Great research starts with great data.

Learn More
More >
Patent Analysis of

Inkjet printing system having dynamically controlled ink reservoir

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10000065

Application Number

US15/624351

Application Date

15 June 2017

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

THE BOEING COMPANY

Original Assignee (Applicant)

THE BOEING COMPANY

International Classification

B41J2/175,B41J2/14

Cooperative Classification

B41J2/17566,B41J2/1404,B05B12/08,B05B12/085,B05B13/0431

Inventor

BAKER, RICHARD J.,DUNCANSON, MYLES S.,PALIFKA, ROBERT G.,MORIARTY, BENNETT M.,ARTHUR, SHANE E.

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10000065 Inkjet printing dynamically 1 US10000065 Inkjet printing dynamically 2 US10000065 Inkjet printing dynamically 3
See all images <>

Abstract

An inkjet printing system includes an ink reservoir defining a longitudinal axis, an ink-receiving chamber and a control chamber. A control fluid source delivers a control fluid across a range of pressure levels to the control chamber, and an orientation sensor determines an orientation of the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and generates an orientation signal. A processor is operably coupled to the control fluid source and the orientation sensor, the processor being programmed to infer an angle of the longitudinal axis relative to the vertical reference axis based on the orientation signal from the orientation sensor, determine a desired pressure for the control chamber based, at least in part, on the inferred angle of the longitudinal axis, and control the control fluid source to adjust the actual pressure level in the control chamber to the desired pressure for the control chamber.

Read more

Claims

1. An inkjet printing system, comprising: an ink reservoir defining a longitudinal axis and supported for rotation in at least one degree of freedom relative to a vertical reference axis, the ink reservoir defining an ink-receiving chamber and a control chamber; a control fluid source fluidly communicating with the control chamber to deliver a control fluid across a range of pressure levels; an orientation sensor for determining an orientation of the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and generate an orientation signal; anda processor operably coupled to the control fluid source and the orientation sensor, the processor programmed to: infer an angle of the longitudinal axis relative to the vertical reference axis based on the orientation signal from the orientation sensor; determine a desired pressure for the control chamber based, at least in part, on the inferred angle of the longitudinal axis; and control the control fluid source to adjust the actual pressure level in the control chamber to the desired pressure for the control chamber.

2. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, further comprising a printhead defining a nozzle in fluid communication with the ink-receiving chamber, the nozzle defining a desired meniscus level having a fixed position relative to the ink reservoir.

3. The inkjet printing system of claim 2, in which ink disposed in the ink-receiving chamber defines an ink top surface level, and in which the desired meniscus level of the nozzle is spaced from the ink top surface level along the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir by a distance D1.

4. The inkjet printing system of claim 3, in which the processor, when determining the desired pressure for the control chamber, is further programmed to calculate an effective water column height along the vertical reference axis based on the inferred angle of the longitudinal axis and the distance D1, and determine the desired pressure for the control chamber based, at least in part, on the effective water column height.

5. The inkjet printing system of claim 4, in which determining the desired pressure for the control chamber comprises subtracting the effective water column height from a predetermined pressure at the meniscus.

6. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, further comprising a pressure sensor operably coupled to the control chamber for generating a pressure signal indicative of the actual pressure level in the control chamber, wherein the processor is further operably coupled to the pressure sensor.

7. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, in which the orientation sensor comprises an accelerometer.

8. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, in which a flexible membrane is disposed between the ink-receiving chamber and the control chamber.

9. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, in which the control fluid source comprises a positive pressure source, fluidly communicating with the control chamber through a first valve, and a negative pressure source, fluidly communicating with the control chamber through a second valve, and in which the processor is operably coupled to the first valve and the second valve.

10. An inkjet printing system having a dynamically controlled ink backpressure, the system comprising: a frame supported for rotation in at least one degree of freedom relative to a vertical reference axis;an inkjet assembly coupled to the frame, the inkjet assembly comprising:an ink reservoir defining a longitudinal axis and comprising: a housing defining an interior chamber; a flexible membrane disposed in the housing and dividing the interior chamber into a control chamber and an ink-receiving chamber; a control fluid source fluidly communicating with the control chamber to deliver a control fluid across a range of pressure levels; and an orientation sensor for determining an orientation of the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and generating an orientation signal; a printhead defining a nozzle in fluid communication with the ink-receiving chamber, the nozzle defining a desired meniscus level having a fixed position relative to the ink reservoir, wherein ink disposed in the ink-receiving chamber defines an ink top surface level, and wherein the desired meniscus level of the nozzle is spaced from the ink top surface level along the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir by a distance D1; anda processor operably coupled to the control fluid source and the orientation sensor, the processor programmed to: infer an angle of the longitudinal axis relative to the vertical reference axis based on the orientation signal from the orientation sensor; calculate an effective water column height along the vertical reference axis based on the inferred angle of the longitudinal axis and the distance D1; determine a desired pressure for the control chamber based, at least in part, on the effective water column height; and control the control fluid source to adjust the actual pressure level in the control chamber to the desired pressure for the control chamber.

11. The inkjet printing system of claim 10, in which determining the desired pressure for the control chamber comprises subtracting the effective water column height from a predetermined pressure at the meniscus.

12. The inkjet printing system of claim 10, further comprising a pressure sensor operably coupled to the control chamber for generating a pressure signal indicative of the actual pressure level in the control chamber, wherein the processor is further operably coupled to the pressure sensor.

13. The inkjet printing system of claim 10, in which the orientation sensor comprises an accelerometer.

14. The inkjet printing system of claim 10, in which the control fluid source comprises a positive pressure source, fluidly communicating with the control chamber through a first valve, and a negative pressure source, fluidly communicating with the control chamber through a second valve, and in which the processor is operably coupled to the first valve and the second valve.

15. A method of dynamically controlling pressure in an ink reservoir of an inkjet assembly, the method comprising: determining an orientation of a longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir based on an orientation signal from an orientation sensor; calculating an angle between the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and a vertical reference axis; determining a desired pressure for a control chamber of the ink reservoir based, at least in part, on the angle; and controlling a control fluid source in fluid communication with the ink reservoir to generate the desired pressure in the ink reservoir.

16. The method of claim 15, in which the ink reservoir defines an ink-receiving chamber and a control chamber divided by a flexible membrane, and in which controlling the control fluid source comprises generating the desired pressure in the control chamber.

17. The method of claim 16, in which: the inkjet assembly further includes a printhead defining a nozzle in fluid communication with the ink-receiving chamber; the nozzle defines a desired meniscus level having a fixed position relative to the ink reservoir; ink disposed in the ink-receiving chamber defines an ink top surface level; the desired meniscus level of the nozzle is spaced from the ink top surface level along the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir by a distance D1; and determining the desired pressure for the control chamber further comprises calculating an effective water column height along the vertical reference axis based on the angle of the longitudinal axis and the distance D1, wherein the desired pressure for the control chamber is based, at least in part, on the effective water column height.

18. The method of claim 17, in which determining the desired pressure for the control chamber comprises subtracting the effective water column height from a predetermined pressure at the meniscus.

19. The method of claim 16, in which controlling the control fluid source in fluid communication with the ink reservoir to generate the desired pressure in the ink reservoir comprises selectively placing a positive pressure source in fluid communication with the control chamber through a first valve, and selectively placing a negative pressure source in fluid communication with the control chamber through a second valve.

20. The method of claim 19, in which a pressure sensor is operably coupled to the control chamber for generating a pressure signal indicative of the actual pressure level in the control chamber, and in which controlling the control fluid source in fluid communication with the ink reservoir to generate the desired pressure in the ink reservoir comprises comparing the pressure signal to the desired pressure level.

Read more

Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. An inkjet printing system, comprising:
    • an ink reservoir defining a longitudinal axis and supported for rotation in at least one degree of freedom relative to a vertical reference axis, the ink reservoir defining an ink-receiving chamber and a control chamber
    • a control fluid source fluidly communicating with the control chamber to deliver a control fluid across a range of pressure levels
    • an orientation sensor for determining an orientation of the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and generate an orientation signal
    • anda processor operably coupled to the control fluid source and the orientation sensor, the processor programmed to: infer an angle of the longitudinal axis relative to the vertical reference axis based on the orientation signal from the orientation sensor
    • determine a desired pressure for the control chamber based, at least in part, on the inferred angle of the longitudinal axis
    • and control the control fluid source to adjust the actual pressure level in the control chamber to the desired pressure for the control chamber.
    • 2. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, further comprising
      • a printhead defining a nozzle in fluid communication with the ink-receiving chamber, the nozzle defining a desired meniscus level having a fixed position relative to the ink reservoir.
    • 6. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, further comprising
      • a pressure sensor operably coupled to the control chamber for generating a pressure signal indicative of the actual pressure level in the control chamber, wherein the processor is further operably coupled to the pressure sensor.
    • 7. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, in which
      • the orientation sensor comprises
    • 8. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, in which
      • a flexible membrane is disposed between the ink-receiving chamber and the control chamber.
    • 9. The inkjet printing system of claim 1, in which
      • the control fluid source comprises
  • 10
    10. An inkjet printing system having
    • a dynamically controlled ink backpressure, the system comprising: a frame supported for rotation in at least one degree of freedom relative to a vertical reference axis
    • an inkjet assembly coupled to the frame, the inkjet assembly comprising:an ink reservoir defining a longitudinal axis and comprising: a housing defining an interior chamber
    • a flexible membrane disposed in the housing and dividing the interior chamber into a control chamber and an ink-receiving chamber
    • a control fluid source fluidly communicating with the control chamber to deliver a control fluid across a range of pressure levels
    • and an orientation sensor for determining an orientation of the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and generating an orientation signal
    • a printhead defining a nozzle in fluid communication with the ink-receiving chamber, the nozzle defining a desired meniscus level having a fixed position relative to the ink reservoir, wherein ink disposed in the ink-receiving chamber defines an ink top surface level, and wherein the desired meniscus level of the nozzle is spaced from the ink top surface level along the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir by a distance D1
    • anda processor operably coupled to the control fluid source and the orientation sensor, the processor programmed to: infer an angle of the longitudinal axis relative to the vertical reference axis based on the orientation signal from the orientation sensor
    • calculate an effective water column height along the vertical reference axis based on the inferred angle of the longitudinal axis and the distance D1
    • determine a desired pressure for the control chamber based, at least in part, on the effective water column height
    • and control the control fluid source to adjust the actual pressure level in the control chamber to the desired pressure for the control chamber.
    • 11. The inkjet printing system of claim 10, in which
      • determining the desired pressure for the control chamber comprises
    • 12. The inkjet printing system of claim 10, further comprising
      • a pressure sensor operably coupled to the control chamber for generating a pressure signal indicative of the actual pressure level in the control chamber, wherein the processor is further operably coupled to the pressure sensor.
    • 13. The inkjet printing system of claim 10, in which
      • the orientation sensor comprises
    • 14. The inkjet printing system of claim 10, in which
      • the control fluid source comprises
  • 15
    15. A method of dynamically controlling pressure in an ink reservoir of an inkjet assembly, the method comprising:
    • determining an orientation of a longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir based on an orientation signal from an orientation sensor
    • calculating an angle between the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and a vertical reference axis
    • determining a desired pressure for a control chamber of the ink reservoir based, at least in part, on the angle
    • and controlling a control fluid source in fluid communication with the ink reservoir to generate the desired pressure in the ink reservoir.
    • 16. The method of claim 15, in which
      • the ink reservoir defines an ink-receiving chamber and a control chamber divided by a flexible membrane, and in which
See all independent claims <>

Description

FIELD

The present disclosure generally relates to inkjet printing and, more particularly, to controlling pressure of ink held in an ink reservoir used during inkjet printing.

BACKGROUND

Drop on demand printing systems typically maintain a slight backpressure within the printhead to retain ink at a desired meniscus level within a nozzle. The backpressure should be high enough to prevent ink from leaking from the nozzle when the system is not actively ejecting ink, but not so high that air is drawn into the printhead through the nozzle. In conventional systems, the backpressure is typically set at a static pressure level. In some systems, multiple static pressure levels may be provided based on the type of printing mode being used. Systems that provide one or more static pressure levels, however, do not adequately manage backpressure in inkjet systems that are configured to print on complex, three-dimensional surfaces, where backpressure requirements may change as the printhead is placed at different attitudes relative to the surface to be printed.

SUMMARY

In accordance with one aspect of the present disclosure, an inkjet printing system includes an ink reservoir defining a longitudinal axis and supported for rotation in at least one degree of freedom relative to a vertical reference axis, the ink reservoir defining an ink-receiving chamber and a control chamber, a control fluid source fluidly communicating with the control chamber to deliver a control fluid across a range of pressure levels, and an orientation sensor for determining an orientation of the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and generate an orientation signal. A processor is operably coupled to the control fluid source and the orientation sensor and programmed to infer an angle of the longitudinal axis relative to the vertical reference axis based on the orientation signal from the orientation sensor, determine a desired pressure for the control chamber based, at least in part, on the inferred angle of the longitudinal axis, and control the control fluid source to adjust the actual pressure level in the control chamber to the desired pressure for the control chamber.

In accordance with another aspect of the present disclosure, an inkjet printing system having a dynamically controlled ink backpressure includes a frame supported for rotation in at least one degree of freedom relative to a vertical reference axis, and an inkjet assembly coupled to the frame. The inkjet assembly includes an ink reservoir defining a longitudinal axis and includes a housing defining an interior chamber, a flexible membrane disposed in the housing and dividing the interior chamber into a control chamber and an ink-receiving chamber, a control fluid source fluidly communicating with the control chamber to deliver a control fluid across a range of pressure levels, and an orientation sensor for determining an orientation of the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and generating an orientation signal. The inkjet assembly further includes a printhead defining a nozzle in fluid communication with the ink-receiving chamber, the nozzle defining a desired meniscus level having a fixed position relative to the ink reservoir, wherein ink disposed in the ink-receiving chamber defines an ink top surface level, and wherein the desired meniscus level of the nozzle is spaced from the ink top surface level along the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir by a distance D1. A processor is operably coupled to the control fluid source and the orientation sensor, and is programmed to infer an angle of the longitudinal axis relative to the vertical reference axis based on the orientation signal from the orientation sensor, calculate an effective water column height along the vertical reference axis based on the inferred angle of the longitudinal axis and the distance D1, determine a desired pressure for the control chamber based, at least in part, on the effective water column height, and control the control fluid source to adjust the actual pressure level in the control chamber to the desired pressure for the control chamber.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present disclosure, a method is provided of dynamically controlling pressure in an ink reservoir of an inkjet assembly, the method including determining an orientation of a longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir based on an orientation signal from an orientation sensor, calculating an angle between the longitudinal axis of the ink reservoir and a vertical reference axis, determining a desired pressure for a control chamber of the ink reservoir based, at least in part, on the angle, and controlling a control fluid source in fluid communication with the ink reservoir to generate the desired pressure at the nozzle.

The features, functions, and advantages that have been discussed can be achieved independently in various embodiments or may be combined in yet other embodiments further details of which can be seen with reference to the following description and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of an inkjet printing system according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of an exemplary actuator used in the inkjet printing system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of an inkjet assembly used in the inkjet printing system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the inkjet assembly of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a partially schematic illustration of the inkjet assembly of FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 6 is a schematic, front, plan view, in cross-section, of the inkjet assembly of FIGS. 3-5, in a vertical position.

FIG. 7 is a schematic, front, plan view, in cross-section, of the inkjet assembly of FIGS. 3-6 in a first rotated position.

FIG. 8 is a schematic, front, plan view, in cross-section, of the inkjet assembly of FIGS. 3-7 in a second rotated position, in which a nozzle of the inkjet assembly is inverted.

FIG. 9 is a block diagram illustrating a method of dynamically controlling backpressure in an ink reservoir of an inkjet printing system.

It should be understood that the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale and that the disclosed embodiments are sometimes illustrated schematically. It is to be further appreciated that the following detailed description is merely exemplary in nature and is not intended to limit the invention or the application and uses thereof. Hence, although the present disclosure is, for convenience of explanation, depicted and described as certain illustrative embodiments, it will be appreciated that it can be implemented in various other types of embodiments and in various other systems and environments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following detailed description is of the best currently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. The description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.

Inkjet printing systems and methods are disclosed herein that are particularly suited for printing on complex, three dimensional surfaces, such as a surface 10 of an aircraft (FIG. 5). More specifically, the systems and methods disclosed herein dynamically manage pressure in an ink reservoir based on an orientation of a printhead. As a result, a level of a meniscus in a nozzle of the printhead is maintained, regardless of an orientation of the printhead.

More specifically with reference to FIG. 1, an inkjet printing system 20 includes an inkjet assembly 22 coupled to a frame 24. The frame 24 is supported for rotation in at least one degree of freedom relative to a vertical reference axis 26. In some embodiments, the frame is supported for rotation in three degrees of freedom, such as about orthogonal X, Y, and Z axes, and the vertical reference axis 26 may be parallel to the Z axis as illustrated in FIG. 1.

The inkjet printing system 20 may further include a frame actuator 30 for actuating the frame 24 in the at least one degree of freedom relative to the vertical reference axis 26. For example, the exemplary frame actuator 30 illustrated at FIG. 2 operates to rotate the frame 24 about the X, Y, and Z axes. In this embodiment, the frame actuator 30 includes a micro-wheel actuation device 32 having multiple micro-actuation elements. For example, the micro-wheel actuation device 32 includes a first micro-wheel 34 rotatably coupled to a first electric motor 36, and a second micro-wheel 38 rotatably coupled to a second electric motor 40. The first and second electric motors 36, 40 independently drive the first and second micro-wheels 34, 38, respectively. It will be understood, however, that a fewer or greater number of micro-wheels and electric motors can be incorporated into the micro-wheel actuation device 32 as needed. In some embodiments, a circumference of the first micro-wheel 34 has a first wheel surface 42, and a circumference of the second micro-wheel 38 has a second wheel surface 44. Additionally, each of the first and second wheel surfaces 42, 44 include a wheel micro-texture 46 that engages with a micro-texturing on the surface of a gimbal 48. The frame 24 may include a frame base 50 that pivots and/or rotates about the gimbal 48, so that operating the first and second electric motors 36, 40, sequentially or simultaneously, will pivot the frame 24. While the frame actuator 30 is shown as a gimbal-style actuator in FIG. 2, it will be appreciated that other types of frame actuators, such as gear driven or robotic arms, may be used without departing from the scope of the appended claims. Additionally, while the illustrated frame actuator 30 provides movement in three axes, it will be appreciated that the frame actuator may be capable of movement in greater than or less than three axes.

The inkjet assembly 22 is coupled to, and pivotable with, the frame 24. As best shown with reference to FIGS. 3-5, the inkjet assembly 22 generally includes an ink reservoir 60 for holding ink, and a printhead 62 for depositing ink onto the surface 10 to be printed. The ink reservoir 60 may fluidly communicate with the printhead through supply conduits 64. While two supply conduits 64 are shown, a fewer or greater number of supply conduits 64 may be provided as needed. Additionally, the ink reservoir 60 extends along a longitudinal axis 66.

As best shown in FIG. 5, the ink reservoir 60 includes a housing 68 defining an interior chamber 70. A flexible membrane 72 is disposed in the housing 68 and divides the interior chamber 70 into a control chamber 74 and an ink-receiving chamber 76. The flexible membrane 72 accommodates changing volumes of the control chamber 74 and ink-receiving chamber 76. In certain embodiments, the flexible membrane 72 is configured so that it can change shapes without exerting a reactive force or pressure against the fluid in the ink-receiving chamber 76. While the flexible membrane 72 is illustrated in FIG. 5 as being substantially planar, it will be appreciated that the flexible membrane 72 may be formed in other shapes, such as a frusto-conical or bag shape. The housing 68 further defines an ink outlet port 78, an ink refill port 80, a first pressure supply port 82, a second pressure supply port 84, and a pressure sensing port 86. An ink refill valve 81 may be provided in an ink refill line 83 fluidly communicating with the ink refill port 80.

A control fluid is supplied to the control chamber 74 to control a pressure of the ink disposed in the ink-receiving chamber 76. With continued reference to FIG. 5, a control fluid source 88 fluidly communicates with the control chamber 74 to deliver the control fluid across a range of pressure levels. In the illustrated embodiment, the control fluid source 88 includes a positive pressure source 90 fluidly communicating with the control chamber 74 through a first valve 92 to the first pressure supply port 82 to supply control fluid at a positive pressure (i.e., above an ambient pressure present outside of the housing 68). The control fluid source 88 further includes a negative pressure source 94 fluidly communicating with the control chamber 74 through a second valve 96 to the second pressure supply port 84, to supply control fluid at a negative pressure (i.e., below an ambient pressure present outside of the housing 68). By selectively opening the first valve 92 and the second valve 96, a desired pressure of control fluid is provided to the control chamber 74 which is then applied, via the flexible membrane 72, to the ink in the ink-receiving chamber 76. An exemplary control fluid is air, however other fluids may be used.

Additionally, an orientation sensor 100 is provided for determining an orientation of the inkjet assembly 22. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the orientation sensor 100 is an accelerometer coupled to the housing 68 of the ink reservoir 60. Accordingly, the accelerometer may determine an orientation of a reference associated with the ink reservoir 60, such as the longitudinal axis 66 of the ink reservoir 60, relative to a fixed reference frame, such as the vertical reference axis 26. In this embodiment, the orientation sensor 100 generates an orientation signal indicative of an angle between the longitudinal axis 66 of the ink reservoir 60 and the vertical reference axis 26.

The inkjet assembly 22 further includes a pressure sensor 102 for determining an actual pressure level in the control chamber 74. As best shown in FIG. 5, the pressure sensor 102 may be disposed in a pressure sensor line 104 that fluidly communicates with the pressure sensing port 86. The pressure sensor 102 generates a pressure signal indicative of the actual pressure level in the control chamber 74.

The printhead 62 receives ink from the ink reservoir 60 and selectively discharges ink droplets onto the surface 10. As best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the printhead 62 defines a nozzle 110, in fluid communication via the supply conduits 64 and ink outlet port 78 with the ink-receiving chamber 76, from which ink droplets are discharged. The nozzle 110 defines a desired meniscus level 112 that facilitates the accurate discharge of ink droplets. The desired meniscus level 112 has a position that is fixed relative to the ink reservoir 60. More specifically, when the ink reservoir 60 is filled with ink, ink disposed in the ink-receiving chamber 76 defines an ink top surface level 114, and the desired meniscus level 112 of the nozzle 110 is spaced from the ink top surface level 114 along the longitudinal axis 66 of the ink reservoir 60 by a distance D1. The desired meniscus level 112 may also be defined by a distance D2 relative to a tip 109 of the nozzle 110. For example, as shown in FIG. 5, the distance D2 may be approximately 10 microns.

The inkjet assembly 22 also includes a controller 120 for controlling operation of the inkjet assembly. More specifically, the controller includes a processor 122 that may execute logic stored in data storage 124 to control the operations. The controller 120 is operably coupled to the first valve 92, the second valve 96, the orientation sensor 100, and the pressure sensor 102. The controller 120 may be representative of any kind of computing device or controller, or may be a portion of another apparatus as well, such as an apparatus included entirely within a server and portions of the controller 120 may be elsewhere or located within other computing devices.

The processor 122 is programmed to dynamically control pressure in the control chamber 74 based on orientation of the ink reservoir 60. More specifically, the processor 122 may be programmed to infer an angle A of the longitudinal axis 66 relative to the vertical reference axis 26 based on the orientation signal from the orientation sensor 100.

Additionally, the processor 122 is programmed to calculate an effective water column height along the vertical reference axis 26 based on the inferred angle A of the longitudinal axis 66 of the ink reservoir 60 and the distance D1 between the desired meniscus level 112 of the nozzle 110 and the ink top surface level 114. With the distance D1 being predetermined and substantially fixed, and the angle of the longitudinal axis 66 being determined from the orientation sensor 100, the effective water column may be calculated using simple trigonometry.

The processor 122 further may be programmed to determine a desired pressure for the control chamber 74 based, at least in part, on the effective water column height H. The effective water column height H may be directly converted into a pressure value, such as inches of water column, that may be used to determine how much backpressure is needed to maintain ink at the desired meniscus level 112. More specifically, the desired pressure for the control chamber 74 must take into account the pressure equivalent to the effective water column height H to maintain a predetermined pressure at the meniscus. Stated mathematically, the predetermined pressure at the meniscus PM is equal to the sum of the desired pressure for the control chamber PC and the effective water column pressure PEWC. The desired pressure for the control chamber PC depends on several factors, but is primarily related to the distance between the ink reservoir 60 and the printhead 62. For systems used to print on aircraft, for example, the desired pressure for the control chamber PC is expected to be within a range of approximately +10 inches water column to −10 inches water column. The predetermined pressure at the meniscus PM is selected to have a value that holds the ink at the desired meniscus level 112. For example, the predetermined pressure at the meniscus PM may be within a range of approximately +0.5 inches water column to approximately −0.5 inches water column.

Additionally, the above equation may be rearranged to solve for the desired pressure for the control chamber PC, wherein desired pressure for the control chamber PC is equal to the predetermined pressure at the meniscus PM minus the effective water column pressure PEWC. For example, if the predetermined pressure at the meniscus PM is negative 0.25 inches water column, and the effective water column height H is 2 inches (and therefore the effective water column pressure PEWC is 2 inches water column), then the desired pressure for the control chamber PC is negative 2.25 inches water column.

It will be appreciated that the effective water column pressure PEWC will change according to the orientation of the ink reservoir 60. More specifically, the cosine of angle A is equal to the effective water column height divided by the distance D1. Stated another way, the effective water column height is equal to the product of the distance D1 and the cosine of angle A. Thus, when the ink reservoir 60 is oriented so that the longitudinal axis 66 is vertical, the angle A is zero and the cosine of zero is 1, and therefore the effective water column pressure PEWC is equal to the distance D1. When the ink reservoir 60 is rotated to an angle A1, as shown in FIG. 7, then the effective water column pressure PEWC is equal to the distance D1 multiplied by the cosine of the angle A1. If the angle A1 is 20° and the distance D1 is 2 inches, for example, the effective water column height (and therefore the effective water column pressure PEWC) is 1.88 inches water column. In this example, if the predetermined pressure at the meniscus PM is negative 0.25 inches water column, then the desired pressure for the control chamber PC is negative 2.13 inches water column.

Furthermore, it is noted that when the ink reservoir 60 is inverted to angle A2, as shown in FIG. 8, the effective water column height will have a negative value. According to the chamber pressure equation above, subtracting a negative value results in adding the effective water column pressure PEWC to the predetermined pressure at the meniscus PM to obtain the desired pressure for the control chamber PC that maintains ink at the desired meniscus level 112. For example, if the effective water column height (and therefore the effective water column pressure PEWC is negative 1.5 inches water column, and the predetermined pressure at the meniscus PM is negative 0.25 inches water column, then the desired pressure for the control chamber PC is positive 1.25 inches water column. Thus, the desired pressure for the control chamber PC may be positive or negative, depending on the orientation of the ink reservoir 60.

The processor 122 may further be programmed to adjust a pressure level at the control chamber 74 to achieve the desired pressure for the control chamber. More specifically, the processor 122 may operate the control fluid source 88, such as by selectively opening and closing the first valve 92 and the second valve 96, to change the pressure inside the control chamber 74. The processor may employ a simple feedback loop based on the pressure signal from the pressure sensor 102 to determine when the desired pressure for the control chamber 74 is reached.

FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary method 200 of dynamically controlling pressure in the ink reservoir 60 of an inkjet assembly 22. The method begins at block 202 by determining an orientation of longitudinal axis 66 of the ink reservoir 60 based on an orientation signal from the orientation sensor 100. At block 204, the method continues by calculating an angle A between the longitudinal axis 66 of the ink reservoir 60 and a vertical reference axis 26 based on the orientation of the ink reservoir 60 determined at block 202. At block 206, a desired pressure for a control chamber 74 of the ink reservoir 60 is determined based, at least in part, on the angle calculated at block 202. As noted above, the desired pressure for the control chamber PC may be equal to the predetermined pressure at the meniscus PM minus the effective water column pressure PEWC. The effective water column pressure PEWC, in turn, may be determined by calculating the effective water column height, which is equal to the product of the distance D1 and the cosine of angle A. At block 208, the method continues by controlling the control fluid source 88 to generate the desired pressure in the ink reservoir 60. For example, the control fluid source may include a positive pressure source 90 and a negative pressure source 94 that fluidly communicate with the control chamber 74 of the ink reservoir 60, and the processor 122 may selectively control the pressure sources to adjust the actual pressure of the control chamber 74 to match the desired pressure for the control chamber 74. The processor 122 may compare feedback from the pressure sensor 102 to the desired pressure for the control chamber to determine when the control chamber 74 is at the desired pressure level.

The description of the different advantageous arrangements has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, and is not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the embodiments in the form disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. Further, different advantageous embodiments may describe different advantages as compared to other advantageous embodiments. The embodiment or embodiments selected are chosen and described in order to explain the principles of the embodiments, the practical application, and to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the disclosure. Various modifications, as are suited to the particular use, are contemplated.

Read more
PatSnap Solutions

Great research starts with great data.

Use the most comprehensive innovation intelligence platform to maximise ROI on research.

Learn More

Patent Valuation

$

Reveal the value <>

21.0/100 Score

Market Attractiveness

It shows from an IP point of view how many competitors are active and innovations are made in the different technical fields of the company. On a company level, the market attractiveness is often also an indicator of how diversified a company is. Here we look into the commercial relevance of the market.

27.0/100 Score

Market Coverage

It shows the sizes of the market that is covered with the IP and in how many countries the IP guarantees protection. It reflects a market size that is potentially addressable with the invented technology/formulation with a legal protection which also includes a freedom to operate. Here we look into the size of the impacted market.

73.0/100 Score

Technology Quality

It shows the degree of innovation that can be derived from a company’s IP. Here we look into ease of detection, ability to design around and significance of the patented feature to the product/service.

73.0/100 Score

Assignee Score

It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

15.0/100 Score

Legal Score

It shows the legal strength of IP in terms of its degree of protecting effect. Here we look into claim scope, claim breadth, claim quality, stability and priority.

Citation

Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Back pressure control in inkjet printing HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P. 12 October 2005 23 December 2008
Self normalizing drill head BOEING COMPANY, THE 08 January 1997 15 December 1998
Back pressure control in ink-jet printing HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY 26 January 1994 08 July 1997
Inkjet printhead with nozzle assemblies having raised meniscus-pinning rims ZAMTEC LIMITED 26 November 2007 27 March 2008
See full citation <>

More Patents & Intellectual Property

PatSnap Solutions

PatSnap solutions are used by R&D teams, legal and IP professionals, those in business intelligence and strategic planning roles and by research staff at academic institutions globally.

PatSnap Solutions
Search & Analyze
The widest range of IP search tools makes getting the right answers and asking the right questions easier than ever. One click analysis extracts meaningful information on competitors and technology trends from IP data.
Business Intelligence
Gain powerful insights into future technology changes, market shifts and competitor strategies.
Workflow
Manage IP-related processes across multiple teams and departments with integrated collaboration and workflow tools.
Contact Sales
Clsoe