(19)
(11)EP 3 196 026 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
04.11.2020 Bulletin 2020/45

(21)Application number: 15836976.9

(22)Date of filing:  26.08.2015
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B41J 2/165(2006.01)
B41J 2/14(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2015/074055
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/031871 (03.03.2016 Gazette  2016/09)

(54)

LIQUID DISCHARGE HEAD AND RECORDING DEVICE USING SAME

FLÜSSIGKEITSENTLADUNGSKOPF UND AUFZEICHNUNGSVORRICHTUNG MIT VERWENDUNG DAVON

TÊTE D'ENREGISTREMENT DE LIQUIDE ET DISPOSITIF D'ENREGISTREMENT ASSOCIÉ


(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: 29.08.2014 JP 2014175762

(43)Date of publication of application:
26.07.2017 Bulletin 2017/30

(73)Proprietor: Kyocera Corporation
Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 612-8501 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • HOZUMI, Daisuke
    Kyoto-shi Kyoto 612-8501 (JP)
  • KAWAMURA, Hiroyuki
    Kyoto-shi Kyoto 612-8501 (JP)
  • KOBAYASHI, Naoki
    Kyoto-shi Kyoto 612-8501 (JP)

(74)Representative: Viering, Jentschura & Partner mbB Patent- und Rechtsanwälte 
Am Brauhaus 8
01099 Dresden
01099 Dresden (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
JP-A- 2005 081 790
JP-A- 2011 079 169
JP-A- 2012 250 503
US-A1- 2013 082 117
JP-A- 2005 313 622
JP-A- 2011 079 251
JP-A- 2013 184 372
US-B2- 7 971 981
  
      
    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

    TECHNICAL FIELD



    [0001] The present invention relates to a liquid discharge head and a recording device using the same.

    BACKGROUND ART



    [0002] A conventionally known printing head is exemplified by a liquid discharge head configured to discharge liquid on a recording medium for various printing. There has been known a liquid discharge head including a discharge hole for discharge of liquid, a pressurization chamber allowing pressurization of liquid so as to be discharged from the discharge hole, a first common channel for supply of liquid to the pressurization chamber, and a second common channel for collection of liquid from the pressurization chamber. The liquid discharge head is known to cause liquid to flow from the first common channel to the second common channel through the pressurization chamber and circulate also outside even while not discharged, in order to prevent the channels to be clogged with retained liquid or the like. Such a liquid discharge head is also known to include a plurality of first common channels and a plurality of second common channels extending in a transverse direction of the liquid discharge head and disposed alternately in a longitudinal direction of the liquid discharge head (see Patent Document 1 or the like).

    [0003] A liquid droplet jetting apparatus according to US 2013/082117 A1 is provided with a channel unit including: a liquid supply port which is communicated with a liquid supply section and from which a liquid is supplied; a plurality of nozzle arrays from which liquid droplets of the liquid are jetted; and a plurality of common liquid chambers which are communicated with the liquid supply port and through which the liquid supplied to the liquid supply port is supplied to the plurality of nozzle arrays, and an actuator which applies a jetting energy to the liquid supplied to the plurality of nozzle arrays. The same number of nozzle arrays is communicated with each of the common liquid chambers, and each of the common liquid chambers is communicated with at least one of the plurality of the common liquid chambers at a portion different from a portion communicating with the liquid supply port.

    RELATED ART DOCUMENT


    PATENT DOCUMENT



    [0004] Patent Document 1: JP 2009-143168 A

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


    PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED BY THE INVENTION



    [0005] In the liquid discharge head described in Patent Document 1 or the like, the pressurization chamber connected with the first common channel or the second common channel positioned at an end in the longitudinal direction of the liquid discharge head is more likely to be influenced by outside temperature than the pressurization chamber positioned at the center or the like in the longitudinal direction of the liquid discharge head. Liquid properties (e.g. viscosity) basically include temperature. If the liquid is varied in temperature among the pressurization chambers, the liquid discharged from the pressurization chambers is varied in discharge property (a discharge amount or discharge speed) to deteriorate recording accuracy.

    [0006] Thus, an object of the present invention is to provide a liquid discharge head configured to achieve decrease in temperature difference in the liquid discharge head, and a recording device using the liquid discharge head.

    MEANS FOR SOLVING THE PROBLEM



    [0007] The invention provides a liquid discharge head according to claim 1 and a recording device according to claim 8. Further embodiments are described in the dependent claims.

    EFFECT OF THE INVENTION



    [0008] The liquid discharge head according to the present invention allows a large amount of liquid to flow to the first end channel and thus causes outside temperature variation to be unlikely to be conducted to the liquid in the pressurization chambers for higher recording accuracy.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0009] 

    Fig. 1(a) is a side view of a recording device including a liquid discharge head according to an embodiment of the present invention, and Fig. 1(b) is a plan view thereof.

    Fig. 2(a) is a plan view of a head body as a main part in the liquid discharge head depicted in Figs. 1(a) and 1(b), and Fig. 2(b) is a plan view in a state where a second channel member is removed in Fig. 2(a).

    Fig. 3 is an enlarged plan view of part of the depiction in Fig. 2(b).

    Fig. 4 is an enlarged plan view of part of the depiction in Fig. 2(b).

    Fig. 5(a) is a partial longitudinal sectional view taken along line V-V indicated in Fig. 4, and Fig. 5(b) is a partial longitudinal sectional view of Fig. 4 of a portion different from Fig. 5(a).

    Fig. 6 is a partial longitudinal sectional view of the head body depicted in Fig. 2(a).


    EMBODIMENT FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION



    [0010] Fig. 1(a) is a schematic side view of a color ink jet printer 1 (hereinafter, also simply called the printer) functioning as a recording device including a liquid discharge head 2 according to an embodiment of the present invention, and Fig. 1(b) is a schematic plan view thereof. The printer 1 conveys printing paper P serving as a recording medium from a guide roller 82A to a convey roller 82B to shift the printing paper P relatively to the liquid discharge head 2. A controller 88 controls the liquid discharge head 2 in accordance with image data or character data to cause the liquid discharge head 2 to discharge liquid to the recording medium P and allow liquid droplets to reach the printing paper P for recording by means of printing or the like on the printing paper P.

    [0011] The liquid discharge head 2 according to the present embodiment is fixed to the printer 1, which is configured as a so-called line printer. A recording device according to a different embodiment of the present invention is exemplified by a so-called serial printer configured to alternately perform shifting a liquid discharge head 2 reciprocally or the like in a direction crossing a direction of conveying a printing paper P, such as a direction substantially perpendicular thereto, and conveying the printing paper P.

    [0012] The printer 1 includes a flat head mount frame 70 (hereinafter, also simply called the frame) disposed substantially in parallel with the printing paper P and fixed to the printer 1. The frame 70 is provided with 20 holes (not depicted), and 20 liquid discharge heads 2 are mounted at the holes, respectively. The liquid discharge heads 2 each have a portion that is configured to discharge liquid and faces the printing paper P. The liquid discharge heads 2 are distant from the printing paper P by about 0.5 to 20 mm. Five liquid discharge heads 2 configure a single head group 72, and the printer 1 includes four head groups 72.

    [0013] The liquid discharge heads 2 each have an elongating shape extending from the front toward the back in Fig. 1(a), or in the vertical direction in Fig. 1(b). The extending direction will also be called a longitudinal direction. In each one of the head groups 72, three of the liquid discharge heads 2 are aligned in a direction crossing the direction of conveying the printing paper P, such as a substantially perpendicular direction, whereas the remaining two liquid discharge heads 2 are displaced in the conveying direction to be aligned at positions between adjacent ones of the three liquid discharge heads 2. The liquid discharge heads 2 have printable ranges disposed continuously or disposed to have ends overlapped with each other in the width direction of the printing paper P (in a direction crossing the direction of conveying the printing paper P) to enable gapless printing in the width direction of the printing paper P.

    [0014] The four head groups 72 are disposed in the direction of conveying the printing paper P. The liquid discharge heads 2 are each supplied with liquid such as ink from a liquid tank (not depicted) . The liquid discharge heads 2 belonging to each one of the head groups 72 are supplied with an ink in one color, and the four head groups 72 enable printing in four colors. The head groups 72 discharge inks in magenta (M), yellow (Y), cyan (C), and black (K), for example. The controller 88 controls printing with these inks to enable printing a color image.

    [0015] The printer 1 can be mounted with only one liquid discharge head 2 in order for printing in one color in a range printable with the single liquid discharge head 2. The number of liquid discharge heads 2 included in each of the head groups 72 and the number of head groups 72 are variable appropriately in accordance with a printing target or a printing condition. For example, the number of head groups 72 can be increased for printing in more colors. Disposing a plurality of head groups 72 for printing in an identical color and printing alternately in the conveying direction will achieve increase in conveying speed even with use of the liquid discharge heads 2 of the same performance. This increases a printing area per unit time. Disposing a plurality of head groups 72 for printing in an identical color to be displaced in a direction crossing the conveying direction will achieve higher resolution in the width direction of the printing paper P.

    [0016] Instead of colored ink, liquid such as a coating agent can be printed for surface treatment of the printing paper P.

    [0017] The printer 1 prints on the printing paper P serving as a recording medium. The printing paper P, which is wound around a paper feed roller 80A, passes between two guide rollers 82A, below the liquid discharge heads 2 mounted on the frame 70, and then between two convey rollers 82B, and is finally collected by a collect roller 80B. The convey rollers 82B are rotated to convey the printing paper P at constant speed and printing is performed with the liquid discharge heads 2. The collect roller 80B winds the printing paper P conveyed from the convey rollers 82B. The printing paper P is conveyed at a speed of 50 m/min or the like. The rollers can be controlled by the controller 88 or can be operated manually by a person.

    [0018] Examples of the recording medium include, in addition to the printing paper P, wound cloth. The printer 1 can be configured to, instead of directly conveying the printing paper P, directly convey a conveyor belt provided thereon with the recording medium. Examples of the recording medium in such a configuration include a sheet of paper, cut cloth, wood, and tile. The liquid discharge head 2 can alternatively be configured to discharge liquid containing conductive particles for printing a wiring pattern of an electronic device or the like. The liquid discharge head 2 can still alternatively be configured to discharge a predetermined amount of a liquid chemical agent or liquid containing a chemical agent to a reactor vessel or the like for reaction of producing a chemical product.

    [0019] The printer 1 is optionally provided with a position sensor, a speed sensor, a temperature sensor, or the like, and the controller 88 can control each unit of the printer 1 in accordance with a status of the unit of the printer 1 based on information from the sensor. In a case where temperature of the liquid discharge head 2 or liquid in the liquid tank, pressure applied from the liquid in the liquid tank to the liquid discharge head 2, or the like influences a discharge property (e.g. a discharge amount or discharge speed) of the discharged liquid, a different driving signal for discharge of the liquid can be transmitted in accordance with the information.

    [0020] Described next is the liquid discharge head 2 according to an embodiment of the present invention. Fig. 2 (a) is a plan view of a head body 2a as a main part in the liquid discharge head 2 depicted in Figs. 1(a) and 1(b). Fig. 2(b) is a plan view of the head body 2a in a state where a second channel member 6 is removed. Figs. 3 and 4 are enlarged plan views of the depiction in Fig. 2(b). Fig. 5(a) is a partial longitudinal sectional view taken along line V-V indicated in Fig. 4. Fig 5(b) is a partial longitudinal sectional view of a first end channel 30 and the vicinity thereof in the head body 2a. Fig. 5 (b) is a partial longitudinal sectional view taken along a bent line (not indicated) like line V-V. Fig. 6 is a partial longitudinal sectional view of a portion along a first common channel 20 in the vicinity of an opening 20a of the first common channel 20 in the head body 2a.

    [0021] These figures depict in the following manners for more comprehensive depiction. Figs. 2(a) to 4 depict channels and the like, which are disposed below other members and should be depicted with broken lines, with solid lines. Fig. 2(a) does not include channels in a first channel member 4, and includes a piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 by depicting only an outer shape and disposition of an individual electrode body 44a.

    [0022] The liquid discharge head 2 can include, in addition to the head body 2a, a metal case, a driver IC, a circuit board, and the like. The head body 2a includes the first channel member 4, a second channel member 6 configured to supply the first channel member 4 with liquid, and the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 mounted with a displacement element 50 functioning as a pressurizing part. The head body 2a has a tabular shape elongating in one direction, which will also be called the longitudinal direction. The second channel member 6 serves as a support member, and the head body 2a is fixed to the frame 70 at both ends in the longitudinal direction of the second channel member 6.

    [0023] The first channel member 4 configuring the head body 2a has a tabular shape and is about 0.5 to 2 mm thick. The first channel member 4 has a first main surface or a pressurization chamber surface 4-1, provided with a large number of planarly arrayed pressurization chambers 10. The first channel member 4 has a second main surface or a discharge hole surface 4-2 opposite to the pressurization chamber surface 4-1, provided with a large number of planarly arrayed liquid discharge holes 8. The discharge holes 8 are connected with the pressurization chambers 10, respectively. Hereinafter, assume that the pressurization chamber surface 4-1 is positioned above the discharge hole surface 4-2.

    [0024] The first channel member 4 is provided with a plurality of first common channels 20 and a plurality of second common channels 24 extending in a first direction. The first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24 are aligned alternately in a second direction crossing the first direction. The second direction is in parallel with the longitudinal direction of the head body 2a.

    [0025] The pressurization chambers 10 are arrayed along both sides of each of the first common channels 20 to configure a pressurization chamber row 11A on each of the sides, totally two pressurization chamber rows 11A. The first common channel 20 and the pressurization chamber 10 arrayed on each of the sides are connected via a first individual channel 12. Hereinafter, the first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24 may collectively be referred to as common channels. The plurality of common channels is aligned in the second direction to configure a common channel group.

    [0026] The pressurization chambers 10 are arrayed along both sides of each of the second common channels 24 to configure a pressurization chamber row 11A on each of the sides, totally two pressurization chamber rows 11A. The second common channel 24 and the pressurization chamber 10 arrayed on each of the sides are connected via a second individual channel 14 serving as an individual drain channel.

    [0027] In other words, the pressurization chambers 10 are arrayed on a virtual line, the first common channel 20 extends along a first side of the virtual line and the second common channel 24 extends along a second side of the virtual line. The virtual line provided with the pressurization chambers 10 extends linearly in the present embodiment, but can alternatively be curved or bent.

    [0028] In the first channel member 4 thus configured, liquid supplied to the second common channels 24 flows into the pressurization chambers 10 arrayed along the second common channels 24. Part of the liquid is discharged from the discharge holes 8 whereas another part of the liquid flows into the first common channels 20 positioned opposite to the second common channels 24 with respective to the pressurization chambers 10 and is drained out of the first channel member 4.

    [0029] The second common channels 24 are disposed on the both ends of each of the first common channels 20, and the first common channels 20 are disposed on the both sides of each of the second common channels 24. This configuration is preferred by substantially halving the numbers of the first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24, in comparison to a case where one first common channel 20 and one second common channel 24 are connected to one pressurization chamber row 11A and another first common channel 20 and another second common channel 24 are connected to another pressurization chamber row 11A. The first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24 reduced in the numbers thereof achieve higher resolution with a larger number of pressurization chambers 10, less difference in discharge property of the discharge holes 8 with thicker first common channels 20 and second common channels 24, and reduction in planar size of the head body 2a.

    [0030] Pressure applied to a portion close to the first common channel 20 of the first individual channel 12 connected with the first common channel 20 is varied due to a pressure loss, depending on the position of connection between the first common channel 20 and the first individual channel 12 (mainly the position in the first direction) . Pressure applied to a portion close to the second individual channel 14 connected to the second common channel 24 is varied due to a pressure loss, depending on the position of connection between the second common channel 24 and the second individual channel 14 (mainly the position in the first direction). When the external openings 20a of the first common channels 20 are disposed at a first end in the first direction and external openings 24a of the second common channels 24 are disposed at a second end in the first direction, pressure differences due to disposition of the first individual channels 12 and the second individual channels 14 are cancelled each other to reduce differences in pressure applied to the discharge holes 8. The openings 20a of the first common channels 20 as well as the openings 24a of the second common channels 24 are opened in the pressurization chamber surface 4-1.

    [0031] The discharge holes 8 not in a discharge state each hold a liquid meniscus . Liquid in the discharge holes 8 has negative pressure (in a state of being drawn into the first channel member 4), which is balanced with surface tension of the liquid to hold meniscuses. Liquid surface tension is likely to reduce a liquid surface area. A meniscus is held even with positive pressure if the pressure is low. Liquid overflows with high positive pressure and is drawn into the first channel member 4 with high negative pressure. The liquid is not kept in a dischargeable state in both cases. It is thus necessary to avoid excessively large differences, among the discharge holes 8, in liquid pressure in the discharge holes 8 when the liquid flows from the second common channels 24 to the first common channels 20.

    [0032]  The first common channels 20 each have a wall surface that is close to the discharge hole surface 4-2 and serves as a first damper 28A. The first damper 28A has a first surface facing the first common channel 20 and a second surface facing a damper chamber 29. Provision of the damper chamber 29 enables deformation of the first damper 28A, and the first damper 28A is deformed to vary the volume of the first common channel 20. When liquid in the pressurization chamber 10 is pressurized to be discharged, the pressure is partially transmitted to the first common channel 20 via the liquid. The liquid in the first common channel 20 may thus vibrate, and the vibration may be transmitted to the originated pressurization chamber 10 or a different pressurization chamber 10 to generate fluid crosstalk that causes variation in liquid discharge property. When the first damper 28A is provided, liquid vibration transmitted to the first common channel 20 vibrates the first damper 28A and is attenuated to be unlikely to keep liquid vibration in the first common channel 20 and thus reduce influence of the fluid crosstalk. The first damper 28A also has a function of stabilizing supply and drain of liquid.

    [0033] The second common channels 24 each have a wall surface that is close to the pressurization chamber surface 4-1 and serves as a second damper 28B. The second damper 28B has a first surface facing the second common channel 24 and a second surface facing a damper chamber 29. Similarly to the first damper 28A, the second damper 28B reduces influence of fluid crosstalk. The second damper 28B also has a function of stabilizing supply and drain of liquid.

    [0034] Each of the pressurization chambers 10 is disposed to face the pressurization chamber surface 4-1, and is a hollow region including a pressurization chamber body 10a to receive pressure from the displacement element 50, and a descender 10b as a partial channel connected from the bottom of the pressurization chamber body 10a to the discharge hole 8 opened in the discharge hole surface 4-2. The pressurization chamber body 10a has a right circular cylinder shape and a planarly circular shape. The planarly circular shape enables increase in displacement amount of the displacement element 50 deformed with equal force, and in volume variation of the pressurization chamber 10 caused by the displacement. The descender 10b has a right circular cylinder shape smaller in diameter than the pressurization chamber body 10a, and has a circular sectional shape. The descender 10b is positioned to be accommodated in the pressurization chamber body 10a when viewed from the pressurization chamber surface 4-1.

    [0035] The plurality of pressurization chambers 10 is disposed in a zigzag form on the pressurization chamber surface 4-1. The plurality of pressurization chambers 10 configures a plurality of pressurization chamber rows 11A extending in the first direction. The pressurization chambers 10 are aligned at substantially equal intervals in each of the pressurization chamber rows 11A. The pressurization chambers 10 belonging to the adjacent pressurization chamber rows 11A are displaced in the first direction by about a half of the interval. In other words, each of the pressurization chambers 10 belonging to one of the pressurization chamber rows 11A is positioned substantially at the center in the first direction of the two consecutive pressurization chambers 10 belonging to each of the adjacent pressurization chamber rows 11A.

    [0036] The pressurization chambers 10 belonging to every other pressurization chamber row 11A are thus arrayed in the second direction to configure pressurization chamber lines 11B.

    [0037] According to the present embodiment, there are 51 first common channels 20, 50 second common channels 24, and 100 pressurization chamber rows 11A. Note that these pressurization chamber rows 11A do not include a dummy pressurization chamber row 11D including only dummy pressurization chambers 10D to be described later. Furthermore, these second common channels 24 do not include the second common channel 24 directly connected with only the dummy pressurization chamber 10D. The pressurization chamber rows 11A each include 16 pressurization chambers 10. The pressurization chamber row 11A positioned at an end in the second direction includes eight pressurization chambers 10 and eight dummy pressurization chambers 10D. The pressurization chambers 10 are disposed in the zigzag form as described above, so that there are 32 pressurization chamber lines 11B.

    [0038] The plurality of pressurization chambers 10 is arrayed in a grid form in the first direction and the second direction on the discharge hole surface 4-2. The plurality of discharge holes 8 configures a plurality of discharge hole rows 9A extending in the first direction. The discharge hole rows 9A and the pressurization chamber rows 11A are disposed at substantially identical positions.

    [0039] The pressurization chambers 10 each have an area centroid displaced in the first direction from the discharge hole 8 connected with the pressurization chamber 10. One of the pressurization chamber rows 11A has an identical displacement direction whereas the pressurization chamber rows 11A adjacent thereto have a displacement direction opposite thereto. The discharge holes 8 connected with the pressurization chambers 10 belonging to two pressurization chamber lines 11B thus configure one discharge hole line 9B disposed in the second direction.

    [0040] According to the present invention, there are 100 discharge hole rows 9A and 16 discharge hole lines 9B.

    [0041] The pressurization chamber bodies 10a each have an area centroid displaced substantially in the first direction from the discharge hole 8 connected with the pressurization chamber body 10a. The descenders 10b are each displaced from the pressurization chamber body 10a toward the discharge hole 8. Each of the pressurization chamber bodies 10a has a side wall in contact with a side wall of the descender 10b, to be unlikely to cause liquid retention in the pressurization chamber body 10a.

    [0042] Each of the discharge holes 8 is disposed in a center portion of the descender 10b. The center portion corresponds to a region within a circle having the center disposed at the area centroid of the descender 10b and a diameter of a half of the diameter of the descender 10b.

    [0043] Each of the first individual channels 12 is connected with the pressurization chamber body 10a at a position opposite to the descender 10b with respect to the area centroid of the pressurization chamber body 10a. Liquid flowing from the descender 10b expands in the entire pressurization chamber body 10a and then flows toward the first individual channel 12, with less liquid retention in the pressurization chamber body 10a.

    [0044] Each of the second individual channels 14 is planarly extracted from a surface close to the discharge hole surface 4-2 of the descender 10b and is connected with the second common channel 24. The direction of extraction is identical with the displacement direction of the descender 10b with respect to the pressurization chamber body 10a.

    [0045] The first direction and the second direction form an angle slanted from a right angle. The discharge holes 8 belonging to the discharge hole row 9A disposed in the first direction are thus slanted in the second direction by the angle slanted from the right angle. The discharge hole rows 9A are aligned in the second direction, so that the discharge holes 8 belonging to different discharge hole rows 9A are slanted in the second direction by the slanted angle. The discharge holes 8 in the first channel member 4 are thus aligned at constant intervals in the second direction to enable printing filling a predetermined range with pixels formed by the discharged liquid.

    [0046] The discharge holes 8 belonging to one discharge hole row 9A and aligned completely linearly in the first direction enable printing filling the predetermined range as described above. By such disposition, printing accuracy is largely affected by the difference between a direction perpendicular to the second direction and the conveying direction, which is caused upon installing the liquid discharge head 2 in the printer 1. It is thus preferred to replace the discharge holes 8 between the adjacent discharge hole rows 9A from the above linearly aligned discharge holes 8.

    [0047] The discharge holes 8 according to the present embodiment are disposed in the following manner. In Fig. 3, when the discharge holes 8 are projected in a direction perpendicular to the second direction, the range of a virtual straight line R includes 32 discharge holes 8 arrayed at an interval of 360 dpi. This configuration achieves printing of the resolution of 360 dpi on the printing paper P conveyed in a direction perpendicular to the virtual straight line R. Projected in the range of the virtual straight line R are all of (16) the discharge holes 8 belonging to one discharge hole row 9A and a half of (8) discharge holes 8 belonging to each of the two discharge hole rows 9A adjacent to this discharge hole row 9A. The discharge holes 8 are aligned at an interval of 22.5 dpi in each of the discharge hole lines 9B to achieve such a configuration. It is because 360/16 = 22.5 is established.

    [0048] The first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24 extend linearly in a range where the discharge holes 8 are aligned linearly, and are displaced in parallel between the discharge holes 8 displaced from the linear arrangement. The first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24 have small displaced portions and thus have small channel resistance. Thus displaced portion is disposed at a position not overlapped with the pressurization chambers 10, to achieve small variation in discharge property among the pressurization chambers 10.

    [0049] One pressurization chamber row 11A at each end (i.e. totally two rows) in the second direction includes a normal pressurization chambers 10 and a first dummy pressurization chamber 10D1 (this pressurization chamber row 11A may thus called a dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1). The dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 is provided, outside thereof, with one second dummy pressurization chamber row 11D2 (i.e. totally two rows at the both ends) including aligned second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2. The channel at each end (i.e. totally two channels) in the second direction configures a dummy second common channel 24D that is shaped identically with the second common channel 24 and is connected only with the second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2 with no direct connection with the pressurization chambers 10. The dummy second common channel 24D will be referred to as a second end channel in the present embodiment. The first dummy pressurization chamber 10D1, the second dummy pressurization chamber 10D2, and the second end channel will be detailed later.

    [0050] The first channel member 4 has the first end channel 30 that is disposed outside, in the second direction, with respect to the common channel group including the first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24 and extends in the first direction. The first end channel 30 connects an opening 30c disposed outside the openings 20a of the first common channels 20 aligned on the pressurization chamber surface 4-1 and an opening 30d disposed outside the openings 24a of the second common channels 24 aligned on the pressurization chamber surface 4-1. The first end channel 30 is smaller in channel resistance than the first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24. The first end channel 30 will be detailed later.

    [0051] The second channel member 6 is joined to the pressurization chamber surface 4-1 of the first channel member 4. The second channel member 6 has a second integrated channel 26 for supply of liquid to the second common channels 24, and a first integrated channel 22 for collection of liquid from the first common channels 20. The second channel member 6 is thicker than the first channel member 4 and is 5 to 30 mm thick.

    [0052] The second channel member 6 is joined to a region not connected with the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 in the pressurization chamber surface 4-1 of the first channel member 4. More specifically, the second channel member 6 is joined to surround the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40. This configuration inhibits discharged liquid from partially adhering as mist to the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40. The first channel member 4 is fixed on the outer periphery thereof, and is thus prevented from vibrating along with the driven displacement element 50 and generating sympathetic vibration or the like.

    [0053] The second channel member 6 is provided, at the center, with a vertical through hole 6c. The through hole 6c allows a wiring member such as a flexible printed circuit (FPC) configured to transmit a driving signal for drive of the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40, to penetrate. The through hole 6c is provided, close to the first channel member 4, with a widened portion 6ca enlarged in width in the transverse direction. The wiring member extending to the both sides in the transverse direction from the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 is bent at the widened portion 6ca to be directed upward and penetrate the through hole 6c. The through hole has a projection to expand to the widened portion 6ca. The projection preferably has an R shape so as not to damage the wiring member.

    [0054] The first integrated channel 22 is disposed at the second channel member 6 that is provided separately from and is thicker than the first channel member 4. This configuration achieves increase in sectional area of the first integrated channel 22 and thus achieves decrease in pressure loss difference due to positional differences of connection between the first integrated channel 22 and the first common channels 20. The first integrated channel 22 has channel resistance (more precisely, channel resistance in the range of connection between the first integrated channel 22 and the first common channels 20) which is preferably not more than 1/100 of the channel resistance of the first common channels 20.

    [0055] The second integrated channel 26 is disposed at the second channel member 6 that is provided separately from and is thicker than the first channel member 4. This configuration achieves increase in sectional area of the second integrated channel 26 and thus achieves decrease in pressure loss difference due to positional differences of connection between the second integrated channel 26 and the second common channels 24. The second integrated channel 26 has channel resistance (more precisely, channel resistance in the range of connection between the second integrated channel 26 and the first integrated channel 22) which is preferably not more than 1/100 of the channel resistance of the second common channels 24.

    [0056] The first integrated channel 22 is disposed at a first end in the transverse direction of the second channel member 6, the second integrated channel 26 is disposed at a second end in the transverse direction of the second channel member 6, and these channels extend toward the first channel member 4 to be connected with the first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24. The first integrated channel 22 and the second integrated channel 26 are thus increased in sectional area (i.e. decreased in channel resistance), and the second channel member 6 can fix the outer periphery of the first channel member 4 for higher rigidity and also can have the through hole 6c allowing the wiring member to penetrate.

    [0057] The second channel member 6 is made of stacked plates 6a and 6b for a second channel member. The plate 6b is provided, on an upper surface, with a groove configuring a first integrated channel body 22a as a portion extending in the second direction and having low channel resistance in the first integrated channel 22, and a groove configuring a second integrated channel body 26a as a portion extending in the second direction and having low channel resistance in the second integrated channel 26.

    [0058] A plurality of first connection channels 22b extends downward (toward the first channel member 4) from the groove configuring the first integrated channel body 22a, and is connected with the openings 20a of the first common channels opened in the pressurization chamber surface 4-1. The first connection channels 22b adjacent to each other are provided therebetween with a partition 6ba (in other words, the first connection channels 22b are branched at portions close to the first common channels 20). This configuration increases connection rigidity between the second channel member 6 and the first channel member 4. The partitions 6ba are longer than the first connection channels 22b in the second direction, for higher connection rigidity between the second channel member 6 and the first channel member 4.

    [0059] A plurality of second connection channels 26b extends downward (toward the first channel member 4) from the groove configuring the second integrated channel body 26a, and is connected with the openings 24a of the second common channels opened in the pressurization chamber surface 4-1. The second connection channels 26b adjacent to each other are provided therebetween with a partition 6bb (in other words, the second connection channels 26b are branched at portions close to the second common channels 24). This configuration increases connection rigidity between the second channel member 6 and the first channel member 4. The partitions 6bb are longer than the second connection channels 26b in the second direction, for higher connection rigidity between the second channel member 6 and the first channel member 4.

    [0060] The plate 6a is provided, at the both ends in the second direction of the first integrated channel 22, with openings 22c and 22d. The plate 6a is provided, at the both ends in the second direction of the second integrated channel 26, with openings 26c and 26d. In order to supply liquid to the liquid discharge head 2 containing no liquid, the liquid is supplied from a first one of the openings (e.g. the opening 26c) to the first channel member 4 so that the liquid in the second integrated channel 26 is likely to be drained to outside, and air and overflowed liquid are drained from a second one of the openings (e.g. the opening 26d) so that gas is unlikely to enter the first channel member 4. The first integrated channel 22 can similarly be configured to allow liquid to be supplied from a first one of the openings (e.g. the opening 22c) and to be drained from a second one of the openings (e.g. the opening 22d).

    [0061]  There are several methods of supplying and collecting liquid for printing. According to one of the methods, entire liquid supplied to the second integrated channel 26 enters the first channel member 4 and then the first integrated channel 22 and is drained to outside. The first integrated channel 22 is not supplied with external liquid in this case. Applicable to this case are a method of supplying liquid from the two openings 26c and 26d and collecting liquid from the two openings 22c and 22d, and a method of supplying liquid from a first one of the openings 26c and 26d with a second one being kept closed and collecting liquid from a first one of the openings 22c and 22d with a second one being kept closed. There are four methods in total as the openings to be used are selectable in each of the cases . Supplying from two openings and collecting from two openings are preferred for reduction in pressure difference due to a pressure loss. This, however, complicates connection of tubes for supply and drain of liquid as well as pressure control. Supplying from one opening and collecting from one opening achieve simplified connection and facilitated pressure control. In this case, liquid is preferably supplied and collected with paired openings opposite in the second direction for cancellation of pressure loss influence. Specifically, liquid can be supplied from the opening 26c and be collected from the opening 22d, or can be supplied from the opening 26d and be collected from the opening 22c.

    [0062] According to another supplying and draining method, liquid is supplied from a first one of the openings (e.g. the opening 26c) of the second integrated channel 26 and is collected from a second one of the openings (e.g. the opening 26d), and liquid is supplied from a first one of the openings (e.g. the opening 22d) of the first integrated channel 22 and is collected from a second one of the openings (e.g. the opening 22c). When pressure of the second integrated channel 26 is made higher than pressure of the first integrated channel 22 by adjusting pressure of supply and pressure of drain, liquid flows to the first channel member 4. This method minimizes differences in pressure applied to the meniscuses of the discharge holes 8 among the methods described above.

    [0063] The above methods can be combined such that liquid is supplied to and drained from the second integrated channel 26 and is only collected from the first integrated channel 22. In contrast, liquid can be only supplied to the second integrated channel 26 and be supplied to and drained from the first integrated channel 22.

    [0064] Furthermore, the above relations between supply and collection can be inverted. For example, liquid can be supplied from the opening 22c of the first integrated channel 22 with the opening 22d being closed and be collected from the opening 26d of the second integrated channel 26 with the opening 26c being closed.

    [0065] The first integrated channel 22 and the second integrated channel 26 can each be provided with a damper for stable supply or drain of liquid regardless of variation in amount of discharged liquid. The first integrated channel 22 and the second integrated channel 26 can each be provided therein with a filter to allow less foreign matter or bubbles to enter the first channel member 4.

    [0066] The piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 including the displacement element 50 is joined to the pressurization chamber surface 4-1 or the upper surface of the first channel member 4, and the displacement element 50 is disposed on each of the pressurization chambers 10. The piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 occupies a region in a substantially same shape as that of a pressurization chamber group including the pressurization chambers 10. The pressurization chambers 10 each have an opening closed by the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 joined to the pressurization chamber surface 4-1 of the channel member 4. The piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 has a rectangular shape elongating in the direction identical to the head body 2a. The piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 is connected with a signal transmitter such as an FPC configured to supply each of the displacement elements 50 with a signal. The second channel member 6 is provided, at the center, with the vertical through hole 6c, and the signal transmitter is electrically connected with the controller 88 via the through hole 6c. The signal transmitter is preferred to have a shape extending in the transverse direction from a first long side end toward a second long side end of the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40, and be provided with wiring extending in the transverse direction to be aligned in the longitudinal direction, so as to enable the wiring to be distant from each other.

    [0067] The piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 is provided with individual electrodes 44, at positions facing the pressurization chambers 10 on the upper surface.

    [0068] The channel member 4 has a stacked structure including a plurality of stacked plates. The channel member 4 includes twelve plates 4a to 41 stacked in this order from the pressurization chamber surface 4-1. These plates are provided with a large number of holes and grooves. The holes and grooves can be formed by etching the respective plates made of a metal or the like. These plates are about 10 to 300 µm thick for high formation accuracy of the holes and grooves. The plates 4f to 4i have identical shapes, and can alternatively be configured as a single plate. There are provided the four plates for accurate formation of the holes. The plates are aligned and stacked to allow these holes to communicate with one another and configure channels such as the first common channels 20.

    [0069] The pressurization chamber surface 4-1 of the tabular channel member 4 is provided with the opened pressurization chamber bodies 10a and is joined to the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40. The pressurization chamber surface 4-1 is provided with the openings 24a for supply of liquid to the second common channels 24 and the openings 20a for collection of liquid from the first common channels 20. The discharge hole surface 4-2, opposite to the pressurization chamber surface 4-1, of the channel member 4 is provided with the discharge holes 8. Another plate can be stacked on the pressurization chamber surface 4-1 to close the openings of the pressurization chamber bodies 10a, and the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 can be provided thereon and joined. This configuration reduces possibility of contact of discharged liquid to the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 for higher reliability.

    [0070] The pressurization chambers 10 and the discharge holes 8 are provided as the structure for discharge of liquid. The pressurization chambers 10 each include the pressurization chamber body 10a facing the displacement element 50 and the descender 10b smaller in sectional area than the pressurization chamber body 10a. The pressurization chamber bodies 10a are provided at the plate 4a, and the descenders 10b are formed by overlapping holes provided in the plates 4b to 4k and closing (portions other than the discharge holes 8) with the nozzle plate 41.

    [0071] The pressurization chamber bodies 10a are each connected with the first individual channel 12 that is connected with the first common channel 20. The first individual channel 12 includes a circular hole penetrating the plate 4b, a through groove planarly extending in the plate 4c, and a circular hole penetrating the plate 4d. The first common channels 20 are formed by overlapping holes provided in the plates 4f to 4i and closing the upper end with the plate 4e and the lower end with the plate 4j.

    [0072] The descenders 10b are each connected with the second individual channel 14 that is connected with the second common channel 24. The second individual channel 14 is a through groove planarly extending in the plate 4j. The second common channels 24 are formed by overlapping holes provided in the plates 4f to 4i and closing the upper end with the plate 4e and the lower end with the plate 4j.

    [0073] In summary on the liquid flow, liquid supplied to the second integrated channel 26 enters each of the pressurization chambers 10 through the second common channel 24 and the second individual channel 14 in this order, and the liquid is partially discharged from the discharge hole 8. The liquid not discharged passes through the first individual channel 12, enters the first common channel 20, then enters the first integrated channel 22, and is drained out of the head body 2a.

    [0074] The piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 has a stacked structure including two piezoelectric ceramic layers 40a and 40b made of a piezoelectric material. These piezoelectric ceramic layers 40a and 40b are about 20 µm thick. The piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 is thus about 40 µm from the upper surface of the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a to the lower surface of the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40b. The piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a and the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40b have a thickness ratio ranging from 3 : 7 to 7 : 3, preferably ranging from 4 : 6 to 6 : 4. The both piezoelectric ceramic layers 40a and 40b extend to be provided over the plurality of pressurization chambers 10. These piezoelectric ceramic layers 40a and 40b are made of a ceramics material of a lead zirconate titanate (PZT) system, a NaNbO3 system, a BaTiO3 system, a (BiNa)NbO3 system, a BiNaNb5O15 system, or the like having ferroelectricity.

    [0075] The piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 has a common electrode 42 made of a metal material of an Ag-Pd system or the like, and the individual electrodes 44 made of a metal material of an Au system or the like. The common electrode 42 is about 2 µm thick whereas the individual electrodes 44 are about 1 µm thick.

    [0076] The individual electrodes 44 are disposed on the upper surface of the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 at the positions facing the pressurization chambers 10. Each of the individual electrodes 44 is slightly smaller in planar shape than the pressurization chamber body 10a, and includes the individual electrode body 44a shaped substantially similar to the pressurization chamber body 10a and an extraction electrode 44b extracted from the individual electrode body 44a. There is provided a connection electrode 46 at an end of the extraction electrode 44b in a portion extracted to outside the region facing the pressurization chamber 10. The connection electrode 46 is made of a conductive resin containing conductive particles such as silver particles, and is about 5 to 200 µm thick. The connection electrode 46 is electrically joined to an electrode provided at the signal transmitter.

    [0077]  The piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 is provided, on the upper surface, with a surface electrode for the common electrode (not depicted) . The surface electrode for the common electrode and the common electrode 42 are electrically connected with each other via a through conductor (not depicted) provided at the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a.

    [0078] The individual electrodes 44 are each supplied with a driving signal from the controller 88 via the signal transmitter, as to be detailed later. The driving signal is supplied at constant periods in synchronization with conveying speed of the printing medium P.

    [0079] The common electrode 42 is provided to extend planarly substantially entirely in a region between the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a and the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40b. In other words, the common electrode 42 extends to cover all the pressurization chambers 10 in the region facing the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40. The common electrode 42 is connected, through a via hole penetrating the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a, to the surface electrode for the common electrode provided on the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a at a position not provided with an electrode group of the individual electrodes 44, is grounded, and is kept at ground potential. The surface electrode for the common electrode is connected directly or indirectly with the controller 88, similarly to the plurality of individual electrodes 44.

    [0080] The individual electrodes 44 of the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a and the common electrode 42 interpose a portion that is polarized in the thickness direction and functions as the displacement elements 50 each having a unimorph structure and configured to be displaced when voltage is applied to the individual electrode 44. More specifically, when the individual electrodes 44 and the common electrode 42 are made different from each other in potential and the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a is provided with an electric field in the polarization direction, the portion receiving the electric field functions an active part to be warped due to a piezoelectric effect. When the controller 88 causes the individual electrodes 44 to have predetermined positive or negative potential relatively to the common electrode 42 so as to align the electric field and the polarization, the portion interposed between the electrodes of the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a (the active part) contracts planarly. Meanwhile, the non-active piezoelectric ceramic layer 40b is not influenced by the electric field and thus tends to restrain deformation of the active part without active contraction of the layer. There is then caused a difference in warp in the polarization direction between the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40a and the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40b, and the piezoelectric ceramic layer 40b is deformed to project toward the pressurization chambers 10 (unimorph deformation).

    [0081] Described next is liquid discharge behavior. Each of the displacement elements 50 is driven (displaced) in accordance with a driving signal supplied to the individual electrode 44 via the driver IC and the like by control of the controller 88. Liquid is discharged in accordance with various signals in the present embodiment. Described herein is a so-called pull driving method.

    [0082] Each of the individual electrodes 44 is preliminarily made to higher in potential than the common electrode 42 (hereinafter, referred to as high potential), is made once equal in potential to the common electrode 42 (hereinafter, referred to as low potential) upon each discharge request, and is then made to have high potential again at predetermined timing. At the timing when the individual electrode 44 is made to have low potential, the piezoelectric ceramic layers 40a and 40b (start to) return to original (flat) shapes and the pressurization chamber 10 is increased in volume from an initial state (where the electrodes are different in potential). Liquid in the pressurization chamber 10 thus receives negative pressure. The liquid in the pressurization chamber 10 then starts vibrating at natural oscillation periods. Specifically, the volume of the pressurization chamber 10 starts increasing whereas the negative pressure gradually reduces initially. The volume of the pressurization chamber 10 is then maximized whereas the pressure reaches substantially zero. The volume of the pressurization chamber 10 subsequently starts decreasing whereas the voltage gradually rises. The individual electrode 44 is then made to have high potential at the timing when the pressure is substantially maximized. Initially applied vibration and subsequently applied vibration are then overlapped with each other and liquid receives higher pressure. This pressure is transmitted in the descender to cause liquid to be discharged from the discharge hole 8.

    [0083] In other words, liquid droplets can be discharged by supplying the individual electrode 44 with a driving signal having a pulse with low potential for a certain period with reference to high potential. When this pulse has a width of an acoustic length (AL) as a half of the natural oscillation period of the liquid in the pressurization chamber 10, discharge speed and a discharge amount of liquid is maximized in principle. The natural oscillation period of the liquid in the pressurization chamber 10 is largely influenced by liquid physical properties and the shape of the pressurization chamber 10, and is influenced also by physical properties of the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 and properties of the channels connected with the pressurization chamber 10.

    [0084] The first common channels 20 and the second common channels 24 according to the present embodiment extend in the first direction substantially parallel to the transverse direction of the head body 2a, and are aligned in the second direction parallel to the longitudinal direction of the head body 2a. All the common channels configure a single common channel group. The head body 2a extends in the second direction to outside the common channel group, and is provided with the openings 22c, 22d, 26c, and 26d for supply and drain of liquid from and to outside. The head body 2a has the both ends in the second direction fixed to the printer 1.

    [0085] The head body 2a is controlled to have constant temperature for a stable liquid discharge property. Liquid of lower viscosity achieves stabler discharge and circulation, so that temperature is basically kept not less than normal temperature. Liquid is thus basically heated, but is occasionally cooled at high environmental temperature. Described below is a case where liquid is heated relatively to environmental temperature, and the same applies to the case where liquid is cooled.

    [0086]  The liquid discharge head 2 may be provided with a heater or temperature of supplied liquid is adjusted in order to keep temperature constant. If there is a difference between environmental temperature and target temperature in any of these cases, the head body 2a radiates more heat from an end in the longitudinal direction (the second direction), so that liquid in the common channel at an end in the second direction is likely to have lower temperature in the common channel group. The pressurization chamber 10 at an end in the second direction is thus different in discharge property from the other pressurization chambers 10, which may deteriorate printing accuracy.

    [0087] In the head body 2a according to the present embodiment, the first end channel 30 is provided outside the common channel group in the second direction, of the channel members (including the first channel member 4 and the second channel member 6 combined with each other) . The first end channel 30 is lower in channel resistance then the common channels. The first end channel 30 has low channel resistance, so that liquid flowing to the first end channel 30 is larger in flow rate per unit time than liquid flowing to the common channels. Even when the head body 2a radiates much heat from an end in the second direction, temperature is unlikely to be transmitted across the first end channel 30 to achieve decrease in temperature difference in the common channel group. The first end channel 30 preferably has channel resistance not less than twice, particularly not less than three times, of the channel resistance of the common channel.

    [0088] The first end channel 30 preferably has a depth not less than the depth of the common channels. This configuration is unlikely to allow transmission of heat to the common channels via above or below the first end channel 30. The first end channel 30 preferably has an upper end positioned not lower than the common channels, and a lower end not higher than the common channels. Furthermore, the first end channel 30 is preferably deeper than the common channels. Such disposition is more effective in a case where the first channel member 4 includes stacked plates and heat is likely to be planarly transmitted in the plates.

    [0089] The first end channel 30 preferably has a length in the first direction not less than the length in the first direction of the common channels . This configuration is unlikely to allow transmission of heat to the common channels via the both ends in the first direction of the first end channel 30.

    [0090] The channel resistance of the common channel corresponds to channel resistance from an opening 24b of one second common channel 24 to the opening 20a of one first common channel 20. According to the present embodiment, liquid supplied to one second common channel 24 flows into the pressurization chambers in two pressurization chamber rows 11A and further flows into two first common channels 20. In contrast, one first common channel 20 receives liquid from two second common channels 24. According to this relation, channel resistance of the common channel is equal to channel resistance of a case where liquid supplied to one second common channel 24 flows into the pressurization chambers in two pressurization chamber rows 11A and further to channel resistance twice the channel resistance of the first common channel 20. Assuming that the first common channel 20 has channel resistance RA, the second common channel 24 has channel resistance RB, and the individual channel has channel resistance RI, the channel resistance of the common channel is expressed as RB + (RI/16 + RA × 2) /2. This expression is calculated to obtain RA + RB + RI/32. Specifically, the channel resistance of the common channel is calculated as the sum of the channel resistance of the first common channel 20, the channel resistance of the second common channel 24, and the channel resistance of a case where the individual channels of two pressurization chamber rows 11A are provided in parallel with each other.

    [0091] The first end channel 30 according to the present embodiment is provided outside each end in the second direction of the common channel group. The first end channel 30 is preferably provided at each of the ends for temperature stability. The first end channel provided at only one of the ends still can stabilize temperature on the one end.

    [0092] In the case where the head body 2a and the printer 1 are fixed at the ends in the second direction of the head body 2a, more heat is conducted from the both ends of the head body 2a to the printer 1. Such a head body 2a is more needed to be provided with the first end channel 30.

    [0093] The first end channel 30 is provided with a wide portion 30a larger in channel width than the common channels. A wide channel has a large width along the plane of the first channel member 4 in a section perpendicular to the first direction. A wide channel also has a large width along the plane of the first channel member 4 in a section perpendicular to the liquid flow direction. That is, when the first channel member 4 is planarly viewed, the channel is wide in a direction perpendicular to the liquid flow direction. The wide portion 30a is provided, close to the pressurization chamber surface 4-1, with a third damper 28C. The third damper 28C has a first surface facing the wide portion 30a and a second surface facing a damper chamber 29 so as to be deformable. A damper has damping performance largely influenced by a portion having the narrowest width in a deformable region. Because increase in width of the common channels leads to increase in size of the headbody 2a, the common channels cannot have a very large width. The first dampers 28A and the second dampers 28B provided at the common channels may not exert a sufficient damping performance. The damping performance of the third damper 28C can be improved by increasing the width of the wide portion 30a. The width of the wide portion 30a is preferably not less than twice, particularly not less than three times, of the width of the common channel.

    [0094] The wide portion 30a is optionally provided, close to the discharge hole surface 4-2, with a damper for higher damping performance.

    [0095] As to the second integrated channel 26, the opening 30d connected with the first end channel 30 is disposed between the opening 26c of the second integrated channel 26 for receipt of liquid from outside, and the openings 24b connected with the second common channels 24. This positional relation indicates positions relative to the liquid flow in the second integrated channel 26.

    [0096] Due to the above positional relation, in a case where liquid supply from outside is varied, the variation is absorbed by the third damper 28C having high damping performance and connected to the opening 30d of the first end channel 30 positioned closer to an external liquid supply source than the openings 24a connected with the common channels, so that the common channels are less likely to have the influence. In another case where the discharge amount is changed suddenly, the variation is absorbed by the third damper 28C having high damping performance and connected to the opening 30d of the first end channel 30 positioned closer to the common channels than the external liquid supply source, to stabilize liquid supply.

    [0097] As to the first integrated channel 22, the opening 30c connected with the first end channel 30 is positioned between the opening 22c for drain of liquid to outside from the first integrated channel 22 and the openings 20b connected with the first common channels 20. This positional relation indicates positions relative to the liquid flow in the first integrated channel 22.

    [0098] Such a configuration stabilizes liquid drain on the drain side similarly to the supply side. The supply side and the drain side in the above states achieve higher supply and drain stability on both of the supply side and the drain side of one first end channel 30.

    [0099] The first end channel 30 is preferred to have low channel resistance for temperature stability. Extremely low channel resistance may, however, lead to an insufficient amount of liquid supplied to the common channels. The channel resistance of the first end channel 30 is preferably not less than 0.05 times, particularly 0.1 times of the channel resistance of the common channel. In order to increase channel resistance along with provision of the wide portion 30a, it is preferred to provide a narrowed portion 30b smaller in sectional area than the wide portion 30a. Provision of two wide portions 30a and the narrowed portion 30b disposed therebetween stabilizes by means of damping on the supply side and the drain side, and causes liquid vibration to be unlikely to be transmitted between the supply side and the drain side, so that vibration on the supply side is unlikely to influence the drain side whereas vibration on the drain side is unlikely to influence the supply side.

    [0100] The narrowed portion 30b is preferred to be reduced only in width with the channel depth equal to the channel depth of the wide portion 30a. When the narrowed portion has the unchanged channel width, liquid is unlikely to be retained, bubbles are unlikely to gather, and solid contents in the liquid are unlikely to be settled in the narrowed portion.

    [0101]  The first end channel 30 preferably has channel resistance allowing at least 80% of the amount of liquid flowing in the entire channels to flow into the common channels in consideration of the configuration of the entire common channels. Specifically, the following configuration is preferred, inclusive of the second end channel to be described later. Assume that n0 common channels having channel resistance R0, n1 first end channels 30 having channel resistance R1, and n2 second end channels having channel resistance R2 are connected in parallel to have entire channel resistance R. Furthermore, assume that liquid flowing in one common channel has a flow rate U0, liquid flowing in one first end channel 30 has a flow rate U1, and liquid flowing in one second end channel has a flow rate U2, to have a total flow rate U. The channel resistance of the first integrated channel 22 and the second integrated channel 26 is small and is thus disregarded. The above relations establish 1/R = n0/R0 + n1/R1 + n2/R2, U = n0 × U0 + n1 × U1 + n2 × U2, and U0 × R0 = U1 × R1 = U2 × R2. The fact that liquid of at least 80% of the flow rate of the entire channels flows in the common channels is expressed as n0 × U0 ≥ 0.8 × U. According to these expressions, it is preferred to establish (n0 × R1 × R2) / (n0 × R1 × R2 + n1 × R2 × R0 + n2 × R0 × R1) ≥ 0.8. In a case where there are a large number, such as ten or more, of common channels, the channel resistance of the first end channel 30 is preferably 0.5 to 0.9 times of the channel resistance of the common channel.

    [0102] The present embodiment provides a first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 including the first dummy pressurization chamber 10D1 and the pressurization chambers 10 aligned therein and a second dummy pressurization chamber row 11D2 including the second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2, which are provided outside, in the second direction, the pressurization chamber row 11A including the pressurization chamber 10 capable of discharging liquid. The pressurization chamber row 11A including only the pressurization chambers 10 is provided, outside in the second direction, with one first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1. The first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 is provided, outside in the second direction, with one second dummy pressurization chamber row 11D2.

    [0103] The first dummy pressurization chamber 10D1 is not connected with any discharge hole 8. The first dummy pressurization chamber 10D1 does not have any corresponding individual electrode 44. Other than the above features, the first dummy pressurization chamber 10D1 is configured substantially similarly to the pressurization chamber 10. The first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 includes eight first dummy pressurization chamber rows 10D1 aligned close to the opening 20a of the first common channel 20, and eight pressurization chambers 10 aligned close to the opening 24a of the second common channel 24.

    [0104] The second dummy pressurization chamber 10D2 does not have any corresponding discharge hole 8. The second dummy pressurization chamber 10D2 does not have any corresponding individual electrode 44. The second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2 each have a second dummy pressurization chamber body 10D2a disposed at the plate 4b positioned closer to the discharge hole surface 4-2 than the plate 4a provided with the pressurization chamber bodies 10a. In other words, the second dummy pressurization chamber bodies 10D2a are disposed closer to the discharge hole surface 4-2 by one plate than the pressurization chamber bodies 10a. The second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2 has upper ends closed by the plate 4a. Such a configuration allows the second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2 to be disposed outside the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40. Part of the second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2 are disposed outside the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 to achieve reduction in size of the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40. Other than the above features, the second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2 are configured substantially similarly to the pressurization chambers 10 in terms of the planar size and the like.

    [0105] A common channel according to the present embodiment is configured to directly supply and drain liquid to and from the pressurization chamber 10 capable of discharging liquid. According to the present embodiment, one dummy second common channel 24D is disposed each outside, in the second direction, the common channel group including the common channels. The dummy second common channel 24D will be called a second end channel. The first end channel 30 is disposed further outside the second end channel.

    [0106] The first common channel 20 positioned at a distal end in the second direction of the common channel group receives only liquid drained from one pressurization chamber row 11A (the first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1). The other first common channels 20 each receive liquid drained from two pressurization chamber rows 11A. The pressurization chambers 10, which receive liquid supplied from the first common channel 20 at the distal end, may have a liquid flow condition different from that of the other pressurization chambers 10 to have a different discharge property. The first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 includes eight pressurization chambers 10 configured to discharge liquid. This number is smaller than the number of the other pressurization chamber rows 11A. The first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 will have liquid supply and drain states largely different from the states of the other pressurization chamber rows 11A.

    [0107] In order to reduce the difference of the liquid supply and drain states, the first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 includes eight first dummy pressurization chambers 10D1. The total number of the first dummy pressurization chambers 10D1 and the pressurization chamber 10 included in the first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 is thus equal to the number of the pressurization chambers 10 in the other pressurization chamber rows 11A. The dummy second common channel 24D is disposed outside the first common channel 20 at each of the distal ends, and the second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2 are disposed therebetween. A dummy individual channel including the first dummy pressurization chamber 10D1 and a dummy individual channel including the second dummy pressurization chamber 10D2 are substantially equal in channel property to the individual channel. The first common channel 20 at the distal end receives liquid drained from one first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 and one second dummy pressurization chamber row 11D2, and thus allows the pressurization chambers 10 included in the first dummy pressurization chamber row 11D1 at the distal end to be equal in discharge property to the other pressurization chambers 10.

    [0108] The first end channel 30 is unlikely to allow transmission of temperature variation generated at the end in the second direction of the head body 2a to the common channels. In a case where liquid supplied to the head body 2a has temperature variation, the temperature variation is faster around the first end channel 30 than the other portions, and the pressurization chambers 10 at the end in the second direction are likely to be influenced by the temperature variation. When the dummy second common channel (the second end channel) 24D is provided outside, in the second direction, the first common channel 20, temperature variation of the first end channel 30 is unlikely to be transmitted to the common channels.

    [0109] The dummy second common channel (the second end channel) 24D is connected with the common channels via the second dummy pressurization chambers 10D2, and is thus preferred to be substantially equal in channel resistance to the second common channels 24 to keep the liquid flow rate balanced. Substantially equal channel resistance herein includes channel resistance within ±30%, further within ±20%, and particularly within ±10%.

    [0110] There can be provided a dummy pressurization chamber configured similarly to the first dummy pressurization chamber 10D1 at the position of the second dummy pressurization chamber 10D2, in which case the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 needs to be sized to cover also the second dummy pressurization chamber row 11D2. The channel resistance of the dummy individual channel including the second dummy pressurization chamber 10D2 is less necessary to be approximate to the channel resistance of an individual channel including the pressurization chamber 10 than the channel resistance of the dummy individual channel including the first dummy pressurization chamber 10D1. The second dummy pressurization chamber body 10D2a is disposed at the plate 4b immediate below the plate 4a and is closed not by the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40 but by the plate 4a. This configuration achieves reduction in size of the piezoelectric actuator substrate 40.

    [0111] The first common channels 20 are not directly connected with the second integrated channel 26 and the second common channels 24 are not directly connected with the first integrated channel 22 in the above embodiment. The present invention is not limited to such a mode. Specifically, the common channels can alternatively directly connect the first integrated channel 22 and the second integrated channel 26.

    DESCRIPTION OF THE REFERENCE NUMERALS



    [0112] 
    1:
    Color ink jet printer
    2:
    Liquid discharge head
    2a:
    Head body
    4:
    First channel member
    4a∼4l:
    Plate
    4-1:
    Pressurization chamber surface
    4-2:
    Discharge hole surface
    6:
    Second channel member
    6a, 6b:
    Plate (of second channel member)
    6ba, 6bb:
    Partition
    6c:
    Through hole (of second channel member)
    6ca:
    Widened portion of through hole
    8:
    Discharge hole
    9A:
    Discharge hole row
    9B:
    Discharge hole line
    10:
    Pressurization chamber
    10a:
    Pressurization chamber body
    10b:
    Partial channel (Descender)
    10D1:
    First dummy pressurization chamber
    10D2:
    Second dummy pressurization chamber
    10D2a:
    Second dummy pressurization chamber body
    10D2b:
    Second dummy partial channel (Dummy descender)
    11A:
    Pressurization chamber row
    11B:
    Pressurization chamber line
    12:
    First individual channel
    12D:
    Dummy first individual channel
    14:
    Second individual channel
    14D:
    Dummy second individual channel
    20:
    First common channel
    20a:
    Opening (of first common channel)
    22:
    First integrated channel
    22a:
    First integrated channel body
    22b:
    First connection channel
    22c, 22d:
    Opening (of first integrated channel)
    24:
    Second common channel
    24a:
    Opening (of second common channel)
    24D:
    Dummy second common channel (Second end channel)
    26:
    Second integrated channel
    26a:
    Second integrated channel body
    26b:
    Second connection channel
    26c, 26d:
    Opening (of second integrated channel)
    28A:
    First damper
    28B:
    Second damper
    28C:
    Third damper
    29:
    Damper chamber
    30:
    First end channel
    30a:
    Wide portion
    30b:
    Narrowed portion
    30c, 30d:
    Opening (of first end channel)
    40:
    Piezoelectric actuator substrate
    40a:
    Piezoelectric ceramic layer
    40b:
    Piezoelectric ceramic layer (Vibration plate)
    42:
    Common electrode
    44:
    Individual electrode
    44a:
    Individual electrode body
    44b:
    Extraction electrode
    46:
    Connection electrode
    50:
    Displacement element (Pressurizing part)
    60:
    Signal transmitter
    70:
    Head mount frame
    72:
    Head group
    80A:
    Paper feed roller
    80B:
    Collect roller
    82A:
    Guide roller
    82B:
    Convey roller
    88:
    Controller
    P:
    Printing paper



    Claims

    1. A liquid discharge head (2) comprising:

    a channel member (4) including a plurality of discharge holes (8), a plurality of pressurization chambers (10) connected with the plurality of discharge holes (8), respectively, and a plurality of common channels (20, 24); and

    a plurality of pressurizing parts (50) for pressurizing the plurality of pressurization chambers (10), respectively,

    wherein the plurality of common channels (20, 24) extends in a first direction and is arrayed in a second direction crossing the first direction to form a common channel group,

    wherein the common channels (20, 24) are connected with the plurality of pressurization chambers (10) disposed along the common channels (20, 24) among the plurality of pressurization chambers (10), and

    wherein the channel member (4) further includes a first end channel (30), that is disposed outside, in the second direction, with respect to the common channel group, extends in the first direction, and is lower in channel resistance than the common channels (20, 24),

    wherein in a section perpendicular to the first direction, the first end channel (30) has a wide portion (30a) larger in width than the common channels (20, 24), and characterized in that the first end channel is provided, at the wide portion (30a), with a damper (28C).


     
    2. The liquid discharge head (2) according to claim 1, wherein the channel member (4) extends in the first direction between the common channel group and the first end channel (30), and includes a second end channel (24D) substantially equal in channel resistance to the common channels (20, 24).
     
    3. The liquid discharge head (2) according to any one of claims 1 to 2, wherein the channel member (4) includes a first integrated channel (22) for supply of liquid to the plurality of common channels (20, 24) and the first end channel (30), and a second integrated channel (26) for collection of liquid from the plurality of common channels (20, 24) and the first end channel (30).
     
    4. The liquid discharge head according to claim 3, wherein the first end channel (30) has a narrowed portion (30b) smaller in sectional area than the wide portion (30a).
     
    5. The liquid discharge head (2) according to claim 4, wherein the first end channel (30) includes at least two wide portions (30a), one of the wide portions (30a) is disposed between the narrowed portion (30b) and the first integrated channel (22), and the other wide portion (30a) is disposed between the narrowed portion (30b) and the second integrated channel (26).
     
    6. The liquid discharge head (2) according to any one of claims 3 to 5, wherein with respect to the first integrated channel (22), a portion connected with the first end channel (30) is disposed between a portion wherein the first integrated channel (22) receives the supply of liquid from the outside and a portion connected with the plurality of common channels (20, 24) .
     
    7. The liquid discharge head (2) according to any one of claims 3 to 6, wherein with respect to the second integrated channel (26), a portion connected with the first end channel (30) is disposed between a portion wherein the liquid is discharged from the second integrated channel (26) to the outside and a portion connected with the plurality of common channels (20, 24).
     
    8. A recording device (1) comprising:

    the liquid discharge head (2) according to any one of claims 1 to 7;

    a conveyor for conveying a recording medium (P) relatively to the liquid discharge head (2); and

    a controller (88) for controlling the liquid discharge head (2).


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Flüssigkeitsauslasskopf (2), aufweisend:

    ein Kanalelement (4), aufweisend eine Mehrzahl von Auslasslöchern (8), eine Mehrzahl von Druckbeaufschlagungskammern (10), die mit der Mehrzahl von Auslasslöchern (8) verbunden sind, und eine Mehrzahl von gemeinsamen Kanälen (20, 24); und

    eine Mehrzahl von Druckbeaufschlagungsteilen (50) zur Druckbeaufschlagung der Mehrzahl von Druckbeaufschlagungskammern (10),

    wobei sich die Mehrzahl von gemeinsamen Kanälen (20, 24) in einer ersten Richtung erstreckt und in einer zweiten Richtung angeordnet ist, die die erste Richtung kreuzt, um eine gemeinsame Kanalgruppe zu bilden,

    wobei die gemeinsamen Kanäle (20, 24) mit der Mehrzahl von Druckbeaufschlagungskammern (10) verbunden sind, die unter der Mehrzahl von Druckbeaufschlagungskammern (10) entlang der gemeinsamen Kanäle (20, 24) angeordnet sind, und

    wobei das Kanalelement (4) ferner einen ersten Endkanal (30) aufweist, der in der zweiten Richtung bezüglich der gemeinsamen Kanalgruppe außen angeordnet ist, sich in der ersten Richtung erstreckt und einen geringeren Kanalwiderstand als die gemeinsamen Kanäle (20, 24) hat,

    wobei in einem Schnitt senkrecht zu der ersten Richtung der erste Endkanal (30) einen breiten Abschnitt (30a) hat, der in der Breite größer als die gemeinsamen Kanäle (20, 24) ist, und dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der erste Endkanal an dem breiten Abschnitt (30a) mit einem Dämpfer (28C) vorgesehen ist.


     
    2. Flüssigkeitsauslasskopf (2) gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei sich das Kanalelement (4) in der ersten Richtung zwischen der gemeinsamen Kanalgruppe und dem ersten Endkanal (30) erstreckt und einen zweiten Endkanal (24D) aufweist, dessen Kanalwiderstand im Wesentlichen gleich dem der gemeinsamen Kanäle (20, 24) ist.
     
    3. Flüssigkeitsauslasskopf (2) gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 1 bis 2, wobei das Kanalelement (4) einen ersten integrierten Kanal (22) zum Zuführen von Flüssigkeit zu der Mehrzahl von gemeinsamen Kanälen (20, 24) und dem ersten Endkanal (30) und einen zweiten integrierten Kanal (26) zum Sammeln von Flüssigkeit aus der Mehrzahl von gemeinsamen Kanälen (20, 24) und dem ersten Endkanal (30) aufweist.
     
    4. Flüssigkeitsauslasskopf gemäß Anspruch 3, wobei der erste Endkanal (30) einen verengten Abschnitt (30b) hat, der eine kleinere Querschnittsfläche als der breite Abschnitt (30a) hat.
     
    5. Flüssigkeitsauslasskopf (2) gemäß Anspruch 4, wobei der erste Endkanal (30) mindestens zwei breite Abschnitte (30a) aufweist, einer der breiten Abschnitte (30a) zwischen dem verengten Abschnitt (30b) und dem ersten integrierten Kanal (22) angeordnet ist und der andere breite Abschnitt (30a) zwischen dem verengten Abschnitt (30b) und dem zweiten integrierten Kanal (22) angeordnet ist.
     
    6. Flüssigkeitsauslasskopf (2) gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 3 bis 5, wobei bezüglich des ersten integrierten Kanals (22) ein mit dem ersten Endkanal (30) verbundener Abschnitt zwischen einem Abschnitt, in dem der erste integrierte Kanal (22) die Flüssigkeitszufuhr von außen erhält, und einem Abschnitt angeordnet ist, der mit der Mehrzahl von gemeinsamen Kanälen (20, 24) verbunden ist.
     
    7. Flüssigkeitsauslasskopf (2) gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 3 bis 6, wobei bezüglich des zweiten integrierten Kanals (26) ein mit dem ersten Endkanal (30) verbundener Abschnitt zwischen einem Abschnitt, in dem die Flüssigkeit aus dem zweiten integrierten Kanal (26) nach außen ausgelassen wird, und einem Abschnitt, der mit der Mehrzahl von gemeinsamen Kanälen (20, 24) verbunden ist, angeordnet ist.
     
    8. Aufzeichnungsvorrichtung (1), aufweisend:

    den Flüssigkeitsauslasskopf (2) gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7;

    eine Fördereinrichtung zum Befördern eines Aufzeichnungsmediums (P) relativ zum Flüssigkeitsauslasskopf (2) und

    eine Steuereinrichtung (88) zum Steuern des Flüssigkeitsauslasskopfes (2).


     


    Revendications

    1. Tête de décharge de liquide (2), comprenant :

    un élément de canal (4) comprenant une pluralité de trous de décharge (8), une pluralité de chambres de mise sous pression (10) reliées à la pluralité de trous de décharge (8), respectivement, et une pluralité de canaux communs (20, 24) ; et

    une pluralité de parties de mise sous pression (50) pour mettre sous pression la pluralité de chambres de mise sous pression (10), respectivement,

    dans laquelle la pluralité de canaux communs (20, 24) s'étend dans une première direction et est disposée dans une deuxième direction croisant la première direction pour former un groupe de canaux communs,

    dans laquelle les canaux communs (20, 24) sont reliés à la pluralité de chambres de mise sous pression (10) disposées le long des canaux communs (20, 24) parmi la pluralité de chambres de mise sous pression (10), et

    dans laquelle l'élément de canal (4) comprend en outre un premier canal d'extrémité (30), qui est disposé à l'extérieur, dans la deuxième direction, par rapport au groupe de canaux communs, s'étend dans la première direction et présente une résistance de canal inférieure à celle des canaux communs (20, 24),

    où, dans une section perpendiculaire à la première direction, le premier canal d'extrémité (30) a une partie large (30a) plus large en largeur que les canaux communs (20, 24), et

    caractérisée en ce que le premier canal d'extrémité est prévu, au niveau de la partie large (30a), avec un amortisseur (28C).


     
    2. Tête de décharge de liquide (2) selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle l'élément de canal (4) s'étend dans la première direction entre le groupe de canaux communs et le premier canal d'extrémité (30), et comprend un deuxième canal d'extrémité (24D) ayant une résistance de canal sensiblement égale à celle des canaux communs (20, 24).
     
    3. Tête de décharge de liquide (2) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 2, dans laquelle l'élément de canal (4) comprend un premier canal intégré (22) pour l'alimentation en liquide de la pluralité de canaux communs (20, 24) et du premier canal d'extrémité (30), et un deuxième canal intégré (26) pour collecter du liquide de la pluralité de canaux communs (20, 24) et du premier canal d'extrémité (30) .
     
    4. Tête de décharge de liquide selon la revendication 3, dans laquelle le premier canal d'extrémité (30) a une partie rétrécie (30b) plus petite en section que la partie large (30a) .
     
    5. Tête de décharge de liquide (2) selon la revendication 4, dans laquelle le premier canal d'extrémité (30) comprend au moins deux parties larges (30a), l'une des parties larges (30a) est disposée entre la partie rétrécie (30b) et le premier canal intégré (22), et l'autre partie large (30a) est disposée entre la partie rétrécie (30b) et le deuxième canal intégré (26).
     
    6. Tête de décharge de liquide (2) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 3 à 5, dans laquelle, en ce qui concerne le premier canal intégré (22), une partie reliée au premier canal d'extrémité (30) est disposée entre une partie dans laquelle le premier canal intégré (22) reçoit l'alimentation en liquide de l'extérieur et une partie reliée à la pluralité de canaux communs (20, 24).
     
    7. Tête de décharge de liquide (2) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 3 à 6, dans laquelle, en ce qui concerne le deuxième canal intégré (26), une partie reliée au premier canal d'extrémité (30) est disposée entre une partie dans laquelle le liquide est déchargé du deuxième canal intégré (26) vers l'extérieur et une partie reliée à la pluralité de canaux communs (20, 24).
     
    8. Dispositif d'enregistrement (1), comprenant :

    la tête de décharge de liquide (2) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7 ;

    un dispositif de transport pour transporter un support d'enregistrement (P) par rapport à la tête de décharge de liquide (2) ; et

    un dispositif de commande (88) pour commander la tête de décharge de liquide (2).


     




    Drawing























    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