Automated Print Quality Assessment of Inkjet Nozzle Plates
Abstract:We developed a low-cost, highly-automated print quality tool to measure inkjet nozzle misdirection for quality control in the manufacturing process. To minimize cost and improve support, this system needed to utilize off-the-shelf hardware. In this paper we present an approach for measuring inkjet nozzle print misdirection from a reel of inkjet nozzles, prior to final assembly. We define this spatial misdirection as the distance between the ideal and actual printed locations of the nozzles under test. To pass inspection a given nozzle plate cannot have more than a certain number of nozzles that exceed a specified amount of misdirection (e.g., 40 microns). By reducing nozzle misdirection we can significantly improve print quality. We also measured additional print quality primitives, including dot area and print swath height expansion and contraction. This tool has allowed for further refinement in manufacturing processes, which has led to continual improvement in misdirection and other low-level primitives, as well as a further decrease in the nozzle misdirection tolerances used to determine whether a given nozzle plate passes or fails. This has led to reduced manufacturing costs, as an entire reel of nozzle plates can be rejected prior to final cartridge assembly if it is determined to be out of specification.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2009
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