(19)
(11)EP 3 134 268 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
27.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/22

(21)Application number: 14720554.6

(22)Date of filing:  23.04.2014
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B41J 11/66  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2014/058226
(87)International publication number:
WO 2015/161873 (29.10.2015 Gazette  2015/43)

(54)

PRINTER AND METHOD OF PRINTING

DRUCKER UND DRUCKVERFAHREN

IMPRIMANTE ET PROCÉDÉ D'IMPRESSION


(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

(43)Date of publication of application:
01.03.2017 Bulletin 2017/09

(73)Proprietor: Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.
Spring TX 77389 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • ANGULO, Emilio
    E-08174 Sant Cugat del Valles (ES)
  • LOPEZ, Diego
    E-08174 Sant Cugat del Valles (ES)
  • CULUBRET, Sergi
    E-08174 Sant Cugat del Valles (ES)

(74)Representative: Liesegang, Eva 
Boehmert & Boehmert Anwaltspartnerschaft mbB Pettenkoferstrasse 22
80336 München
80336 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A1- 2012 299 991
  
      
    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


    [0001] Sometimes, it is desirable to print on and cut the same medium, for example for producing stickers and labels of different designs and shape. More generally, printing and cutting can be part of processing any type of print medium, without being limited to a particular application or technology. To manage print and cut processes, it is possible to first print on the medium using a common printer and then use a cutting device that is separate from the printer. The cutting device also may be integrated with or attached to a printer already. These processes may be performed on web media or individual sheets of print media, for example, and further may use any type of printing technology, such as inkjet printing, laser printing, thermal-transfer printing, electro-photographic printing, etc. without being limited to any one technology.

    [0002] US 2012/0 299 991 A1 discloses an inkjet printer including a printhead and a cutter wherein the cutter moves in the transport direction and perpendicularly thereto and cuts a part of the medium positioned in a predetermined range, simultaneously with the printing operation.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS



    [0003] 
    FIG. 1
    shows a schematic diagram of an example of a printer;
    FIG. 2
    shows a plan view of the printer of FIG. 1, with the cover removed to expose a printing assembly and a cutting assembly;
    FIG. 3
    shows another example of a printing assembly and a cutting assembly in a printer;
    FIG. 3A
    shows a similar view as FIG 3, additionally indicating dynamics of the printer according to one example;
    FIGS. 4, 5, and 6
    show a sequence of steps of processing a print medium according to one example;
    FIG. 7
    schematically illustrates processing of image/contour data according to one example;
    FIG. 8
    shows a flow chart of an example of a method of printing;
    FIG. 9
    shows a schematic diagram of another example of a printer;
    FIG. 10
    shows a flow chart of another example of a method of printing.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0004] FIG. 1 shows one example of a large format printer 10 of the type which includes a transversely movable printhead carriage enclosed by a cover 12 which extends over a generally horizontally extending platen 14 over which printed media is discharged. At the left side of the platen is a cover 16 which covers four removable ink reservoirs 20, 22, 24, 26 which, through a flexible tube arrangement, supply ink to four inkjet printheads mounted on the moveable carriage. Instead of a printhead carriage carrying printheads, another printing mechanism, such as a page-wide array printhead, could be provided.

    [0005] In the plan view of FIG. 2 in which the cover 12 has been removed, it is seen that the printhead carriage 30 is mounted on a transversely extending slider rod or guide 32 which in turn is rigidly affixed to the frame of the printer. Further, a cutting tool carriage 28 is mounted on a transversely extending slider rod or guide 34 which in turn is rigidly affixed to the frame of the printer. Also rigidly affixed to the frame of the printer is a pair of tube guide support bridges 40, 42 from which a rear tube guide 46 is suspended. The printhead carriage 30 is part of a printing assembly and the cutting tool carriage 28 is part of a cutting assembly.

    [0006] In this example, a flexible ink delivery tube system conveys ink from the four separate ink reservoirs 20, 22, 24, 26 at the left side of the printer through four flexible ink tubes 50, 52, 54, 56 which extend from ink reservoirs through rear and front tube guides 44, 46 to the carriage 30 to convey ink to four printheads on the carriage 30.

    [0007] At the right side of the printer is a printhead service station 80 at which the printhead carriage 30 may be parked for servicing such as wiping, spitting or priming the printheads.

    [0008] In this example, a feed stock of standard print medium (not shown) can be housed below cover 12 and can be directed along a media pathway below the cutting tool carriage 28 and then below the printing carriage 30. The media advance direction is illustrated by arrow A. The resulting product of the printer is a printed output having varying printed images and cut contours (not shown in FIG. 1 and 2).

    [0009] The printer 10 shown in FIG. 1 is a large format desktop printer. This disclosure can be used in desktop printers as well as in large format printers. Moreover, printers of various sizes are contemplated. FIG. 1 illustrates an operation panel 48 behind which a printer controller is located. While the printer controller is not explicitly shown in FIG. 1 and 2, it is understood that the printer controller may be connected to a work station (not shown) or other control unit by a wireless or other interface.

    [0010] The print medium may take the form of a media roll or web stored in the printer or at the back of the printer and also may be separate media sheets. The media roll may be of any size. The roll size may depend on the printer used. The print medium is first fed to the cutting assembly, wherein it is fed below the cutting tool carriage 28 for cutting desired contours, and then to the printing assembly, past the printhead carriage 30 where a continuous stream of plots can be printed. First cutting and then printing avoids the risk that the cutting process might spoil the print out if it is not yet fully dry when the medium reaches a cut zone shortly after having received a print fluid.

    [0011] Media may also be discrete media sheets of any size, as dictated by the size of the printer. The sheets, similar to a media roll, may be fed directly to the cutting assembly. Alternatively, the sheets may be created using a pre-print cutter, which cuts a continuous media web into discrete sheets prior to the media web reaching the printing assembly. The cut media sheets are then fed into the printing assembly.

    [0012] Media may comprise any type of printing medium, including but not limited to paper, cardboard, foil, laminated sheets, multi-layer structures, such as vinyl media backed with an adhesive layer and a cover layer, etc.

    [0013] The printhead carriage 30 of this example can hold four printheads of the type typically found in inkjet printers. Other types of printing assemblies are contemplated, including, but not limited to, page-wide array printers, mechanisms for laser printers, electro-photographic printers, thermal-transfer printers, and liquid electro-photographic printers.

    [0014] As shown, the printing assembly includes a number of printheads mounted on the carriage 30 which travels on the carriage rod 32 across a print zone, the movement being transverse to the media pathway and media advance direction A. The cutting assembly comprises a cutting tool mounted on a cutting tool carriage 28 which travels on carriage rod 34. The cutting tool can be designed to move both in the direction of the media pathway and perpendicularly thereto by moving the carriage 28 along the carriage rod 34 and by moving the tool relative to the carriage 28.

    [0015] The printing system operates such that a user defines the size and quantity of images to be printed and contours to be cut. The contours to be cut may but do not have to correspond to the contours of the images to be printed. The printing system includes a processor (not shown), which coordinates the overall system and controls the print engine to produce the desired output. For example, after cutting part of a contour transport rollers are directed by the processor to advance the medium to the printing assembly. While the medium continues to be fed through the print media pathway, it reaches the printing zone and the printing assembly starts to print desired images, while the cutting assembly continues to cut further parts of the contour. The final printed and cut output is then gripped by output rollers and directed out of the printer. The processor controls the process by controlling drives associated with rollers.

    [0016] The cutting tool can comprise a blade cutter adapted to cut in any direction across the surface of the print medium. The cutting assembly is generally driven by an electric motor (not shown) and is typically compact and safe. Other types of cutting assemblies are contemplated, including but not limited to, laser cutters, and chemical fluid cutters which operate based on a chemical cartridge similar to an inkjet printhead.

    [0017] FIG. 3 shows an alternative example of printing and cutting assemblies of a printer. In this example, the printer may be an inkjet printer, processing a media roll or web (not shown). FIG. 3 shows a top view of the printing and cutting assemblies wherein a print medium advances below the cutting assembly and the printing assembly.

    [0018] In detail, FIG. 3 shows a printing assembly 12 including a carriage 50 travelling on a carriage rod 52 in a direction perpendicular to the direction of media advance. The carriage 50 is driven by an electric motor 54 which is controlled by a printer controller (not shown). The carriage 50 receives a number of print cartridges (not shown), e.g. inkjet cartridges or any other suitable printing device.

    [0019] The cutting assembly 14 comprises a cutting tool carriage 60 which travels along a carriage frame 62, the frame 62 including two parallel bars 62a, 62b. The carriage 60 comprises a tool sled 64 which travels along a tool sled rail 66. The movement of the cutting carriage 60 along the cutting frame 62, in a direction perpendicular to the media advance, is driven by an electric motor 68. The movement of the tool sled along the sled rail 66, in a direction parallel to media advance, is driven by an electric motor 70. The tool sled 64 hence can move both in a direction perpendicular to media advance and parallel thereto. The area spanned by the travelling tool sled 64 is designated as a cut zone 72. The tool sled 64 carries a cutting tool 74 for cutting or slicing a print medium which moves through the cut zone 72. The cutting tool can comprise a cutting blade, a laser device, a chemical cutting fluid cartridge or any other suitable cutting tool.

    [0020] The direction of media advance and the direction of movement of the printing carriage, the cutting carriage and the cutting sled are shown schematically in FIG. 3A.

    [0021] In the example of Figs. 3 and 3A, a print medium advances first through the cut zone 72 and then through a printing zone 76, beneath the cutting assembly 14 and the printing assembly 12. The print medium is supported by a printer platen (not shown) in the print zone 76 and by a cutting platen 78 in the cut zone 72.

    [0022] An example of the operation of the printing and cutting assemblies is now described with reference to FIGS. 4 to 6.

    [0023] The example described herein relates to printing and cutting of stickers or labels where the contour of an image to be printed and the contour to be cut are approximately the same and wherein the cutting assembly slices a top layer of a medium which is a multi-layer structure including a top layer of vinyl backed with adhesive. The process can be readily adapted to cutting or slicing any other type of media and further to cutting a contour which is different from the contour of the image to be printed.

    [0024] In general, the cutting process is happening at the same time as the image or images are being printed. Cutting and printing can proceed while the medium is always advancing in a forward direction, as usual in a printer. There are two different zones defined in this process, as shown in FIG. 4, one is the cut zone 80 and the other is the print zone 82. As shown in FIG. 4, both the cut zone 80 and the print zone 82 span the entire width of the print medium. The length of the print zone, in the direction of media advance, is determined by the width of the print head, more precisely the width of a swath that can be produced by the printhead, as usual in a printer. The length of the cut zone 80, designated as 21 in FIG. 4, is determined by the configuration of the cutting assembly or, more generally, by the area which the cutting tool is able to move across.

    [0025] As the media is advancing forward through the cut zone 80 and the print zone 82, in the example shown in FIG. 4, the maximum length l of a strip to be cut 84 is half of the length, 2l, of the cut zone 80 available, when using the cutting assembly of FIG. 3. This is so because, for cutting any given contour, the cutting tool of FIG. 3 is able to reach any point on the "strip to be cut" 84 only as long as this "strip to be cut" 84 fully overlaps with the cut zone 80 while it is travelling through said cut zone. Accordingly, in the example described, for printing and cutting a given image having a given contour, the contour is divided into "strips to be cut", each strip having a length of half of the length of the cut zone 80. This is described in more detail with respect to FIG. 5.

    [0026] FIG. 5 shows an example where an image to be printed and a contour to be cut correspond to the letter "A" 88. This image is divided into three strips 84a, 84b, 84c, each strip having a length l which is half of the length 2l of the cut zone 80. FIG. 5 shows how the first strip 84a is just entering the cut zone 80. Using the cutting tool of FIG. 3, the cutting tool can start to cut the first strip 84a once the strip to be cut has completely entered cut zone 80. This situation is shown in FIG. 6, on the left hand side. While the first strip 84a moves through the cut zone 80, the contour of the letter "A" within this first strip is being cut. Once the cutting tool has finished cutting the first strip, the second (next) strip 84b has just completely entered the cut zone 80 and the first strip 84a starts to leave the cut zone 80. This situation is shown in FIG. 6, on the right hand side. The cutting tool then starts to cut the next part of the contour within the second strip 84b.

    [0027] While the cutting tool continues to cut the contour within the second strip 84b, the third strip 84c and further strips (not shown), the print media continues to advance in the media advance direction (forward direction) and starts to enter the print zone 82. Once the print media enters the print zone 82, the print head starts printing the image in subsequent swathes. In this example, the media is stopped whilst the printhead prints a swath; and the cutting tool cuts the partial contour of a respective strip during those intervals where the media is stopped. Depending on the technology used for printing and cutting, the media may also move continuously during the printing and cutting operations, e.g. when a laser printer or page-wide array printer and a laser cutting tool are used

    [0028] The cutting and printing operation implies some processing of a print job received by a printer. Processing can be performed in a printer controller within the printer or in a work station before the print job is being sent to the printer. For adjusting the operation of the cutting assembly and the printing assembly, the following may be taken into account:
    The time which the cutting tool needs to complete cutting of an entire strip 84a, 84b, 84c, depending on the dynamics of the cutting movement, such as velocity and acceleration, and also how complex the contour to be cut is; and the desired printing throughput and/or the printing mode which determine a media advance profile in view of the printing operation. The media advance profile may include an average print media advance speed which is determined by the actual feed forward speed and, depending on the printing and cutting technologies used, any stopping intervals for e.g. printing a swath or cutting a fraction of the contour. In the following description, reference is made simply to the print media advance speed wherein, depending on the technology used, the print medium can be fed stepwise or continuously. The time between a strip having fully entered the cut zone and before starting to leave the cut zone, i.e. the time during which said strip is accessible to the cutting tool, is selected so that the cutting tool can complete cutting of the partial contour within said strip. This time period for cutting the contour within one strip should be equal or less than the time period for printing a partial image in subsequent swathes corresponding to a strip of the print medium. The media advance profile and the printing speed are adjusted accordingly.

    [0029] Whenever a print job is submitted to the printer, there will be a file or other data unit that contains the image data and the coordinates of the contour of the image to be cut. These data may be processed to generate the coordinates for each strip according to the cut zone available, as schematically shown in FIG. 7.

    [0030] According to the time calculated to cut each strip, a media advance speed can be calculated which also determines the maximum printing throughput, under consideration of the fastest printing mode allowed. If a selected printing mode allows a second media advance speed which is equal to or higher than a first media advance speed determined by the cutting operation, said first media advance speed will be selected. If a very high quality printing mode is selected, it might require a third slower media advance speed than the cutting operation, and the media advance speed shall be reduced accordingly. In many cases, the fastest print mode allowed to print an image and a media advance speed for cutting a corresponding contour in parallel result in the same or similar media advance speeds so that the printing throughput is not or little affected by the parallel cutting operation. Only if contours to be cut are very small and/or very complex, the media advance speed allowed for the cutting operation might be slower than the one that would be used if printing only. Even in this case, printing and cutting images and contours in parallel using the method described is faster than printing and cutting in sequence and also faster than printing and cutting by repeatedly moving the print medium forwards and backwards.

    [0031] FIG. 8 shows a flow diagram of an example of a method of printing. In a first step 90, the printer receives a print job which may be transmitted to a printer controller via a wireless interface or cable from a work station or from a remote device. The print job includes data defining an image to be printed and a contour to be cut wherein the contour may be the contour of the printed image but also can be a contour which is independent from the image. For example, the print job can define printing and cutting of labels or stickers.

    [0032] In step 92, the printer controller processes the data submitted with the print job by determining a cutting contour and, in step 94, divides the cutting contour into discrete strips which are adapted to the cut zone and the technology used for the cutting tool. When processing the cutting contour, in step 98, the printer controller also determines control signals for driving the cutting tool 96 and further determines a first (maximum) media advance speed at which the cutting tool is still able to cut the desired contour while the print media is fed in a print media advance (forward) direction.

    [0033] In step 100, the printer controller further processes the image data under consideration of a selected print mode to determine control signals (step 102) for the printing assembly and a second (maximum) print media advance speed (step 104) for printing the image at the selected print mode.

    [0034] As a result, in step 106, the print job is processed so that a print media advance speed for performing both cutting and printing operations is calculated and corresponding control signals for driving the printing assembly and the cutting assembly are obtained. Based on these control signals, drive rollers are driven and the print medium is fed through the printer so that it enters the cut zone and the print zone, as shown and explained with respect to FIG.s 2 to 6. As long as the print job has not yet been finished, the printing and cutting operations are carried out in parallel.

    [0035] For performing the cutting and printing operations, in step 108, the printer controller selects the coordinates of the strip to be cut within the cut zone at any given time, and determines the coordinates of the contour to be cut. In step 110, a cutting tool is driven to cut the contour within the respective strip while the print medium advances through the cut zone. At the same time, in step 112, the printer controller selects the swath to be printed on the part of the medium which is within the print zone and, in step 114, controls the print heads to print the respective swath. After printing each swath, in step 116, the print medium is advanced, depending on the print mode selected and the media advance speed determined. Printing and cutting hence proceeds simultaneously wherein the media advance speed is adapted so that the image can be printed in the selected print mode and the contour can be cut while the print medium advances through the cut zone. In the example described, either after cutting each strip or after printing each swath, the printer controller checks whether the printing and cutting processes are completed (step 118). If yes, the print medium is output from the printer (step 120); if no, the next section of the print medium is processed.

    [0036] The processing steps described with reference to FIG. 8 can be performed in different order from the one shown. They can be performed sequentially or, at least in part, simultaneously. Processing of the print job can be performed in a printer controller within the printer or by a data processing system external to the printer. The method of processing the print job can be implemented in software including machine readable instructions which can be stored on a non-transient storage medium internally or externally from the printer.

    [0037] The printer and printing method described offer a way to print and cut in parallel so as to optimize the total time to get a plot printed and cut. Because the print medium advances only in one direction, namely the print media advance forward direction, it is possible to implement an unlimited length of printing and cutting workflows and even perform printing and cutting unattended for an extended period of time. There is no limit on the length of print medium to be processed because there are no backward movements.

    [0038] Further, as the print medium is moving in only one direction, feeding of the print medium can be performed easily and in a straightforward manner by driving drive rollers in only one direction. It is not necessary to take any special precaution for holding and aligning the print medium. Holders for pressing the print medium to drive rollers will press the medium only once so that holder marks can be avoided. No realignment of the print medium is necessary and the position of alignment depends only on the mechanical system but not on other factors, such as media weight. Because a plot is printed and cut in the same machine, both operations being performed simultaneously, the overall time spent in obtaining the plot is very short and it usually is possible to keep common printing speeds, as determined by the printing mode, so that printing throughput is high.

    [0039] In one example, schematically shown in FIG. 9, a printer comprises a printhead assembly 902 for printing an image on a print media (M) in a print zone 904, and a cutting assembly 906 for cutting the print media along a contour in a cut zone 908. The print zone and the cut zone are distinct from one another, and the print zone is downstream of the cut zone in a print media advance direction. A control circuit 910 controls the printhead assembly and the cutting assembly to perform printing and cutting operations during a single print media feed (A).

    [0040] In one example of a method of printing, schematically shown in FIG. 10, the method comprises feeding a print media through a printer, the printer including a printhead assembly for printing on the print media in a print zone and a cutting assembly for cutting the print media in a cut zone. The print zone and the cut zone are distinct from one another, the print zone being downstream of the cut zone in a print media advance direction. Feeding the print media through the printer comprises feeding the print media through the cut zone and through the print zone, in this order. It further comprises simultaneously printing an image and cutting a contour while the print media is being fed through the cut zone and through the print zone.


    Claims

    1. A printer (10) comprising:

    a printing assembly (12) for printing an image on a print media in a print zone (76);

    a cutting assembly (14) for cutting the print media along a contour in a cut zone (72);

    wherein the print zone (76) and the cut zone (72) are distinct from one another;

    a control unit controlling the printhead assembly (12) and the cutting assembly (14) to perform printing and cutting operations while the print media is fed through the printer (10), characterised in that the print zone (76) is downstream of the cut zone (72) in a print media advance direction.


     
    2. The printer of claim 1, wherein the control unit controls the printing and cutting operations as a function of dynamics of at least one of the printing assembly and the cutting assembly and wherein the print zone and the cut zone are arranged in a print media pathway for simultaneously printing a given image and cutting a given contour.
     
    3. The printer of claim 1, wherein the control unit divides a contour to be cut into a number of sections, wherein each section has a length, in the direction of the print media advance, which is smaller than the length of the cut zone.
     
    4. The printer of claim 3, wherein the length of each section is about ½ of the length of the cut zone, and the width of the section corresponds to the width of the cut zone.
     
    5. The printer according to claim 1, wherein the printhead assembly and the cutting assembly are implemented in separate subsystems, each subsystem including a carriage.
     
    6. A printer according to claim 1, wherein the cutting assembly comprises a cutting tool selected from the group consisting of: a cartridge for dispensing a chemical fluid; a laser device; and a cutting blade unit.
     
    7. A method of printing, the method comprising
    feeding a print media through a printer (10), the printer (10) including a printing assembly (12) for printing on the print media in a print zone (76) and a cutting assembly (14) for cutting the print media in a cut zone (72), wherein the print zone (76) and the cut zone (72) are distinct from one another, the print zone (76) being downstream of the cutting zone (72) in a print media advance direction;
    wherein feeding the print media through the printer (10) comprises feeding the print media through the cut zone (72) and then through the print zone (76); and simultaneously printing an image and cutting a contour.
     
    8. The method of claim 7, further comprising determining a media advance profile as a function of the time necessary for printing at least part of the image and for cutting at least part of the contour in predetermined sections of the print media.
     
    9. The method of claim 8, wherein the print media advance profile comprises a feed forward speed and stopping intervals.
     
    10. The method of claim 9 further comprising: adjusting the media advance profile according to the slower one of the printing operation and the cutting operation.
     
    11. The method of claim 7, further comprising: receiving a print job, the print job including printing and cutting instructions, and processing the print job to determine a media advance profile.
     
    12. The method according to claim 11, wherein the media advance profile is determined based on a cutting time necessary for completing a cutting operation in a first section of the print media, wherein the media advance profile includes a feed forward speed and stopping intervals adjusted to provide for the necessary cutting time, and wherein the printing operation is adapted to the print media advance profile.
     
    13. The method according to claim 7, wherein the printer receives a print job, including an image to be printed and a contour to be cut on the same print media, wherein the contour to be cut is divided into a number of sections, each section having a length dimension which is smaller than the length of the cut zone in the media advance direction.
     
    14. The method according to claim 7, the method further comprising:

    receiving, in a printer, a print job, the print job defining the image to be printed and the contour to be cut on the same print media;

    dividing the contour to be cut into a number of sections, each section having a length dimension which is smaller than the length of the cut zone in the media advance direction;

    determining a media advance profile as a function of the time necessary for printing at least part of the image and for cutting at least part of the contour in predetermined sections of the print media;

    wherein feeding the print media comprises feeding the print media first through the cut zone and then through the print zone for simultaneously cutting the contour and printing the image while the print media is being fed through the cut zone and through the print zone.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Drucker (10), der Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Druckanordnung (12) zum Drucken eines Bildes auf ein Druckmedium in einer Druckzone (76);

    eine Schneidanordnung (14) zum Schneiden des Druckmediums entlang einer Kontur in einer Schnittzone (72);

    wobei die Druckzone (76) und die Schnittzone (72) sich voneinander unterscheiden;

    eine Steuereinheit, die die Druckkopfanordnung (12) und die Schneidanordnung (14) steuert, um Druck- und Schneidvorgänge durchzuführen, während das Druckmedium durch den Drucker (10) geführt wird, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Druckzone (76) in einer Druckmedienvorschubrichtung der Schnittzone (72) nachgeschaltet liegt.


     
    2. Drucker nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Steuereinheit die Druck- und Schneidvorgänge in Abhängigkeit von Dynamiken der Druckanordnung und/oder der Schneidanordnung steuert und wobei die Druckzone und die Schnittzone in einem Druckmedienpfad zum gleichzeitigen Drucken eines gegebenen Bildes und Schneidens einer gegebenen Kontur angeordnet sind.
     
    3. Drucker nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Steuereinheit eine zu schneidende Kontur in eine Anzahl von Bereichen teilt, wobei jeder Bereich eine Länge in der Richtung des Druckmedienvorschubs aufweist, die kleiner ist als die Länge der Schnittzone.
     
    4. Drucker nach Anspruch 3, wobei die Länge jedes Bereichs ungefähr die Hälfte der Länge der Schnittzone ist und die Breite des Bereichs der Breite der Schnittzone entspricht.
     
    5. Drucker nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Druckkopfanordnung und die Schneidanordnung in getrennten Teilsystemen implementiert sind, wobei jedes Teilsystem einen Schlitten einschließt.
     
    6. Drucker nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Schneidanordnung ein Schneidwerkzeug umfasst, das aus der Gruppe ausgewählt ist, die aus Folgendem besteht:

    einer Kartusche zum Abgeben eines chemischen Fluids;

    einer Laservorrichtung; und

    einer Schneidklingeneinheit.


     
    7. Verfahren zum Drucken, wobei das Verfahren das Führen eines Druckmediums durch einen Drucker (10) umfasst, wobei der Drucker (10) eine Druckanordnung (12) zum Drucken auf das Druckmedium in einer Druckzone (76) und eine Schneidanordnung (14) zum Schneiden des Druckmediums in einer Schnittzone (72) einschließt, wobei die Druckzone (76) und die Schnittzone (72) sich voneinander unterscheiden, wobei die Druckzone (76) in einer Druckmedienvorschubrichtung der Schnittzone (72) nachgeschaltet liegt;
    wobei das Führen des Druckmediums durch den Drucker (10) das Führen des Druckmediums durch die Schnittzone (72) und dann durch die Druckzone (76) umfasst; und
    gleichzeitiges Drucken eines Bildes und Schneiden einer Kontur.
     
    8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, das ferner das Bestimmen eines Medienvorschubprofils in Abhängigkeit von der Zeit umfasst, die zum Drucken wenigstens eines Teils des Bildes und zum Schneiden wenigstens eines Teils der Kontur in zuvor bestimmten Bereichen des Druckmediums nötig ist.
     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, wobei das Druckmedienvorschubprofil eine Vorwärtsführgeschwindigkeit und Stoppintervalle umfasst.
     
    10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, das ferner Folgendes umfasst:
    Einstellen des Medienvorschubprofils gemäß dem langsameren des Druckvorgangs und des Schneidvorgangs.
     
    11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, das ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    Empfangen eines Druckauftrags, wobei der Druckauftrag Druck- und

    Schneidanweisungen einschließt, und Verarbeiten des Druckauftrags, um ein Medienvorschubprofil zu bestimmen.


     
    12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, wobei das Medienvorschubprofil basierend auf einer Schneidzeit, die zum Abschließen eines Schneidvorgangs in einem ersten Bereich des Druckmediums nötig ist, bestimmt wird, wobei das Medienvorschubprofil eine Vorwärtsführgeschwindigkeit und Stoppintervalle einschließt, die eingestellt sind, um die nötige Schneidzeit bereitzustellen, und wobei der Druckvorgang an das Druckmedienvorschubprofil angepasst ist.
     
    13. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, wobei der Drucker einen Druckauftrag empfängt, der ein zu druckendes Bild und eine zu schneidende Kontur auf demselben Druckmedium einschließt, wobei die zu schneidende Kontur in eine Anzahl von Bereichen geteilt wird, wobei jeder Bereich eine Längenabmessung aufweist, die kleiner ist als die Länge der Schnittzone in der Medienvorschubrichtung.
     
    14. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, wobei das Verfahren ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    Empfangen eines Druckauftrags in einem Drucker, wobei der Druckauftrag das zu druckende Bild und die zu schneidende Kontur auf demselben Druckmedium definiert;

    Teilen der zu schneidenden Kontur in eine Anzahl von Bereichen, wobei jeder Bereich eine Längenabmessung aufweist, die kleiner ist als die Länge der Schnittzone in der Medienvorschubrichtung;

    Bestimmen eines Medienvorschubprofils in Abhängigkeit von der Zeit, die zum Drucken wenigstens eines Teils des Bildes und zum Schneiden wenigstens eines Teils der Kontur in zuvor bestimmten Bereichen des Druckmediums nötig ist;

    wobei das Zuführen des Druckmediums das Zuführen des Druckmediums zuerst durch die Schnittzone und dann durch die Druckzone zum gleichzeitigen Schneiden der Kontur und Drucken des Bildes umfasst, während das Druckmedium durch die Schnittzone und durch die Druckzone geführt wird.


     


    Revendications

    1. Imprimante (10) comprenant :

    un ensemble d'impression (12) pour imprimer une image sur un support d'impression dans une zone d'impression (76) ;

    un ensemble de découpe (14) pour découper le support d'impression le long d'un contour dans une zone de découpe (72) ;

    dans lequel la zone d'impression (76) et la zone de découpe (72) sont distinctes l'une de l'autre ;

    une unité de commande commandant l'ensemble de tête d'impression (12) et l'ensemble de découpe (14) pour effectuer des opérations d'impression et de découpe pendant que le support d'impression est alimenté à travers l'imprimante (10), caractérisé en ce que la zone d'impression (76) est en aval de la zone de découpe (72) dans une direction d'avance du support d'impression.


     
    2. Imprimante selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle l'unité de commande commande les opérations d'impression et de découpe en fonction de la dynamique de l'ensemble d'impression et/ou de l'ensemble de découpe et dans laquelle la zone d'impression et la zone de découpe sont disposées dans un trajet de support d'impression pour imprimer simultanément une image donnée et découper un contour donné.
     
    3. Imprimante selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle l'unité de commande divise un contour à découper en un certain nombre de sections, dans laquelle chaque section a une longueur, dans la direction de l'avance du support d'impression, qui est inférieure à la longueur de la zone de découpe.
     
    4. Imprimante selon la revendication 3, dans laquelle la longueur de chaque section est d'environ ½ de la longueur de la zone de découpe, et la largeur de la section correspond à la largeur de la zone de découpe.
     
    5. Imprimante selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle l'ensemble de tête d'impression et l'ensemble de découpe sont mis en Ĺ“uvre dans des sous-systèmes distincts, chaque sous-système comportant un chariot.
     
    6. Imprimante selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle l'ensemble de découpe comprend un outil de découpe choisi dans le groupe constitué par :

    une cartouche pour distribuer un fluide chimique ;

    un dispositif laser ; et

    une unité de lame de découpe.


     
    7. Procédé d'impression, le procédé comprenant l'alimentation d'un support d'impression à travers une imprimante (10), l'imprimante (10) comportant un ensemble d'impression (12) pour imprimer sur le support d'impression dans une zone d'impression (76) et un ensemble de découpe (14) pour découper le support d'impression dans une zone de découpe (72), dans lequel la zone d'impression (76) et la zone de découpe (72) sont distinctes l'une de l'autre, la zone d'impression (76) étant en aval de la zone de découpe (72) dans une direction d'avance du support d'impression ;
    dans lequel l'alimentation du support d'impression à travers l'imprimante (10) comprend l'alimentation du support d'impression à travers la zone de découpe (72) puis à travers la zone d'impression (76) ; et
    l'impression simultanée d'une image et d'une découpe d'un contour.
     
    8. Procédé selon la revendication 7, comprenant en outre la détermination d'un profil d'avance de support en fonction du temps nécessaire pour imprimer au moins une partie de l'image et pour découper au moins une partie du contour dans des sections prédéterminées du support d'impression.
     
    9. Procédé selon la revendication 8, dans lequel le profil d'avance du support d'impression comprend une vitesse d'avance d'alimentation et des intervalles d'arrêt.
     
    10. Procédé selon la revendication 9, comprenant en outre :
    le réglage du profil d'avance du support selon l'opération la plus lente parmi l'opération d'impression et l'opération de découpe.
     
    11. Procédé selon la revendication 7, comprenant en outre :
    la réception d'un travail d'impression, le travail d'impression comportant des instructions d'impression et de découpe, et le traitement du travail d'impression pour déterminer un profil d'avance du support.
     
    12. Procédé selon la revendication 11, dans lequel le profil d'avance du support est déterminé sur la base d'un temps de découpe nécessaire pour achever une opération de découpe dans une première section du support d'impression, dans lequel le profil d'avance du support comporte une vitesse d'avance d'alimentation et des intervalles d'arrêt ajustés pour fournir le temps de découpe nécessaire, et dans lequel l'opération d'impression est adaptée au profil d'avance du support d'impression.
     
    13. Procédé selon la revendication 7, dans lequel l'imprimante reçoit un travail d'impression, comportant une image à imprimer et un contour à découper sur le même support d'impression, dans lequel le contour à découper est divisé en un certain nombre de sections, chaque section ayant une dimension de longueur qui est inférieure à la longueur de la zone de découpe dans la direction d'avance du support.
     
    14. Procédé selon la revendication 7, comprenant en outre :

    la réception, dans une imprimante, d'un travail d'impression, le travail d'impression définissant l'image à imprimer et le contour à découper sur le même support d'impression ;

    la division du contour à découper en un certain nombre de sections, chaque section ayant une dimension de longueur qui est plus petite que la longueur de la zone de découpe dans la direction d'avance du support ;

    la détermination d'un profil d'avance de support en fonction du temps nécessaire pour imprimer au moins une partie de l'image et pour découper au moins une partie du contour dans des sections prédéterminées du support d'impression ;

    dans lequel l'alimentation du support d'impression comprend l'alimentation du support d'impression premièrement à travers la zone de découpe puis à travers la zone d'impression pour découper simultanément le contour et imprimer l'image pendant que le support d'impression est alimenté à travers la zone de découpe et à travers la zone d'impression.


     




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    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