
  11. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach Anspruch 10, worin die Wärmeleitfähigkeit des Keramikbereichs im Bereich von 0,0084 bis 0,042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1 (0,002 cal&peseta;cm/s&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C und 0,01 cal&peseta;cm/s&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C) liegt.
  12. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach Anspruch 10 oder 11, worin das wärmeabstrahlende Element (68) aus einem Material mit einer Wärmeleitfähigkeit besteht, die höher als jene des Keramikmaterials und höher als 0,042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1 (0,01 cal&peseta;cm/s&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C) ist.
  13. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ umfassend ein Keramiksubstrat (60) mit einem Endabschnitt am Aufzeichnungsende des Kopfes, einen wärmeerzeugenden elektrischen Widerstands-Abschnitt (66) am Endabschnitt des Substrats, Aufzeichnungs- und Rückleitungselektroden (62, 64), die elektrisch mit dem wärmeerzeugenden Abschnitt verbunden sind, um ihn mit Energie zu versorgen, und zusätzlich zu den Elektroden ein wärmeabstrahlendes Element (68), das solcherart angeordnet ist, daß ein Abschnitt des wärmeabstrahlenden Elements an den wärmeerzeugenden elektrischen Widerstands-Abschnitt (66) angrenzt, wobei das wärmeabstrahlende Element aus einem Material mit einer Wärmeleitfähigkeit besteht, die höher ist als jene des Materials des Keramiksubstrats (60) und höher als 0,042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1 (0,01 cal&peseta;cm/s&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C) ist, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß:
    • das Substrat (60) ein plattenförmiges Element aus einem Keramikmaterial ist und einen dicken Abschnitt zwischen zueinander parallelen Abschnitten gegenüberliegender Hauptflächen und einen dünnen Abschnitt mit dem besagten Endabschnitt, der vom dicken Abschnitt in seitlicher Richtung des plattenförmigen Elements zur Endfläche ragt, besitzt, wobei der dünne Abschnitt eine Dicke aufweist, die kleiner ist als jene des dicken Abschnitts, wobei der wärmeerzeugende Abschnitt (8) in Dickerichtung des plattenförmigen Elements eine Länge aufweist, die zumindest gleich der Dicke des plattenförmigen Elements an der Endfläche davon ist.
  14. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach einem der Ansprüche 10 bis 13, worin das Keramikmaterial eine Wärmekapazität von höchstens 2,3 J&peseta;K-1&peseta;cm-3 (0,55 cal/°C&peseta;cm3) besitzt.
  15. Thermo-Aufzeichnungskopf vom Endkontakt-Typ nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 14, worin der dünne Abschnitt zwischen zueinander parallelen Abschnitten der Hauptflächen des Substrats angeordnet ist.
Anspruch[en]
  1. An end-contact type thermal recording head having a ceramic substrate (2) having an end face at the recording end of the head, the head further having an electrically resistive heat-generating portion (8) formed on at least said end face of said substrate, recording and return circuit electrodes (4,6) formed on said substrate and electrically connected to said heat-generating portion to energize said heat-generating portion, and a heat radiating member (26) additional to said electrodes disposed on one of opposite surfaces of the substrate, characterised in that:
    • said ceramic substrate (2) is a sheet-shaped member made of ceramic material and has a thick portion between mutually parallel portions of opposite major faces of said sheet-shaped member and a thin portion projecting from said thick portion in a lateral direction of said sheet-shaped member to said end face, said thin portion has a thickness less than that of said thick portion, said heat-generating portion (8) has, in the thickness direction of said sheet-shaped member, a length which is at least equal to the thickness of said sheet-shaped member at said end face thereof, and a portion of said heat radiating member (26) is located on one of said opposite major faces at said thin portion of said ceramic substrate.
  2. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to claim 1, wherein said return circuit electrode consists of a common return circuit electrode sheet (6), and said heat radiating member (26) is bonded to said common return circuit electrode sheet.
  3. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to claim 1, wherein said heat radiating member (26) is disposed in contact with said plurality of recording electrodes (4).
  4. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to claim 1 or claim 3, wherein said at least one return circuit electrode consists of a common return circuit electrode (6), in the form of a sheet bonded to the other major surface of said sheet-shaped member (2) from that on which the heat radiating member (26) is disposed.
  5. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein said heat radiating member (26) is made of a material having at least one major component selected from the group consisting of free-cutting glass ceramic, free-cutting glass ceramic containing mica, free-cutting alumina, free-cutting boron nitride, free-cutting aluminum nitride, brass, copper, aluminum and bronze.
  6. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the thickness of said thin portion of said sheet-shaped member (2) as measured at said end face is within the range 10-400µm.
  7. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to claim 6, wherein said thickness of said thin portion of said sheet-shaped member (2) is within the range 20-100µm.
  8. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein said ceramic material of said sheet-shaped member (2) is free-cutting glass ceramic containing mica.
  9. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein said heat-generating portion (8) is formed directly on said end face of said thin portion of said sheet-shaped member (2).
  10. An end-contact type thermal recording head including a ceramic substrate (60) having an end portion at the recording end of the head, an electrically resistive heat-generating portion (66) provided on the end portion of the substrate, recording and return circuit electrodes (62,64) electrically connected to said heat-generating portion to energize the heat-generating portion, and a heat radiating member (68) additional to said electrodes disposed such that a portion of said heat radiating member is adjacent to said electrically resistive heat-generating portion (66), said ceramic substrate being of a material having a thermal conductivity which is lower than that of the material of said heat radiating member (68) and is within the range 0.0084 to 0.13 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.002 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C and 0.03 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C),

    characterized in that:
    • said ceramic substrate (60) is a sheet-shaped member made of a ceramic material and has a thick portion between mutually parallel portions of opposite major faces and a thin portion providing said end portion projecting from said thick portion in a lateral direction of said sheet-shaped member to said end face, said thin portion has a thickness less than that of said thick portion, said heat-generating portion (8) has, in the thickness direction of said sheet-shaped member, a length which is at least equal to the thickness of said sheet-shaped member at said end face thereof.
  11. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to claim 10, wherein said thermal conductivity of said ceramic material is within the range 0.0084 to 0.042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1 (0.002 to 0.01 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C).
  12. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to claim 10 or 11, wherein said heat radiating member (68) is made of a material having a thermal conductivity which is higher than that of said ceramic material and is higher than 0.042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1 (0.01 cal&peseta;cm/sec&peseta;cm2&peseta;°C).
  13. An end-contact type thermal recording head including a ceramic substrate (60) having an end portion at the recording end of the head, an electrically resistive heat-generating portion (66) provided on the end portion of the substrate, and recording and return circuit electrodes (62,64) electrically connected to said heat-generating portion to energize the heat-generating portion, and a heat radiating member (68) additional to said electrodes disposed such that a portion of said heat radiating member is adjacent to said electrically resistive heat-generating portion (66), said heat radiating member (68) being made of a material having a thermal conductivity which is higher than that of the material of said ceramic substrate (60) and which is higher than 0.042 J&peseta;s-1&peseta;cm-1&peseta;K-1(0.01 cal&peseta;cm/sec &peseta;cm2&peseta;°C), characterized in that:
    • said substrate (60) is a sheet-shaped member made of a ceramic material and has a thick portion between mutually parallel portions of said opposite major faces and a thin portion providing said end portion extending from said thick portion in a lateral direction of said sheet-shaped member to said end face, said thin portion has a thickness less than that of said thick portion, said heat-generating portion (8) has, in the thickness direction of said sheet-shaped member, a length which is at least equal to the thickness of said sheet-shaped member at said end face thereof.
  14. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to any one of claims 10 to 13, wherein said ceramic material has a heat capacity of not higher than 2.3 J&peseta;K-1&peseta;cm-3(0.55 cal/°C&peseta;cm3).
  15. An end-contact type thermal recording head according to any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein said thin portion is between mutually parallel portions of said major surfaces of said substrate.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité ayant un substrat en céramique (2) ayant une face d'extrémité à l'extrémité d'enregistrement de la tête, la tête ayant en outre une portion de production de chaleur électriquement résistive (8) formée sur au moins ladite face d'extrémité dudit substrat, des électrodes d'enregistrement et de circuit de retour (4, 6) formées sur ledit substrat et reliées électriquement à ladite portion de production de chaleur pour exciter la portion de production de chaleur et un élément de rayonnement de chaleur (26) additionnel auxdites électrodes disposées sur l'une des surfaces opposées du substrat, caractérisée en ce que :
    • ledit substrat en céramique (2) est un élément conformé en feuille réalisé en un matériau de céramique et a une portion épaisse entre des portions mutuellement parallèles de faces principales opposées dudit élément conformé en feuille et une portion mince faisant saillie de ladite portion épaisse dans une direction latérale dudit élément conforme en feuille à ladite face d'extrémité, ladite portion mince a une épaisseur inférieure à celle de ladite portion épaisse, ladite portion de production de chaleur (8) a, dans la direction d'épaisseur dudit élément conformé en feuille, une longueur qui est au moins égale à l'épaisseur dudit élément conformé en feuille à ladite face d'extrémité de celui-ci et une portion dudit élément de rayonnement de chaleur (26) est située sur l'une desdites surfaces principales opposées à ladite portion mince dudit substrat en céramique.
  2. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle l'électrode de circuit de retour précitée consiste en une feuille d'électrode de circuit de retour commune (6) et l'élément de rayonnement de chaleur précité (26) est lié à ladite feuille d'électrode de circuit de retour commune.
  3. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle l'élément de rayonnement de chaleur précité (26) est disposé en contact avec la pluralité précitée d'électrodes d'enregistrement (4).
  4. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 3, dans laquelle au moins l'électrode de circuit de retour précitée consiste en une électrode de circuit de retour commune (6) sous la forme d'une feuille liée à l'autre surface principale de l'élément conformé en feuille précité (2) à partir de celle sur laquelle est disposé l'élément de rayonnement de chaleur (26).
  5. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans laquelle l'élément de rayonnement de chaleur précité (26) est réalisé en un matériau ayant au moins un composant principal choisi dans le groupe consistant en céramique de verre de décolletage, céramique de verre de décolletage contenant du mica, alumine de décolletage, nitrure de bore de décolletage, nitrure d'aluminium de décolletage, laiton, cuivre, aluminium et bronze.
  6. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, dans laquelle l'épaisseur de la portion mince précitée de l'élément conformé en feuille précité (2) comme mesurée à la face d'extrémité précitée est dans l'étendue de 10-400 µm.
  7. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon la revendication 6, dans laquelle l'épaisseur précitée de la portion mince précitée de l'élément conformé en feuille précité (2) est dans l'étendue de 20-100 µm.
  8. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, dans laquelle le matériau de céramique précité de l'élément conformé en feuille précité (2) est de la céramique de verre de décolletage contenant du mica.
  9. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, dans laquelle la portion de production de chaleur précitée (8) est formée directement sur la face d'extrémité précitée de la portion mince précitée de l'élément conformé en feuille précité (2).
  10. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité comprenant un substrat en céramique (60) ayant une portion d'extrémité à l'extrémité d'enregistrement de la tête, une portion de production de chaleur électriquement résistive (66) prévue sur la portion d'extrémité du substrat, des électrodes d'enregistrement et de circuit de retour (62, 64) reliées électriquement à ladite portion de production de chaleur pour exciter la portion de production de chaleur et un élément de rayonnement de chaleur (68) additionnel auxdites électrodes disposées de telle sorte qu'une portion dudit élément de rayonnement de chaleur est adjacente à ladite portion de production de chaleur électriquement résistive (66), ledit substrat en céramique étant en un matériau ayant une conductivité thermique qui est inférieure à celle du matériau dudit élément de rayonnement de chaleur (68) et est dans l'étendue de 0,0084 à 0,13 J.s-1.cm-1.K-1 (0,002 cal.cm/sec.cm2.°C et 0,03 cal.cm/sec.cm2.°C),

       caractérisée en ce que :
    • ledit substrat en céramique (60) est un élément conformé en feuille réalisé en un matériau de céramique et a une portion épaisse entre des portions mutuellement parallèles de faces principales opposées et une portion mince constituant ladite portion d'extrémité faisant saillie de ladite portion épaisse dans une direction latérale dudit élément conformé en feuille à ladite face d'extrémité, ladite portion mince a une épaisseur inférieure à celle de ladite portion épaisse, ladite portion de production de chaleur (8) a, dans la direction d'épaisseur dudit élément conformé en feuille, une longueur qui est au moins égale à l'épaisseur dudit élément conformé en feuille à ladite face d'extrémité de celui-ci.
  11. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon la revendication 10, dans laquelle la conductivité thermique précitée du matériau en céramique précité est dans l'étendue de 0,0084 à 0,042 J.s-1.cm-1.K-1 (0,002 à 0,01 cal.cm/sec.cm2.°C).
  12. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon la revendication 10 ou 11, dans laquelle l'élément de rayonnement de chaleur précité (68) est réalisé en un matériau ayant une conductivité thermique qui est supérieure à celle du matériau en céramique précité et est supérieure à 0,042 J.s-1.cm-1.K-1 (0,01 cal.cm/sec.cm2.°C).
  13. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité comprenant un substrat en céramique (60) ayant une portion d'extrémité à l'extrémité d'enregistrement de la tête, une portion de production de chaleur électriquement résistive (66) prévue sur la portion d'extrémité du substrat et des électrodes d'enregistrement et de circuit de retour (62, 64) reliées électriquement à ladite portion de production de chaleur pour exciter la portion de production de chaleur et un élément de rayonnement de chaleur (68) additionnel auxdites électrodes disposées de telle sorte qu'une portion dudit élément de rayonnement de chaleur est adjacente à ladite portion de production de chaleur électriquement résistive (66), ledit élément de rayonnement de chaleur (68) étant réalisé en un matériau ayant une conductivité thermique qui est supérieure à celle du matériau dudit substrat en céramique (60) et qui supérieure à 0,042 J.s-1.cm-1.K-1 (0,01 cal.cm/sec.cm2.°C),

    caractérisée en ce que :
    • ledit substrat (60) est un élément conformé en feuille réalisé en un matériau en céramique et a une portion épaisse entre les portions mutuellement parallèles desdites faces principales opposées et une portion mince constituant ladite portion d'extrémité s'étendant de ladite portion épaisse dans une direction latérale dudit élément conformé en feuille à ladite face d'extrémité, ladite portion mince a une épaisseur inférieure à celle de ladite portion épaisse, ladite portion de production de chaleur (8) a, dans la direction d'épaisseur dudit élément conformé en feuille, une longueur qui est au moins égale à l'épaisseur de l'élément conformé en feuille à ladite face d'extrémité de celui-ci.
  14. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon l'une quelconque des revendications 10 à 13, dans laquelle le matériau en céramique précité a une capacité thermique non supérieure à 2,3 J.K-1.cm-3 (0,55 cal/°C.cm3).
  15. Tête d'enregistrement thermique du type à contact-extrémité selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, dans laquelle la portion mince précitée est entre des portions mutuellement parallèles des surfaces principales précitées du substrat précité.






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