(19)
(11)EP 3 112 170 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
29.04.2020 Bulletin 2020/18

(21)Application number: 16176656.3

(22)Date of filing:  28.06.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B41J 2/175(2006.01)

(54)

LIQUID APPLYING APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR MAINTAINING LIQUID APPLYING APPARATUS

FLÜSSIGKEITSAUFTRAGSVORRICHTUNG UND VERFAHREN ZUM AUFBRINGEN EINER VORRICHTUNG

APPAREIL D'APPLICATION DE LIQUIDE ET PROCÉDÉ POUR MAINTENIR UN TEL APPAREIL


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 01.07.2015 JP 2015133127
06.05.2016 JP 2016093054

(43)Date of publication of application:
04.01.2017 Bulletin 2017/01

(73)Proprietor: Ricoh Company, Ltd.
Tokyo 143-8555 (JP)

(72)Inventor:
  • MATSUMOTO, Tetsuya
    Tokyo 143-8555 (JP)

(74)Representative: SSM Sandmair 
Patentanwälte Rechtsanwalt Partnerschaft mbB Joseph-Wild-Straße 20
81829 München
81829 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 732 974
JP-A- 2011 201 234
EP-A2- 1 004 451
US-A1- 2013 286 061
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    1. Field of the Invention



    [0001] The present disclosure relates to liquid applying apparatuses and methods for maintaining the liquid applying apparatuses.

    2. Description of the Related Art



    [0002] In the field of inkjet recording apparatuses such as printers, it is known to pretreat (or pre-coat) a recording medium with a liquid for coagulating a color material of ink in order to prevent image errors such as bleeding, variations in density and color tones, and show-through and to improve print quality. In a known pre-coating method, a coating liquid contained in a feeding pan is applied to the entire surface of a recording medium by a roller of a coating-liquid applying apparatus.

    [0003] Generally, such a coating-liquid applying apparatus is regularly inspected by a service person at a frequency of, for example, two times per month. Also, an operator does not generally cause the coating-liquid applying apparatus to execute jobs during the regular inspection by the service person.

    [0004] In the related-art technology, when the liquid level of a feeding pan of a coating-liquid applying apparatus does not rise or fall even after a predetermined period of time from the start of a supply operation or a discharge operation, it is assumed that the coating-liquid applying apparatus has failed and a time-out error is reported. In response to the time-out error, an operator calls a service person to repair the coating-liquid applying apparatus separately from the regular inspection (see, for example, Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2007-044647 and Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2011-201234).

    [0005] EP 2 732 974 A1 relates to a treatment liquid application apparatus and image forming system including the same. A treatment liquid application apparatus includes a front-side application supply pan; a back-side application supply pan; a supply line for supplying a treatment liquid to the supply pans; a reserve tank; a filter chamber including a filter; a front-side application removing and circulating line; a back-side application removing and circulating line; a returning line for returning the treatment liquid from which the foreign matter has been removed by the filter to the supply pans; a liquid flow creation part that creates flows of the treatment liquid in the respective lines; valves; and a control part for controlling the liquid flow creation part and the valves for supplying the treatment liquid to the application removing and circulating lines in a process of supplying the treatment liquid to the supply pans at a time of power supply being turned on.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0006] It is an object of the present invention to provide a liquid applying apparatus and a method of maintaining the liquid applying apparatus that make it possible to predict and inspect a possible error that may occur during a supply operation or a discharge operation of a feeding pan, and to reduce downtime of the liquid applying apparatus.

    [0007] In order to achieve the above-mentioned object, there is provided a liquid applying apparatus according to claim 1. In addition, there is provided a method according to claim 12. Advantageous embodiments are defined by the dependent claims.

    [0008] According to the present invention, a liquid applying apparatus includes at least one application unit including a feeding container configured to contain a liquid, the application unit being configured to apply the liquid to an object; a first liquid-supply container configured to supply the liquid to the feeding container; a second liquid-supply container configured to supply the liquid to the feeding container; a switch configured to switch a supply source of the liquid between the first liquid-supply container and the second liquid-supply container; a first storage configured to store a supply start time when a supply operation to supply the liquid to the feeding container is started, the supply operation being performed to fill the feeding container with the liquid up to a predetermined supply level; a second storage configured to store supply information including one of supply source information indicating the supply source of the liquid and supply route information indicating a supply route through which the liquid is supplied; a third storage configured to store a liquid level of the liquid in the feeding container at a start of the supply operation; a fourth storage configured to store a supply operation time from the start of the supply operation until the liquid in the feeding container reaches the predetermined supply level; a controller configured to determine, after the supply operation is completed, a condition of the liquid applying apparatus based on the supply operation time stored in the fourth storage as one of a normal condition, an abnormal condition requiring a repair, and a potentially-abnormal condition that is different from both of the normal condition and the abnormal condition, and determine the supply source or the supply route as an inspection-required spot based on the supply information stored in the second storage when the liquid applying apparatus is determined to be in the potentially-abnormal condition; and a fifth storage configured to store the inspection-required spot determined by the controller.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0009] 

    FIG. 1A is a schematic diagram illustrating a system including a coating-liquid applying apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 1B is a schematic diagram illustrating an exemplary configuration of the coating-liquid applying apparatus of the system of FIG. 1A;

    FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating an exemplary configuration of a coating-liquid supplying apparatus in the coating-liquid applying apparatus of FIG. 1B;

    FIG. 3 is a drawing illustrating the flow of a coating liquid during a supply operation and a discharge operation of the coating-liquid supplying apparatus of FIG. 2;

    FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating exemplary hardware and functional configurations of the coating-liquid applying apparatus of FIG. 1B;

    FIG. 5A is a drawing illustrating exemplary memory allocation of a non-volatile memory;

    FIG. 5B is a table illustrating an exemplary supply log stored in a non-volatile memory;

    FIG. 5C is a table illustrating an exemplary discharge log stored in a non-volatile memory;

    FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary information storing process performed during a supply operation according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

    FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary information storing process performed during a discharge operation according to an embodiment of the present invention.


    DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS



    [0010] Embodiments of the present invention are described below with reference to the accompanying drawings.

    [0011] FIG. 1A is a schematic diagram illustrating a system 100 including a coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 according to an embodiment of the present invention. The coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is coupled between a paper feeder 80 and an inkjet printer 70.

    [0012] The paper feeder 80 feeds rolled paper W into the coating-liquid applying apparatus (liquid applying apparatus) 10.

    [0013] The coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 applies a liquid (which may also be referred to as a "coating liquid", a "pre-treatment liquid", or a "pre-coating liquid") to an image-forming surface(s) of the paper W (which may also be referred to as a "recording medium" or an "object"). The coating liquid is made of a coating material having a function to coagulate ink droplets jetted onto the paper W.

    [0014] The inkjet printer 70 performs printing on the paper W to which the coating liquid has been applied by the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10. The inkjet printer 70 jets ink droplets onto the front side and the back side of the paper W to form images.

    [0015] After the printing, the paper W is fed into a post-processing apparatus 90 that performs predetermined post-processing on the paper W. In the example of FIG. 1A, after the post-processing, the paper W is wound by a winding roller into a roll.

    [0016] FIG. 1B is a schematic diagram illustrating an exemplary configuration of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 according to an embodiment.

    [0017] The coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 may include conveyors 13 for conveying the paper W, a front-side application unit 11 for applying the coating liquid to the front side of the paper W, a back-side application unit 12 for applying the coating liquid to the back side of the paper W, and a coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20 for supplying the coating liquid to the front-side application unit 11 and the back-side application unit 12.

    [0018] The conveyors 13 convey the paper W, which is fed by the paper feeder 80 into the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10, in a predetermined direction along a conveying path.

    [0019] The front-side application unit 11 is disposed in the conveying path and applies the coating liquid to the front side of the paper W.

    [0020] The front-side application unit 11 includes a cylindrical application roller 22f, a squeeze roller 21f that is in contact with the coating liquid in a feeding pan 1 and transfers a thin film of the coating liquid onto the application roller 22f, and a pressure roller 23f that presses the paper W sandwiched between the application roller 22f and the pressure roller 23f.

    [0021] The back-side application unit 12 is also disposed in the conveying path. After the coating liquid is applied to the front side of the paper W by the front-side application unit 11, the back-side application unit 12 applies the coating liquid onto the back side of the paper W. The back-side application unit 12 has substantially the same configuration as the configuration of the front-side application unit 11, and includes an application roller 22r, a squeeze roller 21r, and a pressure roller 23r.

    [0022] Each of the front-side application unit 11 and the back-side application unit 12 is removable from the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10, and can be replaced with an application unit that is, for example, suitable for the type of printing paper.

    [0023] Although omitted in FIG. 1B, the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 may also include an air-loop unit, a heater, and a dancer unit.

    [0024] Next, the coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20 is described with reference to FIGs. 2 and 3.

    [0025] FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating an exemplary configuration of the coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20 in the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 of FIG. 1B.

    [0026] The coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20 includes a front-side feeding pan (front-side feeding container) 1 that is a reservoir for containing the coating liquid to be applied to the front side of the paper W, a back-side feeding pan (back-side feeding container) 2 that is a reservoir for containing the coating liquid to be applied to the back side of the paper W, a cartridge 3, a reserve tank 4, a filter case 5, and a waste tank (recovery container) 6.

    [0027] The feeding pan 1 is disposed in the front-side application unit 11 and contains the coating liquid below the squeeze roller 21f. The feeding pan 2 is disposed in the back-side application unit 12 and contains the coating liquid below the squeeze roller 21r. The feeding pans 1 and 2, respectively, supply the coating liquid via the squeeze rollers 21f and 21r to the application rollers 22f and 22r that apply the coating liquid to the paper W (object) in the application units 11 and 12.

    [0028] The cartridge 3 is a first liquid-supply container that contains unused coating liquid to be supplied to the feeding pans 1 and 2.

    [0029] The reserve tank 4 is a second liquid-supply container that temporarily retains (or reserves) the coating liquid.

    [0030] The feeding pan 1 is formed to cover at least the squeeze roller 21f, and preferably to also cover the application roller 22f. The feeding pan 2 is formed to cover at least the squeeze roller 21r, and preferably to also cover the application roller 22r. The feeding pans 1 and 2 are so shaped that evaporation of the contained coating liquid and degradation of the coating liquid due to exposure to air can be reduced. However, because the feeding pans 1 and 2 need to have openings at positions where the pressure rollers 23f and 23r are pressed against the corresponding application rollers 22f and 22r, the feeding pans 1 and 2 are not completely closed.

    [0031] For the above reason, the reserve tank 4, which is more airtight than the feeding pans 1 and 2, is provided.

    [0032] The filter case (filter container) 5 contains a filter for removing foreign matter from the coating liquid being circulated from the feeding pans 1 and 2 through the filter case 5 during an application operation.

    [0033] The coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20 includes a three-way solenoid valve 39 as a switch, and multiple solenoid valves 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, and 46 as flow-path opening-closing devices.

    [0034] The coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20 also includes pumps 25 and 38 as flow generators for causing the coating liquid to flow. The pumps 25 and 38 may be implemented by, for example, tubing pumps or diaphragm pumps.

    [0035] FIG. 3 is a drawing illustrating the flow of the coating liquid during a supply operation and a discharge operation of the coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20 of FIG. 2. In FIG. 3, bold arrows indicate the flow of the coating liquid.

    [0036] The cartridge 3 supplies unused coating liquid to the feeding pans 1 and 2. The pump 25 causes the coating liquid to flow into the feeding pans 1 and 2. The pump 25 may be implemented by, for example, a tubing pump or a diaphragm pump.

    [0037] A line (outgoing line) "g" is formed between the cartridge 3 and the pump 25.

    [0038] A front-side supply line "a" is a flow path of the coating liquid from the pump 25 to the feeding pan 1. A back-side supply line "b" is a flow path of the coating liquid from the pump 25 to the feeding pan 2. The pump 25 causes the coating liquid to flow into the feeding pans 1 and 2.

    [0039] The solenoid valve 27 opens and closes the flow path (supply line "a") to the feeding pan 1. The solenoid valve 28 opens and closes the flow path (supply line "b") to the feeding pan 2.

    [0040] A low(L)-level sensor 40, a middle(M)-level sensor 41, and a high(H)-level sensor 42 are disposed in the feeding pan 1. The sensors 40, 41, and 42 may be referred to as "front-side liquid-level detectors (sensors)".

    [0041] A low(L)-level sensor 43, a middle(M)-level sensor 44, and a high(H)-level sensor 45 are disposed in the feeding pan 2. The sensors 43, 44, and 45 may be referred to as "back-side liquid-level detectors (sensors)". The M-level sensors 41 and 44 may also be referred to as "fixed-level sensors".

    [0042] A front-side escape line "c" leads from the feeding pan 1 to the reserve tank 4 and the filter case 5. The solenoid valve 30 opens and closes an escape path that is a portion of the front-side escape line "c" leading to the reserve tank 4. The solenoid valve 33 opens and closes a circulation path (leak i) that is a portion of the front-side escape line "c" leading to the filter case 5.

    [0043] A back-side escape line "d" leads from the feeding pan 2 to the reserve tank 4 and the filter case 5. The solenoid valve 31 opens and closes an escape path that is a portion of the back-side escape line "d" leading to the reserve tank 4. The solenoid valve 34 opens and closes a circulation path (leak i) that is a portion of the back-side escape line "d" leading to the filter case 5.

    [0044] The paths including the solenoid valves 33 and 34 and coupling the filter case 5 and the reserve tank 4 are referred to as "leaks i".

    [0045] The feeding pans 1 and 2 are coupled to the reserve tank 4 via lines "i" including the solenoid valves 30 and 31. When the solenoid valves 30 and 31 are opened, the coating liquid in the feeding pans 1 and 2 are discharged into the reserve tank 4 due to the hydraulic head difference.

    [0046] A circulation line "e" including the solenoid valve 46 is formed to couple the reserve tank 4 to the filter case 5. Also, a circulation line "f' is formed to couple the filter case 5 to the three-way solenoid valve 39 used as a switch.

    [0047] A filter sensor 47 is disposed in the filter case 5. The filter sensor 47 detects the liquid level in the filter case 5.

    [0048] A vacuum pump 38 is coupled via a line "j" to the filter case 5. The vacuum pump 38 is used to maintain the coating liquid in the filter case 5 at a constant liquid level.

    [0049] While the coating liquid is supplied from the reserve tank 4 to the filter case 5, whether the coating liquid in the filter case 5 is at a predetermined liquid level is checked by using, for example, the filter sensor 47. When the liquid level in the filter case 5 becomes higher than or equal to an upper limit, the solenoid valve 46 is closed to limit the supply of the coating liquid into the filter case 5 and thereby lower the liquid level in the filter case 5 (high-level restoration operation).

    [0050] On the other hand, when the liquid level in the filter case 5 becomes lower than or equal to a lower limit, the solenoid valve 46 is closed and the vacuum pump 38 is driven to reduce the pressure in the filter case 5 to a negative pressure, and then the solenoid valve 46 is opened. As a result, the coating liquid in the reserve tank 4 is forced to flow into the filter case 5 and the liquid level in the filter case 5 is increased (low-level restoration operation).

    [0051] The three-way solenoid valve 39 is disposed at a junction between the outgoing line "g" and the circulation line "f', When the three-way solenoid valve 39 is opened, the outgoing line "g" coupling the pump 25 to the cartridge 3 is opened. When the three-way solenoid valve 39 is closed, the circulation line "f' coupling the pump 25 to the filter case 5 is opened.

    [0052] Thus, the three-way solenoid valve 39 always outputs the coating liquid to the supply lines "a" and "b", On the other hand, the three-way solenoid valve 39 switches input lines to receive the coating liquid either from the cartridge 3 or from the reserve tank 4 via the filter case 5.

    [0053] Also, a path (recovery line) "h" is formed between the reserve tank 4 and the waste tank 6, and the solenoid valve 36 opens and closes the path "h".

    [0054] An outgoing-supply route (front-side unused-liquid supply route) α (line "g" + line "a") is used to supply the coating liquid from the cartridge 3 via the three-way solenoid valve 39 to the feeding pan 1.

    [0055] An outgoing-supply route (back-side unused-liquid supply route) β (line "g" + line "b") is used to supply the coating liquid from the cartridge 3 via the three-way solenoid valve 39 to the feeding pan 2.

    [0056] A circulation-supply route (front-side circulated-liquid supply route) γ (line "e" + line "f" + line "a") is used to supply the coating liquid from the reserve tank 4 via the filter case 5 and the three-way solenoid valve 39 to the feeding pan 1.

    [0057] A circulation-supply route (back-side circulated-liquid supply route) δ (line "e" + line "f' + line "b") is used to supply the coating liquid from the reserve tank 4 via the filter case 5 and the three-way solenoid valve 39 to the feeding pan 2.

    [0058] An escape-discharge route (front-side discharge route) ε (line "c" + line "h") is used to discharge the coating liquid from the feeding pan 1 via the reserve tank 4 into the waste tank 6.

    [0059] An escape-discharge route (back-side discharge route) ζ (line "d" + line "h") is used to discharge the coating liquid from the feeding pan 2 via the reserve tank 4 into the waste tank 6.

    <HARDWARE AND FUNCTIONAL CONFIGURATIONS>



    [0060] FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating exemplary hardware and functional configurations of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10.

    [0061] As illustrated by FIG. 4, in addition to the components described above, the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 may include a controller 50, a switch controller 61, a valve controller 62, a pump driver 63, a power supply 15, and a communicator 14.

    [0062] The controller 50 of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is coupled via the communicator 14 to a host controller (higher-level apparatus) 110.

    [0063] The controller 50 may also be coupled to an operations panel 71 disposed on the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10. Alternatively, the operations panel 71 may be disposed on the inkjet printer 70 illustrated in FIG. 1A.

    [0064] During an inspection, the communicator 14 of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 may be configured to communicate with a maintenance terminal 200 that is operated by a service person (e.g., a customer engineer).

    [0065] The maintenance terminal 200 includes a communicator 210 and a terminal panel 220.

    [0066] The controller 50 may include a central processing unit (CPU) 51, a non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) 52, a timer 53, a condition determiner 54, a read-only memory (ROM) 55, and a RAM 56.

    [0067] A supply operation for supplying the coating liquid to the feeding pan 1 and the feeding pan 2 is performed when, for example, a switch on the operations panel 71 is pressed by an operator or a command is received from the host controller 110 coupled to the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 before the conveyance of the paper W is started.

    [0068] A discharge operation for discharging the coating liquid (pre-coating liquid) from the feeding pan 1 and the feeding pan 2 is performed to prevent degradation of the coating liquid while the application operation of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is stopped for a period of time longer than the normal interval between jobs due to, for example, replacement of the paper W or a change in a printing pattern. Also, the discharge operation may be performed to prevent degradation of the coating liquid when the front-side application unit 11 and the back-side application unit 12 are removed from the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 to replace them.

    [0069] The controller 50 determines the condition or state of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10, and performs the supply operation or the discharge operation.

    [0070] The CPU 51 of the controller 50 receives supply necessity information and/or discharge necessity information from the operations panel 71 or the host controller 110. The supply necessity information indicates whether it is necessary to perform the supply operation, and the discharge necessity information indicates whether it is necessary to perform the discharge operation. The CPU 51 also receives information indicating whether the supply operation or the discharge operation is performed for the front-side feeding pan 1, for the back-side feeding pan 2, or for both of the front-side feeding pan 1 and the back-side feeding pan 2.

    [0071] The controller 50 is coupled to the power supply 15.

    [0072] Based on the determined condition, the CPU 51 determines whether to supply the coating liquid from the cartridge 3 or the reserve tank 4, and determines a route(s) used for supplying the coating liquid.

    [0073] Alternatively, the CPU 51 may receive information indicating a route(s) for supplying the coating liquid from the host controller 110 or an operator via the operations panel 71.

    [0074] The CPU 51 controls the driving of the switch controller 61, the valve controller 62, and the pump driver 63 and thereby controls the three-way solenoid valve 39, the solenoid valves 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, and 46, and the pumps 25 and 38 so that the coating liquid is supplied via appropriate routes to the feeding pans 1 and 2.

    [0075] The timer 53 measures a supply operation time taken to supply the coating liquid to the feeding pan 1 and a supply operation time taken to supply the coating liquid to the feeding pan 2.

    [0076] More specifically, when a supply operation for the feeding pan 1 is completed, the timer 53 calculates a supply operation time for the feeding pan 1 based on a difference between supply-completion date-and-time information indicating when the supply operation is completed and supply-start date-and-time information ((1) in FIG. 5B) indicating when the supply operation is started. Similarly, when a supply operation for the feeding pan 2 is completed, the timer 53 calculates a supply operation time for the feeding pan 2 based on a difference between supply-completion date-and-time information indicating when the supply operation is completed and supply-start date-and-time information indicating ((1) in FIG. 5B) when the supply operation is started. The supply operation time calculated for each of the feeding pans 1 and 2 is stored in the NVRAM 52 as a log.

    [0077] The supply operation is completed when the liquid level in each of the feeding pans 1 and 2 rises up to a predetermined level (a liquid level detected by the H-level sensor 42 or 45).

    [0078] The timer 53 also measures a discharge operation time taken to discharge the coating liquid from the feeding pan 1 and a discharge operation time taken to discharge the coating liquid from the feeding pan 2.

    [0079] More specifically, when a discharge operation for the feeding pan 1 is completed, the timer 53 calculates a discharge operation time for the feeding pan 1 based on a difference between discharge-completion date-and-time information indicating when the discharge operation is completed and discharge-start date-and-time information ((1) in FIG. 5C) indicating when the discharge operation is started. Similarly, when a discharge operation for the feeding pan 2 is completed, the timer 53 calculates a discharge operation time for the feeding pan 2 based on a difference between discharge-completion date-and-time information indicating when the discharge operation is completed and discharge-start date-and-time information ((1) in FIG. 5C) indicating when the discharge operation is started. The discharge operation time calculated for each of the feeding pans 1 and 2 is stored in the NVRAM 52 as a log.

    [0080] The discharge operation is completed when the liquid level in each of the feeding pans 1 and 2 falls to a predetermined level (a liquid level undetectable by the L-level sensor 40 or 43).

    [0081] The front-side liquid-level sensors 40, 41, and 42 and the back-side liquid-level sensors 43, 44, and 45 are coupled via, for example, an interface to the NVRAM 52.

    [0082] The NVRAM 52 stores the following information items (supply log) during a supply operation (see FIG. 5B):
    1. (1) Supply-start date-and-time information indicating when a trigger to start the supply operation is detected.
    2. (2) Supply destination information indicating one or more destinations (front-side feeding pan 1, back-side feeding pan 2, or both) to which the coating liquid is supplied.
    3. (3) Supply source information indicating a source (cartridge 3 or reserve tank 4) from which the coating liquid is supplied, and/or a route(s) through which the coating liquid is supplied from the source to the destination(s).
    4. (4) Pan 1 sensor information indicating the liquid level in the feeding pan 1 detected by the front-side liquid-level sensors 40, 41, and 42 at the start of the supply operation.
    5. (5) Pan 2 sensor information indicating the liquid level in the feeding pan 2 detected by the back-side liquid-level sensors 43, 44, and 45 at the start of the supply operation.
    6. (6) Pan 1 supply time indicating a supply operation time taken to supply the coating liquid to the feeding pan 1.
    7. (7) Pan 2 supply time indicating a supply operation time taken to supply the coating liquid to the feeding pan 2.
    8. (8) Filter-liquid-level restoration count including a high-level restoration count indicating the number of times the high-level restoration operation is performed and a low-level restoration count indicating the number of times the low-level restoration operation is performed, for the filter case 5 during the supply operation.
    9. (9) Inspection required spot indicating a route (supply route) or a path that needs to be inspected by a service person. The inspection required spot may be determined after the supply operation is completed for each feeding pan based on, for example, the supply operation time and/or the filter-liquid-level restoration count.


    [0083] When the source of the coating liquid is changed during the supply operation, the above information items are stored into the NVRAM 52 again from the first information item (1).

    [0084] The NVRAM 52 stores the following information items (discharge log) during a discharge operation (see FIG. 5C):
    1. (1) Discharge-start date-and-time information indicating when a trigger to start the discharge operation is detected.
    2. (2) Discharge source information indicating one or more sources (front-side feeding pan 1, back-side feeding pan 2, or both) from which the coating liquid is discharged.
    3. (3) Pan 1 sensor information indicating the liquid level in the feeding pan 1 detected by the front-side liquid-level sensors 40, 41, and 42 at the start of the discharge operation.
    4. (4) Pan 2 sensor information indicating the liquid level in the feeding pan 2 detected by the back-side liquid-level sensors 43, 44, and 45 at the start of the discharge operation.
    5. (5) Pan 1 discharge time indicating a discharge operation time taken to discharge the coating liquid from the feeding pan 1.
    6. (6) Pan 2 discharge time indicating a discharge operation time taken to discharge the coating liquid from the feeding pan 2.
    7. (7) Inspection required spot indicating a route (discharge route) or a path that needs to be inspected by a service person. The inspection required spot may be determined after the discharge operation is completed for each feeding pan based on, for example, the discharge operation time.


    [0085] The above information items (the supply log and the discharge log) are stored in the NVRAM 52 as illustrated by FIGs. 5A through 5C.

    [0086] An example of the trigger (see "(1) Supply-start date-and-time information" described above) to start a supply operation to supply the coating liquid to the feeding pans 1 and 2 is an event where an operator presses a switch on the operations panel 71 to cause the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 to transition to an application-ready state. Another example of the trigger to start a supply operation is an event where the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 detects the reception of a command sent from the host controller 110 before the conveyance of the paper W is started.

    [0087] An example of the trigger (see "(1) Discharge-start date-and-time information" described above) to start a discharge operation is an event where the application operation of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is stopped for a period of time longer than the normal interval between jobs due to, for example, replacement of the paper W or a change in a printing pattern. Another example of the trigger to start a discharge operation is an event where the front-side application unit 11 and the back-side application unit 12 are removed from the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 to replace them. In either case, a discharge operation is performed to prevent degradation of the coating liquid.

    [0088] The supply log and the discharge log are stored at predetermined addresses in the NVRAM 52.

    [0089] FIG. 5A is a drawing illustrating exemplary memory allocation of the NVRAM 52, FIG. 5B is a table illustrating an exemplary supply log stored in the NVRAM 52, and FIG. 5C is a table illustrating an exemplary discharge log stored in the NVRAM 52.

    [0090] As illustrated in FIG. 5A, separate log areas for the supply log and the discharge log are defined in the NVRAM 52.

    [0091] Referring to FIGs. 5A and 5B, a supply log area for the supply log in the NVRAM 52 includes a first storage 501, a second storage 502, a third storage 503, a fourth storage 504, a fifth storage 505, and a sixth storage 506.

    [0092] The first storage 501 stores supply-start date-and-time information ((1) in FIG. 5B) indicating when a supply operation to supply the coating liquid to the feeding pans 1 and 2 is started. In the supply operation, the feeding pans 1 and 2 are filled with the coating liquid up to a predetermined liquid level.

    [0093] The second storage 502 stores supply destination information ((2) in FIG. 5B) indicating destinations, i.e., the feeding pans 1 and 2, to which the coating liquid is supplied; and supply source information ((3) in FIG. 5B) indicating a source, i.e., the cartridge 3 or the reserve tank 4, from which the coating liquid is supplied and/or supply routes through which the coating liquid is supplied from the source to the destinations.

    [0094] The third storage 503 stores pan 1 sensor information ((4) in FIG. 5B) indicating a liquid level (L, M, H) in the feeding pan 1 detected by the front-side liquid-level sensors 40, 41, and 42 at the start of the supply operation, and pan 2 sensor information ((5) in FIG. 5B) indicating a liquid level (L, M, H) in the feeding pan 2 detected by the back-side liquid-level sensors 43, 44, and 45 at the start of the supply operation.

    [0095] The fourth storage 504 stores pan 1 supply time ((6) in FIG. 5B) indicating a supply operation time taken to supply the coating liquid to the feeding pan 1, and pan 2 supply time ((7) in FIG. 5B) indicating a supply operation time taken to supply the coating liquid to the feeding pan 2.

    [0096] The fifth storage 505 stores an inspection-required spot ((9) in FIG. 5B). When it is determined that the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is in a potentially-abnormal condition, the condition determiner 54 determines an inspection-required spot based on supply information (supply destination information, supply source information, and supply routes) stored in the second storage 502.

    [0097] The sixth storage 506 stores the filter-liquid-level restoration count ((8) in FIG. 5B) including the high-level restoration count indicating the number of times the high-level restoration operation is performed and the low-level restoration count indicating the number of times the low-level restoration operation is performed.

    [0098] The condition determiner 54 may be configured to determine the condition of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 taking into account the filter-liquid-level restoration count in addition to the supply operation time.

    [0099] Referring to FIGs. 5A and 5C, a discharge log area for the discharge log in the NVRAM 52 includes a seventh storage 507, an eighth storage 508, a ninth storage 509, a tenth storage 510, and an eleventh storage 511.

    [0100] The seventh storage 507 stores discharge-start date-and-time information ((1) in FIG. 5C) indicating when a discharge operation to discharge the coating liquid from the feeding pans 1 and 2 is started. In the discharge operation, the coating liquid is discharged until the liquid level in each of the feeding pans 1 and 2 decreases to a predetermined liquid level.

    [0101] The eighth storage 508 stores discharge source information ((2) in FIG. 5C) indicating one or both of the feeding pans 1 and 2 from which the coating liquid is discharged, or discharge routes through which the coating liquid is discharged.

    [0102] The ninth storage 509 stores pan 1 sensor information ((3) in FIG. 5C) indicating a liquid level (L, M, H) in the feeding pan 1 detected by the front-side liquid-level sensors 40, 41, and 42 at the start of the discharge operation, and pan 2 sensor information ((4) in FIG. 5C) indicating a liquid level (L, M, H) in the feeding pan 2 detected by the back-side liquid-level sensors 43, 44, and 45 at the start of the discharge operation.

    [0103] The tenth storage 510 stores pan 1 discharge time ((5) in FIG. 5C) indicating a discharge operation time taken to discharge the coating liquid until the liquid level in the feeding pan 1 decreases to a predetermined level, and pan 2 discharge time ((6) in FIG. 5C) indicating a discharge operation time taken to discharge the coating liquid until the liquid level in the feeding pan 2 decreases to a predetermined level.

    [0104] The eleventh storage 511 stores an inspection-required spot ((7) in FIG. 5C). When it is determined that the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is in a potentially-abnormal condition, the condition determiner 54 determines a discharge route(s) through which the coating liquid is discharged as the inspection-required spot.

    [0105] The coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is configured to be regularly inspected. In addition, when the condition determiner 54 determines that the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is in an abnormal condition, the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 (or the controller 50) determines that a repair is necessary and reports a timeout error to request (or call) a service person to perform an irregular inspection.

    [0106] When performing a regular inspection or an irregular inspection, the service person refers to the supply log and the discharge log as illustrated by FIGs. 5B and 5C.

    [0107] As illustrated in FIG. 5A, separate log areas for the supply log and the discharge log are defined in the NVRAM 52 so that the service person can easily refer to the supply log and the discharge log.

    [0108] As illustrated by FIGs. 5B and 5C, the log areas preferably store logs of all supply operations and all discharge operations performed during a period between the previous inspection and the current inspection, That is, the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is preferably configured to report, to the service person, stored information on all supply operations and all discharge operations performed during a period between the previous inspection and the current inspection.

    [0109] When at least one of the L-level sensor 40, the M-level sensor 41, and the H-level sensor 42 in the feeding pan 1 cannot detect the coating liquid even after a predetermined time T2 from the start of a supply operation, the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 (or the controller 50) reports a supply timeout error.

    [0110] Similarly, when at least one of the L-level sensor 43, the M-level sensor 44, and the H-level sensor 45 in the feeding pan 2 cannot detect the coating liquid even after a predetermined time T3 from the start of a supply operation, the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 (or the controller 50) reports a supply timeout error.

    [0111] When the supply timeout error is reported, the operator calls a service person to repair the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10.

    [0112] For example, the service person uses an adjustment routine provided in the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 to determine a cause of the coating liquid being not normally supplied to the feeding pan 1 and/or the feeding pan 2, and repairs the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 by, for example, replacing a component or cleaning the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10.

    [0113] The predetermined time T2 and the predetermined time T3 may be set at a value that is, for example, 1.5 times greater than the normal supply operation time so that a malfunction in the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 can be clearly identified.

    [0114] Examples of causes of the supply timeout error may include clogging of one or more of the front-side unused-liquid supply route α (line "g" + line "a"), the back-side unused-liquid supply route β (line "g" + line "b"), the front-side circulated-liquid supply route γ (line "e" + line "f" + line "a"), and the back-side circulated-liquid supply route δ (line "e" + line "f' + line "b") due to paper dust; leakage of the coating liquid at a joint between tubes constituting a route; leakage or clogging of the filter case 5; abnormal output of the pumps 25 and 38; and a failure of one or more of the three-way solenoid valve 39 and the relevant solenoid valves.

    [0115] Similarly, when the L-level sensor 40 in the feeding pan 1 and/or the L-level sensor 43 in the feeding pan 2 still detects the coating liquid even after a predetermined time T4 from the start of a discharge operation, the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 (or the controller 50) reports a discharge timeout error.

    [0116] When the discharge timeout error is reported, the operator calls a service person to repair the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 separately from the regular inspection. For example, the service person uses an adjustment routine provided in the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 to determine a cause of the coating liquid being not normally discharged from the feeding pan 1 and/or the feeding pan 2, and repairs the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 by, for example, replacing a component or cleaning the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10.

    [0117] The predetermined time T4 may be set at a value that is, for example, 1.5 times greater than the normal discharge operation time so that a malfunction in the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 can be clearly identified.

    [0118] Examples of causes of the discharge timeout error may include clogging of the front-side discharge route ε (line "c" + line "h") and/or the back-side discharge route ζ (line "d" + line "h") due to paper dust, and a failure of one or more of the relevant solenoid valves.

    [0119] As described above, when a supply operation or a discharge operation cannot be normally performed due to a malfunction in the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 (or the coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20), the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 (or the controller 50) reports a timeout error. When the timeout error is reported, the operator calls a service person to repair the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 separately from a regular inspection. While the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 is being repaired, i.e., during the downtime of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10, the operator cannot use the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 for a long period of time.

    [0120] In the present embodiment, based on a measured supply operation time, the condition determiner 54 determines the condition of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 as one of a normal condition, an abnormal condition where it is necessary to report a timeout error and call a service person to repair the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10, and a potentially-abnormal condition that is different from the normal condition but is short of the abnormal condition.

    [0121] Setting the potentially-abnormal condition between the normal condition and the abnormal condition makes it possible to predict and inspect a possible error that may occur during a supply operation or a discharge operation. This in turn enables a service person to perform preventive maintenance for the potentially-abnormal condition during a regular inspection in addition to repairing occurred malfunctions.

    [0122] Thus, the above configuration makes it possible to reduce the occurrence of timeout errors during jobs, reduce time necessary to call a service person and repair the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10, and reduce the downtime of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10.

    [0123] Also, performing preventive maintenance on a potentially-abnormal part of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 makes it possible to reduce the number of times a service person needs to visit a site for irregular inspections.

    [0124] Also, the above configuration enables a service person to easily identify spots for which preventive maintenance needs to be performed. This in turn makes it possible to reduce maintenance time and to improve the efficiency of maintenance.

    [0125] Data (the supply log and the discharge log) stored in the NVRAM 52 is displayed on the operations panel 71 and is thereby presented to the service person during maintenance. Also, the data may be sent from the communicator 14 of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 to the communicator 220 of the maintenance terminal 200 carried by the service person, and displayed on the terminal panel 210 of the maintenance terminal 200 during maintenance.

    [0126] With the above configuration, during a regular inspection, the service person can refer to the supply log and the discharge log to identify spots on which preventive maintenance needs to be performed, and can prevent errors that may occur during supply and discharge operations by performing preventive maintenance on the identified spots. This in turn makes it possible to reduce maintenance time, to reduce the number of times the service person needs to visit a site for irregular inspections, and to improve the efficiency of maintenance.

    <SUPPLY OPERATION>



    [0127] FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary information storing process performed during a supply operation according to an embodiment of the present invention.

    [0128] S1: The controller 50 determines whether to perform a supply operation to supply the coating liquid to one or both of the feeding pans 1 and 2. In the present embodiment, the supply operation is performed in response to an instruction when the power supply 15 of the coating-liquid application apparatus 10 is turned on, or when an application operation is to be started after the coating liquid in the feeding pans 1 and 2 is discharged into the reserve tank 4. When it is determined at step S1 to perform the supply operation, the controller 50 proceeds to step S2.

    [0129] S2: The controller 50 stores, in the NVRAM 52, supply-start date-and-time information indicating when the current supply operation is started. More specifically, based on date-and-time information received from the host controller 110, the controller 50 stores a date value, an hour value, a minute value, and a second value at the start of the supply operation in the first storage 501 of the NVRAM 52.

    [0130] S3: The controller 50 stores, in the NVRAM 52, supply destination information indicating one or more destinations to which the coating liquid is supplied in the current supply operation.

    [0131] More specifically, the controller 50 stores, in the second storage 502 of the NVRAM 52, "01" when the coating liquid is supplied to the feeding pan 1, "02" when the coating liquid is supplied to the feeding pan 2, or "03" when the coating liquid is supplied to both of the feeding pans 1 and 2.

    [0132] S4: The controller 50 stores, in the NVRAM 52, supply source information indicating a source from which the coating liquid is supplied in the current supply operation. More specifically, the controller 50 stores, in the second storage 502 of the NVRAM 52, "01" when the coating liquid is supplied from the cartridge 3, or "02" when the coating liquid is supplied from the reserve tank 4.

    [0133] S5: The controller 50 stores, in the NVRAM 52, pan 1 sensor information indicating the liquid level in the feeding pan 1 detected by the L-level sensor 40, the M-level sensor 41, and the H-level sensor 42 before the start of the current supply operation.

    [0134] More specifically, the controller 50 stores, in the third storage 503 of the NVRAM 52, "00" when the coating liquid is detected by none of the L-level sensor 40, the M-level sensor 41, and the H-level sensor 42, "01" when the coating liquid is detected only by the L-level sensor 40, "02" when the coating liquid is detected by the L-level sensor 40 and the M-level sensor 41, or "03" when the coating liquid is detected by all of the L-level sensor 40, the M-level sensor 41, and the H-level sensor 42.

    [0135] S6: The controller 50 stores, in the NVRAM 52, pan 2 sensor information indicating the liquid level in the feeding pan 2 detected by the L-level sensor 43, the M-level sensor 44, and the H-level sensor 45 before the start of the current supply operation. More specifically, the controller 50 stores, in the third storage 503 of the NVRAM 52, "00" when the coating liquid is detected by none of the L-level sensor 43, the M-level sensor 44, and the H-level sensor 45, "01" when the coating liquid is detected only by the L-level sensor 43, "02" when the coating liquid is detected by the L-level sensor 43 and the M-level sensor 44, or "03" when the coating liquid is detected by all of the L-level sensor 43, the M-level sensor 44, and the H-level sensor 45.

    [0136] Step S7 and subsequent steps are performed after the supply operation is started.

    [0137] S7: The controller 50 determines whether the source of the coating liquid is changed. When, for example, the source is changed from the reserve tank 4 to the cartridge 3, the controller 50 returns to step S2 and store information again in the NVRAM 52.

    [0138] S8: The controller 50 determines whether the coating liquid in the feeding pan 1 has risen to a level that is detectable by the H-level sensor 42. When the coating liquid is detected by the H-level sensor 42 (YES at S8), the controller 50 proceeds to step S9.

    [0139] S9: The controller 50 calculates a pan 1 supply time (a supply operation time from when the supply operation is started to when the coating liquid in the feeding pan 1 reaches a predetermined liquid level) based on a difference between current date-and-time information and the supply-start date-and-time information stored in the first storage 501 at step S2. The controller 50 stores the calculated pan 1 supply time in the fourth storage 504 of the NVRAM 52.

    [0140] S10: The controller 50 determines whether the coating liquid in the feeding pan 2 has risen to a level that is detectable by the H-level sensor 45.

    [0141] When the coating liquid is detected by the H-level sensor 45 (YES at S10), the controller 50 proceeds to step S11.

    [0142] S11: The controller 50 calculates a pan 2 supply time (a supply operation time from when the supply operation is started to when the coating liquid in the feeding pan 2 reaches a predetermined liquid level) based on a difference between current date-and-time information and the supply-start date-and-time information stored in the first storage 501 at step S2. The controller 50 stores the calculated pan 2 supply time in the fourth storage 504 of the NVRAM 52.

    [0143] S12: The controller 50 determines whether the low-level restoration operation or the high-level restoration operation has been performed for the filter case 5.

    [0144] When the source of the coating liquid is the reserve tank 4, the coating liquid in the filter case 5 needs to be at a predetermined level during the supply operation. Otherwise, the flow rates of the coating liquid at an input port and an output port of the filter case 5 vary, and the coating liquid cannot be normally supplied. The low-level restoration operation and the high-level restoration operation are performed for this reason. When it is determined that the low-level restoration operation or the high-level restoration operation has been performed (YES at step S12), the controller 50 proceeds to step S13.

    [0145] S13: The controller 50 increments the low-level restoration count or the high-level restoration count by 1, and stores the incremented low-level or high-level restoration count in the sixth storage 506 of the NVRAM 52.

    [0146] S14: The controller 50 determines whether the coating liquid in each of target pans (the feeding pan 1, the feeding pan 2, or both of the feeding pans 1 and 2) has risen to a level detectable by the H-level sensor 42 or 45, i.e., whether the supply operation has been completed.

    [0147] When it is determined that the supply operation has not been completed (NO at step S14), the controller 50 returns to step S7. When it is determined that the supply operation has been completed (YES at step S14), the controller 50 proceeds to step S15.

    [0148] S15: The controller 50 determines an inspection-required spot (route No.) based on the pan 1 supply time, the pan 2 supply time, and the filter-liquid-level restoration count. If an inspection-required spot is determined, the controller 50 stores the determined inspection-required spot in the fifth storage 505 of the NVRAM 52.

    [0149] At step S15, the condition determiner 54 of the controller 50 determines the condition of each route used to supply the coating liquid based on the measured supply operation time and the filter-liquid-level restoration count, as one of a normal condition, an abnormal condition, and a potentially-abnormal condition that is different from the normal condition but is short of the abnormal condition.

    [0150] When it is determined that the route is in the potentially-abnormal condition, the condition determiner 54 stores the route as the inspection-required spot.

    [0151] Examples of routes determined as inspection-required spots in the supply operation are described below.

    [0152] When the source of the coating liquid is the cartridge 3 and the pan 1 supply time (the supply operation time of the feeding pan 1) is higher than or equal to 1.2 times of the normal supply operation time and less than 1.5 times of the normal supply operation time, the front-side unused-liquid supply route α (line "g" + line "a") is determined as an inspection-required spot.

    [0153] When the source of the coating liquid is the cartridge 3 and the pan 2 supply time (the supply operation time of the feeding pan 2) is higher than or equal to 1.2 times of the normal supply operation time and less than 1.5 times of the normal supply operation time, the back-side unused-liquid supply route β (line "g" + line "b") is determined as an inspection-required spot.

    [0154] When the source of the coating liquid is the reserve tank 4, the pan 1 supply time is higher than or equal to 1.2 times of the normal supply operation time and less than 1.5 times of the normal supply operation time, and the pan 2 supply time is within the normal supply operation time, the front-side circulated-liquid supply route γ (line "e" + line "f' + line "a") is determined as an inspection-required spot.

    [0155] When the source of the coating liquid is the reserve tank 4, the pan 2 supply time is higher than or equal to 1.2 times of the normal supply operation time and less than 1.5 times of the normal supply operation time, and the pan 1 supply time is within the normal supply operation time, the back-side circulated-liquid supply route δ (line "e" + line "f' + line "b") is determined as an inspection-required spot.

    [0156] When the source of the coating liquid is the reserve tank 4 and both of the pan 1 supply time and the pan 2 supply time are higher than or equal to 1.2 times of the normal supply operation time and less than 1.5 times of the normal supply operation time, the line "e" and the line "f' are determined as inspection-required spots.

    [0157] When the low-level restoration count of the filter case 5 is higher than or equal to a predetermined value T5, the line "e" is determined as an inspection-required spot.

    [0158] When the high-level restoration count of the filter case 5 is higher than or equal to a predetermined value T6, the leak "i" of the filter case 5 is determined as an inspection-required spot.

    [0159] Serial numbers may be assigned to the above-described inspection-required spots, and stored in the NVRAM 52.

    [0160] Setting the potentially-abnormal condition between the normal condition and the abnormal condition as described above makes it possible to predict and inspect a possible error during a regular inspection. This in turn enables a service person to perform preventive maintenance for the potentially-abnormal condition in addition to repairing occurred malfunctions.

    [0161] Thus, the above configuration makes it possible to reduce timeout errors that occur during a supply operation due to a failure of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 (or the coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20). This in turn makes it possible to reduce time necessary to call a service person and repair the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10, and reduce the downtime of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10.

    <DISCHARGE OPERATION>



    [0162] FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary information storing process performed during a discharge operation according to an embodiment of the present invention.

    [0163] S21: The controller 50 determines whether to perform a discharge operation to discharge the coating liquid from one or both of the feeding pans 1 and 2. When it is determined to perform the discharge operation (YES at step S21), the controller 50 proceeds to step S22.

    [0164] S22: The controller 50 stores, in the NVRAM 52, discharge-start date-and-time information indicating when the current discharge operation is started. More specifically, based on date-and-time information received from the host controller 110, the controller 50 stores a date value, an hour value, a minute value, and a second value at the start of the discharge operation in the seventh storage 507 of the NVRAM 52.

    [0165] S23: The controller 50 stores, in the NVRAM 52, discharge source information indicating one or more sources from which the coating liquid is discharged in the current discharge operation. More specifically, the controller 50 stores, in the eighth storage 508 of the NVRAM 52, "01" when the coating liquid is discharged from the feeding pan 1, "02" when the coating liquid is discharged from the feeding pan 2, or "03" when the coating liquid is discharged from both of the feeding pans 1 and 2.

    [0166] S24: The controller 50 stores, in the NVRAM 52, pan 1 sensor information indicating the liquid level in the feeding pan 1 detected by the L-level sensor 40, the M-level sensor 41, and the H-level sensor 42 before the start of the current discharge operation.

    [0167] More specifically, the controller 50 stores, in the ninth storage 509 of the NVRAM 52, "00" when the coating liquid is detected by none of the L-level sensor 40, the M-level sensor 41, and the H-level sensor 42, "01" when the coating liquid is detected only by the L-level sensor 40, "02" when the coating liquid is detected by the L-level sensor 40 and the M-level sensor 41, or "03" when the coating liquid is detected by all of the L-level sensor 40, the M-level sensor 41, and the H-level sensor 42.

    [0168] S25: The controller 50 stores, in the NVRAM 52, pan 2 sensor information indicating the liquid level in the feeding pan 2 detected by the L-level sensor 43, the M-level sensor 44, and the H-level sensor 45 before the start of the current discharge operation.

    [0169] More specifically, the controller 50 stores, in the ninth storage 509 of the NVRAM 52, "00" when the coating liquid is detected by none of the L-level sensor 43, the M-level sensor 44, and the H-level sensor 45, "01" when the coating liquid is detected only by the L-level sensor 43, "02" when the coating liquid is detected by the L-level sensor 43 and the M-level sensor 44, or "03" when the coating liquid is detected by all of the L-level sensor 43, the M-level sensor 44, and the H-level sensor 45.

    [0170] S26: The controller 50 determines whether the coating liquid in the feeding pan 1 has fallen to a level that is undetectable by the L-level sensor 40. When the coating liquid is undetectable by the L-level sensor 40, the controller 50 determines that the discharge of the coating liquid from the feeding pan 1 is completed (YES at S26) and proceeds to step S27.

    [0171] S27: The controller 50 calculates a pan 1 discharge time (a discharge operation time from when the discharge operation is started to when the coating liquid in the feeding pan 1 falls to a predetermined liquid level) based on a difference between current date-and-time information and the discharge-start date-and-time information stored in the seventh storage 507 at step S22. The controller 50 stores the calculated pan 1 discharge time in the tenth storage 510 of the NVRAM 52.

    [0172] S28: The controller 50 determines whether the coating liquid in the feeding pan 2 has fallen to a level that is undetectable by the L-level sensor 43. When the coating liquid is undetectable by the L-level sensor 43, the controller 50 determines that the discharge of the coating liquid from the feeding pan 2 is completed (YES at S28) and proceeds to step S29.

    [0173] S29: The controller 50 calculates a pan 2 discharge time (a discharge operation time from when the discharge operation is started to when the coating liquid in the feeding pan 2 falls to a predetermined liquid level) based on a difference between current date-and-time information and the discharge-start date-and-time information stored in the seventh storage 507 at step S22. The controller 50 stores the calculated pan 2 discharge time in the tenth storage 510 of the NVRAM 52.

    [0174] S30: The controller 50 determines whether the coating liquid in each of target pans (the feeding pan 1, the feeding pan 2, or both of the feeding pans 1 and 2) has fallen to a level undetectable by the L-level sensor 40 or 43, i.e., whether the discharge operation has been completed. When it is determined that the discharge operation has not been completed (NO at step S30), the controller 50 returns to step S26. When it is determined that the discharge operation has been completed (YES at step S30), the controller 50 proceeds to step S31.

    [0175] S31: The controller 50 determines an inspection-required spot (route No.) based on the pan 1 discharge time and the pan 2 discharge time. If an inspection-required spot is determined, the controller 50 stores the determined inspection-required spot in the eleventh storage 511 of the NVRAM 52.

    [0176] At step S31, the condition determiner (discharge condition determiner) 54 of the controller 50 determines the condition of each route used to discharge the coating liquid based on the measured discharge operation time, as one of a normal condition, an abnormal condition, and a potentially-abnormal condition that is different from the normal condition but is short of the abnormal condition.

    [0177] When it is determined that the route is in the potentially-abnormal condition, the condition determiner 54 stores the route as the inspection-required spot.

    [0178] Examples of routes determined as inspection-required spots in the discharge operation are described below.

    [0179] When the pan 1 discharge time (the discharge operation time of the feeding pan 1) is higher than or equal to 1.2 times of the normal discharge operation time and less than 1.5 times of the normal discharge operation time, the front-side discharge route ε (line "c" + line "h") is determined as an inspection-required spot.

    [0180] When the pan 2 discharge time (the discharge operation time of the feeding pan 2) is higher than or equal to 1.2 times of the normal discharge operation time and less than 1.5 times of the normal discharge operation time, the back-side discharge route ζ (line "d" + line "h") is determined as an inspection-required spot.

    [0181] Serial numbers may be assigned to the above-described inspection-required spots, and stored in the NVRAM 52.

    [0182] Setting the potentially-abnormal condition between the normal condition and the abnormal condition as described above makes it possible to predict and inspect a possible error during a regular inspection. This in turn enables a service person to perform preventive maintenance for the potentially-abnormal condition in addition to repairing occurred malfunctions.

    [0183] Thus, the above configuration makes it possible to reduce timeout errors that occur during a discharge operation due to a failure of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10 (or the coating-liquid supplying apparatus 20). This in turn makes it possible to reduce time necessary to call a service person and repair the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10, and reduce the downtime of the coating-liquid applying apparatus 10.

    [0184] A liquid applying apparatus and a method for maintaining the liquid applying apparatus according to embodiments of the present invention are described above. However, the present invention is not limited to the specifically disclosed embodiments, and variations and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. A liquid applying apparatus comprising:

    at least one application unit (11, 12) including a feeding container (1, 2) configured to contain a liquid, the application unit (11, 12) being configured to apply the liquid to an object;

    a first liquid-supply container (3) which is a supply source of the liquid configured to supply the liquid to the feeding container;

    a second liquid-supply container (4) which is a supply source of the liquid configured to supply the liquid to the feeding container;

    a switch (39) configured to switch a supply source of the liquid between the first liquid-supply container (3) and the second liquid-supply container (4);

    a first storage (501) configured to store a supply start time when a supply operation to supply the liquid to the feeding container is started, the supply operation being performed to fill the feeding container with the liquid up to a predetermined supply level;

    a second storage (502) configured to store supply information including one of supply source information indicating the supply source of the liquid and supply route information indicating a supply route through which the liquid is supplied;

    a third storage (503) configured to store a liquid level of the liquid in the feeding container at a start of the supply operation;

    a fourth storage (504) configured to store a supply operation time from the start of the supply operation until the liquid in the feeding container reaches the predetermined supply level;

    a controller (50), characterized in that the controller (50) is configured to

    determine, after the supply operation is completed, a condition of the liquid applying apparatus (10) based on the supply operation time stored in the fourth storage (504) as one of a normal condition, an abnormal condition requiring a repair, and a potentially-abnormal condition that is different from both of the normal condition and the abnormal condition, and

    determine the supply source or the supply route as an inspection-required spot indicating the supply route that needs to be inspected based on the supply information stored in the second storage (502) when the liquid applying apparatus (10) is determined to be in the potentially-abnormal condition; and

    a fifth storage (505) configured to store the inspection-required spot determined by the controller (50).


     
    2. The liquid applying apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising:

    a filter container (5) including a filter configured to filter a circulated liquid that has passed through the feeding container, wherein

    the first liquid-supply container (3) contains an unused liquid;

    the second liquid-supply container (4) contains the circulated liquid;

    the supply route includes

    an unused-liquid supply route including an outgoing line for sending the unused liquid from the first liquid-supply container (3) to the switch (39) and a supply line coupling the switch (39) to the feeding container, and

    a circulated-liquid supply route including a circulation line through which the circulated liquid flows from the second liquid container (4) via the filter container (5) to the switch (39) and the supply line; and

    the supply line is configured to carry the unused liquid when the first liquid-supply container (3) is the supply source and to carry the circulated liquid filtered by the filter of the filter container (5) when the second liquid-supply container (4) is the supply source.


     
    3. The liquid applying apparatus according to claim 2, wherein
    the at least one application unit includes

    a front-side application unit (11) including a front-side feeding container (1) and configured to apply the liquid to a front side of the object, and

    a back-side application unit (12) including a back-side feeding container (2) and configured to apply the liquid to a back side of the object; and

    the liquid applying apparatus (10) further comprises:

    a front-side liquid-level detector configured to detect a liquid level of the liquid in the front-side feeding container (1), and

    a back-side liquid-level detector configured to detect a liquid level of the liquid in the back-side feeding container (2).


     
    4. The liquid applying apparatus according to claim 3, wherein
    the unused-liquid supply route includes

    a front-side unused-liquid supply route including the outgoing line and a front-side supply line coupling the switch to the front-side feeding container (1), and

    a back-side unused-liquid supply route including the outgoing line and a back-side supply line coupling the switch to the back-side feeding container (2);

    the circulated-liquid supply route includes

    a front-side circulated-liquid supply route including the circulation line and the front-side supply line, and

    a back-side circulated-liquid supply route including the circulation line and the back-side supply line;

    the second storage is configured to store the supply information that includes either

    the supply source information indicating the supply source and supply destination information indicating supply destinations that are the front-side feeding container and the back-side feeding container to which the liquid is supplied, or

    the supply route information indicating one of the front-side unused-liquid supply route, the back-side unused-liquid supply route, the front-side circulated-liquid supply route, and the back-side circulated-liquid supply route for each combination of the supply source and the supply destinations;

    the third storage (503) is configured to store the liquid level in the front-side feeding container and the liquid level in the back-side feeding container that are detected by the front-side liquid-level detector and the back-side liquid-level detector at the start of the supply operation; and
    the fourth storage is configured to store the supply operation time for each of the front-side feeding container and the back-side feeding container.
     
    5. The liquid applying apparatus according to claim 4, wherein
    the controller is configured to perform, during the supply operation, a high-level restoration operation and a low-level restoration operation to maintain a liquid level in the filter container at a constant level, the high-level restoration operation being performed to decrease the liquid level in the filter container, the low-level restoration operation being performed to increase the liquid level in the filter container;
    the liquid applying apparatus further comprises a sixth storage configured to store a high-level restoration count indicating a number of times the high-level restoration operation is performed and a low-level restoration count indicating a number of times the low-level restoration operation is performed; and
    the controller is configured to determine the condition of the liquid applying apparatus after the supply operation is completed based on the supply operation time stored in the fourth storage and the high-level restoration count and the low-level restoration count stored in the sixth storage.
     
    6. The liquid applying apparatus according to any one of claims 1 through 3, wherein the controller is configured to
    determine that the liquid applying apparatus is in the abnormal condition when the supply operation time is higher than or equal to 1.5 times of a normal supply operation time; and
    determine that the liquid applying apparatus is in the potentially-abnormal condition when the supply operation time is higher than or equal to 1.2 times of the normal supply operation time and less than 1.5 times of the normal supply operation time.
     
    7. The liquid applying apparatus according to any one of claims 1 through 6, wherein
    the liquid applying apparatus is configured to be regularly inspected;
    the controller is configured to report a timeout error to request a service person to perform an irregular inspection when the liquid applying apparatus is in the abnormal condition; and
    at a current inspection by the service person, the controller is configured to report, to the service person, information stored in the storages for supply operations performed between a previous inspection and the current inspection.
     
    8. The liquid applying apparatus according to claim 3, further comprising:

    a recovery container configured to contain the liquid discharged via discharge routes from the front-side feeding container and the back-side feeding container, wherein

    the discharge routes include

    a front-side discharge route including a front-side escape line for discharging the liquid from the front-side feeding container into the second liquid-supply container and a recovery line for discharging the liquid from the second liquid-supply container into the recovery container, and

    a back-side discharge route including a back-side escape line for discharging the liquid from the back-side feeding container into the second liquid-supply container and the recovery line;

    the liquid applying apparatus further comprises:

    a seventh storage configured to store a discharge start time when a discharge operation is started, the discharge operation being performed to discharge the liquid from the front-side feeding container and the back-side feeding container until the liquid decreases to a predetermined discharge level,

    an eighth storage configured to store discharge information including one of discharge source information indicating the front-side feeding container and the back-side feeding container and discharge route information indicating the front-side discharge route and the back-side discharge route,

    a ninth storage configured to store a liquid level of the liquid in each of the front-side feeding container and the back-side feeding container at a start of the discharge operation,

    a tenth storage configured to store a discharge operation time from the start of the discharge operation until the liquid decreases to the predetermined discharge level for each of the front-side feeding container and the back-side feeding container, and

    an eleventh storage;

    after the discharge operation is completed, the controller is configured to

    determine the condition of the liquid applying apparatus based on the discharge operation time stored in the tenth storage as one of the normal condition, the abnormal condition, and the potentially-abnormal condition, and

    determine one of the front-side discharge route and the back-side discharge route as an inspection-required spot when the liquid applying apparatus is determined to be in the potentially-abnormal condition; and

    the eleventh storage is configured to store the one of the front-side discharge route and the back-side discharge route determined by the controller as the inspection required spot.


     
    9. The liquid applying apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the controller is configured to
    determine that the liquid applying apparatus is in the abnormal condition when the discharge operation time is higher than or equal to 1.5 times of a normal discharge operation time; and
    determine that the liquid applying apparatus is in the potentially-abnormal condition when the discharge operation time is higher than or equal to 1.2 times of the normal discharge operation time and less than 1.5 times of the normal discharge operation time.
     
    10. The liquid applying apparatus according to claim 8 or 9, wherein
    the liquid applying apparatus is configured to be regularly inspected;
    the controller is configured to report a timeout error to request a service person to perform an irregular inspection when the liquid applying apparatus is in the abnormal condition; and
    at a current inspection by the service person, the controller is configured to report, to the service person, information stored in the storages for discharge operations performed between a previous inspection and the current inspection.
     
    11. The liquid applying apparatus according to any one of claims 2 through 5, further comprising:

    a flow generator configured to cause the liquid to flow; and

    a plurality of opening-closing devices configured to open and close the outgoing line, the supply line, and the circulation line.


     
    12. A method for maintaining a liquid applying apparatus, the method comprising:

    performing a supply operation to supply a liquid from one of a first liquid-supply container (3) and a second liquid-supply container (4) to a feeding container (1, 2) of an application unit of the liquid applying apparatus (10) for applying the liquid to an object, the supply operation being performed to fill the feeding container with the liquid up to a predetermined supply level;

    controlling a switch (39) to switch a supply source of the liquid between the first liquid-supply container (3) and the second liquid-supply container (4);

    storing, in a first storage (501) of the liquid applying apparatus (10), a supply start time when the supply operation is started;

    storing, in a second storage (502) of the liquid applying apparatus, supply information including one of supply source information indicating the supply source of the liquid and supply route information indicating a supply route through which the liquid is supplied;

    storing, in a third storage (503) of the liquid applying apparatus, a liquid level of the liquid in the feeding container at a start of the supply operation;

    storing, in a fourth storage (504) of the liquid applying apparatus, a supply operation time from the start of the supply operation until the liquid in the feeding container reaches the predetermined supply level, characterized in that

    after the supply operation is completed, a controller (50) determines a condition of the liquid applying apparatus (10) based on the supply operation time stored in the fourth storage (504) as one of a normal condition, an abnormal condition requiring a repair, and a potentially-abnormal condition that is different from both of the normal condition and the abnormal condition;

    when the liquid applying apparatus is determined to be in the potentially-abnormal condition, the controller (50) determines the supply source or the supply route as an inspection-required spot indicating the supply route that needs to be inspected based on the supply information stored in the second storage (502); and

    storing, in a fifth storage (505) of the liquid applying apparatus (10), the inspection-required spot determined by the controller (50).


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit, die Folgendes umfasst:

    wenigstens eine Auftragungseinheit (11, 12), die einen Zuführbehälter (1, 2) umfasst, der konfiguriert ist, eine Flüssigkeit zu enthalten, wobei die Auftragungseinheit (11, 12) konfiguriert ist, die Flüssigkeit auf ein Objekt aufzutragen;

    einen ersten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (3), der eine Zuführquelle der Flüssigkeit ist, der konfiguriert ist, dem Zuführbehälter die Flüssigkeit zuzuführen;

    einen zweiten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (4), der eine Zuführquelle der Flüssigkeit ist, der konfiguriert ist, dem Zuführbehälter die Flüssigkeit zuzuführen;

    einen Schalter (39), der konfiguriert ist, eine Zuführquelle der Flüssigkeit zwischen dem ersten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (3) und dem zweiten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (4) umzuschalten;

    einen ersten Speicher (501), der konfiguriert ist, eine Zuführstartzeit zu speichern, wenn ein Zuführbetrieb zum Zuführen der Flüssigkeit zu dem Zuführbehälter gestartet wird, wobei der Zuführbetrieb durchgeführt wird, um den Zuführbehälter mit der Flüssigkeit bis zu einem festgelegten Zuführpegel zu füllen;

    einen zweiten Speicher (502), der konfiguriert ist, Zuführinformationen zu speichern, die Informationen über die Zuführquelle, die die Zuführquelle der Flüssigkeit anzeigen oder Informationen über den Zuführpfad, die einen Zuführpfad anzeigen, durch den die Flüssigkeit zugeführt wird, umfassen;

    einen dritten Speicher (503), der konfiguriert ist, einen Flüssigkeitspegel der Flüssigkeit in dem Zuführbehälter bei einem Start des Zuführbetriebs zu speichern;

    einen vierten Speicher (504), der konfiguriert ist, eine Zuführbetriebszeit seit dem Start des Zuführbetriebs bis zu dem Zeitpunkt, zu dem die Flüssigkeit in dem Zuführbehälter den festgelegten Zuführpegel erreicht, zu speichern;

    eine Steuerung (50), dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Steuerung (50) konfiguriert ist, die folgenden Schritte auszuführen:

    Bestimmen eines Zustands der Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit auf der Basis der Zuführbetriebszeit, die in dem vierten Speicher (504) gespeichert ist, nachdem der Zuführbetrieb beendet worden ist, als einen normalen Zustand, einen nicht normalen Zustand, der eine Reparatur erfordert, oder als einen möglicherweise nicht normalen Zustand, der sich sowohl von dem normalen Zustand als auch von dem nicht normalen Zustand unterscheidet, und

    Bestimmen der Zuführquelle oder des Zuführpfads als einen Punkt, bei dem eine Inspektion erforderlich ist, der auf der Basis der Zuführinformationen, die in dem zweiten Speicher (502) gespeichert sind, den Zuführpfad angibt, der inspiziert werden muss, wenn bestimmt wird, dass sich die Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit in dem möglicherweise nicht normalen Zustand befindet; und

    einen fünften Speicher (505), der konfiguriert ist, den Punkt, bei dem eine Inspektion erforderlich ist, der durch die Steuerung (50) bestimmt wurde, zu speichern.


     
    2. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach Anspruch 1, die ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Filterbehälter (5), der einen Filter umfasst, der konfiguriert ist, eine umlaufende Flüssigkeit zu filtern, die durch den Zuführbehälter gelangt ist, wobei

    der erste Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (3) eine nicht verwendete Flüssigkeit enthält;

    der zweite Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (4) die umlaufende Flüssigkeit enthält;

    wobei der Zuführpfad Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Zuführpfad für nicht verwendete Flüssigkeit, der eine herausführende Leitung zum Schicken der nicht verwendeten Flüssigkeit von dem ersten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (3) zu dem Schalter (39) und eine Zuführleitung, die den Schalter (39) mit dem Zuführbehälter koppelt, umfasst, und

    einen Zuführpfad für umlaufende Flüssigkeit, der eine Umlaufleitung, durch die die umlaufende Flüssigkeit von dem zweiten Flüssigkeitsbehälter (4) über den Filterbehälter (5) zu dem Schalter (39) strömt, und die Zuführleitung umfasst; und

    wobei die Zuführleitung konfiguriert ist, die nicht verwendete Flüssigkeit zu transportieren, wenn der erste Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (3) die Zuführquelle ist, und die umlaufende Flüssigkeit, die durch den Filter des Filterbehälters (5) gefiltert wurde, zu transportieren, wenn der zweite Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (4) die Zuführquelle ist.


     
    3. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach Anspruch 2, wobei die wenigstens eine Auftragungseinheit Folgendes umfasst:

    eine vorderseitige Auftragungseinheit (11), die einen vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter (1) umfasst und konfiguriert ist, die Flüssigkeit auf eine Vorderseite des Objekts aufzutragen, und

    eine rückseitige Auftragungseinheit (12), die einen rückseitigen Zuführbehälter (2) umfasst und konfiguriert ist, die Flüssigkeit auf eine Rückseite des Objekts aufzutragen; und

    wobei die Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    einen vorderseitigen Flüssigkeitspegeldetektor, der konfiguriert ist, einen Flüssigkeitspegel der Flüssigkeit in dem vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter (1) zu detektieren, und

    einen rückseitigen Flüssigkeitspegeldetektor, der konfiguriert ist, einen Flüssigkeitspegel der Flüssigkeit in dem rückseitigen Zuführbehälter (2) zu detektieren.


     
    4. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach Anspruch 3, wobei der Zuführpfad für nicht verwendete Flüssigkeit Folgendes umfasst:

    einen vorderseitigen Zuführpfad für nicht verwendete Flüssigkeit, der die herausführende Leitung und eine vorderseitige Zuführleitung, die den Schalter mit dem vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter (1) koppelt, umfasst, und

    einen rückseitigen Zuführpfad für nicht verwendete Flüssigkeit, der die herausführende Leitung und eine rückseitige Zuführleitung, die den Schalter mit dem rückseitigen Zuführbehälter (2) koppelt, umfasst;

    wobei der Zuführpfad für umlaufende Flüssigkeit Folgendes umfasst:

    einen vorderseitigen Zuführpfad für umlaufende Flüssigkeit, der die Umlaufleitung und die vorderseitige Zuführleitung umfasst, und

    einen rückseitigen Zuführpfad für umlaufende Flüssigkeit, der die Umlaufleitung und die rückseitige Zuführleitung umfasst;

    wobei der zweiten Speicher konfiguriert ist, die Zuführinformationen zu speichern, die Folgendes umfassen:

    die Zuführquelleninformationen, die die Informationen über die Zuführquelle und das Zuführziel anzeigen, die Zuführziele anzeigen, die der vorderseitige Zuführbehälter und der rückseitige Zuführbehälter sind, zu denen die Flüssigkeit zugeführt wird, oder

    die Zuführpfadinformationen, die den vorderseitigen Zuführpfad für nicht verwendete Flüssigkeit, den rückseitigen Zuführpfad für nicht verwendete Flüssigkeit, den vorderseitigen Zuführpfad für umlaufende Flüssigkeit oder den rückseitigen Zuführpfad für umlaufende Flüssigkeit für jede Kombination aus der Zuführquelle und den Zuführzielen anzeigen;

    wobei der dritte Speicher (503) konfiguriert ist, den Flüssigkeitspegel in dem vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter und den Flüssigkeitspegel in dem rückseitigen Zuführbehälter, die durch den vorderseitigen Flüssigkeitspegeldetektor und den rückseitigen Flüssigkeitspegeldetektor beim Start des Zuführbetriebs detektiert wurden, zu speichern; und
    wobei der vierten Speicher konfiguriert ist, die Zuführbetriebszeit für den vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter und den rückseitigen Zuführbehälter zu speichern.
     
    5. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach Anspruch 4, wobei
    die Steuerung konfiguriert ist, während des Zuführbetriebs einen Betrieb zum Wiederherstellen eines hohen Pegels und einen Betrieb zum Wiederherstellen eines niedrigen Pegels durchzuführen, um einen Flüssigkeitspegel in dem Filterbehälter auf einem konstanten Pegel zu halten, wobei der Vorgang zum Wiederherstellen eines hohen Pegels durchgeführt wird, um den Flüssigkeitspegel in dem Filterbehälter zu verringern, wobei der Vorgang zum Wiederherstellen eines niedrigen Pegels durchgeführt wird, um den Flüssigkeitspegel in dem Filterbehälter zu erhöhen;
    wobei die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit ferner einen sechsten Speicher umfasst, der konfiguriert ist, einen Zählerstand für die Wiederherstellung eines hohen Pegels, der angibt, wie oft der Vorgang zum Wiederherstellen eines hohen Pegels durchgeführt wurde, und einen Zählerstand für die Wiederherstellung eines niedrigen Pegels, der angibt, wie oft der Vorgang zum Wiederherstellen des niedrigen Pegels durchgeführt wurde, zu speichern; und
    wobei die Steuerung konfiguriert ist, den Zustand der Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit, nachdem der Zuführbetrieb beendet ist, auf der Basis der Zuführbetriebszeit, die in dem vierten Speicher gespeichert ist, und des Zählerstands der Wiederherstellung eines hohen Pegels und des Zählerstands der Wiederherstellung eines niedrigen Pegels, die in dem sechsten Speicher gespeichert sind, festzustellen.
     
    6. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei die Steuerung konfiguriert ist, die folgenden Schritte auszuführen:

    Bestimmen, dass die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit in dem nicht normalen Zustand ist, wenn die Zuführbetriebszeit mindestens der 1,5-fachen normalen Zuführbetriebszeit entspricht; und

    Bestimmen, dass die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit in dem möglicherweise nicht normalen Zustand ist, wenn die Zuführbetriebszeit mindestens der 1,2-fachen normalen Zuführbetriebszeit entspricht und kürzer als die 1,5-fache normale Zuführbetriebszeit ist.


     
    7. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, wobei
    die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit so konfiguriert ist, dass sie regelmäßig inspiziert wird;
    die Steuerung konfiguriert ist, einen Zeitüberschreitungsfehler zu melden, um einen Dienstleister anzufordern, eine außerordentliche Inspektion durchzuführen, wenn sich die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit in dem nicht normalen Zustand befindet; und
    bei einer laufenden Inspektion durch den Dienstleister die Steuerung konfiguriert ist, an den Dienstleister Informationen über Zuführvorgänge, die zwischen einer vorhergehenden Inspektion und der laufenden Inspektion ausgeführt wurden, die in den Speichern gespeichert sind, zu melden.
     
    8. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach Anspruch 3, die ferner Folgendes umfasst:
    einen Rückgewinnungsbehälter, der konfiguriert ist, die Flüssigkeit zu enthalten, die über Abführpfade von dem vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter und dem rückseitigen Zuführbehälter abgeführt wurde, wobei
    die Abführpfade Folgendes umfassen:

    einen vorderseitigen Abführpfad, der eine vorderseitige Ablaufleitung zum Abführen der Flüssigkeit von dem vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter in den zweiten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter und eine Rückgewinnungsleitung zum Abführen der Flüssigkeit von dem zweiten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter in den Rückgewinnungsbehälter umfasst, und

    einen rückseitigen Abführpfad, der eine rückseitige Ablaufleitungen zum Abführen der Flüssigkeit von dem rückseitigen Zuführbehälter in den zweiten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter und die Rückgewinnungsleitung umfasst;

    wobei die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    einen siebten Speicher, der konfiguriert ist, einen Abführstartzeitpunkt zu speichern, wenn ein Abführbetrieb gestartet wird, wobei der Abführbetrieb durchgeführt wird, um die Flüssigkeit von dem vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter und dem rückseitigen Zuführbehälter abzuführen, bis die Flüssigkeit auf einen festgelegten Abführpegel gesunken ist,

    einen achten Speicher, der konfiguriert ist, Abführinformationen zu speichern, die Informationen über die Abführquelle, die den vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter und den rückseitigen Zuführbehälter anzeigen, und Informationen über den Abführpfad, die den vorderseitigen Abführpfad und den rückseitigen Abführpfad anzeigen, umfassen,

    einen neunten Speicher, der konfiguriert ist, einen Flüssigkeitspegel der Flüssigkeit in dem vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter und dem rückseitigen Zuführbehälter bei einem Start des Abführbetriebs zu speichern,

    einen zehnten Speicher, der konfiguriert ist, eine Abführbetriebszeit seit dem Start des Abführbetriebs bis zu dem Zeitpunkt, zu dem die Flüssigkeit auf den festgelegten Abführpegel abnimmt, für den vorderseitigen Zuführbehälter und den rückseitigen Zuführbehälter zu speichern, und

    einen elften Speicher;

    wobei dann, nachdem der Abführbetrieb beendet ist, die Steuerung konfiguriert ist, die folgenden Schritte auszuführen:

    Bestimmen des Zustands der Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit auf der Basis der Abführbetriebszeit, die in dem zehnten Speicher gespeichert ist, als den normalen Zustand, als den nicht normalen Zustand und als den möglicherweise nicht normalen Zustand; und

    Bestimmen des vorderseitigen Abführpfads und des rückseitigen Abführpfads als einen Punkt, bei dem eine Inspektion erforderlich ist, wenn bestimmt wird, dass sich die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit in dem möglicherweise nicht normalen Zustand befindet; und

    wobei der elfte Speicher konfiguriert ist, den vorderseitigen Abführpfad oder den rückseitigen Abführpfad zu speichern, für den durch die Steuerung bestimmt wurde, dass er der Punkt ist, bei dem eine Inspektion erforderlich ist.


     
    9. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach Anspruch 8, wobei die Steuerung konfiguriert ist, die folgenden Schritte auszuführen:

    Bestimmen, dass sich die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit in dem nicht normalen Zustand befindet, wenn die Abführbetriebszeit mindestens der 1,5-fachen normalen Abführbetriebszeit entspricht; und

    Bestimmen, dass sich die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit in dem möglicherweise nicht normalen Zustand befindet, wenn die Abführbetriebszeit mindestens die 1,2-fache normale Abführbetriebszeit ist und kürzer als die 1,5-fache normale Abführbetriebszeit ist.


     
    10. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach Anspruch 8 oder 9, wobei die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit so konfiguriert ist, dass sie regelmäßig inspiziert wird;
    wobei die Steuerung konfiguriert ist, einen Zeitüberschreitungsfehler zu melden, um einen Dienstleister anzufordern, eine außerordentliche Inspektion durchzuführen, wenn sich die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit in dem nicht normalen Zustand befindet; und
    bei einer laufenden Inspektion durch den Dienstleister die Steuerung konfiguriert ist, an den Dienstleister Informationen über Abführvorgänge, die zwischen einer vorhergehenden Inspektion und der laufenden Inspektion durchgeführt wurden, die in den Speichern gespeichert sind, zu melden.
     
    11. Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit nach einem der Ansprüche 2 bis 5, wobei die Vorrichtung ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Strömungsgenerator, der konfiguriert ist, zu bewirken, dass die Flüssigkeit strömt; und

    mehrere Vorrichtungen zum Öffnen und Schließen, die konfiguriert sind, die herausführende Leitung, die Zuführleitung und die Umlaufleitung zu öffnen und zu schließen.


     
    12. Verfahren für eine Wartung einer Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit, wobei das Verfahren die folgenden Schritte umfasst:

    Durchführen eines Zuführbetriebs, um eine Flüssigkeit von einem ersten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (3) oder einem zweiten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (4) zu einem Zuführbehälter (1, 2) einer Auftragungseinheit der Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit zum Auftragen der Flüssigkeit auf ein Objekt zuzuführen, wobei der Zuführbetrieb durchgeführt wird, um den Zuführbehälter mit der Flüssigkeit bis zu einem festgelegten Zuführpegel zu füllen;

    Steuern eines Schalters (39), um eine Zuführquelle der Flüssigkeit zwischen dem ersten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (3) und dem zweiten Flüssigkeitszuführbehälter (4) umzuschalten;

    Speichern in einem ersten Speicher (501) der Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit einer Zuführstartzeit, wenn der Zuführbetrieb gestartet wird;

    Speichern in einem zweiten Speicher (502) der Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit von Zuführinformationen, die Informationen über die Zuführquelle, die die Zuführquelle der Flüssigkeit anzeigen, und Informationen über den Zuführpfad, die einen Zuführpfad, durch den die Flüssigkeit zugeführt wird, anzeigen, umfassen;

    Speichern in einem dritten Speicher (503) der Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit eines Flüssigkeitspegels der Flüssigkeit in dem Zuführbehälter bei einem Start des Zuführbetriebs;

    Speichern in einem vierten Speicher (504) der Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit einer Zuführbetriebszeit seit dem Start des Zuführbetriebs bis zu dem Zeitpunkt, zu dem die Flüssigkeit in dem Zuführbehälter den festgelegten Zuführpegel erreicht hat, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    wobei die Steuerung (50) dann, nachdem der Zuführbetrieb beendet ist, einen Zustand der Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit auf der Basis der Zuführbetriebszeit, die in dem vierten Speicher (504) gespeichert ist, als einen normalen Zustand, einen nicht normalen Zustand, der eine Reparatur erfordert, und einen möglicherweise nicht normalen Zustand, der sich sowohl von dem normalen Zustand als auch von dem nicht normalen Zustand unterscheidet, bestimmt, und

    wobei die Steuerung (50) dann, wenn bestimmt wird, dass sich die Vorrichtung zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit in dem möglicherweise nicht normalen Zustand befindet, auf der Basis der Zuführinformationen, die in dem zweiten Speicher (502) gespeichert sind, die Zuführquelle oder den Zuführpfad als einen Punkt bestimmt, bei dem eine Inspektion erforderlich ist, der den Zuführpfad angibt, der inspiziert werden muss; und

    Speichern in einem fünften Speicher (505) der Vorrichtung (10) zum Auftragen von Flüssigkeit des Punkts, bei dem eine Inspektion erforderlich ist, der durch die Steuerung (50) bestimmt wurde.


     


    Revendications

    1. Appareil d'application de liquide comprenant :

    au moins une unité d'application (11, 12) comprenant un récipient d'apport (1, 2) conçu pour contenir un liquide, l'unité d'application (11, 12) étant conçue pour appliquer le liquide sur un objet ;

    un premier récipient d'alimentation en liquide (3) qui est une source d'alimentation du liquide conçue pour alimenter en liquide le récipient d'apport ;

    un deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide (4) qui est une source d'alimentation du liquide conçue pour alimenter en liquide le récipient d'apport ;

    un commutateur (39) conçu pour commuter une source d'alimentation du liquide entre le premier récipient d'alimentation en liquide (3) et le deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide (4) ;

    un premier stockage (501) conçu pour stocker un temps de démarrage d'alimentation lorsqu'une opération d'alimentation pour alimenter en liquide le récipient d'apport est démarrée, l'opération d'alimentation étant exécutée pour remplir le récipient d'apport avec le liquide jusqu'à un niveau d'alimentation prédéterminé ;

    un deuxième stockage (502) conçu pour stocker des informations d'alimentation comprenant les unes d'informations de source d'alimentation indiquant la source d'alimentation du liquide et d'informations de route d'alimentation indiquant la route d'alimentation par laquelle le liquide est acheminé ;

    un troisième stockage (503) conçu pour stocker un niveau de liquide du liquide dans le récipient d'apport à un démarrage de l'opération d'alimentation ;

    un quatrième stockage (504) conçu pour stocker une durée d'opération d'alimentation à partir du démarrage de l'opération d'alimentation jusqu'à ce que le liquide dans le récipient d'apport atteigne le niveau d'alimentation prédéterminé ;

    un dispositif de commande (50), caractérisé en ce que le dispositif de commande (50) est conçu pour

    déterminer, après la fin de l'opération d'alimentation, une condition de l'appareil d'application de liquide (10) sur la base de la durée d'opération d'alimentation stockée dans le quatrième stockage (504) comme l'une d'une condition normale, d'une condition anormale nécessitant une réparation, et d'une condition potentiellement anormale qui est différente à la fois de la condition normale et de la condition anormale, et

    déterminer la source d'alimentation ou la route d'alimentation en tant que point nécessitant une inspection indiquant la route d'alimentation qui doit être inspectée sur la base des informations d'alimentation stockées dans le deuxième stockage (502) lorsque l'appareil d'application de liquide (10) est déterminé comme étant dans la condition potentiellement anormale ; et

    un cinquième stockage (505) conçu pour stocker le point nécessitant une inspection déterminé par le dispositif de commande (50).


     
    2. Appareil d'application de liquide selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre :

    un récipient de filtration (5) comprenant un filtre conçu pour filtrer un liquide en circulation qui est passé par le récipient d'alimentation,

    le premier récipient d'alimentation en liquide (3) contenant un liquide non utilisé ;

    le deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide (4) contenant le liquide en circulation ;

    la route d'alimentation comprenant

    une route d'alimentation de liquide non utilisé comprenant une conduite de sortie pour envoyer le liquide non utilisé du premier récipient d'alimentation en liquide (3) au commutateur (39) et une conduite d'alimentation couplant le commutateur (39) au récipient d'apport, et

    une route d'alimentation en liquide en circulation comprenant une conduite de circulation par laquelle le liquide en circulation s'écoule du deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide (4) via le récipient de filtration (5) au commutateur (39) et à la conduite d'alimentation ; et

    la conduite d'alimentation étant conçue pour transporter le liquide non utilisé lorsque le premier récipient d'alimentation liquide (3) est la source d'alimentation et pour transporter le liquide en circulation filtré par le filtre du récipient de filtration (5) lorsque le deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide (4) est la source d'alimentation.


     
    3. Appareil d'application de liquide selon la revendication 2, dans lequel l'au moins une unité d'application comprend

    une unité d'application côté avant (11) comprenant un récipient d'apport côté avant (1) et conçue pour appliquer le liquide sur un côté avant de l'objet, et

    une unité d'application côté arrière (12) comprenant un récipient d'apport côté arrière (2) et conçu pour appliquer le liquide sur un côté arrière de l'objet ; et

    l'appareil d'application de liquide (10) comprend en outre :

    un détecteur de niveau de liquide côté avant conçu pour détecter un niveau de liquide du liquide dans le récipient d'apport côté avant (1), et

    un détecteur de niveau de liquide côté arrière conçu pour détecter un niveau de liquide du liquide dans le récipient d'apport côté arrière (2).


     
    4. Appareil d'application de liquide selon la revendication 3, dans lequel
    la route d'alimentation en liquide non utilisé comprend

    une route d'alimentation en liquide non utilisé côté avant comprenant la conduite de sortie et une conduite d'alimentation côté avant couplant le commutateur au récipient d'apport côté avant (1), et

    une route d'alimentation en liquide non utilisé côté arrière comprenant la conduite de sortie et une conduite d'alimentation côté arrière couplant le commutateur au récipient d'apport côté arrière (2) ;

    la route d'alimentation en liquide en circulation comprend

    une route d'alimentation en liquide en circulation côté avant comprenant la conduite de circulation et la conduite d'alimentation côté avant, et

    une route d'alimentation en liquide en circulation côté arrière comprenant la conduite de circulation et la conduite d'alimentation côté arrière ;

    le deuxième stockage est conçu pour stocker les informations d'alimentation qui comprennent soit

    les informations de source d'alimentation indiquant la source d'alimentation et des informations de destination d'alimentation indiquant des destinations d'alimentation qui sont le récipient d'apport côté avant et le récipient d'apport côté arrière auxquels le liquide est fourni, soit

    les informations de route d'alimentation indiquant l'une de la route d'alimentation en liquide non utilisé côté avant, la route d'alimentation en liquide non utilisé côté arrière, la route d'alimentation en liquide en circulation côté avant, et la route d'alimentation en liquide en circulation côté arrière pour chaque combinaison de la source d'alimentation et des destinations d'alimentation ;

    le troisième stockage (503) est conçu pour stocker le niveau de liquide dans le récipient d'apport côté avant et le niveau de liquide dans le récipient d'apport côté arrière qui sont détectés par le détecteur de niveau de liquide côté avant et par le détecteur de niveau de liquide côté arrière au démarrage de l'opération d'alimentation ; et
    le quatrième stockage est conçu pour stocker la durée d'opération d'alimentation pour chacun du récipient d'alimentation côté avant et du récipient d'alimentation côté arrière.
     
    5. Appareil d'application de liquide selon la revendication 4, dans lequel
    le dispositif de commande est conçu pour exécuter, pendant l'opération d'alimentation, une opération de rétablissement de haut niveau et une opération de rétablissement de bas niveau pour maintenir un niveau de liquide dans le récipient de filtration à un niveau constant, l'opération de rétablissement de haut niveau étant exécutée pour diminuer le niveau de liquide dans le récipient de filtration, l'opération de rétablissement de bas niveau étant exécutée pour augmenter le niveau de liquide dans le récipient de filtration ;
    l'appareil d'application de liquide comprend en outre un sixième stockage conçu pour stocker un décompte de rétablissement de haut niveau indiquant un nombre de fois où l'opération de rétablissement de haut niveau est exécutée et un décompte de rétablissement de bas niveau indiquant un nombre de fois où l'opération de rétablissement de bas niveau est exécutée ; et
    le dispositif de commande est conçu pour déterminer la condition de l'appareil d'application de liquide après la fin de l'opération d'alimentation sur la base de la durée d'opération d'alimentation stockée dans le quatrième stockage et du décompte de rétablissement de haut niveau et du décompte de rétablissement de bas niveau stockés dans le sixième stockage.
     
    6. Appareil d'application de liquide selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel le dispositif de commande est conçu pour
    déterminer que l'appareil d'application de liquide est dans la condition anormale lorsque la durée d'opération d'alimentation est supérieure ou égale à 1,5 fois une durée d'opération d'alimentation normale ; et
    déterminer que l'appareil d'application de liquide est dans la condition potentiellement anormale lorsque la durée de l'opération d'alimentation est supérieure ou égale à 1,2 fois la durée d'opération d'alimentation normale et inférieure à 1,5 fois la durée d'opération d'alimentation normale.
     
    7. Appareil d'application de liquide selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, dans lequel
    l'appareil d'application de liquide est conçu pour être régulièrement inspecté ;
    le dispositif de commande est conçu pour signaler une erreur de temporisation pour demander à une personne chargée d'entretien d'exécuter une inspection irrégulière lorsque l'appareil d'application de liquide est dans une condition anormale ; et
    lors d'une inspection en cours par la personne chargée d'entretien, le dispositif de commande est conçu pour signaler, à la personne chargée d'entretien, des informations stockées dans les stockages pour des opérations d'alimentation exécutées entre une inspection précédente et l'inspection en cours.
     
    8. Appareil d'application de liquide selon la revendication 3, comprenant en outre :

    un récipient de récupération conçu pour contenir le liquide évacué via des routes d'évacuation depuis le récipient d'apport côté avant et depuis le récipient d'apport côté arrière,

    les routes d'évacuation comprenant

    une route d'évacuation côté avant comprenant une conduite d'échappement côté avant pour évacuer le liquide depuis le récipient d'apport côté avant dans le deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide et une conduite de récupération pour évacuer le liquide depuis le deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide dans le récipient de récupération, et

    une route d'évacuation côté arrière comprenant une conduite d'échappement côté arrière pour évacuer le liquide depuis le récipient d'apport côté arrière dans le deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide et la conduite de récupération ;

    l'appareil d'application de liquide comprend en outre :

    un septième stockage conçu pour stocker un temps de démarrage d'évacuation lorsqu'une opération d'évacuation est démarrée, l'opération d'évacuation étant exécutée pour évacuer le liquide depuis le récipient d'apport côté avant et le récipient d'apport côté arrière jusqu'à ce que le liquide diminue et atteigne un niveau d'évacuation prédéterminé,

    un huitième stockage conçu pour stocker des informations d'évacuation comprenant les unes d'informations de source d'évacuation indiquant le récipient d'apport côté avant et le récipient d'apport côté arrière et d'informations de route d'évacuation indiquant la route d'évacuation côté avant et la route d'évacuation côté arrière,

    un neuvième stockage conçu pour stocker un niveau de liquide du liquide dans chacun du récipient d'apport côté avant et du récipient d'apport côté arrière au démarrage de l'opération d'évacuation,

    un dixième stockage conçu pour stocker une durée d'opération d'évacuation à partir du démarrage de l'opération d'évacuation jusqu'à ce que le liquide diminue et atteigne un niveau d'évacuation prédéterminé pour chacun du récipient d'apport côté avant et du récipient d'apport côté arrière, et

    un onzième stockage ;

    après la fin de l'opération d'évacuation, le dispositif de commande est conçu pour

    déterminer la condition de l'appareil d'application de liquide sur la base de la durée d'opération d'évacuation stockée dans le dixième stockage comme l'une de la condition normale, de la condition anormale, et de la condition potentiellement anormale, et

    déterminer l'une de la route d'évacuation côté avant et de la route d'évacuation côté arrière en tant que point nécessitant une inspection lorsque l'appareil d'application de liquide est déterminé comme étant dans la condition potentiellement anormale ; et

    le onzième stockage étant conçu pour stocker celle de la route d'évacuation côté avant et de la route d'évacuation côté arrière déterminée par le dispositif de commande comme le point nécessitant une inspection.


     
    9. Appareil d'application de liquide selon la revendication 8, dans lequel le dispositif de commande est conçu pour
    déterminer que l'appareil d'application de liquide est dans la condition anormale lorsque la durée d'opération d'évacuation est supérieure ou égale à 1,5 fois une durée d'opération d'évacuation normale ; et
    déterminer que l'appareil d'application de liquide est dans la condition potentiellement anormale lorsque la durée d'opération d'évacuation est supérieure ou égale à 1,2 fois la durée d'opération d'évacuation normale et inférieure à 1,5 fois la durée d'opération d'évacuation normale.
     
    10. Appareil d'application de liquide selon la revendication 8 ou 9, dans lequel
    l'appareil d'application de liquide est conçu pour être régulièrement inspecté ;
    le dispositif de commande est conçu pour signaler une erreur de temporisation pour demander à une personne chargée d'entretien d'exécuter une inspection irrégulière lorsque l'appareil d'application de liquide est dans la condition anormale ; et
    lors d'une inspection en cours par la personne chargée d'entretien, le dispositif de commande est conçu pour signaler, à la personne chargée d'entretien, des informations stockées dans les stockages pour des opérations d'évacuation effectuées entre une inspection précédente et l'inspection en cours.
     
    11. Appareil d'application de liquide selon l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 5, comprenant en outre :

    un générateur d'écoulement conçu pour amener le liquide à s'écouler ; et

    une pluralité de dispositifs d'ouverture-fermeture conçus pour ouvrir et fermer la conduite de sortie, la conduite d'alimentation et la conduite de circulation.


     
    12. Procédé pour entretenir un appareil d'application de liquide, le procédé comprenant :

    l'exécution d'une opération d'alimentation pour alimenter en liquide à partir d'un premier récipient d'alimentation en liquide (3) et d'un deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide (4) un récipient d'apport (1, 2) d'une unité d'application de l'appareil d'application de liquide (10) pour appliquer le liquide sur un objet, l'opération d'alimentation étant exécutée pour remplir le récipient d'apport avec le liquide jusqu'à un niveau d'alimentation prédéterminé ;

    la commande d'un commutateur (39) pour commuter une source d'alimentation en liquide entre le premier récipient d'alimentation en liquide (3) et le deuxième récipient d'alimentation en liquide (4) ;

    le stockage, dans un premier stockage (501) de l'appareil d'application de liquide (10), d'un temps de démarrage auquel l'opération d'alimentation est démarrée ;

    le stockage, dans un deuxième stockage (502) de l'appareil d'application de liquide, d'informations d'alimentation comprenant les unes d'informations de source d'alimentation indiquant la source d'alimentation du liquide et d'informations de route d'alimentation indiquant une route d'alimentation par laquelle le liquide est fourni ;

    le stockage, dans un troisième stockage (503) de l'appareil d'application de liquide, d'un niveau de liquide du liquide dans le récipient d'apport à un démarrage de l'opération d'alimentation ;

    le stockage, dans un quatrième stockage (504) de l'appareil d'application de liquide, d'une durée d'opération d'alimentation depuis le début de l'opération d'alimentation jusqu'à ce que le liquide dans le récipient d'apport atteigne le niveau d'alimentation prédéterminé, caractérisé en ce que

    après la fin de l'opération d'alimentation, un dispositif de commande (50) détermine une condition de l'appareil d'application de liquide (10) sur la base de la durée d'opération d'alimentation stockée dans le quatrième stockage (504) comme l'une d'une condition normale, d'une condition anormale nécessitant une réparation, et d'une condition potentiellement anormale qui est différente à la fois de la condition normale et de la condition anormale ;

    lorsque l'appareil d'application de liquide est déterminé comme étant dans la condition potentiellement anormale, le dispositif de commande (50) détermine la source d'alimentation ou la route d'alimentation en tant que point nécessitant une inspection indiquant la route d'alimentation qui doit être inspectée sur la base des informations d'alimentation stockées dans le deuxième stockage (502) ; et

    le stockage, dans un cinquième stockage (505) de l'appareil d'application de liquide (10), du point nécessitant une inspection déterminé par le dispositif de commande (50).


     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description