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Automated Print Quality Assessment of Inkjet Nozzle Plates

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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.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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