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Dokumentenidentifikation EP1226954 05.07.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001226954
Titel Druckzeilen- und Farbausrichtungskontrolle für Vielfachlaufdruck
Anmelder Xerox Corp., Rochester, N.Y., US
Erfinder Castelli, Vittorio, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598, US;
deJong, Joannes N. M, Suffern, New York 10901, US;
Williams, Llloyd A., Mahopac, New York 10541, US;
Anderson, Harold M., California 90275-4914, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 60220195
Vertragsstaaten DE, FR, GB
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 16.01.2002
EP-Aktenzeichen 020009718
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 31.07.2002
EP date of grant 23.05.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 05.07.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse B41J 11/46(2006.01)A, F, I, 20051017, B, H, EP

Beschreibung[en]
Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the positioning of printing surfaces or printing devices and specifically to the use of various calibration devices and methods for positioning of a printing device relative to print media, such as paper.

Background of the Invention

Multi-scan printing involves the use of a printing device smaller than the size of a piece of paper. Therefore, to print on the entire piece of paper, the printing device is moved relative to the piece of paper during the process of printing. Multi-scan printing provides many benefits, including low cost from the use of small printing devices. Also, very large pieces of paper can be imprinted by the use of multi-scan printing.

One difficulty in multi-scan printing involves relocating the printing device relative to the piece of paper from one printing swath to the next. The process of juxtaposing two swaths is called "stitching." Stitching accuracy must be high for the printed image not to contain undesirable visible artifacts. Similarly, the use of multiple printing devices to obtain a multi-color printed image also requires the alignment of one printing device to another to avoid visible artifacts.

One approach to dealing with the difficulties in multi-scan printing has been the use of printing devices to create narrow swaths and, therefore, frequent stitching of the swaths. By the use of narrow swaths, it is possible to move the printing device relative to the piece of paper a known distance by the rotation of gears, preferably one rotation per swath. Printing swath widths in this type of multi-scan printing are typically less than one centimeter wide. However, this approach reduces printing efficiency by requiring many swaths to print an image.

A more efficient approach to multi-scan printing does involve the use of larger printing devices, such as printing devices capable of printing a swath of over 1 cm wide. Multi-scan printing involving wider swaths provides substantial benefit in increasing the speed of printing. However, one difficulty of this type of multi-scan printing involves the positioning of the printing device relative to the paper in order to provide high accuracy in stitching. One approach has been to use high accuracy encoders to establish a location of the printing device relative to the paper. High costs of such precise encoders have proven to be prohibitive in some applications. Furthermore, calibration of such encoders can be difficult. For example, while factory calibration procedures may initially calibrate the encoders, by the time a printing device is put in service in the field, the encoders may be out of alignment, resulting in poor stitching. Even if calibration can be maintained up to the time of initial use of the printing device, a printing device may experience a change in alignment characteristics during use due to changes of temperatures of various components involved with positioning the printing device relative to the piece of paper. Furthermore, a printing device will likely eventually require replacement. In any event, requiring the return of a printing device to the factory for calibration or replacement is typically undesirable.

US 6,155,669 describes a pagewidth inkjet printer including a printbar mounted encoding system. The printer includes a belt for transporting a recording medium beneath a plurality of print bars. Fiducial marks are located directly on the belt at a predetermined spacing such that the location of the recording medium can be accurately determined when passing each of the print bars.

EP 0915050 A1 describes a web having alignment indicia and an associated web feeding and working apparatus. The apparatus includes a web and an associated web feeding and handling apparatus for performing a work operation on the web. The apparatus feeds the web in a feed direction and the operation of the drive is controlled by lateral and longitudinal alignment indicia located on the web. The line indicia as arranged along an axis are of uniform size.

EP0584792-A2 describes a sheet feeding apparatus. A sheet feeding apparatus detects the position of a sheet during feeding thereof and calculates a deviation of the detected sheet position relative to a reference position to thereby enable accurate colour printing. A follower roller for detecting a feeding amount of the sheet is in contact with the sheet which is fed by a sheet feeding roller 1, so that it is rotated in accordance with the movement of the sheet. A sensor generates an output signal each time the follower roller rotates a predetermined angle of rotation.

EP 0917961 A2 discloses a system and a method according to the preambles of claims 1 and 7.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

It is the object of the present invention to improve an image forming system with regard to precision and reliability of the paper positioning system. This object is achieved by providing an image forming system according to claim 1 and a method of positioning paper according to claim 7. Embodiments of the invention are set forth in the dependent claims.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description and apparent from the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters refer to the same parts throughout the different views. The drawings illustrate principles of the invention and, although not to scale, show relative dimensions.

  • Figure 1 provides a top view of a first example;
  • Figure 2 provides a top schematic view of the first example;
  • Figure 3 provides a side schematic view of the first example;
  • Figure 4 provides a view of one configuration of marks according to a variation of the present invention;
  • Figure 5 provides a view of another configuration of marks according to a variation of the present invention;
  • Figure 6 provides a top view of a variation of the first example.

Detailed Description of the Invention

The present invention overcomes the difficulties of the prior art by the use of an optical sensor capable determining the position of a printing device relative to a piece of paper or a paper-handling surface of an image forming system. The term "image forming system" includes a collection of different printing technologies, such as electrophotographic, electrostatic, electrostatographic, ionographic, acoustic, piezo, thermal, laser, ink jet, and other types of image forming or reproducing systems adapted to capture and/or store image data associated with a particular object, such as a document, and reproduce, form, or produce an image. An example of an image forming system can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,583,629 to Brewington et al. As used herein, the term "paper" is intended to include a wide variety of imprintable media.

The present invention, in various embodiments, involves the use of the optical sensor to reading marks to detect movement and/or direction of movement or spacing of imprints on the paper.

According to an example, an image forming system 100 is provided as shown in Figure 1. The image forming system includes a paper-handling surface 110 adapted to receive a piece of paper 120. The paper-handling surface 110 is preferably configured to move the piece of paper 120 relative to a carriage 130. The carriage 130 is preferably provided with at least one printing device 140.

For ease of discussion, Figure 2 illustrates several reference directions to aid in description of the present invention. A direction of travel 125 is also described as a positive direction along an X axis. An X direction is parallel to the X axis. A slow scan direction is also parallel to the X axis. The carriage 130 travels parallel to a Y axis enabling the printing of a swath 131. The Y axis is within the same plane as the X axis and is perpendicular to the X axis. A direction of travel in either direction along the Y axis is known as the fast scan direction or the Y direction. Also for purposes of discussion, a Z axis is provided, perpendicular to both the X and Y axis.

As shown in Figure 3, the image forming system 100 may further be provided with a first vacuum plenum 116 and a second vacuum plenum 118. The first and second vacuum plenums 116, 118 are located under the paper-handling surface 110 to hold the paper 120 to the paper-handling surface 110. A first roller 112, second roller 114 and third roller 115 may also be provided to define a path for a belt forming the paper-handling surface 110. A wide variety of alternative configurations are available for the assembly of the paper-handling surface 110 and associated devices to hold the paper 120 to the paper-handling surface 110.

As shown in Figure 1, the image forming system 100 further includes an optical sensor 200 and a plurality of marks 250 arranged so that the marks intersect an axis 255 that is substantially parallel to the direction of travel 125 of the paper 120. The plurality of marks 250 preferably includes small marks 260 interspersed with at least one large mark 270. Alternatively, or in addition, spacing between marks within the plurality of marks 250 may be varied. The plurality of marks 250 may be formed by imprinting on the paper-handling surface 110 or by cutting holes in the paper-handling surface 110 so as to provide a contrasting appearance to the paper handling surface 110.

In operation, the example involves locating the optical sensor 200 over the plurality of marks 250 during movement of the paper-handling surface 110. The optical sensor 200 is then able to monitor the plurality of marks 250.

As shown in Figure 4, the plurality of marks 250 may be sized approximately 0.51 mm (0.20 inches) along the X axis, parallel to the axis 255. From leading edge to leading edge, the marks may be spaced 1.0 mm (0.040 inches). This results in approximately 25 marks per 25.4 mm (inch). The size and spacing of the plurality of marks 250 was selected as a tradeoff between maintaining a sufficient number of marks for statistical error reduction while maintaining sufficient space between the marks so that, for typical velocities of the paper 120 and the sampling rate of the optical sensor 200, the optical sensor 200 is able to retain a unique identifier for each of the marks during motion of the paper-handling surface 110. Because, in the configuration shown in Figure 4, each of the marks appears the same, the optical sensor 200 must be able to track each mark individually in order to accurately determine the amount of movement of the paper-handling surface 110.

According to the present invention, the plurality of marks 250 is modified to include both small marks 260 and large marks 270, as shown by way of example in Figure 5. A wide variety of alternatives are within the scope of the invention. For example, any combination of small or large marks may be used. Alternatively, the plurality of marks 250 may include marks of sizes other than those shown by way of example in Figures 4 and 5, or may involve spacing different than that shown in Figures 4 and 5. One advantage of the configuration of the plurality of marks 250 shown in Figure 5 is that spacing between the marks can be maintained so as to, as discussed above, maintain a balance between statistical error reduction and maintaining unique identification of each of the marks during movement of the paper-handling surface 110 within velocities contemplated in the design. Furthermore, the large marks 270 assist in the ability to determine a direction of travel of the paper-handling surface 110 because they are distinguishable from neighboring marks.

Preferably, the image forming system 100 is provided with a controller 300 adapted to obtain readings from the optical sensor 200 to determine movement of the paper-handling surface 110.

According to an embodiment of the invention shown in Figure 1, the carriage 130 may be located, as shown in Figure 6, away from the paper 120 while the optical sensor 200 is located along the axis 255 and over the plurality of marks 250. This configuration may result in more efficient operation of the image forming system 100 when the optical sensor 200 is mounted to the carriage 130. Specifically, the optical sensor 200 is conveniently located for positioning over the plurality of marks 250 at the end of printing a swath along the Y axis.

According to this embodiment of the invention, the optical sensor 200 may be mounted to the carriage 130. According to this embodiment, one or more printing devices 140 may be mounted to the carriage 130. According to a variation, one or more heaters 150 may be mounted to the carriage 130 to assist in drawing ink applied to the paper 120 by the printing device 140. Preferably, multiple printing devices 140 will be provided so as to print multi-color images on the paper 120.


Anspruch[de]
Ein bilderzeugendes System (100), umfassend: eine Papierhandhabungsfläche (110), die Markierungen (250) aufweist, die eine Achse (255) schneiden, und die in der Lage ist, ein Papierstück (120), das auf derselben festgehalten wird, in einer Richtung (125) zu bewegen, die im Wesentlichen parallel zu der Achse ist; einen Wagen (130), der eingerichtet ist, Druckeinrichtungen (140) aufzunehmen und in verschiebbarer Beziehung zu der Papierhandhabungsfläche (110) angebracht ist, um sich in einer Richtung zu verschieben, die im Wesentlichen rechtwinkelig zu der Achse (255) und im Wesentlichen parallel zu der Papierhandhabungsfläche ist; einen optischen Sensor (200), der eingerichtet ist, entlang der Achse während der Bewegung der Papierhandhabungsfläche (110) angeordnet zu sein und in der Lage ist, die Bewegung die Papierhandhabungsfläche in Bezug auf den Wagen (130) durch Beobachtung der Markierungen zu detektieren, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

der optische Sensor (200) auf dem Wagen (130) angebracht ist, und die Markierungen (250) eine nichtgleichmäßige Größe aufweisen.
Das bilderzeugende System gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei der Wagen (130) eingerichtet ist, die Druckeinrichtungen (140) über der Papierhandhabungsfläche anzuordnen, wenn der optische Sensor (200) entlang der Achse angeordnet ist. Das bilderzeugende System gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei der Wagen (130) eingerichtet ist, die Druckeinrichtungen anders als über der Papierhandhabungsfläche (110) anzuordnen, wenn der optische Sensor entlang der Achse (255) angeordnet ist Das bilderzeugende System gemäß Anspruch 1, weiterhin umfassend eine Druckeihrichtühg (140), die auf dem Wagen (130) angebracht ist und die eingerichtet ist, Tinte auf das Papierstück (120) anzuwenden. Das bilderzeugende System gemäß Anspruch 1, weiterhin umfassend eine Vielzahl von Druckeinrichtungen (140), die auf dem Wagen angebracht sind, wobei jede der Druckeinrichtungen eingerichtet ist, eine unterschiedliche Farbe der Tinte auf das Papierstück (120) anzuwenden. Das bilderzeugende System gemäß Anspruch 1, weiterhin umfassend Heizelemente (150), die auf dem Wagen (130) angebracht sind und eingerichtet sind, Wärme auf das Papierstück anzuwenden. Ein Verfahren zur Positionierung von Papier (120) zum Bedrucken, wobei das Verfahren für die Verwendung mit einem bilderzeugenden System (100) geeignet ist, und die Schritte umfasst: Bereitstellen einer Papierhandhabungsfläche (110), die Markierungen (250) aufweist, die eine Achse (255) schneiden und die in der Lage ist, ein Papierstück (120), das auf derselben festgehalten wird, in einer Richtung (125) zu bewegen, die im Wesentlichen parallel zu der Achse ist; Bereitstellen eines Wagens (130), der eingerichtet ist, Druckeinrichtungen (140) aufzunehmen und der in verschiebbarer Beziehung zu der Papierhandhabungsfläche (110) angebracht ist, um sich in einer Richtung zu verschieben, die im Wesentlichen rechtwinkelig zu der Achse (255) und im Wesentlichen parallel zu der Papierhandhabungsfläche ist; Festhalten des Papiers auf der Papiefiandhabungsfläche; und Anordnen eines optischen Sensors (200) benachbart zu der Achse derart, dass der optische Sensor die Bewegung der Papierhandhabungsfläche beobachten kann, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

der optische Sensor (200) auf dem Wagen (130) angebracht ist und die Marken (250) eine nichtgleichmäßige Größe aufweisen.
Das Verfahren zur Positionierung von Papier zum Bedrucken gemäß Anspruch 7, weiterhin umfassend den Schritt

eine Druckvorrichtung (140) an dem Wagen (130) derart anzubringen, dass die Druckeinrichtung in der Lage ist, das Papier (120) zu bedrucken.
Anspruch[en]
An image forming system (100), comprising: a paper-handling surface (110) having marks (250) intersecting an axis (255) and capable of moving a piece of paper (120) affixed thereto in a direction (125) substantially parallel to said axis; a carriage (130) adapted for accommodating printing devices (140) and mounted in slidable relation to said paper-handling surface (110) to slide in a direction substantially perpendicular to said axis (255) and substantially parallel to said paper-handling surface; an optical sensor (200) configured to be located along said axis during movement of said paper-handling surface (110) and capable of detecting said movement of said paper-handling surface relative to said carriage (130) by monitoring said marks, characterized in that

said optical sensor (200) is mounted to said carriage (130) and said marks (250) are sized non-uniformly.
The image forming system of claim 1, wherein said carriage (130) is adapted to locate said printing devices (140) over said paper-handling surface when said optical sensor (200) is located along said axis. The image forming system of claim 1, wherein said carriage (130) is adapted to locate said printing devices other than over said paper-handling surface (110) when said optical sensor is located along said axis (255). The image forming system of claim 1, further comprising a printing device (140) mounted to said carriage (130) and configured to apply ink to said piece of paper (120). The image forming system of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of printing devices (140) mounted to said carriage, wherein each of said printing devices is configured to apply a different color of ink to said piece of paper (120). The image forming system of claim 1, further comprising heaters (150) mounted to said carriage (130) and configured to apply heat to said piece of paper. A method of positioning paper (120) for imprinting suitable for use with an image forming system (100), comprising the steps of: providing a paper-handling surface (110) having marks (250) intersecting an axis (255) and capable of moving a piece of paper (120) affixed thereto in a direction (125) substantially parallel to said axis; providing a carriage (130) adapted for accommodating printing devices (140) and mounted in slidable relation to said paper-handling surface (110) to slide in a direction substantially perpendicular to said axis (255) and substantially parallel to said paper-handling surface; affixing said paper to said paper-handling surface; and locating an optical sensor (200) proximate to said axis such that said optical sensor can monitor movement of said paper-handling surface, characterized in that

said optical sensor (200) is mounted to said carriage (130) and said marks (250) are sized non-uniformly.
The method of positioning paper for imprinting of claim 7, further comprising the step of mounting a printing device (140) to said carriage (130) such that said printing device is able to imprint said paper (120).
Anspruch[fr]
Système de formation d'images (100), comprenant : une surface de manipulation de papier (110) ayant des marques (250) en intersection avec un axe (255) et capable de déplacer une pièce de papier (120) apposée sur celle-ci dans une direction (125) substantiellement parallèle audit axe ; un chariot (130) adapté pour accueillir des dispositifs d'impression (140) et monté dans une relation coulissante avec ladite surface de manipulation de papier (110) pour coulisser dans une direction substantiellement perpendiculaire audit axe (225) et substantiellement parallèle à ladite surface de manipulation de papier ; un détecteur optique (200) configuré pour être situé le long dudit axe durant un mouvement de ladite surface de manipulation de papier (110) et capable de détecter ledit mouvement de ladite surface de manipulation de papier par rapport audit chariot (130) en surveillant lesdites marques, caractérisé en ce que

ledit détecteur optique (200) monté audit chariot (130) et lesdites marques (250) sont dimensionnées de manière non uniforme.
Système de formation d'images de la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit chariot (130) est adapté pour situer lesdits dispositifs d'impression (140) sur ladite surface de manipulation de papier lorsque ledit détecteur optique (200) est situé le long dudit axe. Système de formation d'images de la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit chariot (130) est adapté pour situer lesdits dispositifs d'impression autrement que sur ladite surface de manipulation de papier (110) lorsque ledit détecteur optique est situé le long dudit axe (255). Système de formation d'images de la revendication 1, comprenant en plus un dispositif d'impression (140) monté audit chariot (130) et configuré pour appliquer de l'encre à ladite pièce de papier (120). Système de formation d'images de la revendication 1, comprenant en plus une pluralité de dispositifs d'impression (140) montés audit chariot, dans lequel chacun desdits dispositifs d'impression est configuré pour appliquer une couleur d'encre différente à ladite pièce de papier (120). Système de formation d'images de la revendication 1, comprenant en plus des dispositifs de chauffage (150) montés audit chariot (130) et configurés pour appliquer de la chaleur à ladite pièce de papier. Procédé de positionnement de papier (120) pour une impression approprié pour un usage avec un système de formation d'images (100), comprenant les étapes de: fournir une surface de manipulation de papier (110) ayant des marques (250) en intersection avec un axe (255) et capable de déplacer une pièce de papier (120) apposée sur celle-ci dans une direction (125) substantiellement parallèle audit axe ; fournir un chariot (130) adapté pour accueillir des dispositifs d'impression (140) et monté dans une relation coulissante avec ladite surface de manipulation de papier (110) pour coulisser dans une direction substantiellement perpendiculaire audit axe (255) et substantiellement parallèle à ladite surface de manipulation de papier ; apposer ledit papier sur ladite surface de manipulation de papier ; et situer un détecteur optique (200) à proximité dudit axe de sorte que ledit détecteur optique puisse surveiller un mouvement de ladite surface de manipulation de papier, caractérisé en ce que

ledit détecteur optique (200) est monté audit chariot (130) et lesdites marques (250) sont dimensionnées de manière non uniforme.
Procédé de positionnement de papier pour une impression de la revendication 7, comprenant en plus l'étape de montage d'un dispositif d'impression (140) audit chariot (130) de sorte que ledit dispositif d'impression soit capable d'imprimer ledit papier (120).






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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