Vision and Recovery for Nozzle FailuresThe implications for inkjet technology to be modified to print colour images on a wide range of new surfaces has quickly been recognised. This is particularly apparent for wide format designs. Using specialist inks, short run designs
can be inkjet printed onto everything from floor coverings, to walls, to textiles, to ceramics.Speed and reliability are two important factors that can be developed to improve production printer results. Nozzle blocking can be a serious problem when using exotic inks and media. Imperfect
prints mean wasted time, materials and energy. This problem has been particularly seen in the textile industry where attempts to inkjet print textile with specialist inks have proven problematic.Research at Leeds addresses these problems with emphasis being on the development of a vision
and control system that enables detection and rectification of faults. Using two CCD arrays at either side of each colour print head and an appropriately tuned illumination source, live images can be processed to detect blocked nozzles. Results can be reported to a control system for online
rectification. Colour line scan technology is still expensive in comparison to the technology used in desktop scanners. Work is being undertaken to create hybrid-scanning devices that use low cost linear arrays that potentially allow each head to have its own independent detection system.