Patent Number: 6,168,256

Title: Self-cleaning ink jet printer with oscillating septum and method of assembling the printer

Abstract: Self-cleaning printer with reverse fluid flow and method of assembling the printer. The printer comprises a print head defining a plurality of ink channels therein, each ink channel terminating in an ink ejection orifice. The print head also has a surface thereon surrounding all the orifices. Contaminant may reside on the surface and also may completely or partially obstruct the orifice. Therefore, a cleaning assembly is disposed relative to the surface and/or orifice for directing a flow of fluid along the surface and/or across the orifice to clean the contaminant from the surface and/or orifice. The cleaning assembly includes an oscillatable septum disposed opposite the surface or orifice for defining a gap therebetween. Presence of the oscillatable septum accelerates the flow of fluid through the gap to induce a hydrodynamic shearing force in the fluid. This shearing force acts against the contaminant to clean the contaminant from the surface and/or orifice. A pump in fluid communication with the gap is also provided for pumping the fluid through the gap. As the surface and/or orifice is cleaned, the contaminant is entrained in the fluid. A filter is provided to separate the contaminant from the fluid.

Inventors: Sharma; Ravi (Fairport, NY), Quenin; John A. (Rochester, NY), Delametter; Christopher N. (Rochester, NY), Meichle; Michael E. (Rochester, NY), Bier; Klaus-Dieter (Nellmersbach, DE), Stevens; Walter S. (Fairport, NY)

Assignee: Eastman Kodak Company

International Classification: B41J 2/165 (20060101); B41J 002/165 ()

Expiration Date: 01/02/2018