Slingshot Printing LLC v. HP Inc.

Western District of Texas, txwd-6:2019-cv-00362

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USOO6243115B1 (12) United States Patent (10) Patent No.: US 6,243,115 B1 Baker et al. (45) Date of Patent: Jun. 5, 2001 (54) PRESSURIZED INK SUPPLY AND DELIVERY Primary Examiner N. Le SYSTEM FOR AN INKJET PRINTER ASSistant Examiner Anh T. N. Vo 74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm-D. Brent Lambert, Esq. (75) Inventors: Ronald Willard Baker, Versailles; (74) Philip Jerome Heink; Jeffrey Lynn (57) ABSTRACT Richie, both of Lexington; Donald Wayne Stafford, Richmond, all of KY An ink Supply and delivery System for a printer cartridge (US) including a printer cartridge having an interior, at least one air inlet to the interior, and at least one ink outlet from the (73) Assignee: Lexmark International, Inc., interior. An air pump is connected to the air inlet of the Lexington, KY (US) printer cartridge and creates a positive preSSure in the interior of the printer cartridge. The System further includes (*) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this an ink Source, including ink, in the interior of the printer patent is extended or adjusted under 35 cartridge, the ink Source in fluid communication with the ink U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days. outlet of the printer cartridge whereby the positive preSSure created by the air pump in the interior of printer cartridge (21) Appl. No.: 09/522,105 forces ink to flow from the ink Source in the interior of the printer cartridge through the ink outlet. The ink Source is (22) Filed: Mar. 9, 2000 preferably in a resilient container, and the System alternately (51) Int. Cl 7 B41J 2/175 includes includ a resilient ili air container either ith Within, ithi neXt to, or encapsulating the resilient container of the ink Source. The (52) U.S. Cl. ................................................................ 347/85 printer cartridge alternately includes a vent to partially vent (58) Field of Search ................................... 347/85, 86, 87 any accumulated pressure that has escaped from the resilient air container into the interior. There is further disclosed a (56) References Cited method of Supplying ink from a printer cartridge in a printer U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS that prints upon a media, where the printer cartridge has an interior, at least one air inlet to the interior, and at least one 4,558,326 12/1985 Kimura et al. ......................... 347/30 ink outlet from the interior, with a positive pressure created 4.575,738 3/1986 Sheufelt et al. ............ 347/96 in the interior of the printer cartridge from an air pump 4,734,711 3/1988 Piatt et al. ............................. 347/17 connected to the air inlet, and the printer cartridge further 4,982,200 1/1991 Ramsay .................................. 347/86 5,446,486 8/1995 Reis ....................................... 347/85 has an ink Source, including ink, in the interior. The method 5,453,770 9/1995 Katakura et al. ...................... 347/85 preferably includes the Steps of placing the printer cartridge 5,719,609 2/1998 Hauck et al. .. . . 347/85 into a printer, creating positive preSSure in the interior of the 5,757,390 5/1998 Gragg et al. ... ... 347/7 printer cartridge through activation of the air pump, Supply 5,870,124 2/1999 Silverbrook ............................ 347/85 ing ink from the ink Source in the interior of the printer 5,877,793 3/1999 Erickson ................................ 347/85 cartridge through the ink outlet, and printing on a media with 5,877.795 3/1999 Gragg et al. ........................... 347/92 the Supplied ink. 6,030,074 2/2000 Barinaga ................................ 347/85 * cited by examiner 19 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets 46 62 54 1 U.S. Patent Jun. 5, 2001 Sheet 1 of 2 US 6,243,115 B1 40 FIG. 2 U.S. Patent Jun. 5, 2001 Sheet 2 of 2 US 6,243,115 B1 FIG.3 FIG. 4 US 6,243,115 B1 1 2 PRESSURIZED INK SUPPLY AND DELIVERY The ink Source is preferably a resilient container, Such as SYSTEM FOR AN INKJET PRINTER a bag, in fluid communication with the ink outlet of the BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION printer cartridge. In Such an embodiment, the System pref erably further includes a resilient air container in the interior 1. Field of the Invention of the printer cartridge and in fluid communication with the The present invention generally relates to printers. More air inlet Such that the air container expands from the positive particularly, the present invention relates to the ink Supply preSSure created from the air pump for forcing ink from the and delivery Systems of printer cartridges for inkjet printers. ink Source through the ink outlet. The resilient air container 2. Description of the Related Art can be contained within the resilient ink Source container, Inkjet printers have historically placed the ink Supply and can be next to the ink Source container, or can encapsulate the ink Source container. the nozzle array in a Single, disposable cartridge, which is inserted into the printer. While the design is simple, this The present invention further includes a method of Sup arrangement results in a relatively high cost per printed page plying ink from a printer cartridge in a printer that prints and Shortens user intervention intervals as the cartridge must upon a media, where the printer cartridge has an interior, at be frequently replaced. Moreover, these problems are par 15 least one air inlet to the interior, and at least one ink outlet ticularly acute in inkjet printers that are used in network from the interior, and the printer cartridge further has environments where the printer must be designed with positive pressure created in the interior from an air pump greater ink capacities to lower the cost per page and lengthen connected to the air inlet, and the printer cartridge also has the user intervention interval. an ink Source included in the interior. The method includes The placement of large quantities of ink on the moving the Steps of placing the printer cartridge into a printer, printer cartridge carrier is not practical due to the excessive creating positive preSSure within the interior of the printer mass that has to be accelerated and controlled as the carrier cartridge through activation of the air pump, Supplying ink traverses the media being printed upon. One typical Solution from the ink Source in the interior of the printer cartridge to this problem is to provide Stationary ink tanks mounted in through the ink outlet, and printing on a media with the Supplied ink. the machine and then transport the ink through a fluid 25 If the ink Source is embodied as a resilient container, then connection to the print head when needed for printing. The the Step of Supplying ink from the ink Source in the interior ink transport is thus typically accomplished by tubes con of the printer cartridge through the ink outlet is Supplying nected between the ink tanks and the print head. ink from a resilient container in the interior of the printer Alternatively, Some printers use a "dock and fill" approach in which the print head "docks" with the ink tanks and ink cartridge and in fluid communication with the ink outlet. If is transferred to "fill" the printer cartridge for use in printing. the System includes an air container in the interior of the printer cartridge, then the Step of creating positive preSSure With either of the above ink delivery systems, the provi in the interior of the printer cartridge through activation of Sion of a controlled pressure to the ink is necessary in order the air pump is preferably creating a positive pressure in a to achieve the desired ink transfer in a reasonable time. Various techniques have therefore been used to preSSurize 35 resilient air container in the interior of the printer cartridge, the ink in the tanks to induce flow of the ink, but the known and the Step of Supplying ink from the ink Source in the Systems tend to be complex, costly, not independent of interior of the printer cartridge through the ink outlet is orientation, and do not provide constant pressure to the ink forcing ink from the interior through the ink outlet with over the life of the printer. Therefore, an improved ink expansion of the air container. The several embodiments of the air container and ink Supply and delivery System for the printer cartridge that 40 Source container relationship accordingly vary the Step of addresses and Solves these problems would be advanta creating positive pressure in the interior of the printer geous. Accordingly, it is to the provision of Such an cartridge. If the resilient air container is within the ink improved ink Supply and Source in the interior of the printer cartridge, then the Step of SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION 45 creating positive pressure in the interior of the printer The present invention is an ink Supply and delivery cartridge through activation of the air pump is creating a System for a printer cartridge, which includes a printer positive pressure in a resilient air container within the ink cartridge having an interior, at least one air inlet to the Source in the interior of the printer cartridge. If the resilient interior, and at least one ink outlet from the interior. An air air container encapsulates the ink Source, then the Step of pump is connected to the air inlet of the printer cartridge, and 50 creating positive pressure in the interior of the printer the pump creates a positive pressure in the interior of the cartridge through activation of the air pump is creating a printer cartridge, the preSSure either being confined to the positive preSSure in a resilient air container encapsulating interior or partially vented to the exterior. There is also an the ink Source in the interior of the printer cartridge. ink Source, including ink, in the interior of the printer When embodied with the resilient air container, the cartridge, and the ink Source is in fluid communication with 55 method preferably further includes the Step of venting air the ink outlet of the printer cartridge. In operation, the from the interior of the printer cartridge through an air vent. positive pressure created by the air pump in the interior of Such venting prevents a deleterious pressurization from the printer cartridge forces ink to flow from the ink Source occurring in the interior of the printer cartridge. in the interior of the printer cartridge through the ink outlet, The present invention therefore has a commercial advan and eventually to a print head for printing on a media. 60 tage in that it provides an economical System for delivery of In one embodiment, the printer cartridge is hermetically ink from the printer cartridge. The System has simple parts Sealed Such that the pressurized air can be collected within that can be installed in the printer as is it manufactured. the interior of the printer cartridge to force ink from the ink Moreover, the System and method expands the ink carrying Source through positive air preSSure exerted on the ink capacity of the printer cartridge with a minimum of wasted Source. Alternately, the printer cartridge includes a vent to 65 ink remaining unused in the printer cartridge. partially vent pressurized air from the interior of the printer Further, the present invention has industrial applicability cartridge. as it is particularly advantageous for usage in printer car US 6,243,115 B1 3 4 tridges for inkjet printers. The installation of the air pump prevents ink from leaking until a significant pressure is and associated tubes into the inkjet printer as it is manu applied to the ink Source 12 from the pressurized air in the factured provides an adequate Solution to the ink Supply interior 13, and at Such time, the membrane or barrier problems associated with inkjet printers as discussed above. ruptures to allow ink to flow from the ink source 12. Other Other objects, features, and advantages of the present methods and devices for allowing ink to flow from the ink invention will become apparent after review of the herein Source 12 as known in the art are alternately used. after set forth Brief Description of the Drawings, Detailed The air pump 16 can be any pressure Supplying device, Description of the Invention, and the claims. Such as a reciprocating piston pump, Vane pump, peristaltic pump, centrifugal pump, diaphragm pump, or other com BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS preSSor as known in the art. The air pump 16 is preferably connected along pressure air Supply tube 22 to a preSSure FIG. 1 is a representative diagram of the ink Supply and regulator 17 for the maintenance of a constant air preSSure delivery System with the printer cartridge shown in croSS at the printer cartridge 10. The air supply tube 22 can be Section. connected to one or more air inlets, Such as air inlet 9, on one FIG. 2 is a croSS-Section of the printer cartridge illustrat 15 more printer cartridges, Such as printer cartridge 10. The air ing a Second embodiment of the ink Source with a resilient pump preferably generates a Static pressure in the range of air container in the interior of the printer cartridge. 1 to 2 psig. The regulator 17 is particularly illustrated as FIG. 3 is a croSS-Section of the printer cartridge illustrat containing an elastomeric Seal 18 that rests upon a Seat 19, ing a third embodiment of the ink Source with a resilient air where the Seal 18 is pressed against the Seat 19 with a Spring container in the interior of the printer cartridge encapsulat 20 providing pressure against the Seal 18. AS the pump 16 ing an ink Source resilient container. moves air through the air Supply tube 22, the pressure in the FIG. 4 is a croSS-Section of the printer cartridge illustrat lines, tanks, and regulator increases. This pressure exerts a ing a fourth embodiment of the ink Source with a resilient air force against the seal 18 tending to lift it off the seat 19. container in the interior of the printer cartridge within an ink Thus, at predetermined duration of operation of the pump Source resilient container. 25 16, the force of the air pressure exceeds the force of the spring 20 and the seal 18 is slightly lifted off its seat 19, DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE allowing Some of the air to escape to the environment. This INVENTION action therefore regulates the air pressure in the System to a maximum value determined by the design of the seal 18 and Referring now to the drawings in which like numerals Spring 20. Other pressure regulators as known in the art are represent like components throughout the Several views, alternately used between the pump 16 and the air inlet 9 to FIG. 1 illustrates an ink supply and delivery system for a limit the acceptable pressure in the System. printer cartridge 10 having an interior 13, at least one air Also, during printer cartridge 10 removal, air pressure inlet 9 to the interior 13, and at least one ink outlet 11 from relief preferably occurs before the ink connection is broken, the interior 13. An air pump 16 is connected to the air inlet 35 Such as at the needle/Septum interface (not shown). 9 of the printer cartridge 10 through tube 14, and the air Furthermore, pressure can be purposely bled from the Sys pump 16 creates a positive pressure in the interior 13 of the tem through the regulator 17 to insure Safe installation and printer cartridge 10. Printer cartridge 10 is hermetically removal of the printer cartridge in the printer. sealed in this embodiment with the air inlet 9 the only The regulator is preferably mounted in a printer between opening through which air can flow to the interior 13. 40 the pump and the printer cartridge 10, as shown in FIG. 1, The printer cartridge 10 is illustrated herein as solely or it is alternately mounted within the printer cartridge 10 containing ink for use in the printer, however, the printer itself. In addition, a Solenoid or other Suitable actuator can cartridge 10 can be alternately embodied as including other be attached to the regulator 17 to provide a controlled components, Such as a print head (not shown), or toner for pressure release, either slow or Sudden, for System the printer. The printer cartridge 10 can also be embodied as 45 shutdown, thus relieving pressure on the ink bags and ink a separate ink tank or ink cartridge that attaches within a lines when the printer is inactive. To accomplish the same printer Separately from one or more other printer cartridges purpose, a bleed orifice is alternately used in the pressurized in the printer. air system, where the bleed orifice is simply a "controlled The printer cartridge 10 further has an ink source 12, leak" which allows a Small amount of air to continuously shown here embodied as a bag, including ink in the interior 50 escape to the environment while the System is running. Upon 13 of the printer cartridge 10. The ink source 12 is a resilient shutdown, pressurized air continues to flow through the container Such that air pressure in the printer cartridge 10 bleed orifice until most pressure within the System is can force collapse of the resilient container to drive ink relieved. therefrom and through the ink outlet 11. The ink source 12 FIG. 2 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the ink is in fluid communication with the ink outlet 11 of the printer 55 Supply and delivery System with printer cartridge 26 having cartridge 10, and ink Supply tube 15, which Supplies ink an interior 30 filled with ink, at least one air inlet 32 to a ultimately to the print head of the printer (not shown). resilient air container 28, and at least one ink outlet 34 from Accordingly, the positive pressure created by the air pump the interior 13. The air pump 16 and regulator feed to the air 16 in the interior 13 of printer cartridge 10 forces ink to flow supply tube 22 is represented at end 40. The air supply tube from the ink source 12 through the ink outlet 11, and out 60 22 is connected to the air inlet 32 of the printer cartridge 10 through ink supply tube 15, in the direction of arrow A. through tube 36, and the air pump 16 creates a positive The ink source 12 as embodied herein preferably includes preSSure in the resilient air container 28 causing the con a needle/Septum connection within the printer cartridge 10 tainer to expand and force ink from the interior. Printer such that the placement of the printer cartridge 10 into the cartridge 26 is also hermetically Sealed in this embodiment printer pierces the ink Source 12 to allow ink to flow. 65 such that the ink outlet 34 is the only opening through which Another embodiment of the connection is to have a mem the ink can flow, and the ink ultimately flows through ink brane or other temporary barrier across ink outlet 11 which supply tube 38, in the direction of arrow A. US 6,243,115 B1 S 6 FIG.3 illustrates a further alternate embodiment of the ink container 28, 48, 74 in the interior of the printer cartridge 26, Supply and delivery System with printer cartridge 46 having 46, 72, the air container in fluid communication with the air an interior 52 with a resilient air container 48 encapsulating inlet 32, 64, 80 and expanding from the positive pressure an ink Source resilient container 54. The resilient air con created from the air pump 16. And then the Step of Supplying tainer 48 is affixed to the air inlet 64, and the ink Source ink from the ink Source 30, 54, 76 in the interior of the resilient container 54 is affixed to the ink outlet 66. The printer cartridge 26, 46, 72 through the ink outlet 34, 66,82 printer cartridge 46 further includes an air vent 62 from the is forcing ink from the interior through the ink outlet 34,66, interior 52 of the printer cartridge 46 which prevents a 82 with expansion of the air container 28, 48, 74. Significant build-up of pressure within the printer cartridge With reference again to FIG. 3, wherein the resilient air 46 as all pressure should be contained within the resilient air container 48 encapsulates the ink Source resilient container container 48. 54, the step of creating positive pressure in the interior 52 of the printer cartridge 46 through activation of the air pump 16 The air supply tube 22 is connected to the air inlet 64 of is creating a positive pressure in a resilient air container 48 the printer cartridge 46 through tube 68, and the air pump 16 encapsulating the ink source 54 in the interior 52 of the creates a positive pressure in the resilient air container 48, printer cartridge 46, and the air container 48 is in fluid causing the resilient air container 48 to expand, which places 15 communication with the air inlet 64 expands from the preSSure on the ink Source resilient container 54 to collapse. positive pressure created from the air pump 16 to be Thus, the pressure forces ink from the ink Source resilient bounded by the printer cartridge 46 itself. Accordingly, the container 54, through the ink outlet 66, and through ink Step of Supplying ink from the ink Source 54 in the interior supply tube 70, in the direction of arrow A. This embodi 52 of the printer cartridge 46 through the ink outlet 66 is ment is particularly advantageous because it has the least forcing ink from the ink source 54 within the interior 52 amount of risk relative to the ink leaking from both the ink through the ink outlet 66 with expansion of the resilient air Source resilient container 54 and the resilient air container container 48. 48. As particularly shown in FIG. 4, wherein the resilient air FIG. 4 illustrates yet a further embodiment of the ink container 74 is within the ink source 76, the step of creating Supply and delivery System with printer cartridge 72 having 25 positive pressure in the interior 78 of the printer cartridge 72 an interior 78 with a resilient air container 74 within an ink through activation of the air pump 16 is creating a positive Source resilient container 76. The resilient air container 74 is preSSure in a resilient air container 74 within the ink Source affixed to the air inlet 80, and the ink Source resilient 76 in the interior 78 of the printer cartridge 72, where the air container 74 is in fluid communication with the air inlet 80 container 76 is affixed to the ink outlet 82. The printer and expanding from the positive preSSure created from the cartridge 72, likewise to the embodiment of FIG. 3, includes air pump 16. The Step of Supplying ink from the ink Source an air vent 62 from the interior 78 of the printer cartridge 72. 76 in the interior 78 of the printer cartridge 72 through the The air supply tube 22 is connected to the air inlet 80 of ink outlet 82 is likewise forcing ink from the ink source 76 the printer cartridge 72 through tube 84, and positive pres within the interior 78 through the ink outlet 82 with expan Sure in the resilient air container 74 causes expansion, which Sion of the air container 74. 35 places preSSure on the ink Source resilient container 54 that While there has been shown a preferred and alternate is bound by the printer cartridge 72. Thus, the expansion embodiments of the present invention, it is to be understood preSSure forces ink from the ink Source resilient container that certain changes may be made in the forms and arrange 76, through the ink outlet 82, and through ink supply tube ments of the components and Steps of the inventive method 86, in the direction of arrow A. 40 without departing from the Spirit and Scope of the invention It can thus be seen that the present inventive System as Set forth in the claims appended here with. In addition, the provides a method of Supplying ink from a printer cartridge corresponding structures, materials, and equivalents of all in a printer that prints upon a media. With reference again to means-plus-function elements in the claims are intended to FIG. 1, the method includes the Steps of placing the printer include any structure, material, or component as known to cartridge 10 into a printer (not shown), and then creating 45 one of Skill in the art for performing the function in positive pressure in the interior 13 of the printer cartridge 10 combination with the other claimed elements. through activation of the air pump 16. The method then What is claimed is: includes the Steps of Supplying ink from the ink Source 12 in 1. An ink Supply and delivery System for a printer the interior 13 of the printer cartridge 10 through the ink cartridge, comprising: outlet 11, and printing on a media (not shown) with the 50 a printer cartridge having an interior, at least one air inlet Supplied ink as known in the art. to the interior, and at least one ink outlet from the In the embodiments of FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, the step of interior; supplying ink from the ink source 12 in the interior 13 of the an air pump connected to the air inlet for creating a printer cartridge 10 through the ink outlet 11 is Supplying ink positive pressure in the interior of the printer cartridge; from a resilient container 12, 54, and 76 in the interior of the 55 an ink Source including ink in the interior of the printer printer cartridge and in fluid communication with the ink cartridge and in fluid communication with the ink outlet, such as ink outlets 11, 66, and 82. And in the outlet; and embodiments of the printer cartridge in FIGS. 3 and 4, where a resilient air container in the interior of the printer the printer cartridge 46, 72 includes a vent 62 from the cartridge and in fluid communication with the air inlet, interior, the method further includes the Step of Venting air 60 the air container expanding from the positive pressure from the interior 52, 78 of the printer cartridge 46, 72 created by the air pump for forcing the ink from the ink through an air vent 62. Source through the ink outlet. Further, in the embodiments of the system as shown in 2. The System of claim 1, wherein the printer cartridge is FIGS. 2-4, which include a resilient air container 28,48, and hermetically Sealed. 74, the Step of creating positive preSSure to the interior of the 65 3. The system of claim 1, wherein the ink source is a printer cartridge 26, 46, 72 through activation of the air resilient container in fluid communication with the ink outlet pump 16 is creating a positive pressure in a resilient air of the printer cartridge. US 6,243,115 B1 7 8 4. The System of claim 3, wherein the ink Source is a bag. 14. The system of claim 11, wherein the air containing 5. The system of claim 3, wherein the printer cartridge means encapsulates the ink Supply means. further includes an air vent from the interior of the printer 15. A method of Supplying ink from a printer cartridge in cartridge. a printer that prints upon a media, the printer cartridge 6. The system of claim 3, wherein the air container is having an interior, at least one air inlet to the interior and at positioned within the ink Source container. least one ink outlet from the interior, the printer cartridge 7. The system of claim 3, wherein the air container having a positive preSSure created in its interior by an air encapsulates the ink Source container. pump connected to the air inlet, the printer cartridge further 8. The system of claim 7, wherein the resilient air con having an ink Source including ink in the interior, the method tainer is a bag. comprising the Steps of: 9. An ink Supply and delivery System for a printer cartridge, comprising: placing the printer cartridge into the printer; a printer cartridge having an interior, at least one air inlet creating the positive pressure in a resilient air container in to the interior, and at least one ink outlet from the the interior of the printer cartridge through activation of interior; 15 the air pump, the air container being in fluid commu a pressure Supply means for creating a positive pressure in nication with the air inlet and expanding from the the interior of the printer cartridge, the pressure Supply positive pressure created by the air pump; means connected to the air inlet of the printer cartridge; Supplying the ink from a resilient container as the ink an ink Supply means for Supplying ink from the printer Source in the interior of the printer cartridge, the ink cartridge, the ink Supply means including ink in the container being in fluid communication with the ink interior of the printer cartridge and being in fluid outlet by forcing the ink through the ink outlet with the communication with the ink outlet of the printer car expansion of the air container; and tridge, and printing on the media with the Supplied ink. a resilient air containing means in the interior of the 25 16. The method of claim 15, further including the step of printer cartridge and in fluid communication with the venting air from the interior of the printer cartridge through air inlet, the air containing means expanding from the an air vent. positive pressure created by the preSSure Supply means 17. The method of claim 15, wherein the resilient air for forcing the ink from the ink Supply means through container is positioned within the ink Source in the interior the ink outlet. of the printer cartridge for forcing the ink from the interior 10. The system of claim 9, wherein the printer cartridge of the printer cartridge through the ink outlet. is hermetically Sealed. 18. The method of claim 15, wherein the resilient air 11. The system of claim 9, wherein the ink supply means container encapsulates the ink Source in the interior of the is a resilient container in fluid communication with the ink printer cartridge for forcing the ink from the interior through outlet means of the printer cartridge. 35 the ink outlet. 12. The system of claim 11, wherein the printer cartridge 19. The method of claim 15, wherein the step of placing further includes an air vent for venting air from the interior the printer cartridge into a printer comprises placing the of the printer cartridge. printer cartridge into an inkjet printer. 13. The system of claim 11, wherein the air containing means is positioned within the ink Supply means. k k k k k