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Publication numberUS20050156373 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/033,262
Publication dateJul 21, 2005
Filing dateJan 12, 2005
Priority dateJan 16, 2004
Publication number033262, 11033262, US 2005/0156373 A1, US 2005/156373 A1, US 20050156373 A1, US 20050156373A1, US 2005156373 A1, US 2005156373A1, US-A1-20050156373, US-A1-2005156373, US2005/0156373A1, US2005/156373A1, US20050156373 A1, US20050156373A1, US2005156373 A1, US2005156373A1
InventorsTatsuya Konagaya
Original AssigneeFuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Feeding device for sheet material and image recording apparatus for recording an image thereon
US 20050156373 A1
Abstract
A photographic printer carries paper sheets in two rows. A skew correcting unit is disposed at a passage of the paper sheets. The skew correcting unit comprises a pre-resist roller pair, a resist roller pair, carrying guides, and pressing mechanisms for moving the carrying guides in an approaching direction to the paper sheet and in a separating direction there from. When correcting the skew of the paper sheet, the pressing mechanism is actuated to move the carrying guide toward a deflection portion of the deflected paper sheet. In virtue of this, an anterior end of the paper sheet is pressed against the resist roller pair. Even if the paper sheet has stiffness, the skew thereof is quickly and accurately corrected.
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Claims(28)
1. A feeding device for a sheet material, comprising:
a carrier for carrying said sheet material;
an abutting member disposed at a downstream side of said carrier in a carrying direction of said sheet material, a deflection portion of said sheet material being formed between said carrier and said abutting member by further carrying said sheet material after an anterior end of said sheet material has butted against said abutting member; and
a pressing mechanism for pushing said deflection portion of said sheet material, said pressing mechanism pressing the whole of said anterior end against said abutting member to correct a skew of said sheet material.
2. A feeding device according to claim 1, wherein said abutting member is a feed roller pair for nipping and feeding said sheet material, and said anterior end of said sheet material butts against said feed roller pair of a stop state.
3. A feeding device according to claim 2, wherein said pressing mechanism includes at least one pushing member for abutting on and pushing said deflection portion.
4. A feeding device according to claim 3, wherein said carrier and said feed roller pair carry a plurality of said sheet materials in parallel, and said pushing members are disposed so as to correspond to the respective sheet materials carried in parallel.
5. A feeding device according to claim 3, wherein said pressing mechanism pushes the sole sheet material by using a plurality of said pushing members when said sheet materials are carried in a single row so as to overlap with the pushing members.
6. A feeding device according to claim 3, wherein said carrier and said abutting member are disposed at a curved passage of said sheet material, and a carrying guide for guiding said sheet material, which is carried by said carrier, to said abutting member is used as said pushing member.
7. A feeding device according to claim 6, wherein a surface of said carrying guide confronting said sheet material is formed with a plurality of ribs for reducing a contact area of said carrying guide and said sheet material.
8. A feeding device according to claim 1, wherein said abutting member is an abutting guide removably disposed at a passage of said sheet material.
9. A feeding device according to claim 8, further comprising:
a feed roller pair disposed between said carrier and said abutting guide to nip and feed said sheet material, said feed roller pair being switchable between a nip state for nipping and feeding said sheet material, and a release state for releasing a nip of said sheet material,
wherein said feed roller pair is changed from said nip state to said release state when said anterior end of said sheet material butts against said abutting guide.
10. A feeding device according to claim 9, wherein said pressing mechanism includes at least one pushing member for abutting on and pushing said deflection portion.
11. A feeding device according to claim 10, wherein said carrier and said feed roller pair carry a plurality of said sheet materials in parallel, and said pushing members are disposed so as to correspond to the respective sheet materials carried in parallel.
12. A feeding device according to claim 10, wherein said pressing mechanism pushes the sole sheet material by using a plurality of said pushing members when said sheet materials are carried in a single row so as to overlap with the pushing members.
13. A feeding device according to claim 10, wherein said carrier and said abutting member are disposed at a curved passage of said sheet material, and a carrying guide for guiding said sheet material, which is carried by said carrier, to said abutting member is used as said pushing member.
14. A feeding device according to claim 13, wherein a surface of said carrying guide confronting said sheet material is formed with a plurality of ribs for reducing a contact area of said carrying guide and said sheet material.
15. An image recording apparatus for recording an image on a sheet-shaped recording material, said image recording apparatus comprising:
a carrier for carrying said recording material;
an abutting member disposed at a downstream side of said carrier in a carrying direction of said recording material, a deflection portion of said recording material being formed between said carrier and said abutting member by further carrying said recording material after an anterior end of said recording material has butted against said abutting member; and
a pressing mechanism for pushing said deflection portion of said recording material, said pressing mechanism pressing the whole of said anterior end against said abutting member to correct a skew of said recording material.
16. An image recording apparatus according to claim 15, wherein said abutting member is a feed roller pair for nipping and feeding said recording material, and said anterior end of said recording material butts against said feed roller pair of a stop state.
17. An image recording apparatus according to claim 16, wherein said pressing mechanism includes at least one pushing member for abutting on and pushing said deflection portion.
18. An image recording apparatus according to claim 17, wherein said carrier and said feed roller pair carry a plurality of said recording materials in parallel, and said pushing members are disposed so as to correspond to the respective recording materials carried in parallel.
19. An image recording apparatus according to claim 17, wherein said pressing mechanism pushes the sole recording material by using a plurality of said pushing members when said recording materials are carried in a single row so as to overlap with the pushing members.
20. An image recording apparatus according to claim 17, wherein said carrier and said abutting member are disposed at a curved passage of said recording material, and a carrying guide for guiding said recording material, which is carried by said carrier, to said abutting member is used as said pushing member.
21. An image recording apparatus according to claim 20, wherein a surface of said carrying guide confronting said recording material is formed with a plurality of ribs for reducing a contact area of said carrying guide and said recording material.
22. An image recording apparatus according to claim 15, wherein said abutting member is an abutting guide removably disposed at a passage of said recording material.
23. An image recording apparatus according to claim 22, further comprising:
a feed roller pair disposed between said carrier and said abutting guide to nip and feed said recording material, said feed roller pair being switchable between a nip state for nipping and feeding said recording material, and a release state for releasing a nip of said recording material,
wherein said feed roller pair is changed from said nip state to said release state when said anterior end of said recording material butts against said abutting guide.
24. An image recording apparatus according to claim 23, wherein said pressing mechanism includes at least one pushing member for abutting on and pushing said deflection portion.
25. An image recording apparatus according to claim 24, wherein said carrier and said feed roller pair carry a plurality of said recording materials in parallel, and said pushing members are disposed so as to correspond to the respective recording materials carried in parallel.
26. An image recording apparatus according to claim 24, wherein said pressing mechanism pushes the sole recording material by using a plurality of said pushing members when said recording materials are carried in a single row so as to overlap with the pushing members.
27. An image recoding apparatus according to claim 24, wherein said carrier and said abutting member are disposed at a curved passage of said recording material, and a carrying guide for guiding said recording material, which is carried by said carrier, to said abutting member is used as said pushing member.
28. An image recording apparatus according to claim 27, wherein a surface of said carrying guide confronting said recording material is formed with a plurality of ribs for reducing a contact area of said carrying guide and said recording material.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to a feeding device for feeding a sheet material and for correcting a skew thereof, and further relates to an image recording apparatus for recording an image on the sheet material (recording material) of which the skew is corrected by the feeding device.
  • [0003]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0004]
    For example, in a photographic printer, feed roller pairs disposed at a passage nip a photosensitive material having a cut-sheet shape to feed it in a sub-scanning direction. While the photosensitive material is fed, recording light is scanned in a scanning direction perpendicular to the sub-scanning direction to record an image by means of scanning exposure. In many photographic printers, the photosensitive materials are carried in parallel and are simultaneously exposed in the scanning direction for the purpose of improving processing ability (amount) of unit time.
  • [0005]
    In order to obtain a high-quality photo print, it is necessary that the photosensitive material is exposed at a proper position and in a proper direction. However, the photosensitive material of the cut-sheet shape often inclines while carried. This means the photosensitive material is often in a skew state. If the photosensitive material is exposed in the skew state, an image is slantingly recorded on the photosensitive material. Thus, quality of the photo print remarkably deteriorates. In view of this, Japanese Patent Laid-Open Publication No. 2001-174927 describes a skew correcting method for the photosensitive material. In this method, anterior ends of the photosensitive materials, which are carried in parallel, abut on a feed roller pair of a stop state, and in this state, the photosensitive material is deflected so as to have flexure. In virtue of this, the whole of the anterior end of the respective photosensitive materials becomes parallel relative to an axial direction of the feed roller pair (the scanning direction). The skew of the photosensitive material is corrected by performing so-called top resist.
  • [0006]
    In many photographic printers, a photographic paper is used as the photosensitive material. However, the photographic paper has stiffness. Thus, when the method described in the above-noted Publication No. 2001-174927 is used for correcting the skew of the photographic paper, this paper is not deflected so as to make the whole of the anterior end thereof abut on the feed roller pair. There is a possibility that the skew is prevented from perfectly corrected. In view of this, in the photographic printer using the photosensitive material having stiffness, the feed roller pair on which the anterior end of the photosensitive material abuts is reversed in a state that the photosensitive material is deflected, such as described in Japanese Patent Laid-Open Publication No. 2003-195424. In virtue of this, the whole of the anterior end is adapted to abut on the feed roller pair, and the skew is accurately corrected.
  • [0007]
    By using the photographic printer described in the above-noted Publication No. 2003-195424, it is possible to accurately correct the skew even if the photosensitive material having stiffness is used. However, it is necessary at the time of correcting the skew to reverse the feed roller pair after deflecting the photosensitive material. Thus, it takes time for correcting the skew. As a result, processing ability of unit time deteriorates. Accordingly, there arises a problem in that it is unfavorable to adopt this kind of the photographic printer relative to a minilab apparatus and so forth requiring high processing ability.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    In view of the foregoing, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a feeding device in which a skew of a sheet material is quickly and accurately corrected even if the sheet material has stiffness.
  • [0009]
    It is a second object of the present invention to provide an image recording apparatus comprising the above-mentioned feeding device.
  • [0010]
    In order to achieve the above and other objects, the feeding device according to the present invention comprises a carrier for carrying a sheet material, and an abutting member disposed at a downstream side of the carrier in a carrying direction of the sheet material. After an anterior end of the sheet material has butted against the abutting member, the sheet material is further carried to form a deflection portion thereof between the carrier and the abutting member. The feeding device further comprises a pressing mechanism for pushing the deflection portion of the sheet material. The pressing mechanism presses the entire anterior end of the sheet material against the abutting member to correct a skew of the sheet material. In a preferred embodiment, the abutting member is a feed roller pair for nipping and feeding the sheet material, and the anterior end of the sheet material butts against the feed roller pair of a stop state. The carrier and the feed roller pair are disposed at a curved passage of the sheet material. A carrying guide for guiding the sheet material to the feed roller pair is used to push the deflection portion of the sheet material. The carrying guide is formed with ribs for reducing a contact area of the carrying guide and the sheet material.
  • [0011]
    In another embodiment, the abutting member is an abutting guide removably disposed at a passage of the sheet material. A feed roller pair for nipping and feeding the sheet material is disposed between the carrier and the abutting guide. The feed roller pair is changed between a nip state for nipping/feeding the sheet material, and a release state for releasing the nip of the sheet material. When the anterior end of the sheet material butts against the abutting guide, the feed roller pair is changed from the nip state to the release state.
  • [0012]
    The image recording apparatus according to the present invention comprises a carrier for carrying a recording material, and an abutting member disposed at a downstream side of the carrier in a carrying direction of the recording material. After an anterior end of the recording material has butted against the abutting member, the recording material is further carried to form a deflection portion thereof between the carrier and the abutting member. The image recording apparatus further comprises a pressing mechanism for pushing the deflection portion of the recording material. The pressing mechanism presses the entire anterior end of the recording material against the abutting member to correct a skew of the recording material. In a preferred embodiment, the abutting member is a feed roller pair for nipping and feeding the recording material, and the anterior end of the recording material butts against the feed roller pair of a stop state. The carrier and the feed roller pair are disposed at a curved passage of the recording material. A carrying guide for guiding the recording material to the feed roller pair is used to push the deflection portion of the recording material. The carrying guide is formed with ribs for reducing a contact area of the carrying guide and the recording material.
  • [0013]
    In another embodiment, the abutting member is an abutting guide removably disposed at a passage of the recording material. A feed roller pair for nipping and feeding the recording material is disposed between the carrier and the abutting guide. The feed roller pair is changed between a nip state for nipping/feeding the recording material, and a release state for releasing the nip of the recording material. When the anterior end of the recording material butts against the abutting guide, the feed roller pair is changed from the nip state to the release state.
  • [0014]
    According to the present invention, it is possible to quickly and accurately correct the skew of the sheet material and the recording material, even if these materials have stiffness. As a result, processing ability of unit time is improved.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    The above objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
  • [0016]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration showing a photographic printer using a feeding device according to the present invention;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing a structure of the feeding device of the photographic printer;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 3 is a side view of the feeding device shown in FIG. 2;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 4 is a side view showing a state in that a carrying guide is moved to an evacuation position so as to deflect a recording-paper sheet at the time of skew correction;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 5 is a side view showing a state in that the carrying guide is moved to a press position so as to push the deflected recording-paper sheet and so as to press an anterior end thereof against a resist roller pair;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 6 is a side view showing a state in that the recording-paper sheet is fed by the register roller pair after correcting the skew;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the feeding device of another embodiment in which the recording-paper sheet is fed in a single row; and
  • [0023]
    FIG. 8 is a side view of the feeding device of the other embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)
  • [0024]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration showing a photographic printer 10 using a feeding device according to the present invention. The photographic printer 10 carries photosensitive materials of a cut-sheet shape in two rows. The photosensitive materials of two rows are simultaneously exposed and are outputted as photo prints. Such as shown in FIG. 1, the photographic printer 10 is constituted of magazines 12 and 13, cutters 15 and 16, a back-printing unit 18, a skew correcting unit 19, an exposing unit 21, a processing unit 22, and so forth.
  • [0025]
    The magazines 12 and 13 are disposed at predetermined positions in the photographic printer 10 to respectively contain a recording-paper roll 25 formed by winding a strip-shaped photosensitive recording paper 24 in a roll form. The photosensitive recording paper 24 is regarded as a photosensitive material. A roller pair 27 is disposed near a paper mouth of the respective magazines 12 and 13. Upon rotating the roller pair 27 by a motor, which is not shown, the photosensitive recording paper 24 is drawn out of the recording-paper roll 25 and is forwarded to the corresponding cutter 15 or 16.
  • [0026]
    The cutters 15 and 16 are respectively disposed so as to nip a passage of the photosensitive recording paper 24. When an anterior end of the recording paper 24 is advanced from the cutter by a predetermined length, a cutter driving mechanism, which is not shown, is actuated to cut the recording paper 24 into a paper sheet 28 having the predetermined length (see FIGS. 2 and 3). By the way, instead of providing the two cutters, a single cutter may be disposed near the back-printing unit 18.
  • [0027]
    The paper sheets 28 cut by the cutters 15 and 16 are carried by carrying roller pairs 30 and 31 disposed at the passages. The paper sheets 28 are carried along the passages shown by dotted lines in the drawing to pass through the back-printing unit 18, the skew correcting unit 19, the exposing unit 21 and the processing unit 22 in order. In this case, timing for advancing the paper sheets 28 from the respective magazines 12 and 13 to the passages is previously adjusted. Meanwhile, in the present embodiment, the magazines 12 and 13 are vertically disposed in the drawing. Instead of this, the magazines may be disposed in parallel in a width direction of the paper sheet 28. Further, instead of disposing two magazines, the recording-paper rolls 25 may be set in the same magazine. Furthermore, the paper sheets 28 may be arranged in parallel by using a sorting unit (not shown), which moves the paper sheets 28 in the width direction thereof. The back-printing unit 18 prints film ID, a frame number and so forth on a rear surface (opposite surface to a recording surface) of the respective paper sheets 28 carried in parallel (in two rows).
  • [0028]
    The paper sheet 28 on which back-printing has been performed is forwarded to the skew correcting unit 19 by the carrying roller pair 31. The skew correcting unit 19, which is described later in detail, corresponds to the feeding device of the present invention. The skew correcting unit 19 simultaneously corrects skews of the paper sheets 28 of two rows. The paper sheet 28 of which the skew has been corrected is fed to the exposing unit 21.
  • [0029]
    The exposing unit 21 comprises a laser printer and an image memory, which are well known. The image memory stores image data read by a film scanner, which is not shown. Alternatively, the image data is transferred from a recording medium of a memory card and so forth, which is also not shown. The laser printer simultaneously exposes the paper sheets 28 of two rows such that laser beams are scanned in a scanning direction perpendicular to a feed direction (sub-scanning direction). Intensity of the laser beam is modulated in accordance with an image to be recorded. The exposed paper sheet 28 is forwarded to the processing unit 22 wherein processes of coloring/developing, fixing and washing are executed. After that, the paper sheet 28 is dried and forwarded to the outside of the photographic printer 10 as a photo print.
  • [0030]
    Next, the skew correcting unit 19 is described below, referring to FIGS. 2 and 3. FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing a structure of the skew correcting unit 19. FIG. 3 is a side view of the skew correcting unit 19. Such as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the skew correcting unit 19 is provided with a pre-resist roller pair 35 and a resist roller pair 36, which are well known, and carrying guides 37 and 38. The pre-resist roller pair 35 and the resist roller pair 36 correct the skews of the paper sheets 28 carried in two rows. The carrying guides 37 and 38 guide an anterior end of the respective paper sheets 28, which are carried by the pre-resist roller pair 35, to the resist roller pair 36. In addition, the skew correcting unit 19 is provided with a pressing mechanism 40 described later in detail. The pressing mechanism 40 presses the anterior end of the partially deflected paper sheet 28 by using the carrying guide 37. Incidentally, the pressing mechanism 40 and the respective roller pairs 35 and 36 are controlled by a controller 41 (see FIG. 1) controlling the whole operation of the photographic printer 10.
  • [0031]
    The pre-resist roller pair 35 and the resist roller pair 36 are disposed at the curved passage to carry the paper sheet 28 by means of a motor, which is not shown. These roller pairs 35 and 36 carry the paper sheet 28 in a vertical direction and in a horizontal direction respectively (see FIGS. 1 and 3). The pre-resist roller pair 35 is provided with a release mechanism (not shown) for releasing a nip state of the roller pair. The resist roller pair 36 is rotatable in forward and backward directions. The carrying directions of the respective roller pairs 35 and 36 are perpendicular to each other so that the carrying guides 37 and 38 form the arc-shaped passage wherein the carrying direction of the paper sheet 28 is turned at about 90 degrees. Incidentally, the release mechanism is also controlled by the controller 41.
  • [0032]
    When the skew of the paper sheet 28 is corrected, a deflection portion is formed on the paper sheet 28 as well known. The deflection portion is formed such that the paper sheet 28 is advanced by a predetermined amount after one corner of the anterior end of the paper sheet 28, which is carried by the pre-resist roller pair 35, has abutted on the resist roller pair 35. In a conventional way, the whole of the anterior end is adapted to abut on the resist roller pair 36 by utilizing only resilience of the deflected paper sheet 28. However, the whole of the anterior end is likely to be prevented from abutting on the resist roller pair 36 when the paper sheet 28 has stiffness. In view of this, in the present invention, the pressing mechanism 40 is used for pushing the deflection portion (see FIG. 5) of the paper sheet 28 to press the anterior end thereof against the resist roller pair 36. In virtue of this, the anterior end is compulsorily interposed between the rollers of the resist roller pair 36. Thus, it is possible to make the whole of the anterior end abut on the resist roller pair 36 even when the paper sheet 28 having the stiffness is used.
  • [0033]
    The skew correcting unit 19 is disposed at a corner of the passage wherein the carrying direction of the paper sheet 28 is turned at about 90 degrees. When the skew is corrected, the paper sheet 28 is partially deflected such that the recording surface (exposure surface) thereof has a convex shape. By disposing the skew correcting unit 19 at the corner of the passage, the paper sheet 28 is easily deflected. At the same time, a force for pressing the anterior end against the resist roller pair 36 is effectively applied when the deflection portion is pushed. In other words, pressing effect is improved. Since the recording surface of the paper sheet 28 is partially deflected so as to have the convex shape, the carrying guide 37 is used as a press member for pushing the deflection portion. In the meantime, the photographic printer 10 carries the paper sheets 28 of two rows. In consideration of this, the carrying guide 37 is divided into a first carrying guide 37 a and a second carrying guide 37 b, which are disposed in parallel in the scanning direction, so as to individually push the respective paper sheets 28. Incidentally, another press member may be provided instead of using the carrying guide 37.
  • [0034]
    As to the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b, anything may be used on condition that the paper sheet 28 is prevented from adhering due to charged static electricity, and further, the recording surface of the paper sheet 28 is prevented from being damaged at the time of pushing the paper sheet 28. For instance, isused a Teflon (registered trademark)-based plastic material on which antistatic processing is treated. Surfaces of the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b confronting the paper sheets 28 are formed with ribs 42, which are parallel to the carrying direction of the paper sheet 28 and are arranged in a width direction of the paper sheet 28. In virtue of the ribs 42, it is possible to prevent scratches and adhesion from occurring. Instead of forming the ribs 42, the surfaces confronting the paper sheets 28 may be formed with rollers, wheels or projections. The roller and the wheel rotate, abutting on the paper sheet 28. A surface of the projection is smoothly treated. In these cases, it is possible to reduce an area coming into contact with the paper sheet 28. Further, it is also possible to reduce friction to be caused at the time of contacting with the paper sheet 28.
  • [0035]
    The pressing mechanism 40 moves the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b to at least three positions of a guide position, an evacuation position and a press position. In the guide position, the carrying guide guides the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 to the resist roller pair 36 before correcting the skew. In the evacuation position, the carrying guide is evacuated from the paper sheet 28 so as to partially deflect the paper sheet 28 at the time of commencing the skew correction. In the press position, the carrying guide pushes the deflection potion of the deflected paper sheet 28 to press the anterior end thereof against the resist roller pair 36. When skew angles of the paper sheets 28 carried in two rows are different, deflection amounts of the paper sheets 28 are also different. Thus, it is necessary to independently adjust the press positions of the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b. For this reason, the pressing mechanism 40 is divided into a first pressing mechanism 40 a for moving the carrying guide 37 a, and a second pressing mechanism 40 b for moving the carrying guide 37 b. Incidentally, the evacuation position is not especially restricted. The evacuation position may be optionally determined on condition that the carrying guide is prevented from coming into contact with the deflected paper sheet 28.
  • [0036]
    The first pressing mechanism 40 a is constituted of the first carrying guide 37 a, a grip member 44 a for gripping a ball screw 43 a, a retainer plate 45 a for retaining the carrying guide 37 a, and a motor 47 a. The grip member 44 a is fixed to the carrying guide 37 a to rotatably grip the ball screw 43 a along a direction perpendicular to the recording surface of the paper sheet 28. The retainer plate 45 a is formed with a through hole (internal thread) to mesh with the ball screw 43 a via which the carrying guide 37 a is retained. The motor 47 a rotates the ball screw 43 a. The above-mentioned controller 41 (see FIG. 1) controls the rotational dive of the motor 47 a to adjust a distance between the carrying guide 37 a and the recording surface of the paper sheet 28. In other words, the controller 41 moves the carrying guide 37 a to the respective positions of the guide position, the evacuation position and the press position. The second pressing mechanism 40 b has a structure being identical to that of the first pressing mechanism 40 a. The second pressing mechanism 40 b is constituted of a ball screw 43 b, a grip member 44 b, a retainer plate and a motor, although the retainer plate and the motor are not shown in the drawings. Incidentally, the pressing mechanisms 40 a and 40 b may be any mechanism on condition that the distance between the carrying guide and the recording surface of the paper sheet 28 is adjustable. For instance, it is possible to adopt an actuator using an air cylinder, a lead screw and so forth. It is also possible to adopt a mechanism for rotating the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b by using a cam and a link member.
  • [0037]
    A deflection amount of the paper sheet 28 deflected at the time of the skew correction depends on a kind and an inclination amount of the paper sheet 28. Thus, it is preferable to change the press positions of the respective carrying guides 37 a and 37 b in accordance with the kind and the inclination amount. When the paper sheet 28 is pushed, the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b kept in the evacuation position are moved toward the paper sheets 28. At this time, a relationship between the inclination amount and the deflection amount is obtained in advance relative to the respective kinds of the paper sheets 28. In addition, an inclination sensor (not shown) for detecting the inclination amount (skew amount) of the respective paper sheets 28 is disposed in the passage at an upstream side of the resist roller pair 36. It is possible to estimate the deflection amount of the respective paper sheets 28 on the basis of kind information of the paper sheet 28 inputted by a user in advance, and inclination-amount information detected by the inclination sensor. Consequently, it is possible to move the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b to the press positions where the force for pressing the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 against the resist roller pair becomes substantially constant. In other words, it is possible to move each of the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b to the press position corresponding to the estimated deflection amount. Thus, even if the inclination amount and the kind of the paper sheet 28 are changed, the anterior end thereof is pressed against the resist roller pair 36 by the substantially constant force.
  • [0038]
    Meanwhile, a pressure sensor (not shown) may be disposed at a surface of the carrying guide confronting the paper sheet 28. In this case, the press position is defined as a position where a pressure measured by the pressure sensor becomes a predetermined value. Incidentally, the pressure measured by the pressure sensor means a force pushing the deflection portion of the paper sheet 28 with the carrying guide. It is needless to say that the pressure sensor and the rib 42 have the same level when the pressure sensor is used.
  • [0039]
    Next, an operation of the pressing mechanism 40 is described below with FIGS. 3 through 6, which are side views of the skew correcting unit 19 shown in FIG. 2. Although the second pressing mechanism 40 b is not shown in the respective drawings, the structure thereof is identical with that of the first pressing mechanism 40 a, such as mentioned in the foregoing. For this reason, only the operation of the first pressing mechanism 40 a is described below.
  • [0040]
    First of all, the carrying guide 37 a is kept in the guide position such as shown in FIG. 3 to guide the anterior end of the paper sheet 28, which is carried by the pre-resist roller pair 35, to the resist roller pair 36 of a stop state. At this time, a carrying amount is measured after the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 has passed the pre-resist roller pair 35. Carrying-amount information of the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 may be easily obtained by disposing a photo sensor (not shown) or the like near the pre-resist roller pair 35, for example.
  • [0041]
    Such as shown in FIG. 4, carrying the paper sheet 28 with the pre-resist roller pair 35 is continued by a predetermined length until the paper sheet 28 is fully deflected. When the paper sheet 28 skews, one corner of the anterior end thereof abuts on the resist roller pair 36 of the stop state, and then, the paper sheet 28 is deflected by further carrying the paper sheet 28. At this time, the pressing mechanism 40 a (the motor 47 a) is preliminarily actuated to move the carrying guide 37 a from the guide position to the evacuation position. Moreover, the deflection amount of the paper sheet 28 is estimated in advance on the basis of the inclination-amount information, which is obtained from the above-mentioned sensor (not shown), and the kind information, which is inputted by the user.
  • [0042]
    The controller 41 (see FIG. 1) halts the pre-resist roller pair 35 from carrying the paper sheet 28 when the carrying amount of the paper sheet 28 has reached the predetermined amount, such as shown in FIG. 5. Successively, the pressing mechanism 40 a is actuated to move the carrying guide 37 a from the evacuation position to the press position corresponding to the estimated deflection amount. Thus, the deflection portion of the deflected paper sheet 28 is pushed by the carrying guide 37 a to press the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 against the resist roller pair 36. Since the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 is compulsorily inserted between the rollers of the resist roller pair 36, the whole of the anterior end abuts on the resist roller pair 36. As a result, the skew of the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 is corrected so as to become parallel in an axial direction of the resist roller pair 36, or in the scanning direction.
  • [0043]
    After correcting the skew of the anterior end of the paper sheet 28, the controller 41 (see FIG. 1) rotates only the resist roller pair 36 such as shown in FIG. 6 to commence feeding the paper sheet 28. When an amount advanced by the resist roller pair 36 has become a predetermined amount, the pre-resist roller pair 35 is released from the nip state. The skew of the paper sheet 28 is perfectly corrected and the paper sheet 28 is fed to the exposing unit 21 (see FIG. 1) in a proper attitude. Incidentally, the second pressing mechanism 40 b similarly corrects the skew of the paper sheet 28 by pressing the anterior end thereof against the resist roller pair 36.
  • [0044]
    The paper sheet 28 is likely to be shifted in the scanning direction when the skew is corrected. If the shift is caused in the scanning direction, an image to be exposure-recorded in the exposure unit 21 is shifted in the scanning direction. In view of this, a measurement sensor is provided, for example. This sensor measures a shift amount in the scanning direction after the skew has been corrected. Alternatively, in the case that the inclination amount is detected at the time of the skew correction, the shift amount in the scanning direction may be calculated by using the detected inclination amount. On the basis of the calculated shift amount, a recording position of the exposing unit 21 is shifted in the scanning direction.
  • [0045]
    Next, an operation of the photographic printer 10 having the above structure is described below. Upon print instruction of the user, the photosensitive recording papers 24 are advanced from the recording-paper rolls 25 of the magazines 12 and 13, such as shown in FIG. 1. The advanced recoding papers 24 are cut by the cutters 15 and 16 into the paper sheets 28 having the predetermined length. The carrying roller pairs 30 forward the cut paper sheets 28 to the back-printing unit 18 in parallel. The back-printing unit 18 prints the necessary information of the film ID, the frame number and so forth.
  • [0046]
    The back-printed paper sheet 28 is forwarded to the skew correcting unit 19 by the carrying roller pairs 31. The controller 41 keeps the respective carrying guides 37 a and 37 b in the guide position such as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. At this time, the controller 41 rotates only the pre-resist roller pair 35 to carry the paper sheets 28 toward the rollers of the resist roller pair 36. Carrying the paper sheet 28 by the pre-resist roller pair 35 is continued such as shown in FIG. 4 to fully deflect the paper sheet 28. At this time, the respective pressing mechanisms 40 a and 40 b are driven to move the respective carrying guides 37 a and 37 b to the evacuation position. Meanwhile, the deflection amount of the paper sheet 28 is preliminarily estimated on the basis of the inclination information and the kind information of the paper sheet 28, which are measured and inputted in advance.
  • [0047]
    The controller 41 halts the pre-resist roller pair 35 when the carrying amount of the paper sheet 28 has reached the predetermined amount. And then, the controller 41 actuates the pressing mechanisms 40 a and 40 b to move each of the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b from the evacuation position to the press position corresponding to the estimated deflection amount of the paper sheet 28. In virtue of this, the deflection portions of the deflected paper sheets 28 are pushed by the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b to press the anterior ends thereof against the resist roller pair 36. Since the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 is compulsorily inserted into the resist roller pair 36, the whole of the anterior end abuts on the resist roller pair 36. After the skew of the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 has been corrected, only the resist roller pair 36 is rotated to commence feeding the paper sheet 28, such as shown in FIG. 6. When the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 has been nipped by the resist roller pair 36, the pre-resist roller pair 35 is released from the nip state. Even if the paper sheet 28 has stiffness, it is possible to accurately correct the skews of the parallel two rows at the same time. It is unnecessary to reverse the resist roller pair 36 such as described in the previously cited Publication No. 2003-195424, so that processing ability of unit time is improved.
  • [0048]
    The paper sheet 28 of which the skew has been corrected is fed to the exposing unit 21 by the carrying roller pairs 31. At the exposure unit 21, image exposures of two rows are performed in parallel. The exposed paper sheet 28 is forwarded to the processing unit 22 wherein the respective processes of coloring/developing, fixing, washing, and drying are executed. After that, the paper sheet 28 is discharged to the outside of the photographic printer 10 as a photo print.
  • [0049]
    In the photographic printer 10 of the above embodiment, the paper sheets 28 of two rows are carried to simultaneously perform the skew correction thereof and to simultaneously perform the exposure thereof. However, a number of rows for carrying the paper sheets in parallel is not exclusive to two, but may be three or more. In this case, the pre-resist roller pair 35 and the resist roller pair 36 are adapted to have a sufficient length in the axial direction so as to carry a few rows. Further, the above-described pressing mechanisms are disposed in parallel by a number corresponding to the rows.
  • [0050]
    In the photographic printer 10 of the above embodiment, the carry is performed in two rows and the exposure thereof is simultaneously performed. However, when a fraction is processed and when high processing ability is not required, single-row carrying may be performed as need arises. In this case, the skew may be corrected by using either of the pressing mechanisms 40 a and 40 b shown in FIG. 2. Alternatively, for example, the paper sheet 28 may be moved to a central portion of the passage, such as shown in FIG. 7, by providing a guide rail (not shown) and a shifting mechanism (not shown), which shifts the paper sheet in a width direction, at the passage along which the paper sheet 28 is carried to the pre-resist roller pair 35. When the skew is corrected, the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 is pressed against the resist roller pair 36 by using both of the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b.
  • [0051]
    When both the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b are used for pressing, there is a possibility that the paper sheet 28 is not pressed by uniform force in a balanced manner. In view of this, the skew may be corrected by reversing the resist roller pair 36 in a state that the paper sheet 28 is deflected, such as described in the previously cited Publication No. 2003-195424. Although processing ability deteriorates in this case, the photographic printer 10 may be manufactured at a low cost since it is unnecessary to balance the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b.
  • [0052]
    In the above embodiment, the resist roller pair 36 is rotatable in forward and backward directions so that it is possible, in both cases of the two-row carry and the single-row carry, to correct the skew by reversing the resist roller pair 36 such as described in the forgoing Publication No. 2003-195424. Thus, for example, the skew is corrected by using the pressing mechanisms 40 a and 40 b when the two-row carry requiring the processing ability is performed, and the skew is corrected during the reverse rotation of the resist roller pair 36 when the single-row carry hardly requiring the processing ability is performed.
  • [0053]
    The pressing mechanism 40 of the above embodiment is constituted of the ball screws 43 a and 43 b, the motor 47 a and so force. However, the retainer plate 45 a (see FIG. 3) and the carrying guide 37 a (also the carrying guide 37 b) may be connected by means of a spring, and the carrying guides 37 a and 37 b may push the deflection portion of the paper sheet 28 by utilizing urging force of the spring.
  • [0054]
    In the above embodiment, the skew correcting unit 19 is disposed at the corner of the passage where the carrying direction of the paper sheet 28 is turned at 90 degrees. In other words, the skew correcting unit 19 is disposed at the curved passage. The present invention, however, is not exclusive to this. The skew correcting unit may be disposed at a straight portion of the passage. Further, instead of carrying the paper sheet 28 with the pre-resist roller pair 35, the paper sheet 28 may be carried by using a chucker and so forth being movable in a parallel direction with the sub-scanning direction.
  • [0055]
    In the above embodiment, the paper sheet 28 is deflected so as to make the recording surface thereof convex. However, the paper sheet 28 may deflected so as to make the rear surface thereof convex. In this case, the exposing unit 21 is disposed at an opposite side relative to the paper sheet 28 in the photographic printer 10, and at the same time, the paper sheet 28 is carried in a state that the surfaces thereof are reversed. In this case, since the rear surface of the paper sheet 28 is pushed, the recording surface is prevented from being damaged.
  • [0056]
    In the present invention, when the skew is corrected, the paper sheet 28 is deflected so that the anterior end thereof abuts on the resist roller pair 36 of the stop state. However, as shown in FIG. 8, an abutting guide 50 may be disposed at a downstream side of the resist roller pair 36 in the sheet carrying direction. The abutting guide 50 is removable from the passage. The anterior end of the paper sheet 28 butts against the abutting guide 50 so that the paper sheet 28 is partially deflected. In this case, is provided a changeover mechanism for changing the resist roller pair 36 between a nip state for nipping the paper sheet 28, and a release state for releasing the nip of the paper sheet 28. When the anterior end of the paper sheet 28 butts against the abutting guide 50, the changeover mechanism is actuated to change the resist roller pair 36 to the release state. And then, the abutting guide 50 is removed from the passage after the skew of the anterior end has been corrected. At the same time, the resist roller pair 36 is set to the nip state.
  • [0057]
    Although the present invention has been fully described by way of the preferred embodiments thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings, various changes and modifications will be apparent to those having skill in this field. Therefore, unless otherwise these changes and modifications depart from the scope of the present invention, they should be construed as included therein.
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US7447478 *May 12, 2006Nov 4, 2008Canon Kabushiki KaishaImage forming apparatus
US7796473 *May 7, 2007Sep 14, 2010The Sapling Company, Inc.Clock diagnostics
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US8109507 *Feb 25, 2010Feb 7, 2012Brother Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaRecording apparatus
US8585047 *Dec 10, 2010Nov 19, 2013Canon Kabushiki KaishaSheet conveyance apparatus and recording apparatus
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CN102476510A *Jan 14, 2011May 30, 2012虹光精密工业股份有限公司Sheet de-curling mechanism and printing apparatus using the same
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Classifications
U.S. Classification271/226
International ClassificationB65H9/10, B65H5/06, B65H5/36, B65H9/14, B65H9/06
Cooperative ClassificationB65H9/103, B65H9/06
European ClassificationB65H9/10B, B65H9/06
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 12, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KONAGAYA, TATSUYA;REEL/FRAME:016198/0336
Effective date: 20041221
Feb 15, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: FUJIFILM CORPORATION, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FUJIFILM HOLDINGS CORPORATION (FORMERLY FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD.);REEL/FRAME:018904/0001
Effective date: 20070130
Owner name: FUJIFILM CORPORATION,JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FUJIFILM HOLDINGS CORPORATION (FORMERLY FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD.);REEL/FRAME:018904/0001
Effective date: 20070130