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Ricoh : Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Targeted Heating of Substrate", for Approval

05/21/2015 | 04:45pm US/Eastern

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Bildstein, Carl (Lafayette, CO); Boland, Stuart (Denver, CO); Johnson, Scott (Erie, CO); Walker, Casey (Boulder, CO), filed on November 1, 2013, was made available online on May 14, 2015.

The patent's assignee is Ricoh Company Ltd.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Entities with substantial printing demands typically use a production printer. A production printer is a high-speed printer used for volume printing (e.g., one hundred pages per minute or more). Production printers include continuous-forms printers that print on a web of print media stored on a large roll.

"A production printer typically includes a localized print controller that controls the overall operation of the printing system, and a print engine (sometimes referred to as an 'imaging engine' or a 'marking engine'). The print engine includes one or more printhead assemblies, with each assembly including a printhead controller and a printhead (or array of printheads). An individual printhead includes multiple tiny nozzles that are operable to discharge ink as controlled by the printhead controller. A printhead array is formed from multiple printheads that are spaced in series across the width of the web of print media.

"While the printer prints, the web is quickly passed underneath the nozzles, which discharge ink onto the web at intervals to form pixels. In order to ensure that the web is consistently positioned underneath the nozzles, steering systems can be used to align the web laterally with respect to its direction of travel. However, even when a steering system is in place, small fluctuations in the physical properties of the web (e.g., inconsistent edge length, lateral tension variation, bowing, etc.) can shift the web and drastically reduce print quality. For example, when multiple printheads are used by a printer to form a mixed color pixel, a small fluctuation in web position can cause one printhead to mark the correct physical location, while another printhead marks the wrong physical location. This distorts the final color of the pixel in the printed job."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Embodiments described herein apply targeted heat to a web of print media to improve the consistency of the web prior to printing. Some areas of a web may be stretched or otherwise distorted during manufacturing or transport of the web. These deformities are often associated with a low level of tension in the web compared with other, unaffected areas of the web. When printing, the contrast of tension levels in the plane of the web can cause unpredictable shifting of the web as it passes underneath the printhead nozzles, thereby reducing print quality. However, a controlled heat source can shrink the web and increase tension in localized areas. By identifying and correcting low tension areas in the web, the consistency of the web can be improved prior to being passed underneath the printhead nozzles for improved print quality.

"One embodiment is a system that includes a heater, a sensor, and a controller. The heater is able to apply targeted heat to a web of print media before the web travels through a continuous-forms printer. The sensor is able to measure a level of tension in one or more regions of the web. The controller is able to direct the heater to apply a level of heat to the one or more regions based on the level of tension.

"Another embodiment is a method. The method includes measuring a level of tension in a region of a web of print media for a continuous-forms printer. The method also includes directing a heater to apply a level of heat to the region based on the level of tension before the web travels through the continuous-forms printer. In one embodiment, the applied heat to the region is inversely proportional to the measured level of tension in the region.

"Other exemplary embodiments (e.g., methods and computer-readable media relating to the foregoing embodiments) may be described below.


"Some embodiments of the present invention are now described, by way of example only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings. The same reference number represents the same element or the same type of element on all drawings.

"FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary continuous-forms printing system.

"FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating exemplary problems resulting from non-uniform physical properties of a web.

"FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating a printing system that corrects non-uniform physical properties of a web in an exemplary embodiment.

"FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a method for correcting non-uniform physical properties of a web in an exemplary embodiment.

"FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a heat targeting system in an exemplary embodiment.

"FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a top view a heat targeting system in another exemplary embodiment.

"FIG. 7 is block diagram of a processing system operable to execute a computer readable medium embodying programmed instructions to perform desired functions in an exemplary embodiment."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Bildstein, Carl; Boland, Stuart; Johnson, Scott; Walker, Casey. Targeted Heating of Substrate. Filed November 1, 2013 and posted May 14, 2015. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Ricoh Company Ltd.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2015, NewsRx LLC

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