(19)
(11)EP 3 271 184 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
01.05.2019 Bulletin 2019/18

(21)Application number: 15745418.2

(22)Date of filing:  17.07.2015
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B41J 11/00(2006.01)
B41J 11/02(2006.01)
B41J 15/04(2006.01)
B41J 11/06(2006.01)
B41J 13/22(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2015/066435
(87)International publication number:
WO 2017/012637 (26.01.2017 Gazette  2017/04)

(54)

SUCTION FORCE CALIBRATION

SAUGKRAFTKALIBRIERUNG

ÉTALONNAGE DE FORCE D'ASPIRATION


(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:
24.01.2018 Bulletin 2018/04

(73)Proprietor: Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.
Houston, Texas 77070 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • GRACIA VERDUGO, Antonio
    E-08174 Sant Cugat del Valles (ES)
  • FLOTATS VILLAGRASA, Carles
    E-08174 Sant Cugat del Valles (ES)
  • FORT FILGUEIRA, Aleix
    E-08174 Sant Cugat del Valles (ES)

(74)Representative: Bryers LLP 
7 Gay Street
Bath, Bath and North East Somerset BA1 2PH
Bath, Bath and North East Somerset BA1 2PH (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A1- 2012 242 736
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] In printing systems, a medium or substrate may be moved over a platen in a printing zone area in which printing on the medium takes place. Printing systems may use suction force, such as vacuum pressure, to control motion and flatness of the medium over the printing zone area. A source for providing the suction force may comprise fans working at a certain rotation speed (duty, rpm) in order to provide enough suction force to hold down the medium onto the platen in the printing zone area.

    [0002] The document US 2012/242736 A1 discloses an image-forming device including a suction part and a control part. The control part is configured to control a suction characteristic of the suction part according to a conveyance amount of the recording material on which an image is to be formed.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS



    [0003] Examples will now be described, by way of non-limiting examples, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

    Fig. 1 is a schematic block diagram of a printing system according to one example;

    Figs. 2 - 4 show flow charts of methods for suction force calibration according examples;

    Fig. 5 is a schematic block diagram of a printing system according to another example;

    Fig. 6 is a schematic view of a printing zone area according to one example;

    Fig. 7 is a diagram showing vacuum degradation over usage according to one example;

    Fig. 8 is a flow diagram outlining a method of operating a printing system according to one example;

    Fig. 9 is a flow diagram outlining another method of operating a printing system according to one example;

    Fig. 10 is a table showing outputs of a specific sensor according to one example; and

    Fig. 11 shows schematic views of pixels and associated values according to one example.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0004] Referring now to Fig. 1 there is shown a simplified illustration of a printing system according to one example.

    [0005] As shown in Fig. 1, the printing system comprises a printing zone in which a platen 10 is arranged. The platen may be a planar platen or may be a drum platen. Drive rollers 12 and pinch rollers 14 associated with the drive rollers 12 represent a drive for moving a medium 16 through the printing zone. The medium may be a print medium. The print medium may be of any material, such as paper, transparencies, heavy photo stock, etc. The print medium may be cut pages or may be an "endless" medium such as a medium fed from a media roll. Generally, the medium may be moved through the printing zone intermittently from one print swath to the next print swath. Intermittently means that after a first print swath is printed the medium is moved by a distance corresponding to the width of a print swath and then the next print swath is printed. Other printing systems, which the teaching herein can be applied to, include page wide array systems using printbars.

    [0006] The printing system comprises a suction force generator 18 for generating a suction force to hold down media 16 onto platen 10 while it is moved through the printing zone by drive rollers 12. Suction force generator 18 may comprise a suction force source 20, such as a fan, suction force openings 22 in a top plane of platen 10 and suction force channels 24 fluidically connecting suction force source 20 to suction force openings 22.

    [0007] The printing system comprises a sensor 26 to monitor movement of medium 16 through the printing zone in a media advance direction. Sensor 26 may comprise a camera to capture several pictures of medium 16 successively while medium 16 is moved through the printing zone by drive rollers 12. Camera 16 may be arranged to capture pictures of the underside of the medium. The camera may be stationary in that it is focused on a fixed region of the printing zone over which the medium is moved. For each of the pictures, an image correlation versus the previous one may be performed and the result may be output by the image sensor. Sensor 26 extracts features from the pictures and performs the correlation based on the extracted features. The features may be features of the medium itself, such as fibers thereof, or may be features provided on the medium, such as printed marks.

    [0008] For example, the sensor may be an optical media advance sensor, which is used to control movement of medium 16 through the printing zone area. An example of such an optical media advance sensor is known as optical media advance sensor ("OMAS") sensor from Hewlett-Packard Company, USA.

    [0009] Several pictures are taken during the media movement, wherein the term "media movement" may refer to a movement of the medium over a distance corresponding to the width of a print swath. The medium is advanced by a nominal distance from picture to picture. For each of the pictures an image correlation versus the previous one may be performed. By doing so, the actual distance of the medium moved from picture to picture can be determined. The actual distance may be compared to the nominal distance. If a value indicating a deviation of the actual distance from the nominal distance exceeds a threshold, this may be determined as representing a miscorrelation between pictures. For example, the threshold may be set to 10% of the nominal distance.

    [0010] The values obtained while the medium is moved over the nominal distance corresponding to a swath may be considered to determine whether a misnavigation takes place. For example, a misnavigation may be determined in case a specific percentage of the values, such as 25% of the values, indicate a miscorrelation. Thus, a misnavigation is considered if there is too poor or no correlation.

    [0011] The output of the sensor may be used to control movement of the medium. The medium is advanced by a nominal distance from picture to picture plus a delta value coming from the correlation between pictures. By adding together the total advance from the pictures taken (while the medium is moved a nominal distance corresponding to a swath), a total advance error may be computed and fed to the drive (which may include a media movement servo) to increase or decrease the movement length for the next movement. Once the media movement has ended, an additional picture may be taken to obtain a real stop position. This information may be used to calculate a media advance factor (OLF) for the next movement.

    [0012] Thus, in examples, the sensor is to determine a media advance factor based on the monitored movement, wherein the media advance factor indicates the distance by which the medium is moved between printing swaths on the medium.

    [0013] The printing system comprises a controller 28 in communication with sensor 26 and suction force source 20 as shown by broken lines in Fig. 1. Controller 28 may comprise a processor, such as a microprocessor, coupled to a memory through an appropriate communication bus. The memory may store machine readable instructions and the processor may execute the instructions to cause the controller to provide the functionality described herein and to operate a printing system as described herein.

    [0014] In an example, the printing system may be an inkjet printing system in which at least one inkjet printhead (not shown in Fig. 1) is provided to print on medium (substrate) 16 by applying ink of at least one color onto the medium. Other examples of printing systems include electro-photographic printing systems, such as liquid toner electro-photographic printing systems or dry toner printing systems. Generally, a printing system may comprise a printer as a stand-alone device or by a combination of a printing device and a computing device.

    [0015] Different media types and backing substrate layers may have different friction factors in the printing zone area and, thus, may have different associated suction force (vacuum) values. The suction force applied influences media hold down on the platen but also media advance traveling while printing. In some cases a suction force which is appropriate for media advance may not be enough for holding down the medium and vice versa. Thus, generally some type of calibration is done during the development phase in advance to preset suction force values associated with a specific printing system and specific types of media. A preset suction force value may be provided for each media type including media that share similar behavior for the specific printing system. Since in some instances the range where suction force values work well for most of the media may be narrow the suction force value preset or proposed for a particular media type may not be good enough for a specific substrate used at the consumer's end. Thus, using pre-loaded vacuum values depending on the media type or substrate family may result in poor performance.

    [0016] Typically, a suction force nominal for a specific medium type is applied upon loading a medium to be printed on into the printing system. During a media loading process, if the printer does not know in advance which media type is loaded, a nominal suction force (vacuum) is applied to perform the medium calibration movements using a carriage having optical sensors to check the width and the position of the medium. This may lead to crashes because, if the friction of the medium is too high, the medium gets stuck in the printing zone while advancing, forms a bulge and grows in height over the printing zone and may provoke a crash with the carriage.

    [0017] Examples described herein provide for an approach of calibrating the suction force appropriate for each medium or each medium type according to information provided by monitoring the movement of the medium through the printing zone in a medium advance direction by means of a media advance sensor. Calibration takes place before printing on the medium starts. In examples, suction force calibration takes place before any substrate calibration movements using a carriage having optical sensors, such as a carriage arranged above the printing zone and the medium, takes place. Thus, the number of crashes with such a carriage due to an inappropriate suction level applied may be reduced.

    [0018] Examples provide for a printing system comprising a printing zone comprising a platen, a drive to move a medium through the printing zone, a suction force generator to generate suction force to hold down the medium onto the platen while the drive moves the medium through the printing zone, a media advance sensor to monitor movement of the medium through the printing zone in a medium advance direction, and a controller to perform suction force calibration prior to printing. As shown in Fig. 2, the suction force calibration may comprise controlling the drive to move S20 the medium from an initial position at least partly through the printing zone while the suction force generator is controlled to generate at least one suction force level, determining S22 a suction force level to be used during printing on the medium based on the output of the sensor during the movement, and moving S24 the medium back to the initial position.

    [0019] In examples, the media type of a medium loaded into the printing system is not known in advance. In examples, a default initial suction force level, such as a minimum suction force level, may be used as an initial suction force level for the calibration. In examples, the suction force calibration is performed upon a media sensor detecting a new medium loaded. In examples, the media sensor may detect the type of the new medium loaded and an initial suction force level used in the calibration may be selected based on the detected media type. In examples, a user interface may be provided giving a user the possibility to input a media type and the initial suction force level may be selected based on the input media type. Different initial suction force levels may be stored associated with different media types.

    [0020] In examples, the media sensor may be to detect a new medium loaded into a media tray of the printing system. In examples, the media sensor may be to detect a new medium loaded from a media tray of the printer to a print starting position. Thus, the initial position may be a position of the medium within the media tray or may be the print starting position of the medium.

    [0021] In examples, suction force calibration may take place during the operation of the printing system in addition to any calibration conducted during development of the printing system. Nominal values determined for different media types during the development of the printing system may be used as initial suction force levels in the suction force calibration described herein. Upon determining a suction force level to be used during printing on the medium this suction force level may be used for a single piece of medium loaded into the printing system or for a number of pieces of medium, such as a charge of media loaded into a media tray or such as for all pieces of medium until a new media type is detected by the media sensor. Determined suction force levels may be stored associated with the medium type in a storage of the printing system and may be accessed by the controller when printing on a corresponding medium type. In examples, the controller is to print on the medium using the determined suction force level. In examples, the controller is to print on the medium and other media of the same medium type using the determined suction force level.

    [0022] In examples, suction force calibration is based on monitoring the movement of the medium through the printing zone. It has been recognized that situations of inappropriate suction force can be identified by monitoring the movement of the medium through the printing zone. Controller 28 may receive an output of sensor 26 and may determine that the suction force generated by the suction force generator is inappropriate to hold down the medium properly on the platen based on an output of sensor 26. For example, controller 28 may determine that the suction force generated by the suction force generator is inappropriate if the output of sensor 26 indicates a misnavigation.

    [0023] In examples, the medium is moved back and forth through the printing zone several times during the suction force calibration. Movement in both directions or in one direction (generally the forward direction) may be monitored by the media advance sensor. The suction force may be changed between different passes through the printing zone or may be changed within one pass.

    [0024] During printing, particles, such as aerosol particles coming from the ink firing process or fibers coming from medium like cloths or woven materials, may deposit in areas different from the medium and may in the end be aspired by the suction force openings 22 in the upper face of platen 10. These particles may deposit at suction force openings 22 and/or within suction force channels 24. With time these particles tend to reduce the suction force and capacity of the suction force generator. Thus, a nominal suction force generated by the suction force generator for a specific media type may not be enough to hold down properly the medium onto platen 10. Holding down the medium properly means that the medium rests on the platen while the drive moves the medium through the printing zone. Not holding down the medium properly may result in crashes and ink smears since the printhead may touch the medium. In examples, suction force calibration may reduce or avoid such situations since it is performed while the printing system is in the condition of reduced suction force explained above. Since the extent of particle deposition may depend on the amount of ink or toner consumed by the printing system and an amount of media printed upon by the printing system (for example since a last maintenance of the printing system), an initial value used in the calibration may be selected or set based on at least one of an amount of ink or toner consumed by the printing system and an amount of media printed upon by the printing system. Thus, the time the calibration takes may be reduced.

    [0025] In examples, in determining a suction force level to be used during printing on the medium, the controller is to determine whether the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly. The controller may be to determine that the medium is not moved properly if the output of the sensor indicates at least one of specific conditions. A specific condition may be that a distance by which the medium is moved is not determined or deviates from a nominal distance by more than a distance deviation threshold. Another condition may be that the sensor does not determine the media advance factor. Another condition may be that a change of the media advance factor exceeds a media advance factor change threshold. Another condition may be that a rate of change of the media advance factor exceeds a media advance factor change threshold. Another condition may be that a difference of the media advance factor from a nominal media advance factor exceeds a media advance factor difference threshold. Another condition may be that pictures captured by the camera are out of focus.

    [0026] Thus, in examples, the controller determines that the medium is not moved properly if the media advance factor is not obtained or changes too much too frequently or if the pictures taken are too much out of focus compared to a reference. In examples, determination that the medium is not moved properly is determined or estimated if the sensor cannot navigate properly. Navigating by the sensor means that the sensor provides control signal for the drive in order to compensate for deviations of the actual movement from the nominal movement.

    [0027] In examples, the output of the media advance sensor may indicate the speed of the medium and the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly if the speed is not within specific speed thresholds, i.e. deviates from a target speed by more than a specific amount. In examples, the media advance sensor may be to generate an output including control values for the drive based on the monitored movement and the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly if the control values are not within specific control value thresholds, i.e., deviate from a target control value by more than a specific amount.

    [0028] In examples, the media advance sensor may be an optical media advance sensor (OMAS) which is a sensor that basically takes photos to detect the back of the medium as it moves across the platen. The sensor may be able to evaluate the exact movement of the medium and to communicate any small adjustments to be done by the system to move the substrate smoothly in an intended manner. In other words, the sensor may be able to detect the media advance factor and to provide feedback to the system, such as controller 28 or a drive servo, that permits controlling the drive to move the medium through the printing zone in an intended manner. Several pictures are taken during media movement and for each of them, an image correlation versus the previous one is performed and the output is reported. The presence of problems with such kind of sensor is usually reported when the correlation between images has failed, i.e., if there is a poor or no coincidence between images. Thresholds are programmed for the sensor to make self compensation values on cases of a small number of pictures for which the correlation failed, and can be deactivated if further errors above a certain threshold are achieved. While this information may not be used for the medium (substrate) advance itself, it may be analyzed to be used in determining that the medium is not moved properly and/or in determining reduction of suction force power.

    [0029] Generally, the sensor may be located at the back of the medium, such as under the printing zone. Window optics may be provided to detect the back of the medium and to periodically take photos that are compared one to each other (autocorrelation of images) to determine how the substrate advance may be modified to have a smoother advance. When the image comparison becomes difficult because the optics of the sensor gets out of focus because the substrate is not properly hold down because of an inappropriate suction force (such as a vacuum loss) then a proper advance factor cannot be calculated.

    [0030] In examples, specific tailored methods or processes may be used to analyze and decide an operating range for any medium loaded in the printing system, i.e., to determine a suction force level to be used when printing on the medium.

    [0031] An example of a calibration method is shown in Fig. 3. At S30 an initial suction force level is generated. The initial suction force level may be generated upon selecting an initial suction force level as described above. At S32 it is determined whether the output of the medium advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly. If the output indicates that the medium is moved properly, the printing suction force level, i.e., the suction force level to be used during printing on the medium is set to the initial suction force level, S34. If the output indicates that the medium is not moved properly, the suction force level generated is changed (increased or decreased) from the initial suction force level until the output of the medium advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly, S36. The printing suction force level is then set to this changed suction force level, S38. S36 may include a number of iterations until the output of the medium advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly.

    [0032] The initial suction force level may be the minimum suction force level the suction force generator is able to generate and S36 may include increasing the generated suction force level. The initial suction force level may be the maximum suction force level the suction force generator is able to generate and S36 may include decreasing the generated suction force level. The initial suction force level may be an intermediate suction force level, such as 50% of the suction force generator's maximum suction level, and S36 may include increasing the suction force and, if this does not result in an indication that the medium is moved properly, afterwards decreasing the suction force level when compared to the initial suction force level. The order of increasing and decreasing the suction force level may be different.

    [0033] In case S36 does not result in an indication that the medium is moved properly, the controller may be to inform a user that calibration of the suction force is not possible, such as via a user interface.

    [0034] Another example of a calibration method is shown in Fig. 4. At S40, multiple suction force levels are generated while the medium is moved through the printing zone. For example, the multiple suction force levels may include suction force levels in specific intervals from a predetermined minimum suction force level to a predetermined maximum suction force level. While the different suction force levels are generated and the medium is moved through the printing zone, the output of the media advance sensor is monitored. At least one of a lower suction force level threshold below which the output of the medium advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly and an upper suction force threshold above which the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly is determined, S42. If the lower suction force level threshold is determined, the printing suction force level for the medium is then set to be above the lower suction force level threshold, S44. If the upper suction force level threshold is determined, the printing suction force level is then set to be below the upper suction force level threshold, S44. A security margin may be provided between the respective threshold and the printing suction force level. In case both thresholds are determined, the printing suction force level is set to be above the lower suction force level and below the upper suction force level. The printing suction force level may be set to a level centered between the lower suction force level threshold and the upper suction force level threshold.

    [0035] According to examples, a suction force (vacuum) interval appropriate for the medium loaded is determined or estimated. The determination may include additional parameters of the printer (printing system), such as usage, last status or media loaded, media rewinder parameters, and a number of media advance sensor navigations missed. For example, the initial suction force level used in the calibration may be set based on at least one of these parameters. For example, the initial suction force level used in the calibration may be increased if the printing system has consumed more than a specific amount of ink or toner, such as more than 20l, 501 or 1001 of ink. With the known information, the suction force to apply for the medium may be determined between maximum and minimum for each medium and condition.

    [0036] According to an example, a media sensor may detect a new medium, such as a new paper, loaded. A suction force calibration process may be started using the OMAS by means of making a few advances and retraces of the medium while taking measurements. Methods (which may be performed by the processor of the printing system) may determine the printer behavior according to the OMAS response to determine suction force values lying within an acceptable operational range. The process may start at predetermined highest and lowest levels and may include a few iterations to determine a final range of suction force levels. A suction force level within the final range may then be selected for the medium.

    [0037] After the suction force calibration, further medium monitoring may be performed such as during a rest of a media load process and during subsequent printing. For example, OMAS normal duties may be monitored. Thus, quality of the determined printing suction force value can be validated.

    [0038] In examples, suction force calibration may be performed upon detecting new media loaded into the printing system, such as upon detecting new media loaded into a media tray of the printing system. In examples, suction force calibration may be performed upon receiving a print job at the printing system and before starting printing. In examples, suction force calibration may be performed upon receipt of a user request, such as a user request to perform calibration by means of a user interface. The suction force calibration is performed prior to printing and includes moving the medium back to an initial position.

    [0039] As described herein, examples may permit determining a suction force level to be used in printing regardless of the media type and regardless of vacuum inefficiencies. Examples may reduce the number of crashes with print carriages due to inappropriate suction force levels, such as too high or too low vacuum levels. Examples may automatically compensate for different atmospheric pressures at different heights above sea level, such as low air pressures for printing systems operated in high regions.

    [0040] Referring now to Fig. 5 there is shown a simplified illustration of a printing system according to another example, which is suited for printing on roll media, such as paper rolls.

    [0041] The printing system comprises a platen 50, a sensor 52, drive rollers 54 and 56 to move medium 58 through a printing zone comprising platen 50, pinch rollers 60a and 60b, a print unit 62, an input spindle 64, a rewinder mechanism 66 and a controller 68. The medium is loaded onto the input spindle 64. The input spindle 64 may be driven by rewinder mechanism 66 to provide back tension to the medium 58. The medium 58 is fed around drive roller 54 under the pinch wheel 60a, over platen 50 in the printing zone and finally the medium 58 is driven out by means of drive roller 56 and pinch roller 60b, wherein the direction of movement is shown by an arrow in Fig. 5. Thereafter, medium 58 may be cut or may be collected in a take-up reel (not shown). Platen 50 includes suction holes (not shown) to apply a vacuum (suction force) to medium 58 as indicated by arrows 70 in Fig. 5. Sensor 52 is provided to detect and control advancement of medium 58. Sensor 52 may be an optical media advance sensor and may be located on a cutout section of platen 50. Sensor 52 may be able to detect very small errors in the advancement of medium 58 and these advancement errors may be communicated to the servo motors of the drive rollers 54, 56 and small correction adjustments may be applied to the movement of the medium.

    [0042] Controller 68 may be in communication with drive rollers 54, 56, sensor 52 and print unit 62 as shown by broken lines in Fig. 5. Controller 68 is an example for a controller which may be for performing suction force calibration as described herein. In addition, in examples, controller 68 may be for determining degradation of suction power after calibration, such as during printing and for taking corrective measures. Print unit may be any print unit such as an inkjet print unit having a number of printheads for applying ink of at least one colour to medium 58 while medium 58 is moved through the printing zone. In examples, controller 68 is to control print unit 62 to print on medium 58.

    [0043] An enlarged view of the printing zone area is shown in Fig. 6. As shown in Fig. 6, a suction force generator 78 comprises suction holes 82, suction channels 84 and two suction sources 86, such as fans. The fans may work at a certain adjustable rotation speed (duty) and may provide vacuum suction forces in two separated printing zone areas on both sides of sensor 52. By the vacuum suction forces, media 58 are hold down on platen 50.

    [0044] As set forth above, during printing, aerosol deposits may accumulate in the suction force channels 84 and may impair the vacuum suction capability of the vacuum suction generator. Fig. 7 is a diaphragm showing the suction pressure provided by the vacuum suction generator when operated at the same rotation speed over usage of a printing system. It can be seen that the suction force is substantially degraded with time upon printing. In Fig. 7, the abscissa shows the length of the medium which was printed on.

    [0045] Referring to Figs. 8 and 9, methods are described, which may be performed after the suction force calibration. In examples, the controller is to monitor the output of the media advance sensor during operation after the suction force calibration, such as during a rest of a loading process or during printing on the medium, in order to determine whether the printing suction force level is insufficient.

    [0046] Fig. 8 shows a method as described herein. At 100, a medium is moved through a printing zone of a printing system. At 102, a suction force is applied to a medium to hold down the medium while the drive moves the medium through the printing zone. The suction force may be the suction force determined during the suction force calibration. At 104, the movement of the medium through the printing zone in a medium advance direction is monitored. At 106, it is determined that the suction force is insufficient to hold down the medium properly based on the monitored movement.

    [0047] The controller may determine that the suction force is insufficient if the output of the media advance sensor fulfils at least one of the conditions set forth above with respect to proper movement of the medium. Examples herein permit determining that suction force is insufficient due to aerosol particles deposited in suction force channels and/or suction force openings of a suction force generator. In examples, vacuum effectiveness can be improved on printing systems where vacuum applied pressure is diminished because of aerosol deposits. In examples, vacuum losses may be detected early. In examples, printer vacuum conditions can be ensured due to timely service maintenance actions. In examples, misbehavior of the printer due to crashes or smears (if the medium comes into contact with a printhead) can be avoided. In examples, additional costs due to early user complaints can be avoided. In examples, waste of ink and/or media due to ruined jobs can be avoided.

    [0048] The controller may be to determine that the suction force generated by the suction force generator is insufficient based on the output of the media advance sensor. In examples, this determination may include at least one of additional parameters of printer usage, such as for example the printing time, the distance by which the substrate is moved, the type of substrate, etc. In examples, the controller is to consider additional parameters in determining that the suction force is insufficient, wherein the additional parameters comprise an amount of ink or toner consumed by the printing system (for example since a last maintenance) and/or a distance by which the medium is moved through the printing zone upon properly loading the medium into the printer. In examples, the controller may determine that the suction force is insufficient if the output of the sensor fulfills at least one of the above conditions and if the amount of ink or toner consumed is above a consumption threshold. In examples, the controller may determine that the suction force is insufficient if the output of the sensor fulfills the condition and if the medium is moved through the printing zone by not more than a specific distance upon properly loading the medium into the printer. The fact that the medium is properly loaded into the printer may be determined by the optical media advance sensor or additional sensors. Properly loaded means that the medium is at a desired position after loading. In examples, a corrective action is taken in response to the determination. In examples, the controller may be to control the suction force generator to increase the suction force if it is determined that the suction force is insufficient. For example, the duty of at least one fan may be increased so as to increase the vacuum force and to compensate for the degradation in vacuum force. In examples, the controller may be to inform a user that the suction force is insufficient via a user interface, which may be at least one of a visual interface and an acoustical interface. For example, feedback may be provided to a user so as to enable corrective actions before service maintenance actions are performed. Thus, a risk of a failure of the printing system before service maintenance actions may be reduced.

    [0049] Because different scenarios may happen when taking back substrate pictures (also known as substrate navigation herein), as cited above, additional parameters may be taken into account to enhance detection and response. For instance, it may not be expected to have problems with the suction force generator if not more than 20 liter of ink have been consumed since maintenance of the suction force generator was performed last. Thus, in examples, even if the output of the sensor fulfills the condition, this will not result in a determination in that the suction force generated by the suction source generator is insufficient if not more than a predetermined amount of ink or toner has been consumed since the printing system was put into operation or since maintenance of the suction force generator was performed last. For instance, a medium that has been properly loaded and can be properly detected by the optical media advance sensor during the loading process is not expected to fail by any means in terms of problems of the sensor itself (sensor misdetection) during advance by a specific distance, such as the first 50 cm of the plot. Thus, in examples, if the output of the sensor fulfills the condition during this advance, this is taken as an indication that the suction force is insufficient.

    [0050] Fig. 9 shows a flow diagram of a method according to another example. At 120, a media sensor detects that navigation is non-proper. Detection that navigation is non-proper may be according to predetermined values. To be more specific, an output of the media sensor may be compared to intended predetermined values and if the output deviates from the intended predetermined values by more than a threshold it is detected that the navigation is non proper. In another example, at 120 one of the specific conditions of the media advance factor explained above may be detected as an indication that the navigation is non-proper. At 122, the printing system may collect additional inputs, such as media type, media usage, number of failed navigation, last navigation failed, etc.

    [0051] These additional inputs may be used at 124 by a process performed by the processor in determining whether the printer misbehavior is due to usage and aerosol problems and not another problem, such as a problem that the substrate cannot be distinguished or such as a problem of the sensor itself. For example, if the media type indicates that the medium is transparent or textile with open mesh, this may be interpreted by the process as an indication that the navigation failure is not due to insufficient suction power. For example, if a number of failed navigations exceeds a threshold or if the time period since the last failed navigation is below a time threshold, this may be interpreted by the process as an indication that the navigation failure is due to problems with the suction power.

    [0052] Generally, the first signal of vacuum loss may be the inconsistency of the media factors calculated for a given substrate. It may not be big enough as to give early signals, but monitoring the tendencies of the media factor for a given loaded roll (taking also into account maybe other values like media roll left) may be the first to do. Defocused photos may occur in more extreme cases, but the level of focus may also be monitored and may act as another indicator that can be used in connection with other factors.

    [0053] In addition, the process may determine if an action can be taken, such as increasing the vacuum power or alerting a user. In examples, the controller will in either case output an alert to a user in addition to increasing the suction power. For example, for substrates using a high suction power it may be determined that the suction power cannot be further increased. In such cases no action concerning the suction power will be taken, but a user alert will be output. At 126, the determined action is taken. For example, the vacuum fan duty may be increased, a user alert may take place, the user may be informed that maintenance should take place, the user may be suggested to increase the vacuum level manually, the user may be suggested to perform small cleaning actions on the most problematic part of the suction force generator, etc..

    [0054] Fig. 10 shows a table including the outputs of a specific sensor, i.e., the OMAS sensor by Hewlett-Packard Company. Column "getCurrentOLF" shows the determined media factor value. A value of 1000000 means that no media factor could be calculated. The term round in Fig. 10 refers to respective advances between print swaths.

    [0055] Column A shows that a non-proper navigation of the medium yields frequent errors in the media factor. This is shown by the values 1000000 in column "getCurrentOLF". Column B shows a case in which the medium is out of focus because of poor vacuum applied, i.e. because the suction force is too low. This results in a consistent error in the media factor calculations. Column C shows a case in which the substrate is navigating normally so that a proper media advance factor can be calculated. Slightly different values are shown in column C according to fine advance adjustments.

    [0056] Determination of whether pictures are out of focus may be made in any conceivable manner. For example, the output of the sensor may be a grayscale image. Every pixel has a grayscale value from absolutely black (0) to pure white (255). The more contrast a pixel has with respect to its neighbours the more focused the image is. The differences between neighbours can be determined as shown in Fig. 11. For example, an image sensor may be composed of an array of cells, one for every pixel (for example (96 x 512 cells). Each cell reveals a gray value from 0 to 255, where 0 is absolutely black and 255 is pure white. Four pixel and the associated values are shown at 800 in Fig. 11. In a sharp, well focused image, the difference between one pixel and its neighbours will be higher than in a blurry, defocused image where there will be smoother gray transitions. At 802 in Fig. 11, an array of nine pixel is shown representing a well-focused black dot in the center of a white image. The focus calculation for this pixel would be (255-0)*8=2040. At 804 in Fig. 11, an array of nine more de-focused pixel is represented. A gray level is distributed to the surrounding white pixel and, therefore, the focus count for this array would be (180-75) x 8 = 840. Such a calculation may be performed on all pixels and the resulting average is a measure for how defocused the picture is. In one example, the more defocused the image is, the lower the resulting measure is. If the sensor is navigating over a transparent medium or with no medium travelling over the sensor, the resulting picture will have a mid-level of gray everywhere without substantial contrast between a pixel and it neighbours. In examples, determination whether an image is out of focus may be performed based on the technique of how the autofocus works on digital cameras, wherein the camera of the sensor remains focused on the fixed region of the printing zone.

    [0057] In examples, iterative methods can be used. After a certain condition is fulfilled, a proactive compensation can be performed around a nominal value, the result may be monitored and it may be decided if the nominal value should be adjusted or may be maintained. In examples, if a possible problem is detected based on the output of the sensor, the suction force may be increased by a first amount and the effect can be monitored. If there is no change this may be an indication that the change is not sufficient to compensate. Thus, the suction force may be further increased by a second amount larger than the first amount, the process may be repeated, and so on. Upon increasing the suction force and upon determining that the problem has been solved (i.e., proper navigation is obtained), the suction force may be decreased again to the nominal level to see if, back to the nominal level, proper navigation is still obtained. If so, this situation may be considered as representing a transitory status solved by temporarily increasing the suction power.

    [0058] Any method or process described herein may be performed by controllers 28 or 68 or another computing device of the printing system.

    [0059] Examples relate to a non-transitory machine-readable storage medium encoded with instructions executable by a processing resource of a computing device to perform methods described herein.

    [0060] Examples relate to a non-transitory machine-readable storage medium encoded with instructions executable by a processing resource of a computing device to operate a printing system comprising a printing zone comprising a platen, a drive to move a medium through the printing zone, a suction force generator to generate suction force to hold down the medium onto the platen while the drive moves the medium through the printing zone, and a media advance sensor to monitor movement of the medium through the printing zone in a medium advance direction to perform a method comprising: performing suction force calibration prior to printing. The suction force calibration comprises causing movement of the medium from an initial position at least partly through the printing zone while the suction force generator is controlled to generate at least one suction force level, determining a suction force level to be used during printing on the medium based on the output of the sensor during the movement, and moving the medium back to the initial position. The instructions may be to operate the printing system to achieve any of the functionalities of the printing system and the methods described herein. Examples relate to corresponding instructions executable by a processing resource of a computing device to operate a printing system accordingly.

    [0061] It will be appreciated that examples described herein can be realized in the form of hardware, machine readable instructions or a combination of hardware and machine readable instructions. Any such machine readable instructions may be stored in the form of volatile or non-volatile storage such as, for example, a storage device like a ROM, whether erasable or rewriteable or not, or in the form of memory such as, for example, RAM, memory chips, device or integrated circuits or an optically or magnetically readable medium such as, for example, a CD, DVD, magnetic disk or magnetic tape. It will be appreciated that the storage devices and storage media are examples of machine-readable storage that are suitable for storing a program or programs that, when executed, implement examples described herein.


    Claims

    1. A printing system comprising:

    a printing zone comprising a platen (10);

    a drive to move a medium (16) through the printing zone;

    a suction force generator (18) to generate suction force to hold down the medium onto the platen while the drive moves the medium through the printing zone;

    a media advance sensor (26) to monitor movement of the medium through the printing zone in a medium advance direction; characterised in that the printing system further comprises

    a controller (28) to perform suction force calibration prior to printing and during the suction force calibration to:

    control the drive to cause movement of the medium from an initial position at least partly through the printing zone while the suction force generator is controlled to generate at least one suction force level;

    determine a suction force level to be used during printing on the medium based on the output of the media advance sensor during the movement; and

    move the medium back to the initial position.


     
    2. The printing system of claim 1, wherein, in determining a suction force level to be used during printing on the medium, the controller is to determine whether the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly.
     
    3. The printing system of claim 2, wherein the controller is to set the at least one suction force level as the suction force level to be used during printing on the medium if the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly, and to control the suction force generator to change the suction force level if the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly.
     
    4. The printing system of claim 3, wherein the controller is to control the suction force generator to increase or decrease the suction force level until a changed suction force level is generated, at which the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly, wherein the controller is to set the changed suction force level as the suction force level to be used during printing of the medium.
     
    5. The printing system of claim 2, wherein, during the suction force calibration, the controller is to
    control the suction force generator to generate multiple suction force levels,
    determine at least one of a lower suction force level threshold below which the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly and an upper suction force level threshold above which the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly, and
    set the suction force level to be used during printing on the medium to be at least one of above the lower suction force level threshold and below the upper suction force level.
     
    6. The printing system of claim 2, wherein the controller is to move the medium back and forth through the printing zone several times during the suction force calibration.
     
    7. The printing system of claim 2, wherein the controller is to select the at least one suction force level based on at least one of an amount of ink or toner consumed by the printing system and an amount of media printed upon by the printing system.
     
    8. The printing system of claim 1, wherein the media advance sensor comprises a camera to capture pictures of the medium successively while the medium is moved through the printing zone and to determine movement of the medium by correlating successive ones of the pictures with each other.
     
    9. The printing system of claim 1, wherein the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly if the output of the media advance sensor indicates at least one of the following conditions:

    a distance by which the medium is moved is not determined or a distance by which the medium is moved deviates from a nominal distance by more than a distance deviation threshold;

    the media advance sensor does not determine a media advance factor;

    a change of the media advance factor exceeds a media advance factor change threshold;

    a rate of change of the media advance factor exceeds a media advance factor change threshold;

    a difference of the media advance factor from a nominal media advance factor exceeds a media advance factor difference threshold; and

    pictures captured by a camera of the media advance sensor are out of focus.


     
    10. A method in a printing system comprising a printing zone comprising a platen (10), a drive to move a medium (16) through the printing zone, a suction force generator (18) to generate suction force to hold down the medium onto the platen while the drive moves the medium through the printing zone, and a media advance sensor (26) to monitor movement of the medium through the printing zone in a medium advance direction, characterised in that the method comprises: performing suction force calibration prior to printing, the suction force calibration comprising:

    causing movement of the medium from an initial position at least partly through the printing zone while the suction force generator is controlled to generate at least one suction force level;

    determining a suction force level to be used during printing on the medium based on the output of the media advance sensor during the movement; and

    moving the medium back to the initial position.


     
    11. The method of claim 10, wherein determining a suction force level to be used during printing on the medium comprises determining whether the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly.
     
    12. The method of claim 11, comprising:

    setting the at least one suction force level as the suction force level to be used during printing on the medium if the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly; and

    changing the suction force level if the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly.


     
    13. The method of claim 12, comprising:

    increasing or decreasing the suction force level until a changed suction force level is generated, at which the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is moved properly;

    setting the changed suction force level as the suction force level to be used during printing of the medium.


     
    14. The method of claim 11, comprising during the suction force calibration:

    generating multiple suction force levels;

    determining at least one of a lower suction force level threshold below which the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly and an upper suction force level threshold above which the output of the media advance sensor indicates that the medium is not moved properly; and

    setting the suction force level to be used during printing on the medium to be at least one of above the lower suction force level threshold and below the upper suction force level.


     
    15. A non-transitory machine-readable storage medium encoded with instructions executable by a processing resource of a computing device to operate a printing system to perform a method, the printing system comprising a printing zone comprising a platen (10), a drive to move a medium (16) through the printing zone, a suction force generator (18) to generate suction force to hold down the medium onto the platen while the drive moves the medium through the printing zone, and a media advance sensor (26) to monitor movement of the medium through the printing zone in a medium advance direction, characterised in that the method comprises: performing suction force calibration prior to printing, the suction force calibration comprising:

    causing movement of the medium from an initial position at least partly through the printing zone while the suction force generator is controlled to generate at least one suction force level;

    determining a suction force level to be used during printing on the medium based on the output of the media advance sensor during the movement; and

    moving the medium back to the initial position.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Drucksystem, umfassend:

    einen Druckbereich mit einer Platte (10);

    einen Antrieb zum Bewegen eines Mediums (16) durch den Druckbereich;

    einen Saugkraftgenerator (18) zum Erzeugen einer Saugkraft, um das Medium nach unten auf die Platte gedrückt zu halten, während der Antrieb das Medium durch den Druckbereich bewegt;

    einen Medienvorschubsensor (26) zum Überwachen der Bewegung des Mediums durch den Druckbereich in einer Medienvorschubrichtung;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Drucksystem ferner umfasst:

    ein Steuergerät (28) zum Durchführen einer Saugkraftkalibrierung vor dem Drucken, und

    um während der Saugkraftkalibrierung:

    den Antrieb anzusteuern, eine Bewegung des Mediums von einer Anfangsposition zumindest teilweise durch den Druckbereich zu bewirken, während der Saugkraftgenerator angesteuert wird, zumindest einen Saugkraftwert zu erzeugen;

    einen während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwert auf Grundlage des Ausgangs des Medienvorschubsensors während der Bewegung zu bestimmen; und

    das Medium zurück in die Anfangsposition zu bewegen.


     
    2. Drucksystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei beim Bestimmen eines während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwerts das Steuergerät dazu dient, festzustellen, ob der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium korrekt bewegt wird.
     
    3. Drucksystem nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Steuergerät dazu dient, den zumindest einen Saugkraftwert als während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwert festzulegen, falls der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium korrekt bewegt wird, und den Saugkraftgenerator anzusteuern, den Saugkraftwert zu ändern, falls der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium nicht korrekt bewegt wird.
     
    4. Drucksystem nach Anspruch 3, wobei das Steuergerät dazu dient, den Saugkraftgenerator anzusteuern, den Saugkraftwert zu erhöhen oder zu verringern, bis ein geänderter Saugkraftwert erzeugt wird, bei dem der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium korrekt bewegt wird, wobei das Steuergerät dazu dient, den geänderten Saugkraftwert als während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwert festzulegen.
     
    5. Drucksystem nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Steuergerät während der Saugkraftkalibrierung dazu dient:

    den Saugkraftgenerator anzusteuern, mehrere Saugkraftwerte zu erzeugen,

    eine untere Schwelle für den Saugkraftwert, unterhalb derer der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium nicht korrekt bewegt wird, und/oder eine obere Schwelle für den Saugkraftwert zu bestimmen, oberhalb derer der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium nicht korrekt bewegt wird, und den während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwert als einen Wert oberhalb der unteren Schwelle für den Saugkraftwert und/oder unterhalb der oberen Schwelle für den Saugkraftwert festzulegen.


     
    6. Drucksystem nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Steuergerät dazu dient, das Medium während der Saugkraftkalibrierung mehrmals vor und zurück durch den Druckbereich zu bewegen.
     
    7. Drucksystem nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Steuergerät dazu dient, den zumindest einen Saugkraftwert auf Grundlage einer von dem Drucksystem verbrauchten Menge an Tinte oder Toner und/oder einer Menge an durch das Drucksystem bedrucktem Medium auszuwählen.
     
    8. Drucksystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Medienvorschubsensor eine Kamera zum aufeinander folgenden Aufnehmen von Bildern des Mediums, während das Medium durch den Druckbereich bewegt wird, und zum Bestimmen der Bewegung des Mediums durch Miteinander-Korrelieren von aufeinander folgenden Bildern umfasst.
     
    9. Drucksystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium nicht korrekt bewegt wird, falls der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors zumindest eine der folgenden Bedingungen anzeigt:

    ein Abstand, um den das Medium bewegt wird, wird nicht bestimmt, oder ein Abstand, um den das Medium bewegt wird, weicht von einem nominalen Abstand um mehr als eine Schwelle für die Abstandsabweichung ab;

    der Medienvorschubsensor bestimmt keinen Medienvorschubfaktor;

    eine Änderung des Medienvorschubfaktors überschreitet eine Schwelle für die Änderung des Medienvorschubfaktors;

    eine Änderungsrate des Medienvorschubfaktors überschreitet eine Schwelle für die Änderung des Medienvorschubfaktors;

    eine Differenz des Medienvorschubfaktors bezüglich eines nominalen Medienvorschubfaktors überschreitet eine Schwelle für die Differenz des Medienvorschubfaktors; und

    von einer Kamera aufgenommene Bilder des Medienvorschubsensors sind unscharf.


     
    10. Verfahren für ein Drucksystem, umfassend einen Druckbereich mit einer Platte (10), einen Antrieb zum Bewegen eines Mediums (16) durch den Druckbereich, einen Saugkraftgenerator (18) zum Erzeugen einer Saugkraft, um das Medium nach unten auf die Platte gedrückt zu halten, während der Antrieb das Medium durch den Druckbereich bewegt, und einen Medienvorschubsensor (26) zum Überwachen der Bewegung des Mediums durch den Druckbereich in einer Medienvorschubrichtung,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:
    Durchführen einer Saugkraftkalibrierung vor dem Drucken, wobei die Saugkraftkalibrierung Folgendes umfasst:

    Bewirken einer Bewegung des Mediums von einer Anfangsposition zumindest teilweise durch den Druckbereich, während der Saugkraftgenerator angesteuert wird, zumindest einen Saugkraftwert zu erzeugen;

    Bestimmen eines während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwerts auf Grundlage des Ausgangs des Medienvorschubsensors während der Bewegung; und Bewegen des Mediums zurück in die Anfangsposition.


     
    11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 10, wobei das Bestimmen eines während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwerts das Bestimmen umfasst, ob der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium korrekt bewegt wird.
     
    12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, umfassend:

    Festlegen des zumindest einen Saugkraftwerts als während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwert, falls der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium korrekt bewegt wird; und

    Ändern des Saugkraftwerts, falls der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium nicht korrekt bewegt wird.


     
    13. Verfahren nach Anspruch 12, umfassend:

    Erhöhen oder Verringern des Saugkraftwerts, bis ein geänderter Saugkraftwert erzeugt wird, bei dem der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium korrekt bewegt wird;

    Festlegen des geänderten Saugkraftwerts als während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwert.


     
    14. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, umfassend, während der Saugkraftkalibrierung:

    Erzeugen mehrerer Saugkraftwerte;

    Bestimmen einer unteren Schwelle für den Saugkraftwert, unterhalb derer der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium nicht korrekt bewegt wird, und/oder einer oberen Schwelle für den Saugkraftwert, oberhalb derer der Ausgang des Medienvorschubsensors anzeigt, dass das Medium nicht korrekt bewegt wird; und

    Festlegen des während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwerts als einen Wert oberhalb der unteren Schwelle für den Saugkraftwert und/oder unterhalb der oberen Schwelle für den Saugkraftwert.


     
    15. Nicht-transitorisches, maschinenlesbares Speichermedium, codiert mit Anweisungen, die durch eine Verarbeitungsressource einer Rechnereinrichtung ausführbar sind, ein Drucksystem zum Durchführen eines Verfahrens zu betreiben, wobei das Drucksystem einen Druckbereich mit einer Platte (10), einen Antrieb zum Bewegen eines Mediums (16) durch den Druckbereich, einen Saugkraftgenerator (18) zum Erzeugen einer Saugkraft, um das Medium nach unten auf die Platte gedrückt zu halten, während der Antrieb das Medium durch den Druckbereich bewegt, und einen Medienvorschubsensor (26) zum Überwachen der Bewegung des Mediums durch den Druckbereich in einer Medienvorschubrichtung umfasst,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:
    Durchführen einer Saugkraftkalibrierung vor dem Drucken, wobei die Saugkraftkalibrierung Folgendes umfasst:

    Bewirken einer Bewegung des Mediums von einer Anfangsposition zumindest teilweise durch den Druckbereich, während der Saugkraftgenerator angesteuert wird, zumindest einen Saugkraftwert zu erzeugen;

    Bestimmen eines während des Bedruckens des Mediums zu verwendenden Saugkraftwerts auf Grundlage des Ausgangs des Medienvorschubsensors während der Bewegung; und

    Bewegen des Mediums zurück in die Anfangsposition.


     


    Revendications

    1. Système d'impression comprenant :

    une zone d'impression comprenant un plateau (10) ;

    un dispositif d'entraînement pour déplacer un support (16) à travers la zone d'impression ;

    un générateur de force d'aspiration (18) pour générer une force d'aspiration afin de maintenir le support sur le plateau tandis que le dispositif d'entraînement déplace le support à travers la zone d'impression ;

    un capteur d'avancée de support (26) pour surveiller un mouvement du support à travers la zone d'impression dans une direction d'avancée de support ; caractérisé en ce que le système d'impression comprend en outre

    un dispositif de commande (28) pour effectuer l'étalonnage de la force d'aspiration avant l'impression et pendant l'étalonnage de la force d'aspiration pour :

    commander le dispositif d'entraînement pour provoquer le mouvement du support depuis une position initiale au moins partiellement à travers la zone d'impression tandis que le générateur de force d'aspiration est commandé pour générer au moins un niveau de force d'aspiration ;

    déterminer un niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression sur le support sur la base de la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support pendant le mouvement ; et

    replacer le support à la position initiale.


     
    2. Système d'impression selon la revendication 1, dans lequel, pour déterminer un niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression sur le support, le dispositif de commande doit déterminer si la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support est déplacé correctement.
     
    3. Système d'impression selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le dispositif de commande doit régler au moins un niveau de force d'aspiration en tant que niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression sur le support si la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support est déplacé correctement, et pour commander le générateur de force d'aspiration afin de modifier le niveau de force d'aspiration si la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support n'est pas déplacé correctement.
     
    4. Système d'impression selon la revendication 3, dans lequel le dispositif de commande doit commander le générateur de force d'aspiration pour augmenter ou diminuer le niveau de force d'aspiration jusqu'à ce qu'un niveau de force d'aspiration modifié soit généré, à partir duquel la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support est déplacé correctement, le dispositif de commande devant régler le niveau de force d'aspiration modifié en tant que niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression du support.
     
    5. Système d'impression selon la revendication 2, dans lequel, pendant l'étalonnage de la force d'aspiration, le dispositif de commande doit
    commander le générateur de force d'aspiration afin de générer plusieurs niveaux de force d'aspiration,
    déterminer au moins un seuil de niveau de force d'aspiration minimal en dessous duquel la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support n'est pas déplacé correctement et un seuil de niveau de force d'aspiration maximal au-dessus duquel la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support n'est pas déplacé correctement, et
    régler le niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression sur le support de manière à ce qu'il soit au moins supérieur au seuil de niveau de force d'aspiration minimal et inférieur au niveau de force d'aspiration maximal.
     
    6. Système d'impression selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le dispositif de commande doit déplacer le support d'avant en arrière à travers la zone d'impression plusieurs fois pendant l'étalonnage de la force d'aspiration.
     
    7. Système d'impression selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le dispositif de commande doit sélectionner l'au moins un niveau de force d'aspiration sur la base d'au moins l'une d'une quantité d'encre ou de toner consommée par le système d'impression et d'une quantité de supports imprimés par le système d'impression.
     
    8. Système d'impression selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le capteur d'avancée de support comprend une caméra pour capturer des images du support successivement tandis que le support est déplacé à travers la zone d'impression et pour déterminer le mouvement du support en corrélant les images successives des images entre elles.
     
    9. Système d'impression selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support n'est pas déplacé correctement si la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique au moins l'une des conditions suivantes :

    une distance à laquelle le support est déplacé n'est pas déterminée ou une distance à laquelle le support est déplacé s'écarte d'une distance nominale de plusieurs seuils d'écart de distance ;

    le capteur d'avancée de support ne détermine pas de facteur d'avancée de support ;

    une modification du facteur d'avancée de support dépasse un seuil de modification de facteur d'avancée de support ;

    un taux de modification du facteur d'avancée de support dépasse un seuil de modification de facteur d'avancée de support ;

    une différence entre le facteur d'avancée de support et un facteur d'avancée de support nominal dépasse un seuil de différence de facteur d'avancée de support ; et

    les images capturées par une caméra du capteur d'avancée du support sont floues.


     
    10. Procédé dans un système d'impression comprenant une zone d'impression comprenant un plateau (10), un dispositif d'entraînement pour déplacer un support (16) à travers la zone d'impression, un générateur de force d'aspiration (18) pour générer une force d'aspiration afin de maintenir le support sur le plateau tandis que le dispositif d'entraînement déplace le support à travers la zone d'impression, et un capteur d'avancée de support (26) pour surveiller le mouvement du support à travers la zone d'impression dans une direction d'avancée de support, caractérisé en ce que le procédé comprend :
    la réalisation d'un étalonnage de la force d'aspiration avant l'impression, l'étalonnage de la force d'aspiration comprenant :

    le fait de provoquer le mouvement du support depuis une position initiale au moins partiellement à travers la zone d'impression tandis que le générateur de force d'aspiration est commandé pour générer au moins un niveau de force d'aspiration ;

    la détermination d'un niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression sur le support sur la base de la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support pendant le mouvement ; et

    le replacement du support à la position initiale.


     
    11. Procédé selon la revendication 10, dans lequel la détermination d'un niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression sur le support comprend le fait de déterminer si la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support est déplacé correctement.
     
    12. Procédé selon la revendication 11, comprenant :

    le réglage de l'au moins un niveau de force d'aspiration en tant que niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression sur le support si la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support est déplacé correctement ; et

    la modification du niveau de force d'aspiration si la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support n'est pas déplacé correctement.


     
    13. Procédé selon la revendication 12, comprenant :

    l'augmentation ou la diminution du niveau de force d'aspiration jusqu'à ce qu'un niveau de force d'aspiration modifié soit généré, à partir duquel la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support est déplacé correctement ;

    le réglage du niveau de force d'aspiration modifié en tant que niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression du support.


     
    14. Procédé selon la revendication 11, comprenant pendant l'étalonnage de la force d'aspiration :

    la génération de plusieurs niveaux de force d'aspiration ;

    la détermination d'au moins l'un d'un seuil de niveau de force d'aspiration minimal en dessous duquel la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support n'est pas déplacé correctement et d'un seuil de niveau de force d'aspiration maximal au-dessus duquel la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support indique que le support n'est pas déplacé correctement ; et

    le réglage du niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression sur le support de manière à ce qu'il soit au moins supérieur au seuil de niveau de force d'aspiration minimal et inférieur au niveau de force d'aspiration maximal.


     
    15. Support de stockage lisible par machine non transitoire codé avec des instructions exécutables par une ressource de traitement d'un dispositif informatique pour faire fonctionner un système d'impression afin de mettre en oeuvre un procédé, le système d'impression comprenant une zone d'impression comprenant un plateau (10), un dispositif d'entraînement pour déplacer un support (16) à travers la zone d'impression, un générateur de force d'aspiration (18) pour générer une force d'aspiration afin de maintenir le support sur le plateau tandis que le dispositif d'entraînement déplace le support à travers la zone d'impression, et un capteur d'avancée de support (26) pour surveiller le mouvement du support à travers la zone d'impression dans une direction d'avancée de support, caractérisé en ce que le procédé comprend :
    la réalisation d'un étalonnage de la force d'aspiration avant l'impression, l'étalonnage de la force d'aspiration comprenant :

    le fait de provoquer le mouvement du support depuis une position initiale au moins partiellement à travers la zone d'impression tandis que le générateur de force d'aspiration est commandé pour générer au moins un niveau de force d'aspiration ;

    la détermination d'un niveau de force d'aspiration à utiliser pendant l'impression sur le support sur la base de la sortie du capteur d'avancée de support pendant le mouvement ; et

    le replacement du support à la position initiale.


     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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

    Patent documents cited in the description