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Publication numberUS3701476 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 31, 1972
Filing dateOct 14, 1971
Priority dateOct 14, 1971
Publication numberUS 3701476 A, US 3701476A, US-A-3701476, US3701476 A, US3701476A
InventorsHouser Philip H
Original AssigneeMead Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Drop generator with rotatable transducer
US 3701476 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

'United States Patent Houser r 1 a [54] DROP GENERATOR WITH ROTATABLE TRANSDUCER [72] Inventor: Philip H. Houser, Chillicothe, Ohio [73] Assignee: The Mead Corporation, Chillicothe,


22 Filed! on. 14, 1971 21 Appl.No.:189 ,296

[52] U.S.Cl. .....239/l02,139/15,?46/75 51 111 .01. ..ll05b3ll4 581 Field of Search.....346ll, 75; 140; 317 3; 239/3, 239/15,4, 102

[56] References v Q UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,577,198 5/1971 Beam...' ........346/75 3,656,174 4/1972 Robertson .,..,.346/75 1 51 Oct. 31, 1972 Primary Examiner-Joseph W. Hartary Attorney-Lawrence B. Biebel et a1.

[ ABSTRACT A drop generator which a working fluid is vforced through orifices in a flexible plate mounted on the drop generating head. The resulting filaments of workin'g fluid break down into drops and the size and spacing of the drops are regulated by propagating a series of bending waves down the length of the orifice plate. The waves are propagated by means of an ultrasonic transducer mounted for rotation about its axis on thedrop generator and directly contacting the orifice. plate'.;Fine control overthe exact point of contact between the tip of the transducer and the orifice plate is attained by forming the tip offset with respect to the axis of the transducer and rotating thetransducer about its axis.

8 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENIED nor a 1 I972 SHEET 1 [IF 2 w ll PATENTED UB1 31 I972 SHEET 2 or g FIG-2 "FIG-3.


and APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR GENERA- TlON OF DROPS, Ser. No.; 189,297 filed on an even date herewith and assigned to the same assignee-as the present'invention.

BACKGROUND OFTPTE lNVENTlON This invention relatesgenerally' to the field of fluid drop generation and the application thereof to jet drop recorders of the type shown in Sweet et al.-U.S. Pat. No. 3,373,437. and Taylor et al. US. Patent No. 3,560,641. lnrecorders of this type'there. are one or streams and thereafterdepositing at least some of the drops on a moving web of paper or other material.

The abovementioned charging is accomplished by There is a second and more serious difficulty with the above mentioned prior art stimulation systems. This is an acoustical cancellation and reinforcement phenomenon which causes unpredictable stream-tostream variation in stimulation energy amplitude. Such ment it is necessary that there be some charge electrode surface in the vicinity of the .drop breakoff point.

Thus item be seen that the above mentioned filament application of control signals to, charging electrodes positioned near each'of the streams. As eachdrop breaks off: from its-parent fluid filament, itcarries with it a charge which isin effect a sample of the voltage present on the associated charge electrode at the instant of drop-separation. Thereafter the drop passes through an electrostatic field and isjdeflected in the field direction a distance whichis proportional to' the magnitude of the'drop charge. In a preferred embodiment the drops are charged binarily forprint-no.-print operation; some drops being uncharged and un deflected for printing, and all other drops being charged to a fixed level and deflected into. a catcher. I

In order to accomplish. reproduction with recorders:

of the above described type it isnecessary to control drop formation with a great dealgof precision. Leftto natural stimulating disturbances, the streams would break; up erratically into drops of various sizes.- at irregular intervals .to.produce a recording which at bestwould be a poor sample of the input control voltages.

Accordingly it is; customary to apply a fixed frequency,

lengthvariations result in a requirement for a very long electrode; something which is difficult to implementin tightly packed arrays of the type here concerned.

Moreover these length-variations produce a relatively large drop positional placement error. V

This error arises from channel to channel differences in drop flight time; that is, the elapsed time from drop breakoff/charging to impact on the moving web of paper. It is somewhat analogous to a gunnery problem wherein a projectile must be aimed to. hit a moving target. l-lere each drop is programmed to hit the paper at a precise position relative to other drops, and if it must fallv a greater or lesser distance than had been anticipatedit will miss-With a web speed adjusted for slight overlap of adjacent printed dots, the above mentioned length difference of plus or minus 3 times the drop spacing distance will producea printing error in the direction of web movement of plus or minus about 3 printed dot diameters. Such an error is unacceptably large for printing of graphic arts quality.

In the above noted, related application, AP:

PARATUS AND METHOD FOR GENERATION OF DROPS, the stimulation of the fluid streams is attained tion, it is important to obtain stimulating bending waves constant magnitude stimulating, disturbance. to all of the fluid streams. This resultsv in trains of uniformly sized and regularly spaced drops and enables reasonably good sampled data recording.

Various. types of 1 magnetostrictive and piezoelectric transducers havebeenproposed for fluidstream stimulation, and for multiple channel operationthe transducer may be coupled to the structure of the fluid manifold as shown in .the. above mentioned-Sweet et al.

patent orv to a fluid supply line as shown in Taylor etal.

Unfortunately these prior art systems stimulate drop of exactly the right mode to obtain stimulation of the desired quality. One of the variables affecting the characteristics of the waves propagated is the point on the surface of the orifice plate where the transducer probe makes contact.

Under ideal circumstances the probe will contact the orifice plate along the center-line thereof and produce bending waves for stimulation as desired. However, it has been found that fully assembled jcoating heads with their attendant tolerance errors and other unpredictable variables often times fail to stimulate v properly.

Further it has been observed that this condition may be corrected by fine. adjustment of the contact point between the transducer probe and the orifice plate. It is an object of this invention to provide a simple and practical means for such post-assembly adjustment.

. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION plate can be attained to compensate for anyrvariation between the actual and theoretical contact point.

Thus, the tip of the transducer probe is formed with a point offset with respect to the axis of the transducer,

and means are provided for mounting the transducer on the generator for rotation about its axis. In this way the exact point of contact will be shifted as the transducer is rotated about its axis.

' BRIEF DESCRIPTION or THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an exploded head assembly;

FIG. 2 is across sectional'through the assembly of perspective view of a recording 'FIGJ; I

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view through a portion of the assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG..4 is a view of the transducer probe; and FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the probe of FIG. 4.


The recording head'comprises an orifice plate 18 soldered, welded or otherwise bonded to fluid supply manifold 20 with a pair of wedgeshaped acoustical dampers= 22 therebetween. Orifice plate 18 is preferably formed of a relatively stiff material such as stainless steel or nickel coated beryllium-copper but is relatively thin' to provide the required flexibility.

.Preferably dampers 22 are cast in-place by pouring 58 and 60 reach through apertures 62 and 64, respectively, in charge ring plate 50 to support holders 56 "without stressing or constraining charge ring plate 50.

Deflection ribbon 52 isvalso supported by holders 56 and is stretched tightly therebetween by means of "tightening blocik 66. Ribbon 52 extends between 56, and urging them mutually'inward with a pair of elastic bands 70. Adjusting blocks 72 are inserted upwardly through recessed 74 and 76 to bear against faces 78 of catchers 54, and adjusting screws 80 are provided to drive adjusting blocks 72 and catchers 54 outwardly against elastic bands 70. Holders 56 are' reinforced plastic board.

The fully assembled recording head is shown in cross section in FIG. 2. As therein illustrated coating fluid 82 flows downwardly through orifices 26 forming two made of insulative material whichmay be any available rows of streams which break up into drops 84. Drops 84 then pass through two rows of charge rings 86 in charge ring plate 50 and thence into one of the catchers 54 or onto the moving web of paper 88. Switching of drops between catch and deposit trajectories is accomplished by electrostatic charging and deflection as hereinafter described. Coordinated printing capability is achieved by staggering the two rows of streams in accordance with the teaching of Taylor et al. U.S. Pat. No; 3,560,640. As taught in that patent, the drops in the forward row of steams (i.e: the row most advanced polyurethane rubber or other suitable damping material through openings 24 while tilting manifold 20 (orifice plate- 18 being attached) at an appropriate angle from the vertical. This is a two step operation as dampers 22.require tilting in opposite directions.

Orifice plate 18 preferably contains two rows of orifices 26 and is stimulated by a stimulator 28 which is mounted on the recording head and carries a probe 30 through the manifold 20 and into direct contact with plate 18. The exact construction of the stimulator and related elements is discussed in detail below. Orifice plate 18, manifold 20, and clamp bar 14 together with a filter plate 32 and O -rings 34, 36, and 38 (see also FIG. 2) comprise a clean package which may be preassembled and kept closed to prevent dirt or foreign material from reaching and clogging orifices 26. Conduit 40 may be provided for flushing of the clean package. Service connections for the recording head include a coating fluid supply tube 42, air exhaust and inlet tubes 44 and 46, and a tube- 48 for connection to a pressure transducer (not shown).

Other majorelements comprising the recording head in the direction of web movement) are switchedv me time reference framedelayed from that of the rear row by a time d/V where d is the row'spacing and V is the web speed. This produces a coherence such that the two' rows of streams function as a single row with aneffectivev stream spacing equal to half the actualfsp'acing in either of the real rows. I

, Formation of drops 84 is closely. controlled by application of a constant frequency, controlled amplitude, stimulating disturbance .to each of the fluid streams emanating from orifice plate 18. Distu'rbancesfor this purpose are set up by operating stimulator 28 to vibrate probe 30 at constant amplitude and frequency against plate 18. As described in detail in the above noted, related application, APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR GENERATION OF DROPS, this causes a continuing series of bending waves to travel the length of plate 18; each wave producinga drop stimulating disturbance each time it passes one of the orifices 26. Dampers 22 prevent reflection and repropagation of these waves. Accordingly each stream comprises an unbroken fluid filament and a series of uniformly sized and regularly spaced drops all in accordance with the well known Rayleigh jet'break-up phenomenon.

As each drop 84 if formed it is exposed to the charging influence of one of the charge rings 86. If the drop is to be deflected and caught, an electrical charge is applied to the associated charge ring 86 during the instant of drop formation. This causesan electrical charge to be induced in the tip of the fluid filament and carried away by the drop. A static electrical field is set up between deflection ribbon 52 and the faces of each of the catchers 54 (by opposite polarity electrical chargng thereof),and when the deflected to'strike the face of the-appropriate catcher. Thereafter the drop runs downthe face of the catcher,

drop traverses this field it is is ingested, and carried off. Drop ingestion may be Appropriate :charges {for accomplishment of the above mentioned drop charging-are induced by setting up an electrical potential difference between] orifice plate18 (or any other conductive structure inelectrical contact with thecoating fluidsupply) and each appropriate charge ring .86. =Thesepotential differences are created by grounding plate ,18 and applying appropriately timed voltage pulses to wires 92 in connectors 94 (only one connector illustrated). Connectors 94 areplugged into-receptacles 96zat the :edge of cl-large ring piate 50 and deliver the mentioned voltage. pulses over printed circuit lines-98 to charge rings'86.-Charge ring plate 50 is fabricated of insulative material and charge rings 86 are merely coatingsof conductive material lining thev surfaces of orifices in the'charge ring plate. Voltage pulses for the'above purpose maybe generated by circuits of the type-disclosedin Taylor et y al, and wires 92 receiving thesepulsesmaybe matched with charge rings'86 on a one-to-onebasis. Alternatively the voltage pulses may be multiplexed to decrease the number of wires and connectors. Forsuch an alternative embodiment solid state demultiplexing'ci'rcuits may be employed to demultiplex the'signals and route the pulses to the proper-charge rings. Such solidstate circuits may be manufactured by known methods as a permanent part of charge ring plate 50.

' The'printing head .as abovedescribed is adapted to be employed in combination ,with another such head further inaccordance with the teachings of Taylor et al. Such a vvcombination will produce solid printing coverage with the streams in each-row on l6-mil-.centers, which is within the state of the art for current orifice plate and charge ring. :plate manufacturing techniques. The effective stream spacing 'for the equivalent single row is 4 mils, and this will produce solid printing coverage ifjeach drop makes aflprinted dot in the order of about 5 mils. Suitable drops for such printed dots may be produced with "1.5 mil orifices, a fluid pressure of about 11 psi. and a stimulation frequency of about 60 KHz. To achieve similar solid coverage in the direction of web travel the speed of web 88 shouldbe set at about, 1 ,200 ft. per sec. Y

. Unexpectedly it has'been found that solid printing coverage .may be obtained by operating a single printing head as above described but at a reduced web travel speed. In particular, a web speed of about 450 ft. per sec. has been found to be satisfactory. This reduction in web speed results in a decreased longitudinal (i.e. web movement direction) spacing of drop deposit points. In fact when two consecutive drops in one stream are both deposited they tend to pile up and spread in all directions. They behave much like one drop of larger volumeyand they fill the laterally adjacent marking cell left empty by omission of the second recording head. This, of course, degrades the resolution of the-resulting print, but a recording head has been saved. For operation in such a mode it is necessary to slow down charge is applied to I direction. Thus a signal which would cause catching of .(orpermit deposition of) one drop in the faster two -head systemis stretched to catch on the-average about 2.7 drops in the single head system. Catching or deposition of a single drop is not meaningful for the above -mentioned single head recorder unless it is desired to make gray scale reproductions as taught for instance in Sweet et al. US. Pat. No. 3,373,437. i

As noted above it is desirableto be able to provide for precise adjustment of the point of contact between the'probe 30 and the surface of the orifice plate 18. --Such adjustment is-provided in accordance with the practice of this invention by utilizing a probe with an off ce'nter point and a rotatable mounting,'the details of which are described below. Initial placement of the ,probe'point for'apprjoximately correct contactis accomplished by mounting stimulator 28 in support'bar '12 asillus'trated. The nominal contact area will ordinarily be along the center-line of orifice plate 18.

Thus, as best-seen in FIG. 3 of the drawings, the -tra.nsducer130 is received in an elongated hollow casing 100 which'in turn ispress fitted into a cap 102. Cap 102 has integrally formed therewith a reduced portion 104, threaded on its exterior surface, as at 106. Transducer 130 converts electrical energy to mechanical vibration energy and may be of conventional design including piezoelectric elements, a-load mass, and a horn structure; none of which are shown.

.T 'hetransducer 130 is received in the casing 100 in a mannersuch that it is free -to rotate within the casing about the longitudinal axis thereof. A transducer probe 108 is attached to the transducer by means of a thread 1510 formedon the upper end of the probe and received xina complementarily threaded socket 112 in the main :portion of the transducer. The probe 108 extends downwardly throughthe reduced'portion 104 and ter minates-in a point 114, which may be of conical configuration as best seen in FIG. 4'of the drawings.

' rin'g, 11 6 is fixed in the end of a casing 100 by meansof a pin or the like118 and a coil spring 120 is interposed between the ring 116 and the upper end of the transducer 130, thereby urging the point 1 14 of the probe into contact with the surface of the orifice plate 18, as best seen in FIG. 3 of the drawings.

Leads 1 12 are provided for energizing the piezoelectric elements or other driving means in the main body portion of the transducer 130 and these leads may be a threaded outwardly through the coil spring and retaining ring 116 to any suitable source of power. The

threaded portion 106 of the end cap engages complementary threads on the clamp bar 14 to fix the casing with respect to the drop generator while the transducer and attached probe 108 are free to rotate with respect to the remaining elements of the generator.

As best seen in FIGS. 3 through 5 of the drawings, the point 114 is offset with respect to the longitudinal axis of both the probe 108 and the casing 100. Thus, the transducer may be manually engaged throughthe openings 124 in the casing 100 and rotated about is longitudinal axis. This will result in a shifting of the point of contact between the point 114 on the probe and the upper surface of the orifice plate.

, 7 As a result, small variations between the actual and optimum contactpointmay be compensated for after the unit has been assembled. ln this way bending waves of the desired character may be propagated to provide the stimulation of the filaments of the working fluid. While the form of apparatus herein described constitutes a preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to this precise form of apparatus, and that changes may be made therein without departingfrom the scope of the invention. 7

What is claimed is: 1. Apparatus of the type described: a. an orifice plate having a plurality of orifices formed therethrough, b. means for supplying a working fluid to said orifices, c. an ultrasonic transducer having a body portion and a tip portion, d. said tip portion'being offset with respect to the axis ofsaid body portion,- and v e. means mounting said transducer for rotation about said axis thereof with 'said tip thereof contacting said orifice plate. 2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: a. said supplying means includes a support bar,

b. said transducer mounting means includes a transducer casing attached to said support bar, and c. said transducer is rotatably received in said casing and extends therefrom into contact with said orifice plate. 3. The apparatus of claim 2 further comprising: a. openings defined through a wall of said casing, b. said transducer being accessible through said openings for rotation thereof. 4. The apparatus of claim 2 further comprising: a. spring means received in said casing and urging said transducer into contact with said orifice plate.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 further comprising:

a. a cap mounted in one end of said casing in spaced relationship to said transducer, 7

b. said spring means being received in said casing between said cap and said'transducer.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:

8 afsaid tip portion comprises arod member attached at one end to and extending'fro'm said transducer body portion, v b. said rod member having an opposite end terminating in a point in contact with said orifice plate, c. said point being offset withrespect to the axis of i said transducer. i 7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein: a. said point is offset with respect to the axis of said rod member. 8. Apparatus of the type described comprising: a. an orifice plate having a plurality of regularly spaced orifices formed therethrough, b. a manifold communicating with said orifices, c. a support bar supporting'said manifold and said orifice plate, v d. means mounted on said support bar for supplying a working fluid to said manifold,

e. an elongated hollow transducer casing mounted on said support bar and extending substantially perendicular with r s ect to sai orifice lat m ultrason ic trans u er rotata ly receleed in said elongated transducer casing for rotation about the longitudinal axis thereof, 7

g. an elongated rod memberattached' to said transducer and extending outwardly of sad casing in coaxial relationship thereto,

h. said rod member terminating in a point offset with respect to the longitudinal axis thereof,

i. said rod member extending through said manifold in noncontacting relationship thereto and contacting said orifice plate with said point,

j. a cap member received on an outer end'of said casing,

k. a compression spring received in said casing intermediate said cap member and said transducer and urging said point into contact with said orifice plate, and g l. openings formed in-a sidewall of said casing to permit said transducer to be engaged for rotation thereof about the axis of said casing to shift the point of contact between said rod member point and said orifice plate.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3787883 *Dec 20, 1972Jan 22, 1974Mead CorpDeflection electrode assembly for a jet drop recorder
US3936135 *Jun 5, 1974Feb 3, 1976The Mead CorporationCatching apparatus and method for jet drop recording
US3941312 *Feb 28, 1975Mar 2, 1976Research and Development Laboratories of Ohno Company LimitedInk jet nozzle for use in a recording unit
US4184925 *Dec 19, 1977Jan 22, 1980The Mead CorporationPlating, using resist peg
US4210920 *Jan 31, 1979Jul 1, 1980The Mead CorporationMagnetically activated plane wave stimulator
US4229265 *Aug 9, 1979Oct 21, 1980The Mead CorporationMethod for fabricating and the solid metal orifice plate for a jet drop recorder produced thereby
US4303927 *Mar 23, 1977Dec 1, 1981International Business Machines CorporationApparatus for exciting an array of ink jet nozzles and method of forming
US4326204 *Aug 25, 1980Apr 20, 1982The Mead CorporationDensity control system for jet drop applicator
US4334232 *Jul 14, 1980Jun 8, 1982The Mead CorporationLaminated charge plate for an ink jet printing device and method of manufacturing same
US4533082 *Oct 14, 1982Aug 6, 1985Matsushita Electric Industrial Company, LimitedPiezoelectric oscillated nozzle
US4639737 *Oct 10, 1985Jan 27, 1987Burlington Industries, Inc.Tensionable electrodes for charging and/or deflecting fluid droplets in fluid-jet marking apparatus
US4646104 *Sep 17, 1985Feb 24, 1987Eastman Kodak CompanyFluid jet print head
US4736209 *Nov 25, 1986Apr 5, 1988Burlington, Industries, Inc.Tensionable ground electrode for fluid-jet marking apparatus
US6622934 *Feb 23, 1999Sep 23, 2003Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Liquid spraying apparatus
DE2450638A1 *Oct 24, 1974Apr 30, 1975Mead CorpTropfenstrahl-aufzeichnungskopf
EP0072685A1 *Aug 13, 1982Feb 23, 1983William Anthony DenneDroplets-generating device for an ink jet printer
EP0116786A2 *Dec 22, 1983Aug 29, 1984EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY (a New Jersey corporation)Fluid jet print head and stimulator therefor
WO1983000657A1 *Aug 13, 1982Mar 3, 1983William Anthony DenneDroplets generating device for an ink jet printer
U.S. Classification239/102.2, 347/75, 347/40
International ClassificationB41J2/025, B41J2/015
Cooperative ClassificationB41J2/025
European ClassificationB41J2/025
Legal Events
Mar 19, 1984ASAssignment
Effective date: 19831206