Through ceaseless R&D efforts, we have realized a variety of technologies, including inkjet line print heads, transport technology, and image-processing technology, as well as industry-leading printing speeds.
Conventional serial inkjet printers stop the movement of paper temporarily to allow the print head to move left and right according to the width of the paper. However, Canon Finetech Nisca’s line print head inkjet printers have stationary print heads that can be set according to the maximum width of the paper, thereby enabling high-speed printing without temporary stoppages.
Using bubble jet technology in which ink is discharged by generating bubbles in 4,800 tiny nozzles in a print head four inches wide, high-definition printing can be realized with a resolution of 1,200 dpi.
The conventional method of transporting print media is to use rollers to move the print media forward. However, in label printing, bending in areas where press rollers are not mounted makes it difficult to control the transport of print media.
Under such conditions, the printed image may become distorted, or the paper may come in contact with the print head, leading to stains or malfunctions.
Our mechanism avoids bending and achieves stable transport by making holes in the transport belt and placing a suction fan underneath that keeps the media in close contact with the belt. The power of air suction is well controlled to ensure sufficient stability even when paper is transported at high speeds.
By using the air-suction belt in this way, bending is eliminated during paper transport, and media paper transport is stably and continuously controlled, thereby minimizing print image distortion.
Our proprietary printing technologies, including inkjet line heads, transport technology, and image-processing technology, produce high-quality prints.
Canon has many inks and ink technologies, and Canon Finetech Nisca also develops its own original inks and technologies for various industries and applications, including dye inks with clear and vivid colors as well as pigment inks that faithfully reproduce text and colors.
The text and image quality required vary according to the industry and the application. For example, some images require high color reproducibility, others require high print density, and still others require accurate barcode reading.
In addition to image quality, there are other requirements such as water-resistance and long-lasting colors. Canon Finetech Nisca refers to such features collectively as “image fastness” and devotes much effort toward their further development by focusing not only on ink but also on the printing media, considering various factors such as resistance to water, abrasion, light, ozone, and air.
Our inks can be used for a long period of time and can be discharged in a stable manner. In addition, they do not damage equipment and they do not exert harmful effects on people, animals, or the planet. Our three core technologies are ink technology, print-head technology, and print-media technology.
Our ID card printer uses our proprietary re-transfer technology to achieve high-definition printing with a 600-dpi print head. The re-transfer method creates a mirror image slightly larger than the size of the card when transferred to a film. This is called the “primary transfer process.” Next, the re-transfer film is heated with a device called a heat roller. Then, the primary mirror image on the re-transfer film is transferred like a coating on the card. This is called the “secondary transfer process.” By using a slightly larger re-transfer film, the printer is able to produce borderless over the edge printing.
Canon Finetech Nisca’s ID card printer uses a thermal print head with a resolution of 600 dpi to realize high-definition printing. This resolution produces clearer and more beautiful text and images compared with a conventional 300-dpi ID card printer.
In addition, a thin-film heat-storage layer is used in the print head to enable high-speed printing. It has a prompt heat response suited to the high-speed printing of pigmented ink ribbons. However, the amount of heat stored is low, making it unsuitable for dye ink ribbon printing.
Therefore, we devoted much effort to realizing simultaneous use of dyes and pigments in a single head and concluded that dividing the head energization controls into heat concentration control and heat dispersion control, as shown in the figure, optimizes the print head temperature control for each ink ribbon. In this way, Canon Finetech Nisca has succeeded in realizing 600-dpi thin-film thermal print heads capable of producing high image quality at high speeds.
Canon Finetech Nisca’s proprietary Real-time Extension Control (RTEC) takes into account the influence of the elongation of the primary transfer film in order to realize high-definition printing.
In high-speed printing, it is necessary to fix the ink on the film more quickly by increasing the temperature. RTEC detects slight elongation of the film by calculating the print density and makes corrections to the image processing in order to prevent color dislocation in the image.
Transport technology suited to various types of print media enables high-definition printing.
The transport technology used in Canon Finetech Nisca Printers realizes stable printing by using roller transport technology, in which the rollers pinch the print media between them, as well as belt transport technology, in which the print media are transported by a conveyor belt, depending on the printing method and print media.
For the transport of paper media such as labels and cards, air-suction transport technology has been implemented in conjunction with belt transport technology, realizing high-quality printing without color dislocation, unevenness, and blurred images. The transport of hard print media such as IC cards and magnetic cards is achieved using roller transport technology with a straight media path. Roller transport technology with a more complex path can be used to handle soft print media such as PVC tubes.
Our media transport technology is able to determine the best combination of materials, shapes, and roller positioning, according to the characteristics of each type of print media, thereby realizing stable printing available without blurred images.
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