(19)
(11)EP 3 611 024 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
10.03.2021 Bulletin 2021/10

(21)Application number: 18188963.5

(22)Date of filing:  14.08.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B41J 11/06  (2006.01)
B41J 11/00  (2006.01)

(54)

SUPPORT STRUCTURE DEFINING A FLAT SUPPORT SURFACE

STÜTZSTRUKTUR, DIE EINE EBENE AUFLAGEFLÄCHE DEFINIERT

STRUCTURE DE SUPPORT DÉFINISSANT UNE SURFACE DE SUPPORT PLATE


(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:
19.02.2020 Bulletin 2020/08

(73)Proprietor: Canon Production Printing Holding B.V.
5914 HH Venlo (NL)

(72)Inventor:
  • SCHULKES, Joseph A.
    5914 CA Venlo (NL)

(74)Representative: Canon Production Printing IP Department 
St. Urbanusweg 43
5914 CA Venlo
5914 CA Venlo (NL)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2016/076833
US-A1- 2017 239 959
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The invention relates to a support structure defining a flat support surface for supporting a web material, the support structure comprising a number of beams each of which has a cross-section elongated in a first direction normal to the support surface, the beam having a ruler edge extending in a second direction in parallel with the support surface, the support surface being defined by the ruler edges of the beams, the support structure further comprising a number of adjustment mechanisms for adjusting the positions of the ruler edges in the first direction.

    [0002] More particularly, the invention relates to a support structure for supporting an air-permeable conveyer belt that serves as a recording media platen in a printer and runs over a suction box the top surface of which is constituted by the support surface.

    [0003] In order to achieve a high print quality in a printer, e.g. an ink jet printer, it is essential that the media platen is perfectly flat. It is therefore desired that the support structure permits to control the curvature of the support surface so as to eliminate any undesired curvature that may result from mechanical or thermal strain.

    [0004] US 2017239959 A1 discloses a support structure of the type indicated above, wherein adjustment mechanisms are provided for adjusting the height and inclination of the beams.

    [0005] It is an object of the invention to provide a low-cost support structure with which the curvature of the support surface can be controlled more finely.

    [0006] In order to achieve this object, according to the invention, each beam has a base part and a ruler part, the ruler part defining the ruler edge and being connected to the base part by at least three adjustment mechanisms distributed over the length of the beam, and each adjustment mechanism comprises a lever that is pivotable relative to the base part about a fixed fulcrum, is connected to the ruler part by an articulated link, and has an adjustment arm with a free end that is adjustable in its position in the first direction relative to the base part.

    [0007] Since at least three adjustment mechanisms are provided per beam, it is possible to control not only the inclination of the beam but also to bend the beams so as to control their curvature. The adjustment arm of each adjustment mechanism provides a certain leverage for applying a sufficient bending force to the ruler part of the beam and at the same time permitting to control the curvature with high accuracy.

    [0008] It is another advantage of the invention that the ruler parts of the beams are connected to the base parts only locally via a relatively small number of articulated links, so that the ruler parts of the beams and, accordingly, the support surface is thermally insulated from the rest of the support structure. This facilitates to keep the recording media at a uniform temperature.

    [0009] More specific optional features of the invention are indicated in the dependent claims.

    [0010] The ruler part, the base part and the levers constituting the adjustment mechanisms of each beam may be formed in one piece from a sheet metal in which the contours of the levers, the fulcrum, and the articulated link have been formed e.g. by means of laser cutting.

    [0011] The support surface may be constituted by a two-dimensional array of rollers arranged in a plurality of parallel rows, the rollers of each row being supported on a common continuous axle that is supported on the ruler edges of the beams.

    [0012] An embodiment example will now be described in conjunction with the drawings, wherein:
    Fig. 1
    shows, in a longitudinal section, a single beam of a support structure according to the invention;
    Fig. 2
    is a cross-sectional view of the support structure incorporated in a suction box for supporting a conveyer belt in a printer;
    Fig. 3
    is a side view of a single beam;
    Fig. 4
    is an enlarged view of a part of the beam; and
    Fig. 5
    illustrates an adjustment operation in the part of the beam shown in Fig. 4.


    [0013] A support structure for a sheet conveyer belt in a printer, e.g. an ink jet printer, is constituted by a plurality of parallel beams 10 that extend in a transport direction x of the conveyer. Fig. 1 shows one of these beams 10 in a longitudinal section.

    [0014] The beam 10 has a base part 12, which is the lower part in Fig. 1 and shown in section, and a ruler part 14 which is the upper part of the beam in Fig. 1. A top edge 16 of the ruler part 14, together with corresponding ruler edges of a number of further beams 10 (Fig. 2) defines the posture and shape of a support surface 18 that has been shown in Fig. 1 only schematically in the form of dashed line.

    [0015] The ruler part 14 is connected to the base part 12 by a number of adjustment mechanisms 20 (three in this example) which are evenly distributed over the length of the beam 10. Each adjustment mechanism 20 comprises a lever 22 that is pivotable relative to the base part 12 about a fixed fulcrum 24 and is connected to the ruler part 14 via an articulated link 26. The lever 22 has an adjustment arm 28 that extends from the articulated link 26 in a direction away from the fulcrum 24 and has at its free end 30 a tab 32 that is adjustable relative to the base part 12 by means of an adjustment screw 34. The adjustment screws 34 have been shown only schematically in Fig. 1 and are arranged such that, by tightening the adjustment screw 34, the tab 32 is drawn closer to the bottom of the base part 12, so that the lever 22 rotates counter-clockwise in Fig. 1 about the fulcrum 24, whereby a bending strain is applied to the ruler part 14 via the articulated link 26.

    [0016] The adjustment movement controlled by the adjustment screw 34 is a movement in a first direction z which is the vertical direction in Fig. 1 and is normal to the support surface 18, whereas the ruler edge 16 of the beam 10 extends in the transport direction (second direction) x which is parallel to the support surface 18 and is the direction in which the media sheets are conveyed on the conveyer belt (not shown) that is supported on the support surface 18.

    [0017] Fig. 2 shows a plurality of the beams 10 in a sectional view taken along a direction y which is normal to the directions x and z and is the transverse direction of the conveyer belt. It can be seen that the base part 12 of each beam 10 has a U-shaped cross-section with upwardly extending legs, and the ruler part 14 constitutes an upward extension of one of the two legs. Thus, the base part 12, the ruler part 14 and the levers 22 of all adjustment mechanisms 20 of a single beam can be formed in one piece from a sheet metal, wherein the contours of the levers 20, the fulcrums 24 and the links 26 are cut by means of a laser cutter, for example. The ruler part 14 is shaped as a strip of sheet metal with a uniform height which has been dimensioned so as to obtain just the right amount of bending stiffness in the z-direction for smoothly adjusting the curvature of the ruler edge 16.

    [0018] As can be seen in Fig. 1, the leg of the U-shaped base part 12 that is in the same plane as the ruler part 14 has cut-outs 36 leaving only a lightweight but rigid framework that supports the fulcrums 24.

    [0019] The other leg of the base part 12 is constituted by a similar framework, as can be seen in a side view in Fig. 3.

    [0020] Returning to Fig. 2, it can be seen that the ruler edges of the beams 10 support an axle 38 which extends over the entire width of the conveyer belt and carries a set of rollers 40 the apexes of which constitute the support surface 18.

    [0021] More particularly, as will be seen in Fig. 4, the support surface 18 is defined by a plurality of such sets of rollers 40 supported on parallel axles 38 in the form of a two-dimensional array. Fig. 4 further shows a clamp member 42 with which the axles 38 are biased against the ruler parts 14 of the beams and held in engagement with the ruler edges 16.

    [0022] As is shown in Fig. 2, the support surface 18 constituted in this way forms the top surface of a suction box 44 to which a vacuum is applied via suction ports 46, so that air is drawn-in through the gaps between the rollers 40 and the conveyer belt is safely drawn against the support surface 18. The conveyer belt is made of an air-permeable material so that media sheets carried on the conveyer belt are also sucked against the belt and, consequently, against the support surface 18.

    [0023] If, for any reason, the support surface 18 happens to be not perfectly flat but to show some curvature, such curvature can be eliminated by adjusting the height and the curvature of the ruler parts 14 of the beams. In particular, if a ruler edge 16 of a single beam is found to be curved, this curvature can be eliminated by suitably rotating one or more of the adjustment screws 34, so that the lever 22 is rotated and the ruler part 14 is bent, as has been shown in dot-dashed lines in Fig. 5.

    [0024] If each beam 10 has exactly three adjustment mechanisms 20, the curvature of the ruler edge 16 can be described by a quadratic function. More generally, if the number of adjustment mechanisms is n, then the curvature of the ruler edge 16 can be described by a polynomial of n-th degree. In any case, by suitably adjusting the adjustment screws 34, the curvature can be eliminated almost completely.

    [0025] If the support surface 18 happens to be curved in the direction x, i.e. in the conveying direction of the belt, then the curvature may be eliminated by suitably adjusting the heights of the several beams 10 independently of one another. Suitable adjustment mechanisms for this overall height adjustment of the beams are state of the art and have not been shown here.


    Claims

    1. A support structure defining a flat support surface (18) for supporting a web material, the support structure comprising a number of beams (10) each of which has a cross-section elongated in a first direction (z) normal to the support surface (18), the beam (10) having a ruler edge (16) extending in a second direction (x) in parallel with the support surface (18), the support surface being defined by the ruler edges (16) of the beams, the support structure further comprising a number of adjustment mechanisms (20) for adjusting the positions of the ruler edges (16) in the first direction (z),
    characterized in that each beam (10) has a base part (12) and a ruler part (14), the ruler part (14) defining the ruler edge (16) and being connected to the base part (12) by at least three adjustment mechanisms (20) distributed over the length of the beam, and each adjustment mechanism (20) comprises a lever (22) that is pivotable relative to the base part (12) about a fixed fulcrum (22), is connected to the ruler part (14) by an articulated link (26), and has an adjustment arm (28) with a free end (30) that is adjustable in its position in the first direction (z) relative to the base part (12).
     
    2. The support structure according to claim 1, wherein the base part (12), the ruler part (14) and the levers (22) of each beam (10) are constituted by a one-piece sheet metal in which the contours of the levers (22), the fulcrums (24) and the links (26) have been cut-out.
     
    3. The support structure according to claim 2, wherein the base part (12) has a U-shaped cross-section with two parallel legs, the ruler part (14) being configured as an extension of one of these legs.
     
    4. The support structure according to claim 3, wherein a free end (30) of each lever (22) has a tab (32) bent at right angles from the plane of the lever and the ruler part, and each adjustment mechanism comprises an adjustment screw (34) passing through the tab (32) and a base of the U-shaped base part (12).
     
    5. The support structure according to any of the preceding claims, for supporting a conveyer belt on the support surface (18), wherein a plurality of beams (10) are arranged in parallel to each other, such that the second direction (x) is a direction of transport of the conveyer belt, and wherein a plurality of axles (38) extend in a direction (y) transverse to the second direction (x) and are supported on the ruler edges (16) of each of the beams (10), each axle (38) carrying a set of rollers (40) the apexes of which constitute the support surface (18).
     
    6. The support structure according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the support surface (18) constitutes a top wall of a suction box (44).
     
    7. A media platen for supporting media sheets in a printer, characterized by a support structure according to any of the preceding claims.
     
    8. A printer, characterized by a media platen according to claim 7.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Stützstruktur, die eine ebene Auflagefläche (18) für Bahnmaterial aufweist, welche Stützstruktur eine Anzahl von Trägern (10) aufweist, von denen jeder einen Querschnitt hat, der in einer ersten Richtung (z) senkrecht zu der Auflagefläche (18) langgestreckt ist, wobei der Träger (10) eine Linealkante (16) aufweist, die sich in einer zweiten Richtung (x) parallel zu der Auflagefläche (18) erstreckt, wobei die Auflagefläche durch die Linealkanten (16) der Träger definiert wird und die Stützstruktur weiterhin eine Anzahl von Einstellmechanismen (20) zum Einstellen der Positionen der Auflagekanten (16) in der ersten Richtung (z) aufweist,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass jeder Träger (10) einen Basisteil (12) und einen Linealteil (14) aufweist, wobei der Linealteil (14) die Linealkante (16) definiert und mit dem Basisteil (12) durch wenigstens drei Einstellmechanismen (20) verbunden ist, die über die Länge des Trägers verteilt sind, und jeder Einstellmechanismus (20) einen Hebel (22) aufweist, der relativ zu dem Basisteil (12) um einen festen Gelenkpunkt (24) schwenkbar ist, mit dem Linearteil (14) durch ein Gelenk (26) verbunden ist, und einen Einstellarm (28) mit einem freien Ende (30) aufweist, das in der ersten Richtung (z) in seiner Position relativ zu dem Basisteil (12) verstellbar ist.
     
    2. Stützstruktur nach Anspruch 1, bei der der Basisteil (12), der Linealteil (14) und die Hebel (22) jedes Trägers (10) in einem Stück aus einem Blech gebildet sind, in dem die Konturen der Hebel (22), der Gelenkpunkte (24) und der Gelenke (26) ausgeschnitten sind.
     
    3. Stützstruktur nach Anspruch 2, bei der der Basisteil (12), einen U-förmigen Querschnitt mit zwei parallelen Schenkeln hat und der Linearteil (14) als eine Verlängerung eines dieser Schenkel ausgebildet ist.
     
    4. Stützstruktur nach Anspruch 3, bei der ein freies Ende (30) jedes Hebels (22) eine Zunge (32) aufweist, die rechtwinklig von der Ebene des Hebels und des Linearteils abgewinkelt ist, und jeder Einstellmechanismus eine Einstellschraube (34) aufweist, die durch die Zunge (32) und den Basisschenkel des U-förmigen Basisteils (12) hindurchgeht
     
    5. Stützstruktur nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, zur Abstützung eines Förderbandes auf der Auflagefläche (18), bei der die mehreren Träger (10) derart parallel zueinander angeordnet sind, dass die zweite Richtung (x) eine Transportrichtung des Förderbandes ist, und bei der mehrere Achsen (38) sich in einer Richtung (y) quer zu der zweiten Richtung (x) erstrecken und auf den Linealkanten (16) jedes der Träger (10) gelagert sind, wobei jede Achse (38) einen Satz von Rollen (40) trägt, deren Scheitel die Auflagefläche (18) bilden.
     
    6. Stützstruktur nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche , bei der die Auflagefläche (18) eine obere Wand eines Saugkastens (44) bildet.
     
    7. Medienträger zur Abstützung von Bögen eines Mediums in einem Drucker, gekennzeichnet durch eine Stützstruktur nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche.
     
    8. Drucker, gekennzeichnet durch einen Medienträger nach Anspruch 7.
     


    Revendications

    1. Structure de support définissant une surface de support plate (18) pour supporter un matériau en bande, la structure de support comprenant un certain nombre de traverses (10) dont chacune présente une section transversale allongée dans une première direction (z) normale à la surface de support (18), la traverse (10) ayant un bord de règle (16) s'étendant dans une seconde direction (x) en parallèle de la surface de support (18), la surface de support étant définie par les bords de règle (16) des traverses, la structure de support comprenant en outre un certain nombre de mécanismes de réglage (20) pour régler les positions des bords de règle (16) dans la première direction (z),
    caractérisée en ce que chaque traverse (10) a une partie de base (12) et une partie de règle (14), la partie de règle (14) définissant le bord de règle (16) et étant reliée à la partie de base (12) par au moins trois mécanismes de réglage (20) distribués sur la longueur de la traverse, et chaque mécanisme de réglage (20) comprend un levier (22) qui est pivotable par rapport à la partie de base (12) autour d'un point d'appui fixe (22), est relié à la partie de règle (14) par une liaison articulée (26), et a un bras de réglage (28) avec une extrémité libre (30) qui est réglable dans sa position dans la première direction (z) par rapport à la partie de base (12).
     
    2. Structure de support selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle la partie de base (12), la partie de règle (14) et les leviers (22) de chaque traverse (10) sont constitués d'une tôle monobloc dans laquelle les contours des leviers (22), des points d'appui (24) et des liaisons (26) ont été découpés.
     
    3. Structure de support selon la revendication 2, dans laquelle la partie de base (12) présente une section transversale en forme de U avec deux jambes parallèles, la partie de règle (14) étant configurée comme une extension de l'une de ces jambes.
     
    4. Structure de support selon la revendication 3, dans laquelle une extrémité libre (30) de chaque levier (22) présente une patte (32) pliée à angles droits depuis le plan du levier et la partie de règle, et chaque mécanisme de réglage comprend une vis de réglage (34) passant à travers la patte (32) et une base de la partie de base en forme de U (12).
     
    5. Structure de support selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, pour supporter une bande transporteuse sur la surface de support (18), dans laquelle une pluralité de traverses (10) sont disposées en parallèle les unes des autres, de sorte que la seconde direction (x) est une direction de transport de la bande transporteuse, et dans laquelle une pluralité d'axes (38) s'étendent dans une direction (y) transverse à la seconde direction (x) et sont supportés sur les bords de règle (16) de chacune des traverses (10), chaque axe (38) portant un jeu de rouleaux (40) dont les sommets constituent la surface de support (18).
     
    6. Structure de support selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle la surface de support (18) constitue une paroi supérieure d'une caisse aspirante (44).
     
    7. Platine pour supports pour supporter des feuilles de supports dans une imprimante, caractérisée par une structure de support selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes.
     
    8. Imprimante, caractérisée par une platine pour supports selon la revendication 7.
     




    Drawing









    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