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Systems for Image Quality Control in Inkjet Printers

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Inkjet is a conceptually simple digital printing technology. However, printing defects can be observed due to both small inaccuracies in the system and aging effects. Some of those defects have very identifiable sources, thus enabling correction techniques to restore image quality. In its simplest way, the correction involves visual inspection of specifically designed patterns and closing the loop through the driver or through actuation on printer knobs. Generalization of this approach has lead to automated, increasingly sophisticated measurement and correction techniques. Nowadays inkjet printers are able to measure nozzle health with optical systems and to use redundancy and other techniques to hide the defects. Media advance and printhead position can be automatically calibrated also by optical means. Color consistency, including paper induced variability, can be assured by in-printer densitometry measurements and automatic calculation of correction look-up-tables. In addition, advances in inkjet system design and manufacturing have enabled exponential growth of the printing systems' capabilities. Measurement and correction systems have evolved to accommodate that growing demand. The results are significant reductions in user intervention and maintenance costs, while increasing productivity, image quality and consistency. Most of this progress has been made while keeping the cost of the systems at a fraction of the industry standards.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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