(19)
(11)EP 3 650 228 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 19208099.2

(22)Date of filing:  08.11.2019
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B41J 2/14  (2006.01)
B41J 2/18  (2006.01)
B41J 2/16  (2006.01)
(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
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 09.11.2018 JP 2018211470

(71)Applicant: SII Printek Inc
Chiba-shi Chiba 261-8507 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • KUBOTA, Yuzuru
    Chiba-shi, Chiba 261-8507 (JP)
  • NAKAMURA, Yuji
    Chiba-shi, Chiba (JP)
  • HORIGUCHI, Satoshi
    Chiba-shi, Chiba (JP)

(74)Representative: Miller Sturt Kenyon 
9 John Street
London WC1N 2ES
London WC1N 2ES (GB)

  


(54)LIQUID JET HEAD CHIP, LIQUID JET HEAD, AND LIQUID JET RECORDING DEVICE


(57) A liquid jet head chip capable of exerting an excellent ejection performance while having a compact configuration is provided. The liquid jet head chip is provided with an actuator plate, a common electrode, a common electrode pad for external connection, a cover plate, and a sealing plate. The actuator plate has an obverse surface, a reverse surface, and an ejection channel penetrating in a thickness direction and extending in a first direction perpendicular to the thickness direction. The common electrode is disposed on an inner surface of the ejection channel. The common electrode pad is disposed in an end part region in the first direction out of the reverse surface, and is coupled to the common electrode. The cover plate is disposed so as to be opposed to the obverse surface of the actuator plate, and has a liquid flow hole opposed to the ejection channel. The sealing plate is disposed so as to be opposed to a channel formation region other than the end part region out of the reverse surface of the actuator plate, and closes the ejection channel.




Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION



[0001] The present disclosure relates to a liquid jet head chip, a liquid jet head, and a liquid jet recording device.

BACKGROUND ART



[0002] As one of liquid jet recording devices, there is provided an inkjet type recording device for ejecting (jetting) ink (liquid) on a recording target medium such as recording paper to perform recording of images, characters, and so on (see, e.g., the specification of US Patent No. 8091987).

[0003] In the liquid jet recording device of this type, it is arranged so that the ink is supplied from an ink tank to an inkjet head (a liquid jet head), and then the ink is ejected from nozzle holes of the inkjet head toward the recording target medium to thereby perform recording of the images, the characters, and so on. Further, such an inkjet head is provided with a head chip for ejecting the ink.

[0004] In such a head chip or the like, it is required to be made compact in addition to having a stable ink ejection performance. Therefore, it is desired to provide a liquid jet head chip, a liquid jet head, and a liquid jet recording device capable of exerting an excellent ejection performance despite a compact configuration.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0005] A liquid jet head chip according to an embodiment of the present disclosure is provided with constituents described as (1) through (5) below:
  1. (1) an actuator plate having an obverse surface, a reverse surface, and an ejection channel penetrating in a thickness direction from the obverse surface toward the reverse surface, and extending in a first direction perpendicular to the thickness direction;
  2. (2) a common electrode disposed on an inner surface of the ejection channel;
  3. (3) a common electrode pad which is used for external connection, is disposed in an end part region in the first direction out of the reverse surface and is coupled to the common electrode;
  4. (4) a cover plate which is disposed so as to be opposed to the obverse surface of the actuator plate, and has a liquid flow hole opposed to the ejection channel; and
  5. (5) a sealing plate which is disposed so as to be opposed to a channel formation region other than the end part region out of the reverse surface of the actuator plate, and closes the ejection channel.


[0006] A liquid jet head according to an embodiment of the present disclosure is equipped with the liquid head chip according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0007] A liquid jet recording device according to an embodiment of the present disclosure is equipped with the liquid jet head according to an embodiment of the present disclosure, and a base to which the liquid jet head is attached.

[0008] According to the liquid jet head chip, the liquid jet head, and the liquid jet recording device related to an embodiment of the present disclosure, it is possible to exert an excellent ejection performance while having a compact configuration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0009] Embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of further example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view showing a schematic configuration example of a liquid jet recording device according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram showing a schematic configuration example of a liquid jet head and an ink circulation mechanism shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is another cross-sectional view of the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6A is a cross-sectional view showing a cross-sectional surface perpendicular to an extending direction of an ejection channel in an actuator plate of the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6B is an enlarged cross-sectional view showing, in an enlarged manner, the actuator plate of the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 6A.

FIG. 6C is an enlarged cross-sectional view showing, in a further enlarged manner, an end part of the actuator plate of the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 6B.

FIG. 6D is an enlarged cross-sectional view showing, in a further enlarged manner, a central part of the actuator plate of the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 6B.

FIG. 6E is a schematic diagram showing, in an enlarged manner, a configuration of the ejection channel shown in FIG. 6A.

FIG. 7 is a partially broken perspective view showing, in an enlarged manner, a part of the liquid jet head chip shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing, in an enlarged manner, a cover plate shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 9A is a cross-sectional view showing one process of a method of manufacturing the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 9B is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 9A.

FIG. 9C is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 9B.

FIG. 9D is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 9C.

FIG. 9E is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 9D.

FIG. 9F is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 9E.

FIG. 9G is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 9F.

FIG. 9H is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 9G.

FIG. 9I is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 9H.

FIG. 9J is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 9I.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view showing, in an enlarged manner, the actuator plate shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 11 is a plan view showing one process for forming a cover plate included in a method of manufacturing the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view showing one process following the process shown in FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a plan view showing a process of manufacturing a flow channel plate included in the method of manufacturing the liquid jet head shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view of a liquid jet head according to Modified Example 1.

FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional view of a liquid jet head according to Modified Example 2.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0010] An embodiment of the present disclosure will hereinafter be described in detail with reference to the drawings. It should be noted that the description will be presented in the following order.
  1. 1. Embodiment (an example of an edge-shoot type inkjet head in which a flow channel plate is disposed between a pair of head chips, and which performs ink circulation)
  2. 2. Modified Examples

    Modified Example 1 (an example of an edge-shoot type inkjet head in which a flow channel plate is disposed between a pair of head chips, and which does not perform ink circulation)

    Modified Example 2 (an example of an edge-shoot type inkjet head in which a head chip is disposed on one side of a flow channel plate, and which performs ink circulation)

  3. 3. Other Modified Examples

<1. Embodiment>


[Overall Configuration of Printer 1]



[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view schematically showing a schematic configuration example of a printer 1 as a liquid jet recording device according to an embodiment of the present disclosure. The printer 1 is an inkjet printer for performing recording (printing) of images, characters, and so on on recording paper P as a recording target medium using ink.

[0012] As shown in FIG. 1, the printer 1 is provided with a pair of carrying mechanisms 2a, 2b, ink tanks 3, inkjet heads 4, supply tubes 50, a scanning mechanism 6, and an ink circulation mechanism 8. These members are housed in a housing 10 having a predetermined shape. It should be noted that the scale size of each of the members is accordingly altered so that the member is shown large enough to recognize in the drawings used in the description of the specification.

[0013] Here, the printer 1 corresponds to a specific example of the "liquid jet recording device" in the present disclosure, and the inkjet heads 4 (the inkjet heads 4Y, 4M, 4C, and 4K described later) each correspond to a specific example of the "liquid jet head" in the present disclosure.

[0014] The carrying mechanisms 2a, 2b are each a mechanism for carrying the recording paper P along the carrying direction d (an X-axis direction) as shown in FIG. 1. These carrying mechanisms 2a, 2b each have a grit roller 21, a pinch roller 22 and a drive mechanism (not shown). The grit roller 21 and the pinch roller 22 are each disposed so as to extend along a Y-axis direction (the width direction of the recording paper P). The drive mechanism is a mechanism for rotating (rotating in a Z-X plane) the grit roller 21 around an axis, and is constituted by, for example, a motor.

(Ink Tanks 3)



[0015] The ink tanks 3 are each a tank for containing the ink inside. As the ink tanks 3, there are disposed four tanks for individually containing four colors of ink, namely yellow (Y), magenta (M), cyan (C), and black (K), in this example as shown in FIG. 1. In other words, there are disposed the ink tank 3Y for containing the yellow ink, the ink tank 3M for containing the magenta ink, the ink tank 3C for containing the cyan ink, and the ink tank 3K for containing the black ink. These ink tanks 3Y, 3M, 3C, and 3K are arranged side by side along the X-axis direction inside the housing 10.

[0016] It should be noted that the ink tanks 3Y, 3M, 3C, and 3K have the same configuration except the color of the ink contained, and are therefore collectively referred to as ink tanks 3 in the following description.

(Inkjet Heads 4)



[0017] The inkjet heads 4 are each a head for jetting (ejecting) the ink having a droplet shape from a plurality of nozzles 78 described later to the recording paper P to thereby perform recording of images, characters, and so on. As the inkjet heads 4, there are also disposed four heads for individually jetting the four colors of ink respectively contained in the ink tanks 3Y, 3M, 3C, and 3K described above in this example as shown in FIG. 1. In other words, there are disposed the inkjet head 4Y for jetting the yellow ink, the inkjet head 4M for jetting the magenta ink, the inkjet head 4C for jetting the cyan ink, and the inkjet head 4K for jetting the black ink. These inkjet heads 4Y, 4M, 4C and 4K are arranged side by side along the Y-axis direction inside the housing 10.

[0018] It should be noted that the inkjet heads 4Y, 4M, 4C, and 4K have the same configuration except the color of the ink used, and are therefore collectively referred to as inkjet heads 4 in the following description. Further, the detailed configuration of the inkjet heads 4 will be described later (see FIG. 2 and so on).

[0019] The supply tubes 50 are each a tube for supplying the ink from the inside of the ink tank 3 to the inside of the inkjet head 4.

(Scanning Mechanism 6)



[0020] The scanning mechanism 6 is a mechanism for making the inkjet heads 4 perform a scanning operation along the width direction (the Y-axis direction) of the recording paper P. As shown in FIG. 1, the scanning mechanism 6 has a pair of guide rails 31, 32 disposed so as to extend along the Y-axis direction, a carriage 33 movably supported by these guide rails 31, 32, and a drive mechanism 34 for moving the carriage 33 along the Y-axis direction. Further, the drive mechanism 34 has a pair of pulleys 35, 36 disposed between the guide rails 31, 32, an endless belt 37 wound between the pair of pulleys 35, 36, and a drive motor 38 for rotationally driving the pulley 35.

[0021] The pulleys 35, 36 are respectively disposed in areas corresponding to the vicinities of both ends in each of the guide rails 31, 32 along the Y-axis direction. To the endless belt 37, there is coupled the carriage 33. The carriage 33 has a base 33a having a plate-like shape for mounting the four types of inkjet heads 4Y, 4M, 4C, and 4K described above, and a wall section 33b erected vertically (in the Z-axis direction) from the base 33a. On the base 33a, the inkjet heads 4Y, 4M, 4C, and 4K are arranged side by side along the Y-axis direction.

[0022] It should be noted that it is arranged that there is constituted a moving mechanism for moving the inkjet heads 4 and the recording paper P relatively to each other by such a scanning mechanism 6 and the carrying mechanisms 2a, 2b described above.

(Ink Circulation Mechanism 8)



[0023] FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram showing a schematic configuration example of the ink circulation mechanism 8. The ink circulation mechanism 8 is a mechanism for circulating the ink between the ink tank 3 and the inkjet head 4, and is provided with a circulation flow channel 83 constituted by an ink supply tube 81 and an ink discharge tube 82, a pressure pump 84 provided to the ink supply tube 81, and a suction pump 85 provided to the ink discharge tube 82. The ink supply tube 81 and the ink discharge tube 82 are each formed of, for example, a flexible hose having flexibility to the extent of being capable of following the action of the scanning mechanism 6 for supporting the inkjet heads 4.

[0024] The pressure pump 84 is for pressurizing the inside of the ink supply tube 81 to deliver the ink to the inkjet head 4 through the ink supply tube 81. Due to the function of the pressure pump 84, the inside of the ink supply tube 81 between the pressure pump 84 and the inkjet head 4 is provided with positive pressure with respect to the inkjet head 4.

[0025] The suction pump 85 is for depressurizing the inside of the ink discharge tube 82 to suction the ink from the inkjet head 4 through the ink discharge tube 82. Due to the function of the suction pump 85, the inside of the ink discharge tube 82 between the suction pump 85 and the inkjet head 4 is provided with negative pressure with respect to the inkjet head 4. It is arranged that the ink can circulate between the inkjet head 4 and the ink tank 3 through the circulation flow channel 83 by driving the pressure pump 84 and the suction pump 85. It should be noted that the ink circulation mechanism 8 is not limited to the configuration described above, but can also be provided with other configurations.

[Detailed Configuration of Inkjet Heads 4]



[0026] Then, the detailed configuration example of the inkjet heads 4 will be described with reference to FIG. 3 through FIG. 6E in addition to FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing the detailed configuration example of the inkjet heads 4. FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view showing a configuration example of the Y-Z cross-sectional surface including ejection channels 54 (described later) of a head chip 40A (described later) and dummy channels 55 (described later) of a head chip 40B in the inkjet head 4. FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view showing a configuration example of the Y-Z cross-sectional surface including the dummy channels 55 (described later) of the head chip 40A and the ejection channels 54 (described later) of the head chip 40B in the inkjet head 4. FIG. 6A is a cross-sectional view showing a cross-sectional surface (X-Y cross-sectional surface) perpendicular to the extending direction (the Z-axis direction) of the ejection channels 54 and the dummy channels 55 in the inkjet head 4. FIG. 6B is an enlarged cross-sectional view showing, in an enlarged manner, the cross-sectional surface (the X-Y cross-sectional surface) of the inkjet head 4 shown in FIG. 6A. It should be noted that in FIG. 6B, out of the parts of the inkjet head 4, both end parts (end parts R4, L4) in the X-axis direction and a central part C4 in the X-axis direction are shown, and a part between the end part R4 and the central part C4, and a part between the end part L4 and the central part C4 are omitted from the illustration. In FIG. 6B, a center line CL represented by the dashed-dotted line represents a central position in the X-axis direction in the inkjet head 4. It should be noted that in FIGS. 9A through 9J described later, the both end parts (the end parts R4, L4) in the X-axis direction, and the central part C4 in the X-axis direction of the inkjet head 4 are shown, and the parts between the both end parts (the end parts R4, L4) and the central part C4 are omitted from the illustration in a similar manner. FIG. 6C is a cross-sectional view showing, in an enlarged manner, a part of the end part L4 out of the parts of the inkjet head 4 shown in FIG. 6B, and FIG. 6D is a cross-sectional view showing, in an enlarged manner, a part of the central part C4 out of the parts of the inkjet head 4 shown in FIG. 6B. It should be noted that since the end part R4 out of the parts of the inkjet head 4 has a cross-sectional configuration substantially line-symmetric with the end part L4 about the center line CL (FIG. 6B) as the axis of symmetry, the description and the illustration of the end part R4 are omitted in the present specification. Further, FIG. 6E is a schematic diagram showing a configuration of the ejection channel 54 along the Y-Z plane in an enlarged manner. FIG. 7 is a partially broken perspective view showing a part of the head chip 40 in an enlarged manner.

[0027]  As shown in FIG. 3, the inkjet head 4 is provided with the pair of head chips 40A, 40B, a flow channel plate 41, an entrance manifold 42, an exit manifold (not shown), a return plate 43, and a nozzle plate (jet plate) 44. The inkjet head 4 is of a circulation type (an edge-shoot circulation type) for circulating the ink between the inkjet head 4 and the ink tank 3 out of so-called edge-shoot types for ejecting the ink from a tip part in the extending direction (the Z-axis direction) of the ejection channel 54.

(Head Chips 40A, 40B)



[0028] The pair of head chips 40A, 40B have respective configurations substantially the same as each other, and are disposed at substantially symmetrical positions so as to have substantially symmetric postures across the flow channel plate 41 in the Y-axis direction. Hereinafter, the description will be presented collectively referring the pair of head chips 40A, 40B as head chips 40 unless the discrimination therebetween is particularly required. It should be noted that the head chip 40 corresponds to a specific example of a "liquid jet head chip" in the present disclosure. The head chip 40 is provided with a cover plate 52, an actuator plate 51, and a sealing plate 53 in this order from a position near to the flow channel plate 41.

(Actuator Plate 51)



[0029] The actuator plate 51 is a plate-like member expanding along the X-Z plane having the X-axis direction as the longitudinal direction, and the Z-axis direction as the short-side direction, and has a first surface 51f1 opposed to the cover plate 52, and a second surface 51f2 opposed to the sealing plate 53. It should be noted that the "first surface 51f1" is a specific example corresponding to an "obverse surface" of the present disclosure, and the "second surface 51f2" is a specific example corresponding to a "reverse surface" of the present disclosure. As shown in FIG. 7, the second surface 51f2 includes an end part region R1 and a channel forming region R2. The end part region R1 is a part exposed outside without overlapping the sealing plate 53, and the channel forming region R2 is a part in which the ejection channels 54 and the dummy channels 55 are formed, and which overlaps the sealing plate 53. The actuator plate 51 is a stacked substrate of a so-called chevron type obtained by stacking two piezoelectric substrates 51a, 51b having respective polarization directions different from each other in a thickness direction (the Y-axis direction) from the first surface 51f1 toward the second surface 51f2 (see FIGS. 6A through 6E). As those piezoelectric substrates 51a, 51b, there are preferably used ceramics substrates formed of a piezoelectric material such as PZT (lead zirconate titanate).

[0030] The actuator plate 51 has the plurality of ejection channels 54 and the plurality of dummy channels 55 penetrating in the thickness direction (the Y-axis direction), and each linearly extending in the Z-axis direction. The ejection channels 54 and the dummy channels 55 are alternately disposed so as to be separated from each other in the X-axis direction. The discharge channels 54 and the dummy channels 55 are separated by drive walls 56, respectively. Therefore, the actuator plate 51 has a structure in which channels each having a slit-like shape are arranged in a cross-sectional surface (the X-Y cross-sectional surface) perpendicular to the Z-axis direction (see FIGS. 6A through 6E). It should be noted that the "ejection channels 54" and the "dummy channels 55" are specific examples corresponding to "ejection channels" and "non-ejection channels" in the present disclosure, respectively.

[0031] The ejection channels 54 are each a part functioning as a pressure chamber for applying pressure to the ink, and each have a pair of inner surfaces 541 opposed to each other in the X-axis direction. The pair of inner surfaces 541 are each a plane parallel to the Y-Z plane, for example. A lower end part of each of the ejection channels 54 is disposed so as to extend to a lower end surface 511 (a surface opposed to the return plate 43) of the actuator plate 51 as shown in FIG. 7 to form an opening 54K opposed to the return plate 43. The opening 54K is an ejection end from which the ink is ejected. In contrast, an upper end part of each of the ejection channels 54 terminates within the actuator plate 51 without reaching an upper end surface (a surface on an opposite side to the return plate 43) 512 of the actuator plate 51. In other words, the vicinity of the upper end part of each of the ejection channels 54 forms a closed end located between the lower end surface 511 and the upper end surface 512, and including a tilted surface 54b, and is formed so that the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) gradually decreases in a direction toward the upper end surface 512. In other words, the closed end 54T as an end part in the Z-axis direction in each of the ejection channels 54 includes the tilted surface 54b facing the cover plate 52 with a tilt. Therefore, a distance L1 from a crossing position between the tilted surface 54b and the second surface 51f2 to the lower end surface 511 as an ejection end is shorter than a second distance L2 from a crossing position between the tilted surface 54b and the first surface 51f1 to the lower end surface 511 (see FIG. 4). It should be noted that the lower end surface 511 and the upper end surface 512 are specific examples corresponding to a "front end surface" and a "back end surface" in the present disclosure, respectively.

[0032] The inner surfaces 541 of the ejection channel 54 each include a part covered with a common electrode 61 continuously, for example, from the first surface 51f1 to the second surface 51f2. As shown in FIG. 6B, the common electrode 61 has a first common electrode part 61A and a second common electrode part 61B. The first common electrode part 61A is disposed so as to cover the inner surface 541 of the ejection channel 54 continuously from the first surface 51f1 toward the second surface 51f2. The second common electrode part 61B is disposed so as to cover the inner surface 541 of the ejection channel 54 continuously from the second surface 51f2 toward the first surface 51f1, and at the same time so as to overlap at least a part of the first common electrode part 61A. Here, it is also possible for the first common electrode part 61A to cover the inner surface 541 continuously from the first surface 51f1 to the second surface 51f2, or to cover the inner surface 541 continuously from the first surface 51f1 halfway to the second surface 51f2. Similarly, it is also possible for the second common electrode part 61B to cover the inner surface 541 continuously from the second surface 51f2 to the first surface 51f1, or to cover the inner surface 541 continuously from the second surface 51f2 halfway to the first surface 51f1. Further, in some cases, the first common electrode part 61A has a part in which the film thickness of the first common electrode part 61A decreases in a direction of approaching from the first surface 51f1 to the second surface 51f2 as shown in FIG. 6B. Similarly, in some cases, the second common electrode part 61B has a part in which the film thickness of the second common electrode part 61B decreases in a direction of approaching from the second surface 51f2 to the first surface 51f1. In that case, it is preferable for the common electrode 61 to be formed so that a part relatively small in film thickness of the first common electrode part 61A and a part relatively small in film thickness of the second common electrode part 61B overlap each other.

[0033] With reference to FIG. 6C and FIG. 6D, the common electrode 61 will be described in more detail. Firstly, with reference to FIG. 6C, a cross-sectional configuration of the end part L4 of the inkjet head 4 will be described in detail. As shown in FIG. 6C, in the end part L4, the thickness TA1 of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on an inward side surface 541A facing to the center line CL out of the inner surfaces 541 of the ejection channel 54 is thicker than the thickness TA2 of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on an outward side surface 541B facing to an opposite side to the center line CL out of the inner surfaces 541 of the ejection channel 54. The thickness TA1 mentioned here is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the inward-facing side surface (hereinafter abbreviated to the inward side surface) 541A in the end part L4. In other words, in the end part L4, the thickness TA1 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the first surface 51f1 in the Y-axis direction out of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the inward side surface 541A. Further, the thickness TA2 is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the outward-facing side surface (hereinafter abbreviated to the outward side surface) 541B in the end part L4. In other words, in the end part L4, the thickness TA2 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the first surface 51f1 in the Y-axis direction out of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. Further, in the end part L4, the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H61A1 of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the inward side surface 541A is shallower than the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H61A2 of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. It should be noted that in the example of FIG. 6C, the depth H61A2 of the first common electrode part 61A is substantially the same as the thickness of the actuator plate 51.

[0034] In the end part L4 of the inkjet head 4, the thickness TB1 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A out of the inner surfaces 541 of the ejection channel 54 is thicker than the thickness TB2 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. The thickness TB1 mentioned here is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A in the end part L4. In other words, in the end part L4, the thickness TB1 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the second surface 51f2 in the Y-axis direction out of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A. Further, in the end part L4, the thickness TB2 is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. In other words, in the end part L4, the thickness TB2 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the second surface 51f2 in the Y-axis direction out of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. Further, in the end part L4, the depth H61B1 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A is shallower than the depth H61B2 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. It should be noted that in the example of FIG. 6C, the depth H61B2 of the second common electrode part 61B is substantially the same as the thickness of the actuator plate 51.

[0035] Then, as shown in FIG. 6D, in the central part C4 in the X-axis direction out of the inkjet head 4, the thickness TA3 of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the inward side surface 541A and the thickness TA4 of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the outward side surface 541B are roughly equivalent to each other. The thickness TA3 and the thickness TA4 are both thinner than the thickness TA1 and thicker than the thickness TA2. The thickness TA3 mentioned here is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the inward side surface 541A in the central part C4. In other words, in the central part C4, the thickness TA3 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the first surface 51f1 in the Y-axis direction out of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the inward side surface 541A. Further, the thickness TA4 is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the outward side surface 541B in the central part C4. In other words, in the central part C4, the thickness TA4 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the first surface 51f1 in the Y-axis direction out of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. Further, in the central part C4, the depth H61A3 of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the inward side surface 541A is roughly equivalent to the depth H61A4 of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. It should be noted that the depth H61A3 and the depth H61A4 are both deeper than the depth H61A1, and shallower than the depth H61A2. It should be noted that the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the inward side surface 541A continuously changes so as to gradually increase in a direction from the end part L4 (or the end part R4) toward the central part C4. The depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the outward side surface 541B continuously changes so as to gradually decrease in the direction from the end part L4 (or the end part R4) toward the central part C4.

[0036] In the central part C4 of the inkjet head 4, the thickness TB3 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A out of the inner surfaces 541 of the ejection channel 54 and the thickness TB4 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the outward side surface 541B are roughly equivalent to each other. The thickness TB3 and the thickness TB4 are both thinner than the thickness TA1 and thicker than the thickness TA2. The thickness TB3 mentioned here is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A in the central part C4. In other words, in the central part C4, the thickness TB3 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the second surface 51f2 in the Y-axis direction out of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A. Further, the thickness TB4 is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the second common electrode part 61B formed on the outward side surface 541B in the central part C4. In other words, in the central part C4, the thickness TB4 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the second surface 51f2 in the Y-axis direction out of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. Further, in the central part C4, the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H61B3 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A is roughly equivalent to the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H61B4 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the outward side surface 541B. It should be noted that the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A continuously changes so as to gradually increase in the direction from the end part L4 (or the end part R4) toward the central part C4. The depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) of the second common electrode part 61B formed on the outward side surface 541B continuously changes so as to gradually decrease in the direction from the end part L4 (or the end part R4) toward the central part C4.

[0037] Further, as shown in FIG. 6E, the closed end 54T as an end part in the Z-axis direction in the ejection channel 54 includes an exposed part in which the second common electrode part 61B is not formed, but the inner surface 541 of the ejection channel 54 or the first common electrode part 61A is exposed. This is a configuration caused by the manufacturing process of the common electrode 61. Since the closed end 54T includes the tilted surface 54b facing the cover plate 52 with a tilt, when forming the second common electrode part 61B by an evaporation method from the second surface 51f2 on the opposite side to the cover plate 52, it results in that the second common electrode part 61B is not formed on the inner surface 541 or the first common electrode part 61A in the closed end 54T.

[0038] The common electrode 61 is connected to a common electrode pad 62. The common electrode pad 62 is formed so as to cover a part of the peripheral part of the upper end part of the ejection channel 54 in the second surface 51f2. The common electrode pad 62 is disposed so as to extend from the peripheral part to the end part region R1 of the ejection channel 54 in the second surface 51f2. It should be noted that the common electrode 61 is a specific example corresponding to a "common electrode" or an "electrode" of the present disclosure, and the common electrode pad 62 is a specific example corresponding to a "common electrode pad" of the present disclosure.

[0039] Further, it is desirable that the depths H61B1, H61B3 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the inward side surface 541A are shallower than the depths H61A1, H61A3 of the first common electrode part 61A to be formed on the inward side surface 541A. It should be noted that it is possible for the depths H61B1, H61B3 to be equivalent to the depths H61A1, H61A3, or it is also possible for the depths H61B1, H61B3 to be made deeper than the depths H61A1, H61A3. Similarly, it is desirable that the depths H61B2, H61B4 of the second common electrode part 61B to be formed on the outward side surface 541B are shallower than the depths H61A2, H61A4 of the first common electrode part 61A. It should be noted that it is possible for the depths H61B2, H61B4 to be equivalent to the depths H61A2, H61A4, or it is also possible for the depths H61B2, H61B4 to be made deeper than the depths H61A2, H61A4.

[0040] As shown in FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, the dummy channels 55 each have a pair of inner surfaces 551 opposed to each other in the X-axis direction. The pair of inner surfaces 551 are each a plane parallel to the Y-Z plane, for example. The pair of inner surfaces 551 are each covered, for example, entirely with an individual electrode 63. As shown in FIG. 6B, the individual electrode 63 has a first individual electrode part 63A and a second individual electrode part 63B. The first individual electrode part 63A is disposed so as to cover the inner surface 551 of the dummy channel 55 continuously from the first surface 51f1 toward the second surface 51f2. The second individual electrode part 63B is disposed so as to cover the inner surface 551 of the dummy channel 55 continuously from the second surface 51f2 toward the first surface 51f1, and at the same time so as to overlap at least a part of the first individual electrode part 63A. Here, it is also possible for the first individual electrode part 63A to cover the inner surface 551 continuously from the first surface 51f1 to the second surface 51f2, or to cover the inner surface 551 continuously from the first surface 51f1 halfway to the second surface 51f2. Similarly, it is also possible for the second individual electrode part 63B to cover the inner surface 551 continuously from the second surface 51f2 to the first surface 51f1, or to cover the inner surface 551 continuously from the second surface 51f2 halfway to the first surface 51f1. Further, in some cases, the first individual electrode part 63A has a part in which the film thickness of the first individual electrode part 63A decreases in a direction of approaching from the first surface 51f1 to the second surface 51f2 as shown in FIG. 6B. Similarly, in some cases, the second individual electrode part 63B has a part in which the film thickness of the second individual electrode part 63B decreases in a direction of approaching from the second surface 51f2 to the first surface 51f1. In that case, it is preferable for the individual electrode 63 to be formed so that a part relatively small in film thickness of the first individual electrode part 63A and a part relatively small in film thickness of the second individual electrode part 63B overlap each other.

[0041] With reference to FIG. 6C and FIG. 6D, the individual electrode 63 will be described in more detail. Firstly, as shown in FIG. 6C, in the end part L4 of the inkjet head 4, the thickness TA5 of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on an inward (that is, inward-facing) side surface 551A facing to the center line CL out of the inner surfaces 551 of the dummy channel 55 is thicker than the thickness TA6 of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on an outward (that is, outward-facing) side surface 551B facing to the opposite side to the center line CL out of the inner surfaces 551 of the dummy channel 55. The thickness TA5 mentioned here is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the inward side surface 551A in the end part L4. In other words, in the end part L4, the thickness TA5 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the first surface 51f1 in the Y-axis direction out of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the inward side surface 551A. Further, the thickness TA6 is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the outward side surface 551B in the end part L4. In other words, in the end part L4, the thickness TA6 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the first surface 51f1 in the Y-axis direction out of the first individual electrode part 63A formed on the outward side surface 551B. Further, in the end part L4, the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H63A5 of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the inward side surface 551A is shallower than the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H63A6 of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the outward side surface 551B. It should be noted that in the example of FIG. 6C, the depth H63A6 of the first individual electrode part 63A is substantially the same as the thickness of the actuator plate 51.

[0042] In the end part L4, the thickness TB5 of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the inward side surface 551A out of the inner surfaces 551 of the dummy channel 55 is thicker than the thickness TB6 of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the outward side surface 551B. The thickness TB5 mentioned here is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the second individual electrode part 63B formed on the inward side surface 551A in the end part L4. In other words, in the end part L4, the thickness TB5 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the second surface 51f2 in the Y-axis direction out of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the inward side surface 551A. Further, in the end part L4, the thickness TB6 is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the outward side surface 551B. In other words, in the end part L4, the thickness TB6 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the second surface 51f2 in the Y-axis direction out of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the outward side surface 551B. Further, in the end part L4, the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H63B5 of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the inward side surface 551A is shallower than the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H63B6 of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the outward side surface 551B. It should be noted that in the example of FIG. 6C, the depth H63B6 of the second individual electrode part 63B is substantially the same as the thickness of the actuator plate 51.

[0043]  Then, as shown in FIG. 6D, in the central part C4 of the inkjet head 4, the thickness TA7 of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the inward side surface 551A and the thickness TA8 of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the outward side surface 551B are roughly equivalent to each other. The thickness TA7 and the thickness TA8 are both thinner than the thickness TA5 and thicker than the thickness TA6. The thickness TA7 mentioned here is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the inward side surface 551A in the central part C4. In other words, in the central part C4, the thickness TA7 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the first surface 51f1 in the Y-axis direction out of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the inward side surface 551A. Further, the thickness TA8 is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the outward side surface 551B in the central part C4. In other words, in the central part C4, the thickness TA8 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the first surface 51f1 in the Y-axis direction out of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the outward side surface 551B. Further, in the central part C4, the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H63A7 of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the inward side surface 551A is roughly equivalent to the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H63A8 of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the outward side surface 551B. It should be noted that the depth H63A7 and the depth H63A8 are both deeper than the depth H63A5, and shallower than the depth H63A6. It should be noted that the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the inward side surface 551A continuously changes so as to gradually increase in the direction from the end part L4 (or the end part R4) toward the central part C4. The depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) of the first individual electrode part 63A to be formed on the outward side surface 551B continuously changes so as to gradually decrease in the direction from the end part L4 (or the end part R4) toward the central part C4.

[0044] In the central part C4 of the inkjet head 4, the thickness TB7 of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the inward side surface 551A out of the inner surfaces 551 of the dummy channel 55 and the thickness TB8 of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the outward side surface 551B are roughly equivalent to each other. The thickness TB7 and the thickness TB8 are both thinner than the thickness TB5 and thicker than the thickness TB6. The thickness TB7 mentioned here is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the inward side surface 551A in the central part C4. In other words, in the central part C4, the thickness TB7 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the second surface 51f2 in the Y-axis direction out of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the inward side surface 551A. Further, the thickness TB8 is a dimension in the X-axis direction of the thickest part of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the outward side surface 551B in the central part C4. In other words, in the central part C4, the thickness TB8 is a dimension in the X-axis direction at the nearest position to the second surface 51f2 in the Y-axis direction out of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the outward side surface 551B. Further, in the central part C4, the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H63B7 of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the inward side surface 551A is roughly equivalent to the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) H63B8 of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the outward side surface 551B. It should be noted that the depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the inward side surface 551A continuously changes so as to gradually increase in the direction from the end part L4 (or the end part R4) toward the central part C4. The depth (the dimension in the Y-axis direction) of the second individual electrode part 63B to be formed on the outward side surface 551B continuously changes so as to gradually decrease in the direction from the end part L4 (or the end part R4) toward the central part C4.

[0045] Further, the pair of individual electrodes 63 for respectively covering the pair of inner surfaces 551 in the dummy channel 55 are isolated from each other. The individual electrodes 63 are coupled to individual electrode pads 64 each covering a part of the end part region R1 of the second surface 51f2. It should be noted that in the present embodiment, the individual electrode pads 64 are each disposed so as to extend in a part located above the common electrode pad 62 out of the peripheral part. The individual electrode pads 64 each couple a pair of individual electrodes 63 adjacent to each other across the ejection channel 54. Here, the individual electrodes 63 and the individual electrode pad 64 are electrically isolated from the common electrodes 61 and the common electrode pad 62. It should be noted that the individual electrode 63 is a specific example corresponding to an "individual electrode" of the present disclosure, and the individual electrode pad 64 is a specific example corresponding to an "individual electrode pad" of the present disclosure. The common electrode pads 62 and the individual electrode pads 64 are coupled to an external wiring board (a flexible printed board) 45 (see FIG. 4 and FIG. 5). It should be noted that the common electrode pads 62 and the individual electrode pads 64 are electrically separated from each other.

(Cover Plate 52)



[0046] The cover plate 52 is a plate-like member having the X-axis direction as the longitudinal direction and the Z-axis direction as the short-side direction, and extending along the X-Z plane. The cover plate 52 has an opposed surface 52f1 opposed to the first surface 51f1 of the actuator plate 51.

[0047] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the cover plate 52 viewed from the flow channel plate 41 side. The cover plate 52 is provided with a liquid supply channel 70 penetrating the cover plate 52 in the Y-axis direction (the thickness direction), and at the same time communicated with the ejection channels 54. The liquid supply channel 70 is a specific example corresponding to a "liquid flow hole" in the present disclosure. The liquid supply channel 70 includes a common ink chamber 71 opening on the flow channel plate 41 side in the Y-axis direction, and a plurality of slits 72 each communicated with the common ink chamber 71, and at the same time opening on the actuator plate 51 side in the Y-axis direction. The plurality of slits 72 is disposed at positions corresponding to the plurality of ejection channels 54. The common ink chamber 71 is disposed commonly to the plurality of slits 72, and is communicated with the ejection channels 54 through the plurality of slits 72. The common ink chamber 71 is not communicated with the dummy channels 55.

[0048] The common ink chamber 71 is provided to an opposed surface 52f2 opposed to the flow channel plate 41 in the cover plate 52. The common ink chamber 71 is disposed at substantially the same position as the tilted surfaces 54b of the ejection channels 54 in the Z-axis direction. The common ink chamber 71 is formed to have a groove-like shape recessed toward the opposed surface 52f1, and at the same time extending in the X-axis direction. It is arranged that the ink inflows into the common ink chamber 71 through the flow channel plate 41.

[0049] The plurality of slits 72 is provided to the opposed surface 52f1 opposed to the actuator plate 51. The plurality of slits 72 is arranged at positions each overlapping a part of the common ink chamber 71 in the Y-axis direction. The plurality of slits 72 is communicated with the common ink chamber 71 and the plurality of ejection channels 54. It is desirable for the width in the X-axis direction of each of the slits 72 to substantially the same as the width in the X-axis direction of each of the ejection channels 54.

[0050] It should be noted that it is preferable for the cover plate 52 to be formed of a material having an insulating property, and having thermal conductivity equal to or higher than the thermal conductivity of a material constituting the actuator plate 51. For example, in the case of forming the actuator plate 51 with PZT, it is preferable for the cover plate 52 to be formed of PZT or silicon. This is because thus the difference between the temperature of the cover plate 52 of the head chip 40A and the temperature of the cover plate 52 of the head chip 40B is reduced, and it is possible to achieve the homogenization of the ink temperature inside the inkjet head 4. As a result, the variation in ejection speed of the ink is reduced, and the printing stability is improved.

(Sealing Plate 53)



[0051] The sealing plate 53 is a plate-like member having the X-axis direction as the longitudinal direction and the Z-axis direction as the short-side direction, and extending along the X-Z plane similarly to the cover plate 52. The sealing plate 53 has a lower end surface 531 coinciding with the lower end surface 511 of the actuator plate 51 and a lower end surface 521 of the cover plate 52 in the Z-axis direction, and an upper end surface 532 located on an opposite side to the lower end surface 531 in the Z-axis direction (see FIG. 3). The upper end surface 532 is located at a position retracting from the upper end surface 512 and an upper end surface 522 in the Z-axis direction. The sealing plate 53 further has an opposed surface 53f1 opposed to the second surface 51f2 of the actuator plate 51. The sealing plate 53 is disposed so that the opposed surface 53f1 faces the channel forming region R2 out of the second surface 51f2 of the actuator plate 51. Therefore, it is arranged that the plurality of ejection channels 54 and the plurality of dummy channels 55 are closed by the sealing plate 53 and the cover plate 52. The sealing plate 53 is not required to have an opening, a cutout, a groove, or the like. In other words, since it is sufficient for the sealing plate 53 to be a simple rectangular solid, it is possible to use a functional material difficult to fabricate, or a low-price material difficult to obtain high processing accuracy as the constituent material thereof. Therefore, the degree of freedom of selection of a material type is enhanced.

(Arrangement Relationship Between Pair of Head Chips 40A, 40B)



[0052] As shown in FIG. 3, the pair of head chips 40A, 40B are disposed across the flow channel plate 41 in the Y-axis direction in the state in which the respective opposed surfaces 52f2 are opposed to each other in the Y-axis direction.

[0053] The ejection channels 54 and the dummy channels 55 of the head chip 40B are arranged so as to be shifted as much as a half pitch in the X-axis direction with respect to the arrangement pitch of the ejection channels 54 and the dummy channels 55 of the head chip 40A. In other words, the ejection channels 54 and the dummy channels 55 of the head chip 40A and the ejection channels 54 and the dummy channels 55 of the head chip 40B are arranged in a zigzag manner.

[0054] Therefore, as shown in FIG. 4, the ejection channels 54 of the head chip 40A and the dummy channels 55 of the head chip 40B are opposed to each other in the Y-axis direction. Similarly, as shown in FIG. 5, the dummy channels 55 of the head chip 40A and the ejection channels 54 of the head chip 40B are opposed to each other in the Y-axis direction. It should be noted that the pitch of the ejection channels 54 and the dummy channels 55 in each of the head chips 40A, 40B can arbitrarily be changed.

(Flow Channel Plate 41)



[0055] The flow channel plate 41 is sandwiched between the head chip 40A and the head chip 40B in the Y-axis direction. It is preferable for the flow channel plate 41 to be integrally formed of the same member. As shown in FIG. 3, the flow channel plate 41 has a rectangular plate-like shape having the X-axis direction as the longitudinal direction, and the Z-axis direction as the short-side direction. When viewed from the Y-axis direction, the outer shape of the flow channel plate 41 is substantially the same as the outer shape of the cover plate 52.

[0056] To a principal surface 41f1 (a surface facing the head chip 40A) in the Y-axis direction of the flow channel plate 41, there is bonded the opposed surface 52f2 in the head chip 40A. To a principal surface 41f2 (a surface facing the head chip 40B) in the Y-axis direction of the flow channel plate 41, there is bonded the opposed surface 52f2 in the head chip 40B.

[0057] As shown in FIG. 4 and FIG. 5, to the principal surfaces 41f1, 41f2 of the flow channel plate 41, there are respectively provided entrance flow channels 74 individually communicated with the common ink chamber 71, and exit flow channels 75 individually communicated with circulation channels 76 of the return plate 43.

[0058] As shown in FIG. 3, the exit flow channel 75 is recessed from each of the principal surfaces 41f1, 41f2 of the flow channel plate 41 inward in the Y-axis direction, and at the same time, recessed from the lower end surface 411 of the flow channel plate 41 toward the upper end surface 412. One end part of each of the exit flow channels 75 opens in the other end (left end in FIG. 3) surface in the X-axis direction of the flow channel plate 41. Each of the exit flow channels 75 bends downward from the other end surface in the X-axis direction of the flow channel plate 41 so as to have a crank-like shape, and then extends linearly toward the one end side in the X-axis direction. It is preferable for the width in the Z-axis direction of the exit flow channel 75 to be smaller than the width in the Z-axis direction of the entrance flow channel 74 as shown in FIG. 4. Further, the depth in the Y-axis direction of the exit flow channel 75 is substantially the same as the depth in the Y-axis direction of the entrance flow channel 74. The exit flow channels 75 are coupled to an exit manifold (not shown) on the other end surface in the X-axis direction of the flow channel plate 41. The exit manifold is coupled to the ink discharge tube 82 (see FIG. 1).

(Entrance Manifold 42)



[0059] As shown in FIG. 3, the entrance manifold 42 is bonded to one end surfaces in the X-axis direction of the head chips 40A, 40B and the flow channel plate 41. The entrance manifold 42 is provided with a supply channel 77 communicated with the pair of entrance flow channels 74. An end part on the opposite side to the flow channel plate 41 in the supply channel 77 is coupled to the ink supply tube 81 (see FIG. 1).

(Return Plate 43)



[0060] The return plate 43 has a rectangular plate-like shape having the X-axis direction as the longitudinal direction, and the Y-axis direction as the short-side direction. The return plate 43 is collectively bonded to the lower end surfaces 511, 521, and 531 of the head chips 40A, 40B and the lower end surface 411 of the flow channel plate 41. In other words, the return plate 43 is disposed on the opening 54K side of each of the ejection channels 54 in the head chip 40A and the head chip 40B. The return plate 43 is a spacer plate intervening between the openings 54K of the ejection channels 54 in the head chip 40A and the head chip 40B, and an upper surface of the nozzle plate 44. The return plate 43 is provided with a plurality of circulation channels 76 for coupling the ejection channels 54 of the head chips 40A, 40B and the exit flow channels 75 to each other. The plurality of circulation channels 76 includes first circulation channels 76a and second circulation channels 76b. The plurality of circulation channels 76 penetrates the return plate 43 in the Z-axis direction.

(Nozzle Plate 44)



[0061] As shown in FIG. 3, an outer shape of the nozzle plate 44 has a rectangular plate-like shape having the X-axis direction as the longitudinal direction, and the Y-axis direction as the short-side direction. The nozzle plate 44 is bonded to a lower end surface of the return plate 43. In the nozzle plate 44, there are arranged a plurality of nozzles 78 (jet holes) penetrating the nozzle plate 44 in the Z-axis direction. The plurality of nozzles 78 includes first nozzles 78a and second nozzles 78b. The plurality of nozzles 78 penetrates the nozzle plate 44 in the Z-axis direction.

[0062] As shown in FIG. 4, in the nozzle plate 44, the first nozzles 78a are each formed in a part opposed in the Z-axis direction to the respective first circulation channel 76a of the return plate 43. In other words, the first nozzles 78a are arranged on a straight line at intervals in the X-axis direction at the same pitch as that of the first circulation channels 76a. The first nozzles 78a are each communicated with the respective first circulation channel 76a in an outer end part in the Y-axis direction in the first circulation channel 76a. Thus, the first nozzles 78a are communicated with the corresponding ejection channels 54 of the head chip 40A via the first circulation channels 76a, respectively.

[0063] As shown in FIG. 5, in the nozzle plate 44, the second nozzles 78b are each formed in a part opposed in the Z-axis direction to the respective second circulation channel 76b of the return plate 43. In other words, the second nozzles 78b are arranged on a straight line at intervals in the X-axis direction at the same pitch as that of the second circulation channels 76b. The second nozzles 78b are each communicated with the respective second circulation channel 76b in an outer end part in the Y-axis direction in the second circulation channel 76b. Thus, the second nozzles 78b are communicated with the corresponding ejection channels 54 of the head chip 40B via the second circulation channels 76b, respectively. The dummy channels 55 are not communicated with the first nozzles 78a and the second nozzles 78b, and are covered with the return plate 43 from below.

[Method of Manufacturing Inkjet Head 4]



[0064] Then, a method of manufacturing the inkjet head 4 will be described. The method of manufacturing the inkjet head 4 according to the present embodiment includes a head chip manufacturing process, a flow channel manufacturing process, a plate bonding process, and a return plate and so on-bonding process. It should be noted that the head chip manufacturing process can be performed by substantially the same methods for the head chip 40A and the head chip 40B. Therefore, in the following description, the head chip manufacturing process in the head chip 40A will be described.

(Head Chip Manufacturing Process)



[0065] The head chip manufacturing process in the method of manufacturing the inkjet head 4 according to the present embodiment mainly includes a process related to the actuator plate 51, and a process related to the cover plate 52. Among these processes, the process related to the actuator plate 51 includes, for example, a wafer preparation process, a mask pattern formation process, a channel formation process, and an electrode formation process. Hereinafter, with reference to FIG. 9A through FIG. 9J, the process related mainly to the actuator plate 51 will be described.

[0066] In the wafer preparation process, two piezoelectric wafers 51aZ, 51bZ on which the polarization treatment has been performed in the thickness direction (the Y-axis direction) are prepared, and are stacked on one another so that the polarization directions thereof become opposite to each other as shown in FIG. 9A. Subsequently, grinding work is performed on the piezoelectric wafer 51aZ as needed to adjust the thickness of the piezoelectric wafer 51aZ. The obverse surface of the piezoelectric wafer 51aZ on this occasion becomes the first surface 51f1. Thus, the actuator wafer 51Z is formed.

[0067]  Due to the subsequent mask pattern formation process, as shown in FIG. 9B, a resist pattern RP1 to be used as a mask when forming the common electrodes 61 and so on is formed on the first surface 51f1 of the actuator wafer 51Z described above. The resist pattern RP1 has a plurality of openings corresponding to the plurality of ejection channels 54 and the plurality of dummy channels 55 at predetermined positions where the plurality of ejection channels 54 and the plurality of dummy channels 55 are to be formed. It should be noted that the resist pattern RP1 can be formed of dry resist, or can also be formed of wet resist.

[0068] In the subsequent channel formation process, cutting work is performed from the first surface 51f1 of the actuator wafer 51Z described above with a dicing blade not shown or the like. Specifically, by digging down an exposed part which is not covered with the resist pattern RP1 out of the actuator wafer 51Z, the plurality of ejection channels 54 and the plurality of dummy channels 55 are formed from trenches 54U and 53U respectively so as to be arranged in parallel to each other at intervals in the X-axis direction, and at the same time arranged alternately (see FIG. 9B).

[0069] In the subsequent first electrode formation process, metal coatings MF1 are formed with, for example, an evaporation method so as to cover inner surfaces 541U of the plurality of trenches 54U, inner surfaces 551U of the plurality of trenches 55U, and the resist pattern RP1 as shown in FIG. 9C. On this occasion, it is preferable to perform oblique vapor deposition for making the constituent material of the metal coating MF1 adhere to the inner surface 541U from an oblique direction to thereby cover the inner surfaces 541U of each of the trenches 54U and the inner surfaces 551U of each of the trenches 55U to positions as deep as possible in the Y-axis direction. It should be noted that it is also possible to perform a descumming treatment for removing residues such as the resist adhering to the inner surfaces 541U of each of the trenches 54U and the inner surfaces 551U of each of the trenches 55U as needed in an anterior stage to the formation of the metal coatings MF1.

[0070] Subsequently, the resist pattern RP1 is removed to thereby expose the first surface 51f1 of the actuator wafer 51Z, and then, the cover plate 52 is bonded so that the opposed surface 52f1 overlaps the first surface 51f1 as shown in FIG. 9D. On that occasion, the opposed surface 52f1 of the cover plate 52 is bonded to the first surface 51f1 so that the liquid supply channel 70 is opposed to the ejection channels 54. Here, by removing the resist pattern RP1, there remain only the parts covering the inner surfaces 541U of the trenches 54U and the inner surfaces 551U of the trenches 55U out of the metal coatings MF1. As a result, the first common electrode part 61A is formed on each of the inner surfaces 541U of the trenches 54U, and the first individual electrode part 63A is formed on each of the inner surfaces 551U of the trenches 55U.

[0071] Then, as shown in FIG. 9E, grinding work is performed on the piezoelectric wafer 51bZ from a reverse surface (a surface on the opposite side to the piezoelectric wafer 51aZ) to adjust the thickness of the piezoelectric wafer 51bZ. On that occasion, the plurality of ejection channels 54 and the plurality of dummy channels 55 are exposed. The reverse surface of the piezoelectric wafer 51bZ on this occasion becomes the second surface 51f2. Thus, a so-called chevron type actuator plate 51 is formed.

[0072] In the subsequent second electrode formation process, metal coatings MF2 covering the inner surfaces 541 of the plurality of ejection channels 54 and the inner surfaces 551 of the plurality of dummy channels 55 are formed with, for example, an evaporation method as shown in FIG. 9F. On this occasion, it is preferable to arrange that the metal coating MF2 has contact with the first common electrode part 61A or the first individual electrode part 63A, or a part of the metal coating MF2 overlaps a part of the first common electrode part 61A or the first individual electrode part 63A.

[0073] Then, as shown in FIG. 9G, the part covering the second surface 51f2 out of the metal coating MF2 is selectively removed to thereby expose the second surface 51f2, and then, a resist pattern RP2 is selectively formed on the second surface 51f2. Here, by selectively removing the part covering the second surface 51f2 out of the metal coatings MF2, there remain only the parts covering the inner surfaces 541 of the ejection channels 54 and the inner surfaces 551 of the dummy channels 55 out of the metal coatings MF2. As a result, the second common electrode part 61B is formed on each of the inner surfaces 541 of the ejection channels 54, and the second individual electrode part 63B is formed on each of the inner surfaces 551 of the dummy channels 55. As a result, the common electrodes 61 and the individual electrodes 63 are formed.

[0074] Subsequently, as shown in FIG. 9H, metal coatings MF3 are formed using, for example, an evaporation method so as to cover the second surface 51f2 and the resist pattern RP2 as the third electrode formation process. On this occasion, it is preferable to arrange that the metal coating MF3 has contact with the second common electrode part 61B or the second individual electrode part 63B, or a part of the metal coating MF3 overlaps a part of the second common electrode part 61B or the second individual electrode part 63B.

[0075] Then, as shown in FIG. 9I, by removing the resist pattern RP2, some parts of the metal coatings MF3 remain on the second surface 51f2 to form the common electrode pads 62 and the individual electrode pads 64 (not appearing in FIG. 9I).

[0076] Lastly, as shown in FIG. 9J, by bonding the opposed surface 53f1 of the sealing plate 53 to the second surface 51f2, the actuator plate 51 and the sealing plate 53 are bonded to each other. According to the above, manufacturing of the head chip 40A is completed. The head chip 40B can also be manufactured in a similar manner.

[0077] Here, in the common electrode 61, for example, it is preferable for each of the first common electrode part 61A and the second common electrode part 61B to include a double-layered structure consisting of first metal M1 for covering the inner surface 541 of the ejection channel 54 and second metal M2 for covering the first metal M1 as shown in FIG. 10. FIG. 10 is a schematic cross-sectional view showing the vicinity of the boundary between the inner surface 541 of the ejection channel 54 and the common electrode 61 in an enlarged manner. For example, the actuator plate 51 has a plurality of particles 51P sintered with each other, and the first metal M1 and the second metal M2 are stacked in sequence on the surface of the particle 51P. When forming the first common electrode part 61A, firstly the first metal M1 is formed on the surface of the particle 51P constituting the inner surface 541 using the oblique vapor deposition, and then the second metal M2 is formed on the surface of the first metal M1 using the oblique vapor deposition. When forming the second common electrode part 61B, firstly the first metal M1 is formed on the surface of the particle 51P or the first common electrode part 61A using the oblique vapor deposition, and then the second metal M2 is formed on the surface of the first metal M1 using the oblique vapor deposition. Here, the first common electrode part 61A is formed using the oblique vapor deposition from the first surface 51f1 side of the actuator plate 51, while the second common electrode part 61B is formed using the oblique vapor deposition from the second surface 51f2 side of the actuator plate 51. Therefore, it results in that a stacking direction Y61A of the first metal M1 and the second metal M2 with respect to the particle 51P in the first common electrode part 61A and a stacking direction Y61B of the first metal M1 and the second metal M2 with respect to the particle 51P in the second common electrode part 61B are different from each other. In the present embodiment, it is preferable to make, for example, a second vapor deposition angle when performing the oblique vapor deposition of the second common electrode part 61B from the second surface 51f2 side larger than a first vapor deposition angle when performing the oblique vapor deposition of the first common electrode part 61A from the first surface 51f1 side. This is because, when forming the second common electrode part 61B, it is possible to decrease the second common electrode part 61B (the metal coating MF2) adhering to the second surface 51f2 without decreasing the second common electrode part 61B (the metal coating MF2) adhering to the inner surface 541 of the ejection channel 54. It should be noted that similarly to the common electrodes 61, regarding the individual electrodes 63, it is preferable to include the double-layered structure consisting of the first metal M1 and the second metal M2 shown in FIG. 10.

[0078] Here, the process related to the cover plate 52 will be described with reference mainly to FIG. 11 and FIG. 12. FIG. 11 is a plan view showing a formation process of the common ink chamber 71, and FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view showing a formation process of the slits 72 following the process shown in FIG. 11. It should be noted that FIG. 12 shows a cross-sectional surface in the arrow direction along the cutting line XII-XII shown in FIG. 11.

[0079] As shown in FIG. 11, in the formation process of the common ink chamber 71, firstly, sandblasting or the like is performed on a cover wafer 120 prepared from the obverse surface side through a mask not shown to form the common ink chamber 71. Subsequently, as shown in FIG. 12, in the slit formation process, sandblasting or the like is performed on the cover wafer 120 from the reverse surface side through a mask not shown to form the slits 72 individually communicated with the common ink chamber 71. It should be noted that each of the formation process of the common ink chamber 71 and the formation process of the slits 72 is not limited to sandblasting, but can also be performed using dicing, cutting, or the like. Lastly, the cover wafer 120 is segmentalized along the dashed-dotted lines extending in the X-axis direction shown in FIG. 11. Thus, the cover plate 52 is completed. In this way, the wafer shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 forms three cover plates 52.

(Flow Channel Plate Manufacturing Process)



[0080] The flow channel manufacturing process in the method of manufacturing the inkjet head 4 according to the present embodiment includes a flow channel formation process and a segmentalizing process.

[0081] FIG. 13 is a plan view showing the flow channel plate manufacturing process. As shown in FIG. 13, in the flow channel formation process, firstly, sandblasting or the like is performed on a flow channel wafer 130 from the obverse surface side through a mask not shown to form each of the entrance flow channels 74 on the obverse surface side and the exit flow channels 75 on the obverse surface side.

[0082] In addition, in the flow channel formation process, sandblasting or the like is performed on the flow channel wafer 130 from the reverse surface side through a mask not shown to form the entrance flow channels 74 on the reverse surface side and the exit flow channels 75 on the reverse surface side. It should be noted that each process in the flow channel formation process is not limited to sandblasting, but can also be performed using dicing, cutting, or the like.

[0083] In the segmentalizing process following the flow channel formation process, the flow channel wafer 130 is segmentalized along the axis lines (the imaginary lines D shown in FIG. 13) of straight line parts in the X-axis direction in the exit flow channels 75 using a dicer or the like. Thus, the flow channel plate 41 (see FIG. 3) is completed.

(Various-Plate Bonding Process)



[0084] As shown in FIG. 3, in the various-plate bonding process, each of the cover plate 52 of the head chip 40A and the cover plate 52 of the head chip 40B is bonded to the flow channel plate 41. Specifically, the principal surface 41f1 of the flow channel plate 41 is bonded to the opposed surface 52f2 of the head chip 40A, and at the same time, the principal surface 41f2 of the flow channel plate 41 is bonded to the opposed surface 52f2 of the head chip 40B. Thus, a plate bonded body is manufactured. It should be noted that it is also possible to arrange that the plate bonded body obtained by sequentially bonding the cover plate 52 of the head chip 40A and the cover plate 52 of the head chip 40B to each other is manufactured by bonding one cover wafer 120 to each of the both surfaces of the flow channel wafer 130, and then performing chip separation (segmentalization).

(Return Plate And So On-Bonding Process)



[0085] Subsequently, the return plate 43 and the nozzle plate 44 are bonded to the plate bonded body described above. Subsequently, the external wiring board 45 is mounted on the common electrode pads 62 and the individual electrode pads 64 (see FIG. 4, FIG. 5).

[0086] According to the above, the inkjet head 4 according to the present embodiment is completed.

[Operations and Functions/Advantages]


(A. Basic Operation of Printer 1)



[0087] In the printer 1, the recording operation (a printing operation) of images, characters, and so on to the recording paper P is performed in the following manner. It should be noted that as an initial state, it is assumed that the four types of ink tanks 3 (3Y, 3M, 3C, and 3K) shown in FIG. 1 are sufficiently filled with the ink of the corresponding colors (the four colors), respectively. Further, there is achieved the state in which the inkjet heads 4 are filled with the ink in the ink tanks 3 via the ink circulation mechanism 8, respectively. More specifically, there is achieved the state in which a predetermined amount of ink is supplied to the head chips 40 via the ink supply tube 81 and the flow channel plate 41 to fill the ejection channels 54 via the liquid supply channels 70.

[0088] In such an initial state, when operating the printer 1, the grit rollers 21 in the carrying mechanisms 2a, 2b each rotate to thereby carry the recording paper P along the carrying direction d (the X-axis direction) while being held between the grit rollers 21 and the pinch rollers 22. Further, at the same time as such a carrying operation, the drive motor 38 in the drive mechanism 34 rotates each of the pulleys 35, 36 to thereby operate the endless belt 37. Thus, the carriage 33 reciprocates along the width direction (the Y-axis direction) of the recording paper P while being guided by the guide rails 31, 32. Then, on this occasion, the four colors of ink are appropriately ejected on the recording paper P by the respective inkjet heads 4 (4Y, 4M, 4C, and 4K) to thereby perform the recording operation of images, characters, and so on to the recording paper P.

(B. Detailed Operation in Inkjet Head 4)



[0089] Then, the detailed operation (the jet operation of the ink) in the inkjet head 4 will be described with reference to FIG. 1 through FIG. 8. Specifically, in the inkjet head 4 (edge-shoot type) according to the present embodiment, the jet operation of the ink using a shear mode is performed in the following manner. It should be noted that the following jet operation is performed by a drive circuit (not shown) mounted on the inkjet head 4.

[0090] In such an inkjet head 4 which is the edge-shoot type, and is the circulation type as in the present embodiment, firstly, the pressure pump 84 and the suction pump 85 shown in FIG. 2 are operated to thereby make the ink flow through the circulation flow channel 83. On this occasion, the ink flowing through the ink supply tube 81 passes through the supply channel 77 of the entrance manifold 42 shown in FIG. 3, and inflows into the entrance flow channels 74 of the flow channel plate 41. The ink having flowed into the entrance flow channels 74 passes through the common ink chambers 71, and is then supplied to the ejection channels 54 through the slits 72. The ink having flowed into the ejection channels 54 passes to in the exit flow channels 75 via the circulation channels 76 of the return plate 43, then passes through the exit manifold, and is then discharged to the ink discharge tube 82 shown in FIG. 2. The ink discharged to the ink discharge tube 82 is returned to the ink tank 3, and is then supplied to the ink supply tube 81 again. Thus, the ink is circulated between the inkjet head 4 and the ink tank 3.

[0091] Then, when the reciprocation is started by the carriage 33 (see FIG. 1), drive voltages are applied between the common electrodes 61 and the individual electrodes 63 via the external wiring board 45. On this occasion, for example, the individual electrode 63 is set to a drive potential Vdd, and the common electrode 61 is set to a reference potential GND. When applying the drive voltage between the common electrode 61 and the individual electrode 63, a thickness-shear deformation occurs in the two drive walls 56 for defining the ejection channel 54, and the two drive walls 56 deform so as to protrude toward the dummy channels 55. Specifically, since the actuator plate 51 has a structure in which the two piezoelectric substrates 51a, 51b on which the polarization treatment has been performed in the thickness direction (the Y-axis direction) are stacked on one another, by applying the drive voltage described above, the actuator plate 51 makes a flexural deformation to have a V-shape centered on the intermediate position in the Y-axis direction in the drive walls 56. Thus, the ejection channel 54 deforms as if it bulges.

[0092]  When the capacity of the ejection channel 54 increases due to the deformation of the two drive walls 56 defining the ejection channel 54, the ink in the common ink chamber 71 is induced into the ejection channel 54 through the slit 72. Then, the ink having been induced into the ejection channel 54 propagates inside the ejection channel 54 as a pressure wave. The drive voltage between the common electrode 61 and the individual electrode 63 is removed at the timing at which the pressure wave has reached the nozzle 78. Thus, the shapes of the two drive walls 56 are restored, and the capacity of the ejection channel 54 having once increased is restored to the original capacity. Due to this operation, the internal pressure of the ejection channel 54 increases to pressurize the ink in the ejection channel 54. As a result, it is possible to eject the ink from the nozzle 78. On this occasion, the ink becomes an ink droplet having a droplet shape when passing through the nozzle 78, and is then ejected. Thus, it is possible to record characters, images, and the like on the recording paper P as described above.

[0093] It should be noted that the operation method of the inkjet head 4 is not limited to the content described above. For example, it is also possible to adopt a configuration in which the drive walls 56 in the normal state are deformed toward the inside of the ejection channel 54 as if the ejection channel 54 gives inward. This case can be realized by setting the drive voltage to be applied between the common electrode 61 and the individual electrode 63 to the voltage having an opposite polarity to that of the voltage described above, or by reversing the polarization direction of the actuator plate 51 without changing the polarity of the voltage. Further, it is also possible to deform the ejection channel 54 so as to bulge outward, and then deform the ejection channel 54 so as to give inward to thereby increase the pressurizing force of the ink when ejecting the ink.

(C. Functions/Advantages)



[0094] Then, the functions and the advantages in the head chips 40, the inkjet head 4, and the printer 1 according to the present embodiment will be described in detail.

[0095] In the head chips 40 according to the present embodiment, the common electrode pads 62 electrically connected to the common electrodes 61 covering the inner surfaces of the ejection channels 54 are disposed on the second surface 51f2 on the opposite side to the cover plate 52 for supplying the ink to the ejection channels 54 out of the actuator plate 51. Therefore, the external device for supplying the voltage to the common electrodes 61 can easily be coupled to the common electrode pads 62. Further, in the head chips 40, the nozzle plate 44 is disposed so as to be opposed to the lower end surface 511 including the openings 54K through which the ink is ejected, and it is arranged that the actuator plate 51 and the cover plate 52 are stacked on one another in the thickness direction (the Y-axis direction) perpendicular to the extending direction (the Z-axis direction) of the ejection channels 54. Therefore, in the head chips 40, the connection to the external device becomes possible on the second surface 51f2 on the opposite side to the cover plate 52 out of the actuator plate 51. As a result, the paths of the common electrode pads 62 provided to the actuator plate 51 and to be coupled to the common electrodes 61 are simplified, and moreover, the path length of each of the common electrode pads 62 is shortened. Therefore, broken lines of the common electrode pads 62 are difficult to occur. Further, since the resistance value of the common electrode pad 62 can be reduced due to the reduction in path length of the common electrode pad 62, it is possible to reduce the heat generation amount when driving the head chips 40.

[0096] In the head chips 40, a plating method can be selected as the formation method of the common electrodes 61, and moreover, since the ejection channels 54 penetrate the actuator plate 51 in the Y-axis direction, it is also possible to select a two-sided evaporation process. Specifically, using the two-sided evaporation process of forming the metal coatings MF1 by the evaporation from the first surface 51f1 side as shown in FIG. 9C, and then forming the metal coatings MF2 by the evaporation from the second surface 51f2 side as shown in FIG. 9F, it is possible to form the common electrodes 61. Therefore, in the head chips 40, the degree of freedom of the formation method of the common electrodes 61 increases. In contrast, in the case in which the ejection channels do not penetrate the actuator plate in the thickness direction, naturally, the two-sided evaporation process cannot be applied. It should be noted that in the case in which the actuator plate 51 is the chevron type stacked substrate as shown in FIG. 6A, it is desirable to form the common electrodes 61 using the two-sided evaporation process described above. By forming the first common electrode part 61A and the second common electrode part 61B so as to partially overlap each other using such a two-sided evaporation process, the variation in depth of the common electrodes 61 in the thickness direction (the Y-axis direction) of the actuator plate 51 is reduced. Therefore, the variation in resistance value between the common electrodes 61 provided to the plurality of ejection channels 54 is reduced, and thus, the variation in heat generation amount between the common electrodes 61 provided to the plurality of ejection channels 54 is reduced. As a result, the variation in the temperature of the ink supplied to the plurality of ejection channels 54, namely the viscosity of the ink is reduced, and the variation in ejection speed of the ink and ejection amount of the ink is reduced. However, in the case in which the actuator plate 51 is not the chevron type stacked substrate, it is desirable to form the common electrodes 61 by performing only the evaporation from one side, for example, by performing only the evaporation from the first surface 51f1 without performing the evaporation from the second surface 51f2 side.

[0097] Further, in the head chips 40, among the three parts, namely the actuator plate 51, the cover plate 52, and the sealing plate 53, the shape of the sealing plate 53 is simplified. Therefore, since the high processing accuracy becomes unnecessary when manufacturing the sealing plate 53, it is possible to form the sealing plate 53 using a material which is difficult to process with high accuracy. In other words, the degree of freedom of selection of the constituent material is increased.

[0098] Further, in the inkjet head 4 according to the present embodiment, since it is arranged that the common flow channel plate 41 is disposed between the two head chips 40A, 40B, a part of the ink flow channel can be used in common. However, in the inkjet head described in, for example, JP-A-2007-50687, it is arranged that ink chamber plates 7, 10 including an ink chamber are disposed on the outer side of piezoelectric ceramic plates 2, 5 including grooves through which the ink flows. In other words, the flow channel of the ink for supplying the ink to the piezoelectric ceramic plate 2 and the flow channel of the ink for supplying the ink to the piezoelectric ceramic plate 5 are separated from each other. Therefore, the dimension in the stacking direction of the piezoelectric ceramic plates 2, 5 and the ink chamber plates 7, 10, namely the thickness is apt to increase. Alternatively, as the inkjet head described in the specification of US Patent No. 8,091,987, since two systems of ink flow channels become necessary also in the structure in which the ink having ejected from the ejection ends of the pair of actuator plates arranged so as to be adjacent to each other is discharged outside the pair of actuator plates, the thickness is also apt to increase. In contrast, in the inkjet head 4 according to the present embodiment, since the flow channels for supplying the ink to the two head chips 40A, 40B can be consolidated, it is possible to realize the inkjet head 4 in which a simpler structure compared to the related art is realized, the thickness in the Y-axis direction is reduced, and the weight is reduced.

[0099] The head chips 40 according to the present embodiment are arranged to be further provided with the individual electrodes 63 disposed on the inner surfaces of the dummy channels 55, and the individual electrode pads 64 disposed on the second surface 51f2. Therefore, by applying the drive voltage between the common electrode 61 and the individual electrode 63, it is possible to cause the thickness-shear deformation in the two drive walls 56 for defining the ejection channel 54 to introduce the ink into the ejection channel 54, and by removing the drive voltage between the common electrode 61 and the individual electrode 63, it is possible to restore the drive walls 56 to eject the ink from the ejection channel 54. In particular, since the actuator plate 51 is formed of the chevron substrate having the structure in which the two piezoelectric substrates 51a, 51b on which the polarization treatment has been performed in the thickness direction are stacked on one another, it is possible to decrease the drive voltage of the actuator plate 51 compared to the case of using a monopole substrate as the actuator plate 51.

[0100] Further, in the head chips 40 according to the present embodiment, the lower end part of each of the ejection channels 54 forms the opening 54K exposed in the lower end surface 511 of the actuator plate 51, and the upper end part of each of the ejection channels 54 forms the closed end including the tilted surface 54b terminated within the actuator plate 51. Therefore, the ink supplied from the liquid supply channel 70 of the cover plate 52 to the ejection channel 54 is guided by the tilted surface 54b of the closed end so as to proceed toward the opening 54K. Therefore, since the ink can smoothly move inside the ejection channel 54, the stable ejection operation can be realized.

<2. Modified Examples>



[0101] Then, some modified examples (Modified Examples 1 through 2) of the embodiment described above will be described. It should be noted that substantially the same constituents as those in the embodiment are denoted by the same reference symbols, and the description thereof will arbitrarily be omitted.

[Modified Example 1]



[0102] FIG. 14 shows a cross-sectional surface along the extending direction of the ejection channels 54 in an inkjet head 4A according to Modified Example 1. FIG. 14 corresponds to FIG. 4 showing the inkjet head 4 according to the embodiment described above. The inkjet head 4 according to the embodiment described above has the structure in which the return plate 43 is inserted between the head chips 40 and the nozzle plate 44 to perform the ink circulation between the ink tank 3 and the inkjet head 4. In contrast, the inkjet head 4A according to Modified Example 1 shown in FIG. 14 does not have the return plate 43. Specifically, the nozzle plate 44 is bonded to the lower end surfaces 511, 521, and 531 of the head chips 40A, 40B and the lower end surface 411 of the flow channel plate 41 with an adhesive or the like. Further, the flow channel plate 41 is provided with the entrance flow channels 74, but is not provided with the exit flow channels 75. Therefore, in the inkjet head 4A, it is arranged that the ink circulation in the inside is not performed, and the ink to be ejected from the opening 54K of the ejection channel 54 proceeds toward the nozzle plate 44, and is then ejected from the nozzle 78. The inkjet head 4A according to Modified Example 1 has substantially the same configuration as that of the inkjet head 4 according to the embodiment described above in other points except the point described above, and can therefore be provided with substantially the same advantages as in the inkjet head 4 according to the embodiment described above.

[Modified Example 2]



[0103] FIG. 15 shows a cross-sectional surface along the extending direction of the ejection channels 54 in an inkjet head 4B according to Modified Example 2. FIG. 15 corresponds to FIG. 4 showing the inkjet head 4 according to the embodiment described above. The inkjet head 4 according to the embodiment described above has the structure in which the head chip 40A and the head chip 40B are disposed on both sides of one flow channel plate 41. In contrast, the inkjet head 4B according to Modified Example 2 shown in FIG. 15 has a structure in which the head chip 40 is disposed only on one side of one flow channel plate 41B. The inkjet head 4B according to Modified Example 2 has substantially the same configuration as that of the inkjet head 4 according to the embodiment described above in other points than the point described above.

<3. Other Modified Examples>



[0104] The present disclosure is described hereinabove citing the embodiment and some modified examples, but the present disclosure is not limited to the embodiment and so on, and a variety of modifications can be adopted.

[0105] For example, in the embodiment described above, the description is presented specifically citing the configuration examples (the shapes, the arrangements, the number and so on) of each of the members in the printer, the inkjet head and the head chip, but those described in the above embodiment and so on are not limitations, and it is possible to adopt other shapes, arrangements, numbers and so on.

[0106] In the embodiment and so on described above, the description is presented illustrating the so-called edge-shoot type inkjet head for ejecting the ink from the ejection end (the opening 54K) as an end part in the extending direction of the ejection channels, but the liquid jet head according to the present disclosure is not limited to the illustration. Specifically, it is also possible to adopt a so-called side-shoot type inkjet head in which the ink passes in the thickness direction of the actuator plate, namely the depth direction of the ejection channels.

[0107] Further, in the embodiment and so on described above, there is illustrated the chevron type actuator plate in which the two piezoelectric substrates having the respective polarization directions different from each other are stacked on one another, but it is also possible for the inkjet head according to the present disclosure to be an inkjet head having a so-called cantilever type (monopole type) actuator plate. The cantilever type (the monopole type) actuator plate is formed of a single piezoelectric substrate having the polarization direction set to one direction along the thickness direction. It should be noted that in the cantilever type (the monopole type) actuator plate, for example, the drive electrode is attached to the upper half in the depth direction with the oblique vapor deposition. Therefore, by the drive force acting only on the part provided with the drive electrode, the drive walls make the flexural deformation. As a result, even in this case, since the drive walls make the flexural deformation to have the V-shape, it results in that the ejection channel deforms as if the ejection channel bulges.

[0108] Further, in the embodiment and so on described above, the description is presented citing the printer 1 (the inkjet printer) as a specific example of the "liquid jet recording device" in the present disclosure, but this example is not a limitation, and it is also possible to apply the present disclosure to other devices than the inkjet printer. In other words, it is also possible to arrange that the "head chip" (the head chips 40A, 40B) and the "liquid jet head" (the inkjet head 4) of the present disclosure are applied to other devices than the inkjet printer. Specifically, it is also possible to arrange that the "head chip" and the "liquid jet head" of the present disclosure are applied to a device such as a facsimile or an on-demand printer.

[0109] It should be noted that the advantages described in the specification are illustrative only but are not a limitation, and other advantages can also be provided.

[0110] Further, the present disclosure can also take the following configurations.
  1. <1> A liquid jet head chip comprising:

    an actuator plate having an obverse surface, a reverse surface, and an ejection channel penetrating in a thickness direction from the obverse surface toward the reverse surface and extending in a first direction perpendicular to the thickness direction;

    a common electrode disposed on an inner surface of the ejection channel;

    a common electrode pad which is used for external connection, is disposed in an end part region in the first direction out of the reverse surface and is coupled to the common electrode;

    a cover plate which is disposed so as to be opposed to the obverse surface of the actuator plate, and has a liquid flow hole opposed to the ejection channel; and

    a sealing plate which is disposed so as to be opposed to a channel formation region other than the end part region out of the reverse surface of the actuator plate, and closes the ejection channel.

  2. <2> The liquid jet head chip according to <1>, further comprising a nozzle plate disposed so as to be opposed to a front end surface crossing the reverse surface out of the actuator plate, wherein
    the ejection channel has an ejection end exposed in the front end surface.
  3. <3> The liquid jet head chip according to <1> or <2>, further comprising:

    an individual electrode; and

    an individual electrode pad, wherein

    the actuator plate further includes a non-ejection channel disposed adjacent to the ejection channel at a distance in a second direction perpendicular to both of the thickness direction and the first direction,

    the individual electrode is disposed on an inner surface of the non-ejection channel, and

    the individual electrode pad is disposed in the end part region in the reverse surface, and is coupled to the individual electrode.

  4. <4> The liquid jet head chip according to any one of <1> to <3>, wherein
    the ejection channel further includes an ejection end exposed in a front end surface crossing the obverse surface and the reverse surface out of the actuator plate, and a closed end located between a back end surface on an opposite side to the front end surface out of the actuator plate and the front end surface,
    the closed end of the ejection channel includes a tilted surface, and
    a first distance from a crossing position between the tilted surface and the reverse surface to the ejection end is shorter than a second distance from a crossing position between the tilted surface and the obverse surface to the ejection end.
  5. <5> The liquid jet head chip according to any one of <1> to <4>, wherein
    the actuator plate includes a first piezoelectric substrate having a first polarization direction, and a second piezoelectric substrate having a second polarization direction different from the first polarization direction, the first piezoelectric substrate and the second piezoelectric substrate being stacked on one another in the thickness direction, and
    the common electrode covers an inner surface of the ejection channel in the thickness direction continuously from the obverse surface to the reverse surface.
  6. <6> A liquid jet head comprising the liquid jet head chip according to any one of <1> to <5>.
  7. <7> The liquid jet head according to <6>, further comprising a return plate, wherein
    the ejection channel has an ejection end exposed in a front end surface crossing the reverse surface out of the actuator plate, and
    the return plate is disposed so as to cover the front end surface of the actuator plate, and includes a circulation channel communicated with the ejection channel.
  8. <8> The liquid jet head according to <7>, comprising:

    a first actuator plate and a second actuator plate respectively corresponding to the actuator plate;

    a first cover plate and a second cover plate respectively corresponding to the cover plate;

    a first sealing plate and a second sealing plate respectively corresponding to the sealing plate; and

    a flow channel plate disposed between the first sealing plate and the second sealing plate, wherein

    the first actuator plate is disposed between the first sealing plate and the flow channel plate,

    the second actuator plate is disposed between the second sealing plate and the flow channel plate,

    the first cover plate is disposed between the first actuator plate and the flow channel plate,

    the second cover plate is disposed between the second actuator plate and the flow channel plate, and

    the flow channel plate includes a liquid supply flow channel communicated with the liquid flow hole of the first cover plate and the liquid flow hole of the second cover plate, and a liquid discharge flow channel communicated with the circulation channel.

  9. <9> A liquid jet recording device comprising:

    the liquid jet head according to any one of <6> to <8>; and

    a base to which the liquid jet head is attached.




Claims

1. A liquid jet head chip (40) comprising:

an actuator plate (51) having an obverse surface (51f1), a reverse surface (51f2), and an ejection channel (54) penetrating in a thickness direction (Y) from the obverse surface toward the reverse surface and extending in a first direction (Z) perpendicular to the thickness direction;

a common electrode (61) disposed on an inner surface (541) of the ejection channel;

a common electrode pad (62) which is used for external connection, is disposed in an end part region (R1) in the first direction of the reverse surface and is coupled to the common electrode;

a cover plate (52) which is disposed so as to be opposed to the obverse surface (51f1) of the actuator plate (51), and has a liquid flow hole (72) opposed to the ejection channel; and

a sealing plate (53) which is disposed so as to be opposed to a channel formation region (R2) other than the end part region (R1) of the reverse surface of the actuator plate, and closes the ejection channel.


 
2. The liquid jet head chip according to Claim 1, further comprising a nozzle plate (44) disposed so as to be opposed to a front end surface (511) crossing the reverse surface out (51f1) of the actuator plate, wherein
the ejection channel has an ejection end (54K) exposed in the front end surface.
 
3. The liquid jet head chip according to Claim 1 or 2, further comprising:

an individual electrode (63); and

an individual electrode pad (64), wherein

the actuator plate further includes a non-ejection channel (55) disposed adjacent to the ejection channel at a distance in a second direction (X) perpendicular to both of the thickness direction (Y) and the first direction (Z),

the individual electrode is disposed on an inner surface (551) of the non-ejection channel, and

the individual electrode pad is disposed in the end part region (R1) in the reverse surface (51f2), and is coupled to the individual electrode.


 
4. The liquid jet head chip according to any one of Claims 1 to 3, wherein
the ejection channel (54) further includes an ejection end (54K) exposed in a front end surface (511) crossing the obverse surface (51f1) and the reverse surface (51f2) of the actuator plate, and a closed end (54T) located between a back end surface (512) on an opposite side to the front end surface of the actuator plate and the front end surface,
the closed end of the ejection channel includes a tilted surface (54b), and
a first distance (L1) from a crossing position between the tilted surface (54b) and the reverse surface (51f2) to the ejection end (54K) is shorter than a second distance (L2) from a crossing position between the tilted surface (54b) and the obverse surface (51f1) to the ejection end (54K).
 
5. The liquid jet head chip according to any one of Claims 1 to 4, wherein
the actuator plate includes a first piezoelectric substrate (51a) having a first polarization direction, and a second piezoelectric substrate (51b) having a second polarization direction different from the first polarization direction, the first piezoelectric substrate and the second piezoelectric substrate being stacked on one another in the thickness direction, and
the common electrode (61) covers an inner surface (541) of the ejection channel in the thickness direction (Y) continuously from the obverse surface to the reverse surface.
 
6. A liquid jet head (4) comprising the liquid jet head chip (40) according to any one of Claims 1 to 5.
 
7. The liquid jet head according to Claim 6, further comprising a return plate (43), wherein
the ejection channel (54) has an ejection end (54K) exposed in a front end surface (511) crossing the reverse surface (51f2) of the actuator plate, and
the return plate is disposed so as to cover the front end surface of the actuator plate, and includes a circulation channel (76) communicated with the ejection channel.
 
8. The liquid jet head according to Claim 7, comprising:

a first actuator plate (51) and a second actuator plate (51) respectively corresponding to the actuator plate;

a first cover plate (52) and a second cover plate (52) respectively corresponding to the cover plate;

a first sealing plate (53) and a second sealing plate (53) respectively corresponding to the sealing plate; and

a flow channel plate (41) disposed between the first sealing plate and the second sealing plate, wherein

the first actuator plate is disposed between the first sealing plate and the flow channel plate,

the second actuator plate is disposed between the second sealing plate and the flow channel plate,

the first cover plate is disposed between the first actuator plate and the flow channel plate,

the second cover plate is disposed between the second actuator plate and the flow channel plate, and

the flow channel plate includes a liquid supply flow channel (74) communicated with the liquid flow hole (71) of the first cover plate (52) and the liquid flow hole (71) of the second cover plate (52), and a liquid discharge flow channel (75) communicated with the circulation channel (76).


 
9. A liquid jet recording device (1) comprising:

the liquid jet head (4) according to any one of Claims 6 to 8; and

a base (33) to which the liquid jet head is attached.


 




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REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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

Patent documents cited in the description