Lexmark : Patent Issued for Shutter Assembly for a Toner Container

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Lexmark : Patent Issued for Shutter Assembly for a Toner Container

 user admin 2014-06-10 at 10:44:13 am Views: 233
  • #3068

    Lexmark : Patent Issued for Shutter Assembly for a Toner Container

    By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering — A patent by the inventors Cavill, Gregory Alan (Winchester, KY); Hackney, Gary Neal (Georgetown, KY), filed on April 27, 2012, was published online on May 27, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

    Patent number 8737887 is assigned to Lexmark International, Inc. (Lexington, KY).

    The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure relates generally to electrophotographic imaging devices such as a printer or multifunction device having printing capability, and in particular to shutter assemblies used to open and close toner ports on toner containers.

    "In toner cartridge designs, it is now common practice to separate the longer lived components from those having a shorter life. This has led to having the longer lived developing components such as developer rolls, toner adder rolls, doctor blades, photoconductive drums, cleaning and charge rollers and waste bins to be in separate assemblies from toner cartridges. Toner supply, which is consumed relatively quickly in comparison to the previously described components, is provided in a reservoir in a separate toner cartridge that mates with a developer unit including a developer roll, a toner adder roll, a doctor blade, and a toner sump. Because both the developer unit and toner cartridge are each separable and removable from the imaging devices, both have used shutter assemblies to open and close their respective toner entry and toner exit ports.

    "The shutters seal the ports of the toner cartridge and the developer unit when the toner cartridge is not inserted in the imaging device. When the toner cartridge mates with the developer unit upon insertion into the imaging device, the shutters open to allow toner from the toner cartridge to pass through its exit port and enter the through the entry port of the developer unit and into the toner sump. The toner exit and entry ports remain in sealing engagement with each other while the toner cartridge remains inserted in the imaging device to prevent toner from escaping.

    "Typically, the developer unit is initially filled with toner. When the imaging device is shipped from one location to another with the toner cartridge installed therein, the shutters of both the toner cartridge and the developer unit shutter are kept open. During shipping, the ports may jostle against each other and open gaps that may create passageways for toner to escape from the developer unit. If this occurs, toner may be spilled inside the imaging device. Spilled toner may detract from the appearance of the imaging device and, in some cases, may affect some functions of the imaging device compromising overall performance and potentially causing print defects.

    "In some practices, toner cartridges are left out of imaging devices during shipment to prevent toner leaks. However, this approach requires increasing box sizes which not only increases packaging cost but also shipping cost.

    "When shipping toner cartridges inside imaging devices, some approaches used to prevent toner leak problems include using shipping separators such as removable plugs, seals, foams, and/or tape. These methods, however, may have drawbacks in terms of reliability and cost. For example, the removable plugs, seals, and/or foams can be subject to assembly variation upon installation especially when performed by human operators which may still result in some level of toner leak. In addition, improper removal of the plugs, seals, and/or foams upon first use may cause problems when the imaging device is operated. Even further, these items are costly but are generally thrown away when the imaging device is first opened. When reshipping the imaging device to another location, these items are not always replaced or repackaged, thereby rendering the imaging device prone to toner leak and toner spill problems during subsequent shipments.

    "Based upon the foregoing, there is a need for a more sustainable practice and a lower cost solution for preventing toner contamination within an imaging device during shipment."

    In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Embodiments of the present disclosure provide a developer unit including a shutter assembly that seals the developer unit so as to prevent toner from passing thereto while a toner cartridge is mated therewith. In an example embodiment, a developer unit includes a housing defining a volume forming a toner chamber and including an opening. A shutter is disposed on the housing and rotatably mounted relative to the opening thereof. The shutter includes an aperture and is operative to retain toner within the developer unit in a substantially sealed manner when in a closed orientation in which the aperture is not aligned with the opening of the housing, and to allow toner to flow into the toner chamber through the opening of the housing when in an open orientation in which the aperture is aligned with the opening of the housing. A lever is selectively coupled to the shutter. The lever is rotatable between a first angular position and a second angular position such that when the lever is coupled to the shutter, rotating the lever between the first and second angular positions rotates the shutter between the closed and open orientations, respectively.

    "When the lever is decoupled from the shutter, the lever is rotatable between the first and second angular positions without rotating the shutter between the closed and open orientations. As such, the lever may be rotated to the second angular position with the shutter remaining in the closed orientation such that when the toner cartridge is mated with the developer unit, the shutter remains closed and retains toner in the developer unit. In this way, occurrences of toner leaks may be reduced or substantially eliminated when shipping the imaging device with the toner cartridge installed therein."

    URL and more information on this patent, see: Cavill, Gregory Alan; Hackney, Gary Neal. Shutter Assembly for a Toner Container. U.S. Patent Number 8737887, filed April 27, 2012, and published online on May 27, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8737887.PN.&OS=PN/8737887RS=PN/8737887

    Keywords for this news article include: Lexmark International Inc.

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