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 user 2005-02-04 at 10:17:00 am Views: 92
  • #10055

    Revolutionary Innovation Results in New “MicroFine Droplet Technology”

    In order to obtain highly faithful image expression in inkjet output, it is essential that the ink dots be extremely small and precisely distributed. As ink droplets become microscopic, however, image quality is affected by such problems as uneven droplet size and placement on the paper. Conventional inkjet printers have compensated by employing a multiple-pass printing system, in which the print head unit makes several passes to print each line. However, this significantly adds to the printing time.

    In order to achieve high image quality and high speed, Canon returned to its Bubble Jet roots, successfully developing and commercializing its revolutionary New “MicroFine Droplet Technology”, a core technology in new generations of inkjet printers. This technology combines an ink-ejection mechanism based on a unique concept, as well as an innovative ink nozzle manufacturing method.

    i990 Print Head Manufactured with New "MicroFine Droplet Technology"
    i990 Print Head Manufactured with New “MicroFine Droplet Technology”

    A total of 5,376 nozzles are densely aligned with 1200 dpi pitch. The head was realized through Canon’s unique innovative ink ejection mechanism and nozzle manufacturing method.

    It has sparked dramatic improvements in all aspects of printer output, including image quality, color gradation and image reproduction, resulting in a high level of perfection in photo-quality printing.

    Ejection Mechanism Providing Precision Placement of Microscopic 2-pl Ink Droplets

    The actual size of ink droplets ejected from inkjet printer nozzles tends to vary depending on a number of factors. Image quality is not greatly affected when the ink droplets are relatively large. When microscopic ink droplets are used, however, such fluctuations have a fatal impact on image quality. On the other hand, the effects of air resistance, which can cause uneven ink dot placement on the paper, are increased as droplets become smaller.

    In conventional inkjet processes, including Bubble Jet and piezoelectric processes, ink droplets are formed by applying pressure to ink inside the nozzle and, after repeated forward-and-return motion, separating a tiny volume of ink from the ink pressed out from the tip of the nozzle. Once ink droplets leave the nozzle, however, there are fluctuations in the discharge volume and direction depending on such factors as ink temperature and viscosity.

    In Canon’s new proprietary ink-ejection mechanism, ink droplets are separated away and ejected using the bubbles formed at the tip of the nozzle. We have made the nozzle even smaller and attached a heater to its tip, so that the ink-ejection opening is positioned directly beneath the heater. Our i990 Inkjet printers maintain a high level of ink droplet ejection precision, even with their microscopic 2-picoliter (pl*) ink droplets, for excellent placement accuracy on the paper.

    Conventional Inkjet
    Differences in Ink Ejection Methods
    Differences in Ink Ejection Methods New “MicroFine Droplet Technology”
    Differences in Ink Ejection Methods
    Differences in Ink Ejection Methods

    In conventional ink-jet technology, pressure is applied to the ink inside the nozzle and the ink is forced out, forming droplets as it leaves the nozzle. Canon’s New “MicroFine Droplet Technology” repositions the heater so that all the ink forward of the heater is uniformly discharged as microfine droplets.

    Print Head-Manufacturing Process Exploiting Ultraprecision Technology

    In the past, print heads in all inkjet printers were made by bonding components containing miniscule grooves and/or holes. Achieving smaller dots and higher printing speeds required high-precision technologies to enable the placement of a greater number of nozzles in larger areas. If the nozzle area of the print head on our i990 Inkjet printer were likened to that of half of a tennis court, the print head’s 5,376 ink nozzles would each have a diameter of only 10 mm. What’s more, the ink ejection opening on each nozzle would have to be sized and aligned with precision equaling 1 mm. However, due to limitations in the processing precision of components and bonding precision with conventional manufacturing processes, it was not possible to align such a large number of nozzles uniformly and precisely. To do so, Canon developed a nozzle manufacturing process, combining our semiconductor production technologies, original material technologies and innovative processing technologies.

    The i990 Inkjet printer features high-density alignment with real 1200 dpi pitch, with 768 nozzles for each of seven colors, for a total of 5,376 nozzles. The result is ultrahigh resolution of 4800 dpi (horizontal) x 2400 dpi (vertical). Canon has also increased the number of ink droplets by accelerating the print head drive frequency with this multinozzle, ultrahigh-density print head. As a result, the printer can output an 8″ x 10″ photograph image at the ultrahigh speed of approximately 37 seconds using Canon’s letter-size Photo Paper Plus Glossy PP-101, and a borderless 4″ x 6″ photograph image in approximately 37 seconds using our Photo Paper Pro PR-101.

    High-Precision Print Head Manufacturing Process

    A print head is produced by forming a heater and nozzle on a wafer as a single unit. As shown by the diagram, nozzles are made with high precision over a large area, using semiconductor-level precision without the need for bonding.
    Stable, Safe High-Functional Inks with Incredible Color Formation

    Because the inks used in Canon’s inkjet printers are instantaneously heated to temperatures of more than 300°C, their stability must be retained at high temperatures. Measures also need to be taken to ensure that ink nozzles are not clogged, so that truly spherical ink droplets are accurately affixed onto the paper. We worked from our technologies in fields such as organic, inorganic and high polymer chemistry to develop high-functional inks that satisfy stringent safety standards.

    Our innovative black pigment ink employs the low penetration and strong surface-fixing properties of pigment inks to provide sharp color expressions even on comparatively permeable plain paper. We developed this ink to maintain ink penetration at the ideal level. High-intensity inks are also a Canon original, featuring superb optical density (OD) values and light fastness. Because of their high OD values, image output quality is high even on plain paper.

    Differences in Characteristics of Pigment-Based Black Ink and Dye-Based Color Ink

    Differences in Characteristics of Pigment-Based Black Ink and Dye-Based Color Ink

    As high-contrast pigment-based black ink has lower penetration than dye-based color ink, Black can be printed sharply on plain paper.
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    Dedicated Inkjet Print Media for Outstanding Photo-Quality Output

    Combining these inks with our Photo Paper Pro lets users enjoy the ultimate in photo-quality printing.

    Canon’s Photo Paper Pro has a four-layered structure, is 245ìm thick and has a mirror-finished surface with a high-transparency glossiness level of more than 30%. On the outer surface is the ink-absorption layer, consisting of ultrafine inorganic particles. By instantly absorbing the ink, this layer prevents ink from spreading, preserving round ink dots with excellent contrast and sharpness to ensure photo-quality output.

    Structure of Photo Paper Pro

    Structure of Photo Paper Pro

    The second layer is an intermediate reflective layer that reflects light with excellent efficiency. The third “base paper” layer has the same material used in silver-halide photographic paper. At the bottom is back coating, which counteracts the stresses placed on the paper by the upper layers, to prevent curling.

    Quick-drying and high water-resistant, Canon’s Photo Paper Pro exceeds silver-halide paper in terms of brightness and chromaticity of the output.