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Publication numberUS3846150 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 5, 1974
Filing dateJul 14, 1972
Priority dateAug 16, 1971
Also published asDE2220844A1
Publication numberUS 3846150 A, US 3846150A, US-A-3846150, US3846150 A, US3846150A
InventorsG Forgo, E Meyer, K Moser
Original AssigneeZellweger Uster Ag
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for producing printed matter containing images and alpha-numerical characters
US 3846150 A
Abstract  available in
Images(7)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 5, 1974 G. FORGQ ETAL 3,846,150

' METHOD FOR PRODUCING PRINTED MATTER CONTAINING IMAGES AND ALPHA-NUIERICAL CHARACTERS Filed July 14, 1972 7 Sheets-Sheet 1 Nov. 5, 1914 FORGQ ETAL HETHDD FOR PRODUCING PRINTED MATTER CONTAINING IMAGES AND ALPHA-NUMERICAL CHARACTERS 7 Sheets-Sheet 8 Filed July 14, 1972 Nov. 5, 1914 FORGQ ETAL 3,846,150

METHOD FOR YRODUCING PRINTED MATTER CONTAINING IMAGES AND ALPHA-NUMERICAL CHARACTERS Filed July 14, 1972 7 Sheets-Sheet 3 Fig. 4

.846.150 METHOD FOR PRODUCING PRINTED MATTER CONTAINING. lMAGES NOV. 5, 1974 FQRGQ ETAL AND ALPHA-NUMERICAL CHARACTERS 'T Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed July 14, 1972 Fig. 5

Nov. 5, 1914 FORGO ET AL METHOD FOR PRODUCING PRINTED MATTER CONTAINING IMAGES AND ALPHA-NUMERICAL CHARACTERS Filed July 14, 1972 7 Sheets-Sheet 5 G. FORGO ET 3,846,150

METHOD FOR PRODUCING PRINTED MATTER CONTAINING IMAGES AND ALPHA-NUMERICAL CHARACTERS '7 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed July 14, 1972 NOV. 5,1974 5, FQRGQ ETAL 3,846,150

METHOD FOR PRODUCING PRINTED MATTER CONTAINING IMAGES AND ALIPHA-HUMERIQAI-I CHARACTERS Filed July 14, 1972 7 Sheets-Sheet 7 United States Patent 3,846,150 METHOD FOR PRODUCING PRINTED MA'I'IER CONTAINING IMAGES AND ALPHA-NUMERI- CAL CHARACTERS Gabor Forgo, Erwin Meyer, and Karl Moser, Zurich,

Switzerland, assignors to Zellweger AG, Uster, Switzerland Filed July 14, 1972, Ser. No. 272,063 Claims priority, application Switzerland, Aug. 16, 1971, 12,107/71 Int. Cl. 003g 13/08, 13/22, 15/08, 15/22 US. Cl. 117-175 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE \A method of producing printed matter possessing images and alpha-numerical characters wherein the aforementioned images and characters are produced by latent electrostatic charge images formed according to two different techniques, and thereafter conjointly developing the thus produced latent electrostatic charge images.

The apparatus for the performance of the aforementioned method comprises a feed mechanism for delivering a form or the like capable of receiving latent electrostatic charge images to an electrostatic printing mechanism and an electrostatic writing mechanism and following the production of the charge images decisive for the thus produced images and characters such feed mechanism delivers the form to a developer.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a new and improved method for producing printed matter containing images and alpha-numerical characters. The invention also relates to products produced according to the method of this invention and to the use of such products.

In the context of this disclosure the terms printed matter or printable matter are to be understood as being employed in their broader sense and generally are intended to denote almost any type of material, typically by way of example and not limitation, forms, labels, and generally other types of matter which can be electrostatically imprinted with information, such as images and/ or alpha-numerical characters. As a matter of convenience, the term form as used hereinafter is thus in tended to embrace such various types of printable matter.

In particular, this invention is concerned with a new and improved method by means of which the aforementioned images and characters can be obtained by developing previously obtained latent electrostatic charge images.

Procedures and equipment are known in the art for automatically identifying and analytically determining articles of sale which are selected by customers in sundry business establishments, such as self-service stores, supermarkets, and the like, and which are presented to a processing or check-out station. To this end, each of the aforementioned articles of sale is provided with a characterizing marking, for instance in the form of a printed label, which contains information typical or significant to the relevant article of sale. Such information can for in stance constitute an article number, the price of the article, the type of article, and even more relevant data.

Now for the automatic determination of this information applied to the label or the like, the portrayal thereof in a code or coded form has been found to be particularly suitable. Thus, for instance, this information can be portrayed in the form of a beam code, a code image having a checkerboardlike structure, or a code image having a ring-shaped structure or other significant configurations.

III

Patented Nov. 5, 1974 These code images can then be automatically read in a relatively easy manner with the aid of known photoelectric scanning devices, so-called readers. Although such code images, especially those having a ring-shaped structure, have been found to be extremely suitable for their automatic read-out and evaluation, nonetheless they do possess the drawback that the information contained in the code image cannot be visually recognized. Visual recognition of such information can be much more easily carried out if the relevant information is portrayed in the form of alpha-numerical characters. Automatic readers for alph-numerical characters are already known in the art, especially for the automatic read-out of modified alpha-numerical characters. Still, this prior art equipment is considered to be extremely complicated and additionally requires a particular, usually quite complicated, spatial alignment of the characters to be read-out. However, when considering the large number of very different articles sold in a business establishment and the rather extensive random orientation of these articles which are presented to a check-out station, it should be equally recognizable that such special alignment of the characters to be read-out, as a practical matter, can hardly be realized, and in any case certainly not within tolerable limits of expenditure.

Therefore, there is present a need for the production of markings for the identification or marking of articles of sale which contain both a code image as well as at least part of the information contained in the code image in the form of clear text. In the case of standardized prepackaged articles of sale, such as chocolate bars, detergents, canned goods and the like, no particular difliculties arise for the production of the aforementioned markings. In fact, these can be economically produced with known printing techniques in consideration of the required very large number of such similar type markings. Moreover, it is in fact even advantageous and without requiring any considerable greater amount of expenditure, to simultaneously imprint such articles of sale with the relevant markings at the time when the packages for the goods are usually printed.

Yet a completely different situation is present where non-standardized articles of sale must be marked, such as for instance occurs when selling portion packages of cheese having variable weight for each package, or when selling fresh meat where again the individual meat packages have different weight.

Since it is desired that also such type articles of sale, namely articles which are not standardized and have variable parameters such as weight, price, etc., associated therewith, should also be capable of being delivered to an automatic processing or check-out station and there identified and recognized, there exists the further requirement of being able to produce in a very rapid manner, for instance within a maximum of a few seconds and in an economical way, markings having an individualized code image and an individualized alpha-numerical marking or markings thereon. Since during each such type sale normally the weight is different and also there must be taken into account a large number of dilferent, oftentimes changing article weights, it should be apparent that such markings cannot be kept on stock and held ready for all of the manifold possible situations which would arise under the afore-explained circumstances.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Hence, it should be apparent from what has been discussed above, that this particular field of technology is still in need of methods and apparatus for producing printed matter having desired markings, such as images and alpha-numerical characters, in a manner not associ- 3 ated with the aforementioned drawbacks and limitations of the heretofore discussed proposals in the art. It is a primary object of the invention to satisfy the need existing in the art.

Another and more specific object of the present invention relates to a new and improved method of pro viding printed or printable matter, especially labels, with at least one respective code image and at least one respective alpha-numerical character in a matter of seconds.

Still a further significant object of the present invention relates to an improved method of providing printable matter with both a code image and alpha-numerical marking rapidly and reliably and in a manner insuring for proper read-out of such type markings.

Now in order to implement these and still further objects of the invention, which will become more readily apparent as the description proceeds, the inventive method for producing printed matter equipped with images and alpha-numerical characters is manifested by the features that the aforementioned images and the aforementioned characters are produced in the form of latent electrostatic charge images fabricated according to two different techniques and thereafter are conjointly developed.

The present invention is also concerned with an improved construction of apparatus for the performance of the aforementioned method which is manifested by the features that there is provided a feed mechanism which advances printable matter, conveniently referred to as forms, and suitable for the reception of latent electrostatic charge images to an electrostatic printing mechanism and an electrostatic-writing mechanism and thereafter the form, following the production of the electrostatic charge images decisive for the aforementioned image and character, are delivered to a developer for the development thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above, will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is an electrical circuit diagram of a first exemplary embodiment explaining principles of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of apparatus for the performance of the inventive method;

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate details of a possible form of electrostatic writing mechanism;

FIG. 5 is a perspective View of a printing mechanism according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates details of mechanism for detaching a label from a carrier foil strip;

FIG. 7 illustrates a writing electrode at a writing electrode holder having a rotary magnet system; and

FIG. 8 is a graph depicting the time sequence of the individual functions of the electrostatic printing apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Describing now the drawings, in FIG. 1 there is shown a principle electrical circuit diagram of a first exemplary embodiment. The images, for instance code images, are produced in accordance with a first printing technique by means of an electrostatic printer or printing mechanism. To that end there is provided an electrode arrangement 1 consisting of an insulating base plate 2 at which there are mounted N-number of individual electrodes E E which are insulated from one another. Each of these individual electrodes E E can be connected through the agency of a respective associated conductor or line L L with an associated switch S S to a conductor 3 and thus can be connected via a resistor 4 with one pole 5 of a suitable voltage source 6. The other pole 7 of the voltage source 6 is connected through the agency of a conductor 8 with a counterelectrode 9 arranged at a spacing d from the electrode arrangement 1.

At the gap having the height d between these electrodes 1 and 9 there is arranged a carrier 10, for instance a print able form or an empty label or otherwise, and which is suitable for receiving a latent electrostatic charge image. This carrier 10 is produced from a known so-called dielectric paper and is suitable for temporarily receiving thereat the latent electrostatic charge image. It is not necessary that this carrier possess photoconductive properties since the charge image can be produced directly by an electrical discharge operation. A suitable type of carrier has been disclosed, for instance, in the commonly assigned, copend- United States application of Walter Strohschneider, Ser. No. 263,671 filed June 16, 1972, and entitled Laminated Article, the discloser of which is incorporated herein by reference and to which reference may be readily had.

The spacing d is generally very small, for instance amounts to a few tenths of a millimeter and the shape of the electrodes chosen so as to be approximately congruent to the surface elements of the printed image which is to be produced by the electrodes. Depending upon this shape and in particular depending upon which of the individual electrodes E E are to have applied thereto the voltage U from the voltage source 6 by means of the associated switch S S there are obtained different latent electrostatic charge images and following development thereof different code images.

During production of the latent electrostatic charge image for the code image, there does not usually occur between the electrode arrangement 1 and the carrier 10 essentially any relative movement parallel to the plane of the carrier 10.

Yet according to a further advantageous aspect of the invention, it is indeed advantageous, during production of the electrostatic charge image for the code image, to carry out a slight relative movement in alternate directions with movement components essentially parallel to the plane of the carrier 10 between such carrier 10 and the electrode arrangement 1. However, the amplitude thereof is generally somewhat smaller than the dimensions of the forms or other printable matter to be imprinted and the feed step required for indexing or changing the form. The purpose of this slight relative movement in alternate directions resides in slightly enlarging in size or widening the surface elements of a code image produced by the individual electrodes so as to close any possibly otherwise occurring undesired gaps or spaces between such surface elements. This small relative movement amounts to, for instance only a few tenths of a millimeter. This particular technique and apparatus for practising same has been explained more fully in our copending, commonly assigned United States application, Ser. No. 272,067 filed July 14, 1972 and entitled Process for Electrostatic Printing, Apparatus for Performance of the Aforesaid Process, Products Produced by such Process, and Use of These Products, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference and to which reference may be readily had.

Furthermore, for the purpose of improving the quality of the printed image, it has also been found to be advantageous to alter the space d at least during a portion of the time in which the latent electrostatic charge image is formed, for instance by carrying out a movement in the direction of the double-headed arrow 11 of FIG. 1. Details thereof constitute subject matter of our commonly assigned, copending United States application, Ser. No. 272,047 filed July 14, 1972, entitled Method for Electrostatic Printing, Apparatus for Performance of the Aforesaid Method, Products Produced Thereby, and Use of These Products, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference and, to which reference also can be readily had.

Continuing, it should be understood that prior to or after producing the latent electrostatic charge image which corresponds to the desired code image, there is produced .5 during a further method step by means of an electrostatic writing mechanism, an additional latent electrostatic charge image corresponding to the desired alpha-numerical character at the carrier 10, that is, at the same printable matter or form, by means of a second technique. One such electrostatic writing mechanism has, for instance, been referred to in the publication entitled Taschenbuch der Nachrichtenverarbeitung, Karl Steinbuch, Second Edition 1967, Springer Publishers, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York, Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. 67-21079, particularly pages 696 et seq., FIGS. 5.7/ and associated text.

With the foregoing background in mind, attention is now invited to FIG. 2 illustrating an exemplary embodiment of apparatus for the performance of the inventive method. Here the schematically illustrated electrostatic printing apparatus has been conveniently designated in its entirety by reference character 100. A motor M is arranged upon a base plate 101 and which can drive in accordance with a predetermined program through the agency of suitable means, such as a belt drive, chain drive, shafts, electromagnetic couplings and the like, the individual components of the apparatus 100, as generally indicated by the schematically illustrated drive connections 200. Such program can be realized by employing a conventional cam disk and suitable contacts actuated thereby.

A supply device 102 for the delivery of a carrier foil strip 107 having thereon the printable material, referred to as the carriers 107A embodies a supply roll 104 which revolves upon a stationary axle or shaft 103. The supply roll 104 is braked by means of a suitable brake mechanism 105, for instance embodying a brake roll 105a, which resiliently presses against the periphery of the supply roll 104, so that the carrier foil strip 107 wound upon the supply roll 104 can be withdrawn tautly from such roll through the agency of a deflecting roll 106. This carrier foil strip 107 consists for instance of an impregnated paper strip at which the forms to be imprinted, for instance self-adhering labels 107a, adhere at a prescribed spacing from one another.

This carrier foil strip 107 with the labels 107A thereon then travels through a control portion 108 of a suitable feed mechanism 122. Any suitable control for advancing such carrier foil strip can be employed. For instance, the control portion 108 can contain control means 109, for example light barrier means responding to the successive labels 107A and which again brings to standstill the feed mechanism 122 after it has been placed into operation in response to a control signal as soon as the next successive label 107A has assumed the position previously occupied by the preceding label 107A. This also has been discussed in our previously mentioned copending applications.

Now by means of a further deflecting roll 110 the carrier foil strip travels beneath a guide plate 111, through an electrostatic printer or printing mechanism 112. The printing mechanism 112 may be of the type discussed in conjunction with FIG. 1 and possesses the electrode arrangement 1 which, for instance, consists of ring-shaped individual electrodes E E These individual electrodes can have selectively applied thereto the voltage U (FIG. 1) in order to be able to thus produce a latent charge image at a label 107B which is momentarily located at the printing mechanism 112 and in accordance with the desired code image. Details of a possible form of circuitry for carrying out electrostatic printing have been described and constitute subject matter of our copending, commonly assigned United States application, Ser. No. 272,111 filed July 17, 1972, and incorporated herein by reference entitled Method For Marking Articles of Sale and Apparatus for the Performance of the Aforesaid Method.

As will be explained more fully hereinafter in conjunction with FIGS. 3 and 4, neighboring the printing mechanism 112 there is additionally provided an electrostatic writing mechanism 160. However, at this point it is to be mentioned by way of completeness that electrostatic writing mechanisms suitable for the purposes of the invention are well known in the art and have been discussed in principle, for instance, in the aforementioned Springer Publication previously referred to. In any event, by means of this electrostatic writing mechanism 160, which preferably becomes operational during the feed of a label 107B through the printing mechanism 112, it is possible to produce a latent electrostatic charge image according to a second printing technique. This latent image corresponds to the desired alpha-numerical character.

Thereafter, as again seenby referring to FIG. 2, the carrier foil strip 107 is drawn about a sharp edge 113, so that owing to the greater stiffness of the label in contrast to the carrier foil strip 107, this label detaches from such carrier foil strip. The detached label has been designated by reference character 107C in FIG. 2.

A movable element 114, for instance an intermittently rotating arm, is controlled such that following release of the label 1070 it is positioned just at its direct neighborhood, so that the label 107C now can be engaged by the end face 114A of the movable element or member 114. As best seen by referring to FIG. 6, it is possible to employ a contact or press-on roll 205 which is subjected to a slight spring pressure and formed of insulating material in order to improve transfer of the label 107C from the carrier foil strip 107 to the movable element 114.

Thereafter, the movable element 114 preferably moves past a corona discharge device 150 to a developer 130. At the developer 130 both of the latent charge images present at the label 107C, in other words that latent charge image which has been produced by the first technique and representing the code image and that charge image which has been produced by the second technique and representing the alpha-numerical character, are simultaneously developed owing to movement of these latent charge images past a so-called magnetic brush 131 of the developer 130.

The function of the corona discharge device 150 is to provide the surface elements at the finished label which are to remain white with a charge opposite to the polarity of the latent charge images, however corresponding to the polarity of the toner particles. In this way such surface elements, during passage, past the magnetic brush 131, tend to repel the electrostatically charged toner particles. Consequently, there is obtained a considerable increase in the contrast of the electrostatically produced printed image, as such has been explained in greater detail in the commonly assigned, copending United States application, Ser. No. 272,064, filed July 14, 1972, and incorporated herein by reference entitled Method and Apparatus for Improving the Contrast During Electrostatic Printing. It would be of course possible to have the corona discharge device 150 arranged before the printer devices for the formation of the different electrostatic charge images to exert the action of the corona discharge prior to formation thereof.

After passing the developer 130, the movable element 114 brings the label with the now developed images into the operable zone of a suitable fixer or fixing mechanism 132 for fixing such developed images. Such fixer 132 can be constituted, by way of example, by an infrared radiation device. After fixing the code image and alphanumerical character at the label, the latter now arrives at an opening 125 of the housing 126 of the electrostatic printing apparatus where it can be removed in any convenient fashion for further use.

The carrier foil strip 107 is pulled by the feed mechanism 122 over the sharp edge 113, over further deflecting rolls 115, 116, 117, about a feed roll 118 and a further deflecting roll 119. Sheet metal guides 120 and 121 facilitate the threading-in of the carrier foil strip 107 upon mounting a new supply roll 104. The carrier foil strip 107 freed of the labels 107C is subsequently transferred by means of a chute 123 or equivalent device into a receiving container 124 where, if desired, it can then again be reused.

FIGS. 3 and 4 schematically illustrate details of an arrangement of the electrostatic writing mechanism 160 at the printing mechanism 112, and specifically in respective views lengthwise and transversely of the carrier foil strip 107. In all figures, the same components have been generally designated by the same reference numerals.

The electrode arrangement 1 is connected via the conductors L L with the selector control circuit for controlling the individual electrodes E E in accordance with the alpha-numerical characters which are to be produced, and in accordance with the circuitry disclosed in our aforementioned application Ser. No. 272,111. The electrostatic writing mechanism 160 possesses a writing electrode 161 which is secured, for instance, as by adhesive bonding, at a writing electrode holder 162 at the side confronting the carrier foil strip 107. This writing electrode holder 162 is attached to a shaft 163 of a rotary magnet system 164. Upon energization of the rotary magnet system 164, the writing electrode 161 can be pressed with a slight pressure against the label or otherwise to be imprinted. If energization of the rotary electromagnetic system 164 is interrupted, then a tension spring 165 (FIG. 4) or equivalent, and which engages with a lever 166, again lifts the writing electrode 161 off such label or otherwise.

FIG. 5 illustrates the spatial arrangement of the printing mechanism 112 and the writing mechanism 160 in a perspective view with the same reference numerals again being employed for the relevant components.

In FIG. 6, there is shown on an enlarged scale the previously discussed arrangement for releasing or detaching the labels 107C from the carrier foil strip 107 at the sharp edge 113 and the transfer of the labels 107C to the movable element 114.

In FIG. 7 there is illustrated the writing electrode 161 at the writing electrode holder 162 which is secured to the shaft 163 of the rotary magnet system 164. This writing electrode 161 can advantageously be designed according to printed circuit technology. As the support for such there can be preferably employed a polyester laminate of, for instance, approximately one-tenth of a millimeter thickness and having a copper overlay of approximately 3-10 hundredths of a millimeter. The copper tracks, which represent the individual electrodes of the writing electrode, are advantageously galvanically finished, for instance provided with a hard gold or rhodium coating, in order to improve their wear resistance.

Finally, in FIG. 8, there is illustrated a graph which is informative as concerns the time sequence of the individual functions of the electrostatic printing apparatus of the type under consideration.

At line A of this graph, there is indicated the switch-in or ON-time of the motor M. This motor M is advantageously switched-in during the entire period of operation of the system in order to positively insure for the continuous preparatory state of the equipment. In line B of the graph there is represented the switch-in duration of a holddown mechanism for the carrier foil which serves the function of fixing the carrier foil strip with the labels 107B thereon at the counterelectrode 9 during placing into operation the printing mechanism 112. This occurs during the time span from t t According to line C of the graph of FIG. 8, the voltage is applied to the electrode arrangement 1 during the time Span 2 t Line D of the graph indicates the period wherein an electromagnetic system is briefly switched in during the time span from t;, t.;. This electromagnetic system serves to carry out the previously mentioned change in spacing between the electrode arrangement 1 and the counterelectrode 9 during the formation of the latent electrostatic charge image for the code image. Preferably during approximately the same time span, a motor is switched in which brings about the previously like-wise discussed slight transverse displacement of the electrode arrangement 1 during the formation of the latent electrostatic charge image for the code image for the purpose of widening the surface elements thereof. This has been represented in line E.

New in line F there is indicated the time span t7 1 during which the carrier foil strip 107 is advanced by the feed mechanism 122.

Now according to line G the rotary magnet system 164 is energized during the time span i .t and thus the writing electrode 161 is pressed against the label 107B which is drawn therepast.

Now as indicated in line H within the time span t t there is located the time span i t during which the writing electrode is impinged via a selector with the voltage pulses for producing the desired alphanumerical characters.

As indicated in line I, the movable element 114 is placed into operation during the time span t t Line K indicates that the electrode 151 of the corona device 150 has voltage applied thereto, for instance amounting to +5 kilovolts, during the time span i 1 During this time span, the end face 114A of the movable element 114 passes through the operable zone of the corona discharge device 150.

Now according to the time span t t q of line L, the developer is placed into operation, so that during the then occurring movement of the movable element 114, the magnetic brush 131 wipes over the label 107C adhering to the end face 114A of such movable element 114 and the respective latent electrostatic charge images are developed.

Finally, according to the showing of line M, the fixer 132 is placed into operation during the time span I because then the movable element 114 passes through its operable zone. At this point in time there is thus obtained a label bearing both the thus produced code image and alpha-numerical character.

While there is shown and described present preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be distinctly understood that the invention is not limited thereto, but may be otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims.

Accordingly, what is claimed is:

1. A method of producing printed matter containing at least one coded image and at least one alpha-numerical character, comprising the steps of employing a carrier for the reception of latent electrostatic charge images, feeding such carrier in a predetermined direction of travel, forming on the carrier a latent electrostatic charge image corresponding to said coded image by applying voltage to predetermined individual electrodes of an electrode arrangement to produce an electrical discharge from said electrode arrangement to the carrier in order to form a latent electrostatic charge image characterizing at least part of said coded image and corresponding in structure to the electrodes impinged with voltage, and during at least part of the time when said latent electrostatic charge image characterizing at least part of said coded image is produced carrying out a change in the spacing between the electrode arrangement and the carrier in order to thereby improve the quality of the electrostatically printed coded image, and during at least part of the time when the latent electrostatic charge image characterizing at least part of said coded image is produced carrying out a relative alternate movement between the electrode arrangement and the carrier in a direction substantially parallel to the plane of the carrier so as to produce the electrostatic charge image characterizing at least part of the coded image and having a size larger than the size of the end surfaces of the energized individual electrodes confronting the carrier from which said last-mentioned electrostatic charge image is produced, feeding the carrier bearing said latent electrostatic coded image past writing electrodes of an electrostatic writing mechanism, forming a latent electrostatic charge image corresponding to the desired alpha-numerical character on said carrier, and thereafter developing both of the formed latent electrostatic charge images with toner particles.

2. The method as defined in claim 1, including the step of changing the spacing between the electrode arrangement and the carrier and causing partial discharges for the formation of the electrostatic charge image characterizing at least part of the coded image to travel through dilferent paths across the space between the electrode arrangement and the carrier to provide a substantially uniform charge deposition and therefore a substantially uniform potential distribution within the confines of such last-mentioned electrostatic charge image to be produced, so as to bring about a substantially uniform covering of toner particles over the surface of the electrostatic charge image characterizing the coded image to thereby improve the quality of the electrostatically printed code image.

3. The method as defined in claim 1, further including the step of temporarily subjecting said carrier to the action of a corona discharge, the polarity of which is opposite to the polarity of the electrostatic charge images.

4. The method as defined in claim 3, wherein the carrier is subjected to the corona discharge prior to production of the latent electrostatic charge images.

5. The method as defined in claim 3, wherein the carrier is subjected to the action of the corona discharge following production of the latent electrostatic charge images.

6. The method as defined in claim 1, further including the step of providing an electrostatic printing mechanism, adhering such carrier to a carrier foil strip, advancing the carrier foil strip with the carrier through the electrostatic printing mechanism for producing the electrostatic charge image corresponding to said coded image and then advancing the carrier foil strip with the carrier through the electrostatic writing mechanism for producing the electrostatic charge image corresponding to said alpha-numerical character.

7. The method as defined in claim 6, including the step of delivering the carrier provided with the latent electrostatic charge images to a developer for simultaneously developing all of the electrostaic charge images present on such carrier.

8. The method as defined in claim 1, including the step of controlling contact of said writing electrodes with the carrier in accordance with a predetermined program.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,023,731 3/1962 Schwertz 11717.5 3,257,222 6/1966 Carlson 1l717.5 3,284,224 11/1966 Lehmann 117-17.5 3,400,213 9/1968 Hell 961 3,674,352 7/1972 Wilmes 355-3 3,728,018 4/1973 Wharton et al. 3553 3,532,054 10/1970 Zaphiropoulos 117--17.5 3,576,367 4/1971 Sable 35517 3,686,678 8/1972 Robbins et a1. 346-74 ES MICHAEL SOFOCLEOUS, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

96-1 R; 10l-Dig. 13; 11793.42; 1l8637; 317- 262 A; 346-74 ES; 3553 R, 17

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4281334 *Oct 22, 1979Jul 28, 1981Markem CorpElectrostatic label printing system
US4281335 *Sep 25, 1980Jul 28, 1981Markem CorporationElectrostatic label printing system
US4295178 *Dec 10, 1979Oct 13, 1981Walter SpenglerElectrode arrangement with individually connectable and disconnectable electrodes
US4347525 *Sep 25, 1980Aug 31, 1982Markem CorporationElectrostatic label printing system
US4712907 *Nov 1, 1985Dec 15, 1987Xerox CorporationSequencing means for photocopying processes
DE3908869A1 *Mar 17, 1989Sep 28, 1989Hitachi Koki KkZufuehrvorrichtung fuer blattfoermiges lichtempfindliches material
Classifications
U.S. Classification430/103, 430/902, 430/54, 399/265, 427/474, 361/229, 430/31, 430/97, 101/DIG.370, 427/469, 347/149
International ClassificationB41J3/50, G03G15/22, G06K1/12, G03G15/05, G03G15/32
Cooperative ClassificationY10S101/37, G03G15/321, G06K1/128, Y10S430/102
European ClassificationG03G15/32C, G06K1/12E