Slingshot Printing LLC v. HP Inc.

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

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4 US007438397B2 (12) United States Patent (10) Patent No.: US 7438,397 B2 Anderson, Jr. et al. (45) Date of Patent: Oct. 21, 2008 (54) METHODS AND DEVICES FOR PURGING 6,079,808 A * 6/2000 Yamaguchi .................. 34.7/30 GASES FROMAN NK RESERVOR 6,209.997 B1 4/2001 Duong et al. 6,257,714 B1 7/2001 Seccombe (75) Inventors: James Daniel Anderson, Jr., 6,257,715 B1 7/2001 Thielman et al. Harrodsburg, KY (US); David Emerson 6,270,211 B1 8/2001 Long et al. Greer, Lexington, KY (US); Matthew 6,296,345 B1 10/2001 Kline et al. Joe Russell, Stamping Ground, KY (US) 6,318,851 B1 1 1/2001 Hoen et al. 6,457,821 B1 10/2002 Liu et al. (73) Assignee: Lexmark International, Inc., 6,471.334 B2 10/2002 Kline et al. Lexington, KY (US) 6,481,837 B1 1 1/2002 Askren et al. c -r - 6,499,826 B1 12/2002 Kline et al. (*) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this 6,652,080 B2 11/2003 Childs et al. patent is extended or adjusted under 35 6,698,870 B2 3/2004 Gunther U.S.C. 154(b) by 326 days. 6.739,706 B2 5/2004 Barinaga et al. (21) Appl. No.: 11/001,433 (22) Filed: Dec. 1, 2004 (Continued) (65) Prior Publication Data Primary Examiner—An H. Do Assistant Examiner Sarah Al Hashimi US 2006/O114298 A1 Jun. 1, 2006 (74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm Taft, Stettinuis & Hollister LLP (51) Int. Cl. B4 2/7 (2006.01) (57) ABSTRACT B4 2/75 (2006.01) (52) U.S. Cl. ........................................... 347/84; 347/85 (58) Field of Classification Search ................... 347/84. A printhead comprising a first ink reservoir in fluid commu 347/85 nication with an outlet nozzle and downstream from a first ink See application file for complete search history. filter, and a pump assembly in fluid communication with the first ink reservoir and operative to withdraw gas from the first (56) References Cited ink reservoir and Subsequently inhibit fluid communication U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS between the withdrawn gas and the first ink reservoir. The present invention also includes method of removing gas in 4,149,172 A * 4, 1979 Heinzl et al. .................. 347/92 fluid communication with an ink reservoir, the method com 5, 126,767 A 6, 1992 Asai ............................ 347/86 prising purging gas from a gas accumulation area of an ink 5.426,459 A 6/1995 Kaplinsky reservoir, where purging act includes manipulating a valve 5,500,664 A 3, 1996 Suzuki et al. assembly downstream from an ink filter, the valve assembly 5,621,445 A * 4, 1997 Fong et al. .................... 347/87 operative to separate the gas accumulation area of the ink 5,677.718 A * 10/1997 Crawford et al. .............. 347/92 reservoir from an external environment, the valve assembly 5,812,168 A 9/1998 Pawlowski, Jr. et al. operative to facilitate unidirectional volumetric flow of the 5,844,577 A * 12/1998 Pawlowski, Jr. ................ 347/6 5,847,734 A 12/1998 Pawlowski, Jr. gas between the gas accumulation area and the external envi rOnment. 5,870,126 A 2f1999 Kondo et al. 5,936,650 A * 8/1999 Ouchida et al. ............... 347/89 5,949,459 A 9, 1999 Gasvoda et al. 24 Claims, 6 Drawing Sheets 2S-13s 54 158 ----160 156 132-y34 118 12s' = e 124- 124 126 126 122 128 202 200 4 4 US 7438,397 B2 Page 2 U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS 20O2/OO57.972 A1* 5/2002 Barinaga et al. ......... 417/4133 2004.0020552 A1* 2, 2004 Ruffer et al. . 141/7 6,752,493 B2 6, 2004 Dowell et al. 2005/0O84952 A1* 4, 2005 Bass et al. ............... 435/287.2 6,761445 B2 T/2004 Hoen et al. 2005/O168520 A1* 8, 2005 Mantooth et al. ............. 34.7/30 6,773,097 B2 8, 2004 Dowell 2006/0114298 A1* 6, 2006 Anderson et al. ............. 347.85 6,874,872 B2 * 4/2005 Lewis et al. .......... - - - - - - - - - 347/85 7,118,206 B1 * 10/2006 Stockwell et al. . ... 347/92 * cited by examiner 4 U.S. Patent Oct. 21, 2008 Sheet 1 of 6 US 7438,397 B2 FIG. 1 4 U.S. Patent Oct. 21, 2008 Sheet 2 of 6 US 7438,397 B2 EEPEZWY "C ESEEETTA7. / E. E4SS 70 FIG. 2 4 U.S. Patent Oct. 21, 2008 Sheet 3 of 6 US 7438,397 B2 10 FIG. 3 4 U.S. Patent Oct. 21, 2008 Sheet 4 of 6 US 7438,397 B2 102 104 FIG. 4 4 U.S. Patent Oct. 21, 2008 Sheet 5 of 6 US 7438,397 B2 100 FIG. 5 4 U.S. Patent Oct. 21, 2008 Sheet 6 of 6 US 7438,397 B2 2-1S 138 4 158 15 118 E126 .. 124-1 ST ." . N-1 2 4 1. 122 128 202 200 FIG. 6 4 US 7,438,397 B2 1. 2 METHODS AND DEVICES FOR PURGING a more detailed embodiment, the first valve seat includes a GASES FROMAN NK RESERVOR first circular opening, the first valve body includes a first spherical body adapted to be received within the first circular BACKGROUND opening, the second valve seat includes a second circular opening, and the second valve body includes a second spheri 1. Field of the Invention cal body adapted to be received within the second circular The present invention is directed to drop-on-demand print opening. ing, and more specifically to inkjet printing. The invention In another embodiment, the pump assembly includes a includes devices and methods for purging gases becoming pump operative to overcome the bias of the first valve body by entrapped within an ink concourse between an ink Supply 10 generating a first pressure differential between an upstream Source and an ejection point at the nozzle tip. side and a downstream side of the first valve, thereby provid 2. Background of the Invention ing fluid communication between the upstream side and the One of the major problems with on-carrier tank systems downstream side of the first valve, the pump is operative to ("chiclet systems') concerns the accumulation of air within overcome the bias of the second valve body by generating a the ink filter tower. If an ink reservoir is run too low, or left out 15 second pressure differential between an upstream side and a of the printer for an extended period of time, air may accu downstream side of the second valve, thereby providing fluid mulate within the filter tower and block ink from reaching the communication between the upstream side and the down noZZles; i.e., starving the chip. These conditions will result in stream side of the second valve, and the downstream side of premature printhead failure. Several causes are known for the the first valve is in fluid communication with the upstream accumulation of air within the ink concourse and include, 20 side of the second valve. In still another more detailed without limitation, air permeation through the ink Supply embodiment, the pump includes a diaphragm deformable to conduits, air forced into the ink Supply conduits resulting generate the first pressure differential and the second pressure from the exchange of ink tanks, as well as dissolved air within differential, and the diaphragm is manually deformable. In a the ink that comes out of solution. Therefore, there is a need further detailed embodiment, the printhead further comprises in the art to develop devices and techniques for obviating air 25 a second ink reservoir in fluid communication with a second accumulation downstream from an ink filter. outlet nozzle and downstream from a second ink filter and a third ink reservoir in fluid communication with a third outlet SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION nozzle and downstream from a third ink filter, where the second ink reservoir and the third ink reservoir are in fluid The present invention is directed to devices and methods 30 communication with the pump assembly operative to with that reduce the likelihood of premature printhead failure draw gas from the second ink reservoir and the third ink caused by starvation of the printhead attributable to gaseous reservoir and subsequently inhibit fluid communication blockages. An exemplary embodiment of the present inven between the withdrawn gas and the second ink reservoir and tion may include an ink reservoir fabricated with special the third ink reservoir. geometric features that provide for gaseous accumulation and 35 In another embodiment, the pump assembly includes a separation of the accumulated gases from the liquid ink. one-way valve assembly in concurrent fluid communication Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention may with an interior of the first ink reservoir, an interior of the also make use of pumps and valve assemblies that withdraw second ink reservoir, an interior of the third ink reservoir, and gases from within one or more ink reservoirs and expel the an external environment, and the one-way valve assembly withdrawn gas to an environment external to the ink reser- 40 includes a first valve, a second valve, a third valve, and a voirs. A further detailed exemplary embodiment may include fourth valve. In still another more detailed embodiment, the refillable ink reservoirs having one or more couplings adapted pump assembly includes a pump that fluidicly interposes the to interface with removable ink tanks, where the direction of first valve and the fourth valve, fluidicly interposes the second insertion is at least partially horizontal. valve and the fourth valve, and fluidicly interposes the third In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention 45 valve and the fourth valve. In a further detailed embodiment, a printhead is provided that includes: (a) a first ink reservoir in the first valve is operative to isolate the fourth valve from the fluid communication with an outlet nozzle and downstream interior of the first ink reservoir, the second valve is operative from a first ink filter; and (b) a pump assembly in fluid com to isolate the fourth valve from the interior of the second ink munication with the first ink reservoir and operative to with reservoir, and the third valve is operative to isolate the fourth draw gas from the first ink reservoir and subsequently inhibit 50 valve from the interior of the third ink reservoir. In a more fluid communication between the withdrawn gas and the first detailed embodiment, the first valve includes a first valve seat ink reservoir. adapted to receive a first valve body, where the first valve In an embodiment, the pump assembly includes a one-way body is biased against the first valve seat, the second valve valve assembly in concurrent fluid communication with an includes a second valve seat adapted to receive a second valve interior of the first ink reservoir and an external environment, 55 body, where the second valve body is biased against the and the one-way valve assembly includes a first valve and a second valve seat, the third valve includes a third valve seat second valve. In yet another more detailed embodiment, a adapted to receive a third valve body, where the third valve pump of the pump assembly fluidicly interposes the first valve body is biased against the third valve seat, and the fourth valve and the second valve. In a further detailed embodiment, the includes a fourth valve seat adapted to receive a fourth valve first valve is operative to isolate the second valve from the 60 body, where the fourth valve body is biased against the fourth interior of the first ink reservoir. In still a further detailed valve seat. embodiment, the one-way valve assembly includes a first In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, an inkjet printing component is described that valve that includes a first valve seat adapted to receive a first valve body, where the first valve body is biased against the includes: (a) an ink reservoir including: (i) an ink exit orifice first valve seat, and a second valve that includes a second 65 at a first elevation, (ii) a gaseous exit orifice at a second valve seat adapted to receive a second valve body, where the elevation, where the second elevation is higher than the first second valve body is biased against the second valve seat. In elevation, (iii) a gas accumulation area in fluid communica 4 US 7,438,397 B2 3 4 tion with the gaseous exit orifice; (b) an ink filter in fluid optional features and steps that one of ordinary skill will communication with an interior of the ink reservoir; and (c) a recognize as not being a requisite to fall within the scope of pump assembly operative to withdraw gas through the gas the present invention. eous exit orifice and from the gas accumulation area and Referencing FIGS. 1-3, a first exemplary printhead 10 subsequently inhibit fluid communication between the with 5 includes a printhead body 12 adapted to have a removable ink drawn gas and the interior of the ink reservoir. tank cartridge 14 mounted thereto. The printhead body 12 In another embodiment, the ink reservoir includes an ink includes an outer housing 16 that includes a recessed area 18 entrance orifice at a third elevation, the ink filter is in series partially occupied by a plurality of local ink reservoirs 20. A with the ink entrance orifice, and the second elevation is via 22 at the bottom of each reservoir provides fluid commu higher than the third elevation. In still another more detailed 10 nication between the interior of each reservoir and one or embodiment, the ink reservoir includes a first inlet coupling more nozzles 24 associated with a nozzle plate 26 mounted to adapted to interface with a first outlet coupling of a replace the underside of the printhead body 12 partially defining the ment ink tank, where the replacement ink tank is laterally recessed area 18 (floor). coupled to the ink reservoir. In this exemplary embodiment, the ink reservoirs 20 Another embodiment of the invention describes a method 15 occupy a rectangular area that is Subdivided to provide two of increasing the longevity of a printhead, the method com L-shaped (in horizontal cross-section) towers 32, 34 and a prising displacing gas within an ink reservoir, where the gas smaller rectangular tower 36 therebetween. The interior Vol displaced was located downstream from an ink filter, where ume of each tower 32, 34, 36 is defined by the floor of the the act of displacing the gas includes implementing a gas recessed area 18, a set of vertical walls 38, and a tower cap 40. accumulation area within the ink reservoir. The underside 42 of the tower cap 40 receives the top portion In yet another embodiment, the act of displacing the gas of the vertical walls of the towers 32, 34, 36 and provides a includes withdrawing the gas from within the ink reservoir fluidic seal separating the interior regions of one tower from and inhibiting fluid communication between the gas with another. One vertical wall 38 of eachtower32,34, 36 includes drawn and liquid ink within the ink reservoir, and the act of an opening 46 adapted to provide ink to the interior of each withdrawing the gas from within the ink reservoir includes 25 tower. The opening 46 is bounded by a conduit 48 extending opening a check valve to provide fluid communication radially outward from each tower and includes an ink filter 50 between the gas accumulation area and a gas containment in series therewith. In this exemplary embodiment, the ink area. In still another more detailed embodiment, the method filter 50 is mounted to the mouth 51 of the conduit 48. How further comprises pumping the withdrawn gas into an area not ever, those of ordinary skill will understand that the filter 50 in fluid communication with the ink reservoir. 30 may be mounted in other locations, so long as the function Another embodiment pertains to a method of removing gas ality of filtering the ink is preserved. in fluid communication with an ink reservoir, the method The mouth 51 of each conduit 48 is adapted to interface the comprising purging gas from a gas accumulation area of an removable ink tank cartridge 14. In this exemplary embodi ink reservoir, where purging act includes manipulating a ment, the removable ink tank cartridge 14 comprises three valve assembly downstream from an ink filter, the valve 35 fluidicly separate ink tanks 52, 54, 56 that may, for example, assembly operative to separate the gas accumulation area of respectively house yellow, magenta, and cyan colored inks. the ink reservoir from an external environment, the valve Each ink tank 52, 54, 56 includes an interior region 58 assembly operative to facilitate unidirectional volumetric adapted to be occupied by felt or foam (not shown) loaded flow of the gas between the gas accumulation area and the withink that is generally bounded by the exterior walls 60 of external environment. 40 the cartridge 14, an interior vertical wall 62 spanning the length of the cartridge and extending to meet the floor of the BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS cartridge, and a tank lid 64. Each interior region 58 includes a tapered floor portion 66 that is operative to direct ink FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a first exemplary printhead in through the felt or foam and toward an exit orifice (not shown) accordance with the present invention; 45 associated with each tank 52, 54.56 as the level of ink drops FIG. 2 is an overhead view of a first exemplary printhead from usage. The exit orifice of each tank 52, 54.56 is adapted body in accordance with the present invention; to be in fluid communication with its respective conduit 48 FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view from the side of the first associated with one of the towers 32, 34, 36 of the printhead exemplary printhead of FIG. 1; 12. FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a second exemplary print 50 An exemplary installation of the removable ink tank car head in accordance with the present invention; tridge 14 to the printhead body 12 includes orienting and FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view the second exemplary aligning the exit orifices with respect to the conduits 48. The printhead of FIG. 4; and floor of the printhead body 12 includes rails 70 adapted to be FIG. 6 is an isolated cross-sectional view of a second received by grooves 72 within the underside of the cartridge alternate exemplary embodiment of the present invention. 55 14 to inhibit rotation of the cartridge 14 with respect to the printhead body 12, thereby facilitating horizontal sliding of DETAILED DESCRIPTION the cartridge 14 upon the floor of the printhead body 12 until the cartridge 14 abuts the body 12 such that the conduits 48 The exemplary embodiments of the present invention are fluidicly seal with respect to the exit orifices. The fluidic seal described and illustrated below to encompass devices and 60 between the conduits 48 and exit orifices is operative to methods to reduce the likelihood of gaseous blockages within inhibit gaseous flow into the conduit by way of the interface the concourse of a printhead. Of course, it will be apparent to between the conduits 48 and orifices. Those of ordinary skill those of ordinary skill in the art that the preferred embodi are familiar with the techniques for carrying out Such fluidic ments discussed below are exemplary in nature and may be interfaces by providing a sealing member Such as a circum reconfigured without departing from the scope and spirit of 65 ferential O-ring between two adjacent Surfaces that are sepa the present invention. However, for clarity and precision, the rated by the sealing member. Those of ordinary skill are also exemplary embodiments as discussed below may include familiar with the techniques for inhibiting ink from exiting 4 US 7,438,397 B2 5 6 the tanks prematurely by way of unintended capillary action the housing 140 againstan annular flange 146 of the bulb 138, that include, without limitation, positioning a removable thin which pushes against a circumferential portion 148 of the film over the exit orifices. spring disc 136, which, in turn, pushes against a circumfer Upon mounting the cartridge 14 to the body 12, a fluid ential portion 150 of the purge seal 132 to compress the purge communication system is provided enabling ink to flow from 5 seal 132 against the tower cap 118 and provide a series of a tank 52,54, 56 into a respective tower 32, 34,36. Those of fluidic seals. In sum, the first seal is between the circumfer ordinary skill are aware that mounting a cartridge 14 to a body ential portion 150 of the purge seal 132 and the tower cap 118, 12 may be operative to introduce vapor into the tower. In the second seal is between the circumferential portion 150 of addition, vapor may accumulate within the tower as a result of the purge seal 132 and the circumferential portion 148 of the normal printing operations and as a result of dissolved vapor 10 spring disc 136, the third seal is between the annular flange coming out of Solution. In each of these cases, vapor accu 146 of the bulb 138 and the circumferential portion 148 of the mulation may detract from printhead longevity. The first spring disc 136, and the fourth seal is between the annular exemplary embodiment 10 manages vapor accumulation by flange 146 of the bulb 138 and the annular ring 144 of the providing a vertically oriented filter 50 and providing a vapor housing 140. accumulation area 74 within each tower 32, 34, 36. 15 The purge housing 140 also includes a radially extending Vapor bubbles that are small enough to pass through the conduit 152 in fluid communication with the interior of the filter 50 are generally drawn into the ink conduit and accu bulb 138. The conduit houses a vent seal 154 in series with a mulate within one of the tower 32, 34, 36. However, some checkball 156. A conduit cap 160 is mounted to the end of the vapor bubbles may be too large to pass through the filter 50 conduit 152, with a spring 158 being wedged between the and may become an impediment to ink flow therethrough. conduit cap 160 and the ball 156. The conduit cap 160 pro Prior art ink filters positioned horizontally would trap such vides a relatively rigid point against which the spring 158 relatively large vapor bubbles as the buoyancy of the bubble pushes, therefore biasing the ball 156 against the seal 154 attempted to drive the bubbles upward through the ink until when the bulb 138 is in its inflated state (See FIG. 5). being stopped by the underside of the filter. A vertically One vertical wall 117 of each tower includes an opening oriented filter 50 (i.e., orienting the active filter surface on a 25 170 adapted to provide an orifice through which ink enters a plane generally parallel to a vertical plane), on the other hand, conduit 172 to enter each tower. The conduit is oriented to minimizes the resistance to upward flow of the vapor bubbles. extend away from each tower and includes an ink filter 174 in In addition, by providing a vapor accumulation area 74 within series therewith. In this exemplary embodiment, the ink filter each tower32,34, 36 that is vertically elevated with respect to 174 is mounted to the mouth of the conduit 172, however, it is the position of the ink filter 50, vapor bubbles gravitate to the 30 to be understood that the precise location of the ink filter may highest vertical point within the tower. In this manner, vapor be changed without departing from the scope and spirit of the may accumulate above the level of ink within each tower 32, present invention. 34.36 without substantially impairing the flow of ink through The mouth of each conduit 172 is adapted to interface with each conduit 48. the removable ink tank cartridge 104. In this exemplary Referencing FIGS. 4 and 5, a second exemplary printhead 35 embodiment, the removable ink tank cartridge 104 comprises 100 includes a printhead body 102 adapted to interface with a three fluidicly separate ink tanks 176, 178, 180 that may, for removable ink tank cartridge 104. The printhead body 102 example, respectively house yellow, magenta, and cyan col includes an outer housing 106 that includes a recessed area ored inks. Each ink tank 176, 178, 180 includes an interior 108 partially occupied by local ink reservoirs 110. A via 112 region 182 adapted to be occupied by felt or foam (now at the bottom of each reservoir provides fluid communication 40 shown) loaded with ink that is generally bounded by the between the interior of each reservoir and one or more nozzles exterior walls 184 of the cartridge, an interior vertical wall 114 associated with a nozzle plate 116 mounted to the under 185 spanning the length of the cartridge and extending to side of the printhead body 102 partially defining the recessed meet the floor of the cartridge, and a tank lid 186. Each area 108 (floor). interior region 182 of the tank cartridge includes an exit In this second exemplary embodiment, the ink reservoirs 45 orifice (not shown) adapted to be in fluid communication with 10 occupy a rectangular area that is subdivided to provide two its corresponding conduit 172 associated with one of the L-shaped towers (not shown) and a smaller rectangular tower towers of the printhead. (not shown) therebetween. The interior volume of each tower An exemplary installation of the removable ink tank car is defined by the floor of the recessed area 108, a set of vertical tridge 104 to the printhead body 102 includes orienting and walls 117, and a tower cap 118. The underside 120 of the 50 aligning the exit orifices with respect to the conduits 172. The tower cap 118 receives the top portion of the vertical walls floor of the printhead body 102 includes rails 190 adapted to 117 of the towers and provides a fluidic seal separating the be received by grooves 192 within the underside of the car interior region of one tower from another. The underside 120 tridge 104 to inhibit rotation of the cartridge 104 with respect of the tower cap 118 also includes three chambers 122, one for to the printhead body 102, thereby facilitating horizontal each tower. Each chamber 122 includes an orifice 124 in a 55 sliding of the cartridge 104 upon the floor of the printhead side wall thereof in fluid communication with a vapor accu body 102 until the cartridge 104 abuts the body 102 such that mulation area 126 of each tower. The tower cap 118 also the conduits 172 fluidicly seal with respect to the exit orifices. includes three orifices 128 in a triangular configuration The fluidic seal between the conduits 172 and exit orifices is extending into a respective vapor accumulation area 126 of operative to inhibit gaseous flow into the conduit by way of each tower. The orifices 128 are aligned with three orifices 60 the interface between the conduits 172 and orifices. Those of 130 within a purge seal 132. The orifices 130 of the purge seal ordinary skill are familiar with the techniques for carrying out 132 are tapered inward from top to bottom and are adapted to Such fluidic interfaces such as providing a circumferential receive check balls 134 biased against the purge seal 132 by O-ring. Those of ordinary skill are also familiar with the cut-outs of a spring disc 136. A purge bulb 138 is positioned techniques for inhibiting ink from exiting from the tanks 176, over the spring disc 136 and a purge housing 140 is positioned 65 178, 180 prematurely from unintended capillary action that over the purge bulb 138. A printheadlid 142 is positioned over include, without limitation, positioning a removable or the housing 140 and operative to press an annular ring 144 of pierceable thin film over the exit orifice. 4 US 7,438,397 B2 7 8 Upon mounting the cartridge 104 to the body 102, a fluid orifices 128 within the tower cap 118 and through one or more communication system is provided enabling ink to flow from orifices 130 of the purge seal 132 and into the interior inflated the tanks 176, 178, 180 into the towers. Those of ordinary area of the bulb 138. The orifice 124 of each chamber 122 is skill are aware that mounting a cartridge 104 to a body 102 adapted to be positioned adjacent to the top height of the may be operative to introduce vapor into the tower. In addi 5 tower so that nearly all of the vapor within the tower is tion, vapor may accumulate within a tower as a result of extracted before ink is drawn into the chamber. As ink is normal printing operations and as a result of dissolved vapor drawn into the chamber 122 and elevates to reach the check coming out of Solution. In each of these cases, vapor accu ball 134, the wetting effect between the ink, ball 134, and seal mulation may degrade the longevity of the printhead. The 132 is operative to provide a seal such that vapor from the second exemplary embodiment 100 manages vapor accumu 10 other towers will be extracted prior to ink passing beyond the lation by providing vertically oriented filters 174 within con ball 134. In this manner, vapor within each tower may be duits 172; providing a vapor accumulation area 126 within concurrently extracted by a single purging operation. each tank 176, 178, 180 positioned above and in fluid com Referencing FIG. 6, it is also within the scope of the present munication with the filter 174; and providing a purge system invention to provide a float 200 within each chamber 122 that to remove vapor present within the vapor accumulation area 15 is operative to abut the orifice 128 in the tower cap 118 and 126. seal off the opening, thereby prohibiting liquid ink from Referencing FIGS. 4 and 5, an exemplary operation of the reaching the check ball 134. In this manner, as ink is drawn purge system of the printhead 100 will be discussed below. into the chamber 122, via the orifice 124, the float 200 would For purposes of illustration, it is presumed that the ink tank ride upon the level of ink within the chamber 122. As the level cartridge 104 has been mounted to the printhead body 102 to of ink rises within the chamber 122, the float 200 is operative provide a fluidic interface between the towers of the printhead to abut the orifice 128 and form a seal therebetween to dis and the tanks 176, 178, 180 of the cartridge 104. continue fluid communication between the chamber 122 and Vapor present within any of the towers will be directed the interior of the bulb 138. Those of ordinary skill will upward to the vapor accumulation area 126. For purposes of understand the numerous options for providing a float 200 illustration, accumulated vapor within a tower is shown as a 25 within the chamber 122, such as providing holes 202 through black oval labeled "VAPOR". The amount of vapor within the the float 200 to allow the buoyant nature of the float 200 to rise accumulation area 126, in this exemplary illustration, pushes to the top of the ink, even when ink is deposited on top of the the level of ink within the tower below the height of the orifice float 200. 124 within the chamber 122. To reduce the vapor within the It is also within the scope of the present invention to auto towers, the bulb 138 is actuated from an inflated state to a 30 mate the purging system by providing an automated mechani deflated state. Actuation of the bulb 138 results from a down cal ram operative to deflate the bulb 138 and purge gases from ward force applied to the exterior of the bulb 138, such as, within the reservoirs. Those of ordinary skill are familiar with without limitation, by a user pushing his finger against the exemplary automated Systems that could provide the neces bulb 138. It is to be understood that the description of the bulb sary mechanical deflection the bulb in order to provide a 138 in an inflated state or a deflated state is comparative in 35 purging sequence based upon the current disclosure. nature and refers to positions of the bulb where the interior Following from the above description and invention sum area defined by the walls of the bulb 138 is either decreased maries, it should be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the (deflated) or increased (inflated). Thus, an inflated state only art that, while the methods and apparatuses herein described means that the interior area of the bulb 138 can be further constitute exemplary embodiments of the present invention, decreased, and the deflated states only means that the interior 40 the invention contained herein is not limited to this precise area of the bulb 138 can be further increased, comparatively embodiment and that changes may be made to Such embodi speaking. The actuation of the bulb 138 from an inflated state ments without departing from the scope of the invention as to a deflated state forces gas from the interior of the bulb 138 defined by the claims. Additionally, it is to be understood that and creates a temporary region of higher pressure gas pushing the invention is defined by the claims and it is not intended against each of the check balls 134, 156. The higher pressure 45 that any limitations or elements describing the exemplary gas pushes the check balls 134 against the purge seal 132 and embodiments set forth herein are to be incorporated into the is operative to form a seal therebetween, thereby inhibiting interpretation of any claim element unless such limitation or the higher pressure gas from passing into the chambers 122. element is explicitly stated. Likewise, it is to be understood However, this higher pressure gas provides a force pushing that it is not necessary to meet any or all of the identified against the ball 156 sufficient to overcome the bias of the 50 advantages or objects of the invention disclosed herein in spring 158 and dislodge the ball 156 from the vent seal 154 to order to fall within the scope of any claims, since the inven enable the gas to pass through the conduit 152 and into an tion is defined by the claims and since inherent and/or unfore external environment. As gas escapes into the external envi seen advantages of the present invention may exist even ronment, the pressure acting on the ball 156 decreases and at though they may not have been explicitly discussed herein. a certain point, the pressure of the gas is no longer great 55 What is claimed is: enough to overcome the bias of the spring 158. When this 1. A printhead comprising: occurs, the ball 156 is forced against the vent seal 154 and a first ink reservoir in fluid communication with an outlet seals off the external environment from the gas within the nozzle and downstream from a first ink filter; and system. The bulb 138 at this point is roughly in a deflated a pump assembly in fluid communication with the first ink state, and it is within the scope and spirit of the present 60 reservoir and operative to withdraw gas from the first ink invention that the bulb 138 be comprised of a resilient mate reservoir and Subsequently inhibit fluid communication rial. The resiliency of the bulb 138 results in the bulb attempt between the withdrawn gas and the first ink reservoir, ing to return to its inflated state, which provides a lower wherein: pressure area approximate the check balls 134. The pressure the pump assembly includes a pump and a one-way differential across the checkballs 134 is operative to displace 65 valve assembly in concurrent fluid communication one or more of the balls and allow higher pressure vapor/gas with an interior of the first ink reservoir and an exter from the chambers 122 to flow through one or more of the nal environment; 4 US 7,438,397 B2 9 10 the one-way valve assembly includes a first one-way 9. The printhead of claim 8, wherein: valve and a second one-way valve; and the pump fluidicly interposes the first one-way valve and the first one-way valve is operative to isolate the second the fourth valve, fluidicly interposes the second one-way one-way valve from the interior of the first ink reser valve and the fourth valve, and fluidicly interposes the Voir and the second one-way valve is operative to third valve and the fourth valve. isolate the first one-way valve from the external envi 10. The printhead of claim 8, wherein: rOnment. the first one-way valve is operative to isolate the fourth 2. The printhead of claim 1, wherein the pump fluidicly valve from the interior of the first ink reservoir; interposes the first one-way valve and the second one-way the second one-way valve is operative to isolate the fourth valve. 10 valve from the interior of the second ink reservoir; and 3. The printhead of claim 1, wherein: the third valve is operative to isolate the fourth valve from the first one-way valve includes a first valve seat adapted to the interior of the third ink reservoir. receive a first valve body, where the first valve body is 11. The printhead of claim 8, wherein: biased against the first valve seat; and the first one-way valve includes a first valve seat adapted to the second one-way valve includes a second valve seat 15 receive a first valve body, where the first valve body is adapted to receive a second valve body, where the sec biased against the first valve seat; ond valve body is biased against the second valve seat. the second one-way valve includes a second valve seat 4. The printhead of claim 3, wherein: adapted to receive a second valve body, where the sec the first valve seat includes a first circular opening; ond valve body is biased against the second valve seat; the first valve body includes a first spherical body adapted the third valve includes a third valve seat adapted to receive to be received within the first circular opening: a third valve body, where the third valve body is biased the second valve seat includes a second circular opening; against the third valve seat; and and the second valve body includes a second spherical body the fourth valve includes a fourth valve seat adapted to adapted to be received within the second circular open 25 receive a fourth valve body, where the fourth valve body ing. is biased against the fourth valve seat. 5. The printhead of claim 3, wherein; 12. The printhead of claim 11, wherein: the pump is operative to overcome the bias of the first valve the pump is operative to overcome the bias of the first valve body by generating a first pressure differential between body by generating a first pressure differential between an upstream side and a downstream side of the first 30 an upstream side and a downstream side of the first one-way valve, thereby providing fluid communication one-way valve, thereby providing fluid communication between the upstream side and the downstream side of between the upstream side and the downstream side of the first one-way valve; the first one-way valve; the pump is operative to overcome the bias of the second the pump is operative to overcome the bias of the second valve body by generating a second pressure differential 35 valve body by generating a second pressure differential between an upstream side and a downstream side of the between an upstream side and a downstream side of the second one-way valve, thereby providing fluid commu second one-way valve, thereby providing fluid commu nication between the upstream side and the downstream nication between the upstream side and the downstream side of the second one-way valve; and side of the second one-way valve; 40 the pump is operative to overcome the bias of the third the downstream side of the first one-way valve is in fluid communication with the upstream side of the second valve body by generating a third pressure differential one-way valve. between an upstream side and a downstream side of the 6. The printhead of claim 5, wherein: third valve, thereby providing fluid communication the pump includes a diaphragm deformable to generate the between the upstream side and the downstream side of 45 the third valve; first pressure differential and the second pressure differ ential; and the pump is operative to overcome the bias of the fourth the diaphragm is manually deformable. valve body by generating a fourth pressure differential 7. The printhead of claim 1, further comprising: between an upstream side and a downstream side of the a second ink reservoir in fluid communication with a sec 50 fourth valve, thereby providing fluid communication ond outlet nozzle and downstream from a second ink between the upstream side and the downstream side of filler; the fourth valve; and a third ink reservoir in fluid communication with a third the downstream side of the first one-way valve, the second outlet nozzle and downstream from a third ink filter; and one-way valve, and the third valve are in fluid commu where the second ink reservoir and the third ink reservoir 55 nication with the upstream side of the fourth valve. are in fluid communication with the pump assembly 13. The printhead of claim 12, wherein: operative to withdraw gas from the second ink reservoir the pump includes a diaphragm deformable to generate the and the third ink reservoir and subsequently inhibit fluid first pressure differential, the second pressure differen communication between the withdrawn gas and the sec tial, and the third pressure differential; and ond ink reservoir and the third ink reservoir. 60 the diaphragm is manually deformable. 8. The printhead of claim 7, wherein: 14. The printhead of claim 7, wherein: the one-way valve assembly is in concurrent fluid commu the first ink reservoir includes a first inlet coupling adapted nication with the interior of the first ink reservoir, an to interface with a first outlet coupling of a first ink interior of the second ink reservoir, an interior of the supply source to provide a fluidic seal between the first third ink reservoir, and an external environment; and 65 ink Supply source and the first ink reservoir; the one-way valve assembly further includes a third valve, the second ink reservoir includes a second inlet coupling and a fourth valve. adapted to interface with a second outlet coupling of a 4 US 7,438,397 B2 11 12 second ink Supply source to provide a fluidic seal wherein the act of displacing the gas includes implement between the second ink Supply source and the secondink ing a gas accumulation area within the ink reservoir; reservoir; wherein the act of displacing the gas includes withdrawing the third ink reservoir includes a third inlet coupling the gas from within the ink reservoir and inhibiting fluid adapted to interface with a third outlet coupling of a third 5 communication between the gas withdrawn and liquid ink supply source to provide a fluidic seal between the ink within the ink reservoir; and third ink supply source and the third ink reservoir; wherein the act of withdrawing the gas from within the ink the first inlet coupling is adapted to be interfaced horizon reservoir includes opening a check valve to provide fluid tally by the first outlet coupling: communication between the gas accumulation area and the second inlet coupling is adapted to be interfaced hori 10 a gas containment area. Zontally by the second outlet coupling; and 21. The method of claim 20, further comprising pumping the third inlet coupling is adapted to be interfaced horizon the withdrawn gas into an area not in fluid communication tally by the third outlet coupling. with the ink reservoir. 15. The printhead of claim 1, wherein: 22. A method of removing gas in fluid communication with the first ink reservoir includes a first inlet coupling adapted 15 an ink reservoir, the method comprising: to interface with a first outlet coupling of a first ink purging gas from a gas accumulation area of an ink reser supply source to provide a fluidic seal between the first Voir using a one-way valve assembly, where the purging ink Supply source and the first ink reservoir; and act includes manipulating a first and a second valves of the first inlet coupling is adapted to be interfaced horizon the one-way valve assembly downstream from an ink tally by the first outlet coupling. filter, the valve assembly operative to separate the gas 16. The printhead of claim 1, wherein: accumulation area of the ink reservoir from an external the pump assembly includes a repositionable diaphragm; environment, the valve assembly operative to facilitate and unidirectional volumetric flow of the gas between the the diaphragm is manually deformable. gas accumulation area end the external environment, 17. The printhead of claim 1, wherein the pump assembly 25 where the first valve is operative to isolate the second is mounted to the first ink reservoir. valve from the gas accumulation area of the ink reser 18. An inkjet printing component comprising: voir. an ink reservoir including: 23. A printhead comprising: an ink exit orifice at a first elevation, a first ink reservoir in fluid communication with a nozzle a gaseous exit orifice at a second elevation, where the 30 outlet and downstream from a vertically oriented ink second elevation is higher than the first elevation, filter, the first ink reservoir including an air accumula an ink entrance orifice, and tion region elevated with respect to the vertical filter, a gas accumulation area in fluid communication with the wherein vapor bubbles downstream from the ink filter gaseous exit orifice; are directed to the vapor accumulation area. an ink filter in fluid communication with an interior of the 35 24. An inkjet printing component comprising: ink reservoir, and an ink reservoir including: a pump assembly including a pump fluidicly interposed an ink exit orifice at a first elevation, between at least two one-way valves, the pump assembly operative to withdraw gas through the gaseous exit ori a gaseous exit orifice at a second elevation, where the fice end from the gas accumulation area and Subse 40 second elevation is higher than the first elevation, quently inhibit fluid communication between the with a gas accumulation area in fluid communication with the drawn gas and the interior of the ink reservoir, wherein at gaseous exit orifice; least part of the ink entrance orifice is at a lower eleva an ink filter in fluid communication with an interior of the tion than that of the gaseous exit orifice and lower than ink reservoir, and the gas accumulation area. 45 a pump assembly operative to withdraw gas through the 19. The inkjet printing component of claim 18, wherein the gaseous exit orifice and from the gas accumulation area ink reservoir includes a first inlet coupling adapted to inter and subsequently inhibit fluid communication between face with a first outlet coupling of a replacement ink tank, the withdrawn gas and the interior of the ink reservoir, where the replacement ink tank is laterally coupled to the ink wherein the ink reservoir includes a first inlet coupling reservoir. 50 adapted to interface with a first outlet coupling of a 20. A method of increasing the longevity of a printhead, the replacement ink tank, where the replacement ink tank is method comprising: laterally coupled to the ink reservoir. displacing gas within an ink reservoir, where the gas dis placed was located downstream from an ink filter, and