PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP0640887 09.09.1999
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0640887
Titel Elektrostatisches Reinigen nichtgescheuerter Elektronendrähte mittels Gleichspannung
Anmelder Xerox Corp., Rochester, N.Y., US
Erfinder Brewington, Grace T., Fairport, New York 14450, US;
Buranicz, John, Cohoes, New York 12047, US;
Germain, Richard P., Webster, New York 14580, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 69419850
Vertragsstaaten DE, FR, GB
Sprache des Dokument En
EP-Anmeldetag 05.08.1994
EP-Aktenzeichen 943058404
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 01.03.1995
EP date of grant 04.08.1999
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 09.09.1999
IPC-Hauptklasse G03G 15/095
IPC-Nebenklasse G03G 15/09   

Beschreibung[en]

This invention relates generally to the development of electrostatic latent images, and more particularly concerns a scavengeless development system in which an electrostatic bias is applied to the electrode wires.

This invention can be used in the art of electrophotographic printing. Generally, the process of electrophotographic printing includes charging a photoconductive member to a substantially uniform potential so as to sensitize the surface thereof. The charged portion of the photoconductive surface is exposed to a light image of an original document being reproduced. This records an electrostatic latent image on the photoconductive surface. After the electrostatic latent image is recorded on the photoconductive surface, the latent image is developed by bringing a developer material into contact therewith. Two-component and single-component developer materials are commonly used. A typical two-component developer material comprises magnetic granules having toner particles adhering triboelectrically thereto. A single component developer material typically comprises toner particles. Toner particles are attracted to the latent image forming a toner powder image on the photoconductive surface. The toner powder image is subsequently transferred to a copy sheet. Finally, the toner powder image is heated to permanently fuse it to the copy sheet in image configuration.

Single-component development systems use a donor roll for transporting charged toner to the development nip defined by the donor roll and photoconductive surface. The toner is developed on the latent image recorded on the photoconductive member by a combination of mechanical and/or electrical forces. Scavengeless development and jumping development are two types of single-component developments. A scavengeless development system uses a donor roll with a plurality of electrode wires closely spaced therefrom in the development zone. An AC voltage is applied to the wires forming a toner cloud in the development zone. The electrostatic field generated by the latent image attracts toner from the toner cloud to develop the latent image. In jumping development, an AC voltage is applied to the donor roll detaching toner from the donor roll and projecting the toner toward the photoconductive member so that the electrostatic fields generated by the latent image attract the toner to develop the latent image. Single-component development systems appear to offer advantages of low cost and design simplicity. Two-component development systems have been used extensively in many different types of printing machines. A two-component development system usually employs a magnetic brush developer roller for transporting carrier having toner adhering triboelectrically thereto. The electrostatic fields generated by the latent image attract the toner from the carrier so as to develop the latent image. In high speed commercial printing machines, a two-component development system may have lower operating costs than a single component development system. Clearly, two-component development systems and single-component development systems each have their own advantages It has been found that it is desirable to combine these systems to form a hybrid-type of development system incorporating the desirable features of each system. For example, at the Second International Congress on Advances in Non-Impact Printing held in Washington, DC, on Nov. 4, 1984 sponsored by the Society for Photographic Scientists and Engineers, Toshiba described a development system using a donor roll and a magnetic roller. The donor roll and magnetic roller were electrically biased. The magnetic roller transported two-component developer material to a nip defined by the donor roll and magnetic roll. Toner is attracted to the donor roll from the magnetic roller. The donor roll is rotated synchronously with the photoconductive drum. The large difference in potential between the donor roll and latent image recorded on the photoconductive drum causes the toner to jump across the gap from the donor roll to the latent image so as to develop the latent image. Other types of hybrid development systems have also employed electrode wires adjacent the donor roll in combination with a magnetic roller for transporting developer material. In this type of system, the magnetic roller advances developer material to a position adjacent the donor roll. The donor roll attracts the toner particles from the carrier granules of the developer material. Subsequently, as the donor roll rotates, toner is detached therefrom by the electrical field generated by the electrode wires. The detached toner forms a toner powder cloud in the development zone which develops the latent image recorded on the photoconductive surface. This type of development system is a hybrid scavengeless development system.

Fiber, bead and toner agglomerate contamination and entrapment on the electrode wires in a scavengeless development system is a significant problem. In order to achieve the reliability that will be required for future printing machines, it is necessary to have a virtually failure free development system. Problems that often occur during development with hybrid scavengeless development include ghosting, streaks and wire strobing. Ghosting is a history effect caused by varying amounts of toner throughput within a single print and is manifested on subsequent print areas as density variations. Areas of the donor roll with a high toner throughput produce more density disturbances than do areas with low toner throughput. Streaks appear as density non-uniformities that run parallel with the process direction. Wire strobing appears as non-uniform density bands running perpendicular to the process direction. Testing has shown that ghosting and streaking are caused primarily by contamination of the electrode wires. The severity of these problems is dependent upon many factors such as the number of electrode wires, developed mass, test target type, agglomerate carryout performance, etc.

A non-uniform build up of toner on the electrode wires appears to be the main cause of both ghosting and streaks. It has been observed that in areas with high toner throughput, the electrode wires tend to be cleaner than in areas of low throughput. An effective way to remove ghosting and streaks is to manually clean the electrode wires with cotton prior to a print. This is very impractical, and must be done prior to each print. A second, less effective method, depending on developer characteristics, is to clean the donor roll with a reverse bias during cycle out. This method works in most cases to a certain degree, but toner eventually coats the electrode wires and a manual cleaning is yet required, sometimes before a single print is completed. In some cases, cleaning the donor roll does not alleviate ghosting at all.

It is thus clear that it is necessary to reduce and prevent trapped contaminants on the electrode wires in order to enhance developability and to achieve the required high reliability. Various approaches have been devised to clean electrode wires.

US-A-4,073,587 describes a corotron wire used to charge a photoconductive surface. The corotron wire is vibrated to prevent the accumulation of contaminants thereon by having a movable pick pluck the wire.

US-A-4,516,848 discloses a charging wire for charging a drum in an electrostatic copying machine. A tongue piece is mounted on a piezoelectric element. A DC signal is applied to the piezoelectric element to flex the tongue and position it in contact with or closely adjacent to the wire. A high frequency signal is superimposed onto the DC signal to flex and vibrate the tongue piece against the wire to prevent the adhesion of toner powders to the wire.

US-A-4,568,955 describes a plurality of insulated electrodes located on the surface of a developer roller. The electrodes are connected to an AC and a DC source which generates an alternating electric field between electrodes to cause oscillations of the developer material between the electrodes.

US-A-4,868,600 discloses a scavengeless development system having electrode wires positioned adjacent a donor roller transporting toner. An AC electric field is applied to the electrode wires to detach the toner from the donor roller forming a toner powder cloud in the development zone.

US-A-4,876,575 also describes a scavengeless development system having electrode wires positioned adjacent a donor roller transporting toner. An AC electric field is applied to the electrode wires to detach the toner from the donor roller forming a toner powder cloud in the development zone. The frequency of the AC field is between 4 kHz and 10 kHz.

US-A-4,984,019 describes an apparatus including electrode wires positioned closely adjacent the exterior surface of a donor roller and being in the gap between the donor roller and the photoconductive member. The electrode wires are cleaned by vibrating them to remove contaminants therefrom vibration is induced in the electrode wires by applying an AC voltage thereon having a suitable frequency.

US-A-5,124,749 describes an apparatus in which a donor roll advances toner to an electrostatic latent image recorded on a photoconductive member. A plurality of electrode wires are positioned in the space between the donor roll and the photoconductive member. The electrode wires are electrically biased to detach the toner from the donor roll so as to form a toner cloud in the space between the electrode wires and photoconductive member. Detached toner from the toner cloud develops the latent image. A damping material is coated on a portion of the electrode wires. The damping material damps vibration of the electrode wires.

US-A-5,134,442 describes an apparatus for reducing contamination of an electrode member positioned in the space between a surface adapted to have a latent image recorded thereon and a moving donor member. The apparatus includes a plurality of wires positioned prior to the electrode member in the direction of movement of the donor member and closely adjacent to the donor member so that said plurality of wires trap contaminants before they reach the electrode member.

US-A-5,144,371 describes a scavengeless/non-interactive development system for use in highlight color imaging. The use of dual frequencies for the AC voltages applied between the wires and the donor and donor image receiver of a scavengeless development system allows for greater gap latitude without degradation of line development. Dual frequency refers to the application of an AC voltage at one frequency to the wire electrodes and the simultaneous application of different frequency AC to the donor structure for insuring proper positioning of the toner cloud relative to the imaging surface.

US-A-5,172,170 describes an apparatus in which a donor roll advances toner to an electrostatic latent image recorded on a photoconductive member. A plurality of electrical conductors are located in grooves in the donor roll. The electrical conductors are spaced from one another and adapted to be electrically biased in the development zone to detach toner from the donor roll so as to form a toner cloud in the development zone.

US-A-5,053,824 discloses a scavengeless development apparatus having a donor belt which is biased with a DC voltage to establish an electrostatic field between a photoconductive surface and the donor belt so that toner particles are attracted onto a latent image recorded on the photoconductive surface.

Lastly, US-A-5,204,719 describes an apparatus in which an electrostatic latent image recorded on a photoconductive member is developed with toner. A donor roll, spaced from the photoconductive member, transports toner to a development zone adjacent the photoconductive member. An electrode member is positioned in the development zone between the photoconductive member and the donor roll. A DC current is transmitted through the electrode member. A magnetic member interacts with the DC current flowing through the electrode member to substantially electromagnetically dampen vibrations of the electrode member.

It is an object of the present invention to provide improved electrode wire cleaning in a scavengeless development system.

According to the present invention as defined in claim 1, there is provided an image forming apparatus for forming images on an image receiving surface with developer, containing electrostatic cleaning apparatus for cleaning a wire electrode structure in said image forming apparatus, the image forming apparatus including a supply of marking particles, and transport means for transporting the marking particles from the supply to an area adjacent the image receiving surface, a wire electrode structure disposed between the transport means and the image receiving surface for forming transported marking particles into a cloud thereof, whereby the electrostatic cleaning apparatus comprises a voltage source for applying an alternating voltage potential to the wire electrode structure with respect to the transport means, and offset means for creating an average electrostatic voltage potential on the wire electrode structure with respect to the transport means, the offset means applying an offsetting voltage signal to the wire electrode structure and the voltage source.

The invention also provides a method of minimizing the buildup of marking particles on a wire electrode structure in apparatus as described above, the method comprising the steps of a) biasing the transport means with a first voltage signal to attract marking particles from the supply to the transport means and b) biasing the wire electrode structure with a second electrostatic voltage signal to effect both i) detachment of marking particles from the transport means so as to form a cloud of marking particles in the space between the wire electrode structure and the image receiving surface with detached marking particles from the cloud developing a latent image on the image receiving surface; and, ii) repulsion of marking particles from the wire electrode structure.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of dampening the vibration of a wire electrode structure in apparatus as described above, the method comprising electrostatically biasing the wire electrode structure with respect to the transport means using an alternating voltage signal having an average electrostatic component simultaneously detaching marking particles from the transport means while dampening vibration of the wire electrode structure induced by the alternating voltage signal.

A method and apparatus is provided for removing contaminants from an electrode member positioned in the space between a surface adapted to have a latent image recorded thereon and a donor member. The apparatus includes means for electrostatically biasing the electrode member negatively with respect to the donor roll, to prevent deposition and facilitate removal of contaminants including negatively charged toner particles therefrom. Means are provided for advancing developer material to the donor member. The advancing means and the electrostatic biasing means are simulataneously operated for on-the-fly electrostatic electrode wire cleaning during developing.

An electrophotographic printing machine of the type in which an electrostatic latent image recorded on a photoconductive member is developed to form a visible image thereof is described. The improvement includes a housing defining a chamber storing a supply of developer material comprising at least carrier and toner. A donor member is spaced from the photoconductive member and adapted to transport toner to a region opposed from the photoconductive member. An electrode member is positioned in the space between the photoconductive member and the donor member. Means are provided for electrostatically biasing the electrode member with an AC voltage having an average or net negative DC component with respect to the donor roll to prevent deposition and facilitate removal of negatively charged contaminants therefrom. A transport member, located in the chamber of said housing, is adapted to advance developer material from the chamber of the housing to the donor member.

Other features of the present invention will become apparent as the following description proceeds and upon reference to the drawings, in which:

  • FIGURE 1 is a schematic elevational view showing cleaning of the electrode wires of the development apparatus used in an electrophotographic printing machine; and,
  • FIGURE 2 is a detailed circuit diagram illustrating the technique of on-the-fly electrostatic cleaning of scavengeless development electrode wires with a D.C. bias.

Referring to FIGURE 1, there is shown the developer unit 38 of an electrophotographic printing machine in which a belt 10 having a photoconductive surface 12 is moved in the direction of arrow 16 Electrostatic latent images on the belt 10 are developed by developer unit 38 As shown, developer unit 38 includes a housing 66 defining a chamber 44 for storing a supply of developer material therein. Donor roller 40, electrode wires 42 and magnetic roller 46 are mounted in chamber 44 of housing 66. The donor roller can be rotated in either the 'with' or 'against' direction relative to the direction of motion of belt 10. In FIGURE 1, donor roller 40 is shown rotating in the direction of arrow 41, i.e. the against direction. Similarly, the magnetic roller can be rotated in either the 'with' or 'against' direction relative to the direction of motion of donor roller 40. In FIGURE 1, magnetic roller 46 is shown rotating in the direction of arrow 48 i.e. the against direction. Donor roller 40 is preferably overcoated with a layer of anodized aluminum. Other possible donor roll overcoatings include various polymers loaded with carbon black or graphite. Electrode wires 42 are disposed in the space between the belt 10 and donor roller 40. Although only two wires are illustrated here for clarity, a plurality of electrode wires are typically used. The electrode wires are normally in intimate contact with donor roller 40. A plurality, i.e. four or five electrode wires extend in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the donor roller. Each electrode wire is made from a thin (i.e. 50 to 100 µm diameter) stainless steel strand. The extremities of the wires are supported by the tops of end bearing blocks which also support the donor roller for rotation. The wire extremities are attached so that they are tangential to and in contact with the surface of the donor roller. Mounting the wires in such a manner makes them insensitive to roll runout due to their self-spacing.

As illustrated in FIGURE 1, an alternating electrical bias is applied to the electrode wires by an AC voltage source 90. In operation, the applied AC establishes an alternating electrostatic field between the wires and the donor roller which is effective in detaching toner from the surtace of the donor roller and forming a toner cloud about the wires, the height of the cloud being such as not to be substantially in contact with the belt 10. The applied A.C. is a biased waveform having a net DC component offset 89 causing the wire 42 to be more negatively charged on average than the donor roller. The bias keeps the electrode wires relatively free of negatively charged toner effecting an electrostatic cleaning. The AC voltage source 90 generates a balanced waveform with an average voltage of zero. The D.C. bias is provided by the DC voltage source 89 whereby the AC source 90 "rides" an average D.C. bias according to the connection illustrated. Alternatively, the AC voltage source 90 itself may generate an unbalanced waveform with a non-zero average voltage. The non-zero average voltage alone or in combination with the DC source 89 is equivalent to the arrangement illustrated in FIGURE 1.

An advantage of the present invention is that the electrode wires are electrostatically cleaned during application of the A.C. forming the toner cloud during the development operation. That is, the electrode wires are electrostatically cleaned on-thefly, rather than in an off-line process as in the past.

During operation, the magnitude of the AC voltage is relatively low and is on the order of 200 to 600 volts peak at a frequency ranging from about 3 kHz to about 18 kHz. A DC bias supply 50 which applies approximately -350 volts to donor roller 40 establishes an electrostatic field between photoconductive surface 12 of belt 10 and donor roller 40 for attracting the detached toner particles from the cloud surrounding the wires to the latent image recorded on the photoconductive surface. The use of a dielectric coating on either the electrode wires or donor roller prevents shorting of the applied AC voltage. A cleaning blade 60 strips all of the toner from donor roller 40 after development so that magnetic roller 46 meters fresh toner to a clean donor roller. Magnetic roller 46 meters a constant quantity of toner having a substantially constant charge on to donor roller 40. This insures that the donor roller provides a constant amount of toner having a substantially constant charge in the development gap. In lieu of using a cleaning blade, the combination of donor roller spacing, i.e. spacing between the donor roller and the magnetic roller, the compressed pile height of the developer material on the magnetic roller, and the magnetic properties of the magnetic roller in conjunction with the use of a conductive, magnetic developer material achieves the deposition of a constant quantity of toner having a substantially constant charge on the donor roller. During operation, DC bias supply 56 applies approximately -75 volts D.C. to magnetic roller 46 relative to donor roller 40 to establish an electrostatic field between magnetic roller 46 and donor roller 40 which causes toner particles to be attracted from the magnetic roller to the donor roller Metering blade 62 is positioned closely adjacent to magnetic roller 46 to maintain the compressed pile height of the developer material on magnetic roller 46 at the desired level. Magnetic roller 46 includes a non-magnetic tubular member or sleeve 52 made preferably from aluminum and having the exterior circumferential surface thereof roughened. An elongated multiple magnet 68 is positioned interiorly of and spaced from the tubular member The magnet is mounted stationarily. The tubular member is mounted on suitable bearings and is coupled to motor 64 for rotation thereby. The tubular member 52 rotates in the direction of arrow 48 to advance the developer material adhering thereto into the nip defined by donor roller 40 and magnetic roller 46. Toner particles are attracted from the carrier granules on the magnetic roller to the donor roller. Scraper blade 58 moves denuded carrier granules on extraneous developer material from the surface of tubular member 52.

With continued reference to FIGURE 1, augers, indicated generally by the reference numeral 54, are located in chamber 44 of housing 66. Augers 54 are mounted rotatably in chamber 44 to mix and transport developer material. The augers have blades extending spirally outwardly from a shaft. The blades are designed to advance the developer material in the axial direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the shaft.

As successive electrostatic latent images are developed, the toner particles within the developer material are depleted. A toner dispenser (not shown) stores a supply of toner particles. The toner dispenser is in communication with chamber 44 of housing 66. As the concentration of toner particles in the developer material is decreased, fresh toner particles are furnished to the developer material in the chamber from the toner dispenser. The augers in the chamber of the housing mix the fresh toner particles with the remaining developer material so that the resultant developer material therein is substantially uniform with the concentration of toner particles being optimized. In this way, a substantially constant amount of toner particles are in the chamber of the developer housing with the toner particles having a constant charge. The developer material in the chamber of the developer housing is magnetic and may be electrically conductive. By way of example, the carrier granules include a ferromagnetic core with a non-continuous layer of resinous material. The toner particles are made from a resinous material, such as a vinyl polymer, mixed with a coloring material, such as carbon black. The developer material comprises from about 95% to about 99% by weight of carrier and from 5% to about 1% by weight of toner. However, one skilled in the art will recognize that any suitable developer material having at least carrier granules and toner particles may be used.

Turning now to FIGURE 2, there is shown the circuitry for electrostatic cleaning of electrode wires 42 using a D.C. bias according to the preterred embodiment. The DC voltages sources 50, 56 shown in FIGURE 1 are illustrated here as being preferably a single first DC voltage source 100 with a polarity as indicated. As discussed above with reference to the development apparatus in general, the magnetic roller 46 is biased to be somewhat more negative than the donor roller 40. As shown, a second DC voltage source 102 connects the magnetic roller 46 to the first DC voltage source 100 through a current limiting resistor 104. Preferably, the first DC voltage source 100 is set to -350 volts DC while the second DC voltage source 102 is set to -75 volts DC resulting in a bias on the donor roller 40 of -350 volts DC and a bias on the magnetic roller 46 of -425 volts DC. A first square wave AC voltage source 110 is connected to the magnetic roller 46 through a coupling capacitor 112 to influence a uniform deposit of development material onto the magnetic roller 46 from the chamber 44. Using a standard toner with the above preferable voltage settings, the magnetic roller 46 meters a constant quantity of toner having a substantially constant toner layer space charge of approximately -50 V to -75 V onto the donor roller 40.

A feature of the present invention is to provide the electrode wires 42 with an average electrostatic DC negative voltage offset with respect to the donor roller bias equal to the toner layer space charge level. For efficient electrostatic cleaning of the electrode wires 42, the average DC negative voltage offset has been found to be approximately 25-150 volts and prererably about 50 volts. That is, for negatively charged contaminants, the electrode wires should be 50 volts more negative than the donor roller bias and equal to the toner layer space charge in the development gap. Of course, for positively charged contaminants, the electrode wires should be 50 volts more positive than the donor roller bias and equal to the toner layer space charge in the development gap.

A second square wave AC voltage source 120 is capacitively coupled to the electrode wires 42 through a coupling capacitor 122 and a current limiting resistor 124. As indicated above, the applied AC from the second square wave AC voltage source 120 establishes an alternating electrostatic field between the wires 42 and the donor roller 40 which is effective is detaching toner form the surface of the donor roller and forming a toner cloud about the wires 42 in the development gap. To effect an electrostatic cleaning of the electrode wires 42, a third DC voltage source 130 is connected in parallel with the second square wave AC voltage source 120 through a current limiting resistor 132. Using a typical toner with the first DC voltage source 100 set at -350 volts DC and the second DC voltage source 102 set at -75 volts DC results in a toner layer space charge in the development gap or approximately -50 volts DC to -75 volts DC, the third DC voltage source 130 is set to between -50 volts DC and -75 volts DC to effect a difference in potential between the wires 42 and the donor roller 40 of approximately 50 to 75 volts. This has been found to effectively eliminate the accumulation of toner build-up on the wires 42 which is a major cause of both ghosting and streaks in the developed image. Although two power supplies 120, 130 are illustrated, it is possible to provide a single AC voltage which includes a biased waveform having a net DC component offset causing the electrode wires to be more negatively charged on average than the donor roller.

Another donor roller cleaning will now be described with continued reference to FIGURE 2. The donor roller 40 is substantially cleaned of toner between print cycles or off-line by adjusting the DC bias on variable supplies 102 and/or 100 such that toner particles are electrostatically driven to move from the donor roller surface back onto the carrier granules. During this off-line donor cleaning cycle, the small amount of toner remaining on the donor roller is typically of opposite polarity from the toner used for development of the latent image. The space charge of this toner on the donor roller during this off-line donor cleaning cycle is positive. Corresponding with the inititation of the donor cleaning cycle in which the toner space charge is positive, the DC bias 130 applied to the electrodes 42 is changed to approximately positive 20 to 150 volts relative to the donor roller to prevent toner build-up on the wires. During the application of the DC bias to the electrode wires the electrostatic attraction of the electrode to the donor roller is reduced and the electrode vibration is thereby reduced.

Lastly with reference to FIGURE 2, a first sinusoidal wave AC voltage source 140 is connected between the donor roller 40 and the first DC voltage source 100 through a transformer 142. This voltage source may be included as desired to control the developability of lines in the degree of interaction between the toner and the receiver as taught in US-A-5,010,367 to Hays.

In recapitulation, it is evident that the development system of the present invention includes an electrostatic negative DC offset on the electrode wires positioned closely adjacent the exterior surface of a more positively biased donor roll in the gap defining the development zone between the donor roll and the photoconductive belt. An electrostatic field is generated between the electrode wires and the donor roll whereby the electrostatic field discourages build-up of toner particles on the development wires. An average negative DC voltage is applied to the electrode wires to generate an electrostatic field thereon. The electrostatic field in combination with the charge on the donor roller substantially reduces the build-up of negatively charged toner on the electrode wires.

While this invention has been described in terms of negative toner, it is intended to be understood that for positively charged toner or other contaminants, one would merely change the polarity of the DC bias on the electrode wires 130 to correspond with the positive polarity of the surface potential of the toner layer to effect electrode wire cleaning according to this invention.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Eine Bilderzeugungsvorrichtung, um Bilder auf einer Bildempfangsoberfläche (10, 12) mit einem Entwickler zu bilden, wobei die Vorrichtung umfaßt:
    • einen Vorrat (38) an Markierungsteilchen;
    • eine Transporteinrichtung (40), um Markierungsteilchen von dem Vorrat (38) zu einem Bereich nahe der Bildempfangsoberfläche (10, 12) zu transportieren;
    • eine Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42), die zwischen der Transporteinrichtung (40) und der Bildempfangsoberfläche (10, 12) angeordnet ist, um eine Wolke aus transportierten Markierungsteilchen zu bilden; und
    • eine Wechselspannungsquelle (120), um ein Wechselspannungspotential an die Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) in Bezug auf die Transporteinrichtung (40) anzulegen,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß

    des weiteren elektrostatische Einrichtungen (122, 124, 130, 132) zum Reinigen der Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) vorgesehen sind, um zusätzlich ein im Mittel elektrostatisches Spannungspotential an der Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) in Bezug auf die Transporteinrichtung (40) zu erzeugen, und derart verbunden sind, daß bei der Verwendung ein im Mittel elektrostatisches Spannungspotential an der Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) in Bezug auf die Transporteinrichtung (40) erzeugt wird, indem ein Versetzungsspannungssignal an zumindest die Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) oder die Wechselspannungsquelle (120) angelegt wird.
  2. Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die Spannungsquelle (120) eine Rechteckwellen-Wechselspannungsquelle umfaßt.
  3. Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei die Transporteinrichtung (40) eine Spenderwalze umfaßt, um die genannten Markierungsteilchen von dem genannten Vorrat (38) zu dem genannten Bereich nahe der Bildempfangsoberfläche (10, 12) zu transportieren, wobei die transportierten Teilchen ein Raumladungsspannungspotential gegebener Polarität akkumulieren, und daß das mittlere Verschiebungsspannungssignal die Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) auf eine gegebene Polarität in Bezug auf die Spenderwalze vorspannt.
  4. Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 3, wobei die mittleren elektrostatische Gleichspannungsversetzung, die an die Elektrodendrähte 42 in Bezug auf die Spenderwalze angelegt wird, gleich der Tonerschichtraumladung in dem Entwicklungsspalt ist.
  5. Ein Verfahren zum Reinigen einer Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) in einer Bilderzeugungsvorrichtung gemäß irgendeinem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Verfahren dann besteht, die Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) mit einem elektrostatischen Wechselspannungssignal im Bezug auf die Transporteinrichtung (40) vorzuspannen, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß die Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) des weiteren mit einem mittleren elektrostatischen Gleichspannungssignal in Bezug auf die Transporteinrichtung (40) vorgespannt wird, um Markierungsteilchen von der Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) fortzustoßen.
  6. Ein Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 5, bei dem die mittlere elektrostatische Gleichspannung, die die Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) in Bezug auf die Spenderwalze (40) vorspannt, auf die Polarität eingestellt wird, die durch das Raumladungsspannungspotential gegeben ist, das durch die durch die Transporteinrichtung (40) transportierten Markierungsteilchen akkumuliert wird.
  7. Ein Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 5, bei dem die mittlere elektrostatische Gleichspannungsversetzung zwischen der Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) und der Transporteinrichtung (40) negativ ist.
  8. Ein Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 5, 6 oder 7, bei dem die Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) mit einem Rechteckwellen-Wechselspannungssignal vorgespannt ist, das eine negative Gleichspannungskomponente in Bezug auf die Transporteinrichtung (40) aufweist.
  9. Ein Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 8, bei dem das Rechteckwellen-Wechselspannungssignal und das negative Gleichspannungssignal fortlaufend an die Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) angelegt werden, während das latente Bild auf der Empfangsoberfläche (10, 12) entwickelt wird.
  10. Ein Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 8, das zwischen Entwicklungszyklen den Schritt einschließt, die Drahtelektrodenstruktur (42) mit einem Spannungssignal elektrisch vorzuspannen, das eine mittlere elektrostatische Spannungskomponente in Bezug auf die Transporteinrichtung (40) aufweist, um Toner von ihr abzulösen.
Anspruch[en]
  1. Image forming apparatus for forming images on an image receiving surface (10, 12) with a developer, the apparatus comprising:
    • a supply (38) of marking particles;
    • transport means (40) for transporting marking particles from the supply (38) to an area adjacent the image receiving surface (10, 12);
    • a wire electrode structure (42) disposed between the transport means (40) and the image receiving surface (10, 12) for forming a cloud of transported marking particles; and
    • an AC voltage source (120) for applying an altemating voltage potential to the wire electrode structure (42) with respect to the transport means (40),
    characterized in that

    further electrostatic means (122, 124, 130, 132) for cleaning the wire electrode structure (42) by additionally creating an average electrostatic voltage potential on the wire electrode structure (42) with respect to the transport means (40) are provided and connected such that, in use, an average electrostatic voltage potential is created on the wire electrode structure (42) with respect to the transport means (40) by applying an offsetting voltage signal to at least one of the wire electrode structure (42) and the AC voltage source (120).
  2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the voltage source (120) comprises an AC square wave voltage source.
  3. Apparatus according to claim 1 or 2 wherein the transport means (40) comprises a donor roll for transporting said marking particles from said supply (38) to said area adjacent the image receiving surface (10, 12), the transported particles accumulating a space charge voltage potential of given polarity; and the offsetting average voltage signal biases the wire electrode structure (42) to the given polarity with respect to the donor roll.
  4. Apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the average electrostatic DC voltage offset applied to the electrode wires (42) with respect to the donor roll equals the toner layer space charge in the development gap.
  5. A method of cleaning a wire electrode structure (42) in an image forming apparatus according to any of the proceeding claims, the method consisting of

    biasing the wire electrode structure (42) with an AC electrostatic voltage signal with respect to the transport means (40)

    characterized in that

    the wire electrode structure (42) is further biased with an average electrostatic DC voltage signal with respect to the transport means (40) for repelling marking particles from the wire electrode structure (42).
  6. A method according to claim 5, wherein

    the average electrostatic DC voltage that biases the wire electrode structure (42) with respect to the donor roll (40) is set to the polarity given by the space charge voltage potential that is accumulated by the marking particles transported by the transport means (40).
  7. A method according to claim 5, wherein

    the average electrostatic DC voltage offset between the wire electrode structure (42) and the transport means (40) is negative.
  8. A method according to claims 5, 6 or 7, wherein

    the wire electrode structure (42) is biased with an AC square wave voltage signal having a negative DC voltage component with respect to the transport means (40).
  9. A method according to claim 8, wherein

    the AC square wave voltage signal and the negative DC voltage signal are applied continuously to the wire electrode structure (42) while developing the latent image on the receiving surface (10, 12).
  10. A method according to claim 8 including, between development cycles, the step of electrically biasing the wire electrode structure (42) with a voltage signal having an average electrostatic voltage component with respect to the transport means (40) to detach toner therefrom.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Dispositif de formation d'image destiné à former des images sur une surface de réception d'image (10, 12) à l'aide d'un dispositif de développement, le dispositif comprenant :
    • une réserve (38) de particules de marquage,
    • un moyen de transport (40) destiné à transporter des particules de marquage depuis la réserve (38) jusqu'à une zone voisine de la surface de réception d'image (10, 12),
    • une structure de filaments d'électrode (42) disposée entre le moyen de transport (40) et la surface de réception d'image (10, 12) afin de former un nuage de particules de marquage transportées, et
    • une source de tension en courant alternatif (120) destinée à appliquer un potentiel de tension alternatif à la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) par rapport au moyen de transport (40),
       caractérisé en ce que

       d'autres moyens électrostatiques (122, 124, 130, 132) destinés à nettoyer la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) en créant en plus un potentiel de tension électrostatique moyen sur la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) par rapport au moyen de transport (40) sont prévus et reliés de façon qu'en utilisation, un potentiel de tension électrostatique moyen soit créé sur la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) par rapport au moyen de transport (40) en appliquant un signal de tension de décalage à au moins l'une parmi la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) et la source de tension en courant alternatif (120).
  2. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la source de tension (120) comprend une source de tension en courant alternatif à signaux carrés.
  3. Dispositif selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel le moyen de transport (40) comprend un rouleau donneur destiné à transporter lesdites particules de marquage depuis ladite réserve (38) jusqu'à ladite zone à proximité de la surface de réception d'image (10, 12), les particules transportées accumulant un potentiel de tension de charge d'espace d'une polarité donnée, et le signal de tension moyenne de décalage polarise la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) à la polarité donnée par rapport au rouleau donneur.
  4. Dispositif selon la revendication 3, dans lequel le décalage de tension en courant continu électrostatique moyen appliqué aux filaments d'électrode (42) par rapport au rouleau donneur est égal à la charge d'espace de la couche de toner dans l'interstice de développement.
  5. Procédé de nettoyage d'une structure de filaments d'électrode (42) dans un dispositif de formation d'image selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, le procédé consistant à

       polariser la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) à l'aide d'un signal de tension électrostatique en courant alternatif par rapport au moyen de transport (40),

       caractérisé en ce que

       la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) est en outre polarisée à l'aide d'un signal de tension en courant continu électrostatique moyen par rapport au moyen de transport (40) afin de repousser les particules de marquage à l'écart de la structure de filaments d'électrode (42).
  6. Procédé selon la revendication 5, dans lequel

       la tension en courant continu électrostatique moyenne qui polarise la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) par rapport au rouleau donneur (40) est établie à la polarité donnée par le potentiel de tension de charge d'espace qui est accumulé par les particules de marquage transportées par le moyen de transport (40).
  7. Procédé selon la revendication 5, dans lequel

       le décalage de tension en courant continu électrostatique moyen entre la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) et le moyen de transport (40) est négatif.
  8. Procédé selon la revendication 5, 6 ou 7, dans lequel

       la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) est polarisée à l'aide d'un signal de tension en courant alternatif à signaux carrés présentant une composante de tension en courant continu négative par rapport au moyen de transport (40).
  9. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel

       le signal de tension en courant alternatif à signaux carrés et le signal de tension en courant continu négative sont appliqués en permanence à la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) pendant le développement de l'image latente sur la surface de réception (10, 12).
  10. Procédé selon la revendication 8, comprenant, entre des cycles de développement, l'étape consistant à polariser électriquement la structure de filaments d'électrode (42) à l'aide d'un signal de tension présentant une composante de tension électrostatique moyenne par rapport au moyen de transport (40) afin de détacher du toner de celle-ci.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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