Title of Invention


Abstract A printer has or obtains information from one or more of its components, the information being related to the performance of the relevant component. The performance level of the entire device is set at least partially based on the information.
Full Text The present invention relates to controlling devices having replaceable components, and is particularly relevant to printing machines and photocopiers,
With many products the price to the consumer is linked to its perfonnance. For example a printer having a low resolution or print speed generally costs less to buv than a printer having a high resolution. This is usually because the cost lo the manufacturer of providing the belter performance is greater than the cost of providing the lower performance. For example, a high resolution Inkjet printer may have more nozzles in the prmthead or more accurate control compared to a low resolution device; a high resolution laser printer ma\- use toner having finer particles than a low resolution device. Current Inkjet printers (most photocopiers are electro-photographic, and do not scan) utilize at least one de\ice which scans or reciprocates across the width or length of the paper being printed or copied. This reciprocating motion generally places limits on the speed of printing or copying.
The current applicants have developed page width printheads which allow inkjel printing of a page to occur by moving a page past a fixed prinlhead. This removes one printing speed limitation and can increase the base level of performance. The speed of printing is then limited by factors such as speed of paper feed, the speed of the printer"s electronics and the speed of the printhead \tself.
PCT/AU03/tlO 169
PCT/AU03/0()153 PCT/AU03/tH)170 PCT/AU03/00171 PCT/AU03/00147 PCT/AU03/00165 PCT;AU03/00156
PCT/AU03/00152 PCT/AU03/00163 PCT/AU03/0OI49 PCT/AU03/00166 PCT/AU03/00160 PCT/A>Jfl3/00155
Various methods, systems and apparatus relating to the present invention are
disclosed in the following co-pending appUcations flied by the applicant or assignee of the
present invention simultaneously with the present application:
PCT/ALI03/00154 PCT/AU03/00151 PCT/AU()3/00150
The disclosures of these co-pending applications are incorporated herein by cross-reference. RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS AND PATENTS
US6.227.652 US6,213,588 US6,213,589 US6.231,163
US6.247,795 US6,394,581 US6,244,691 US6.257.704
US6,416,168 US6,220,694 US6,257.7fl5 US6.247.794
USfi,234,610 US6,247,793 US6.2fi4,306 US6,241.342



US6,3 90,603
U £6,378,989

US 6.209,98 9
US09 425,420

PCT/AUOl/01323 PCT/AUOO/00594 PCT/AUOO/00595 PCT/AUOO/00596
PCT/AUOO/00597 PCT/AUDO/00598 P CT/AU 00/00 741 PCT/AUOO/00742
!n accordance with the invention, there is provided a device including a control unit and at least one component, the control unit adapted to control the overall performance of the device selectively using
first data incorporated in the control unit, or second data incorporated in the component, or both.
In one form of the present invention, the device has or obtains information from one or more of the components of Ihe device relating to the performance of the respective component and sets the performance level of the entire device at least partially based on that information.
Preferably, the first and or the second data includes data indicative of at least one performance characteristic of the component to which {he\ relate.
In a further preferred form, at least one of the first and second data includes secondary data and the control unit sets the overall performance of the device at least partially on the basis of the secondary data.
In one embodiment, the secondary data is indicative of the maximum performance allowed in relation to the device or the component.
In various embodiments, the data can be obtained by reading it from memory associated with the relevant component, or by testing the component.
It is particularly preferred that the de\ ice be a printer.
Figure 1 schematically shows a cross section though an inkjet type printer, showing some of the mechanical components;
Figure 2 schematically shows the electronics connection of the various components of the printer of figure 1;
Figure I shows a perspective view of a second embodinaent of the invention;
Figure 4 shows a perspective view of a third embodiment of the invention;
Figure 5 shows a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the invention;
Figure 6 shows a cut away perspective view of Che figure 5 embodiment;
Figure 7 shows a perspective view of a fifth embodiment of the invention;
Referring to Figures 1 and 2 there are shown Ihe major components of a typical inkjet printer 100. Tvpicallyan Inkjet printer 100 has a power supply 102, a data input bus 104, an image processor 106, a

print engine controller 108, a paper feed mechanism 110, a prinihead 112 and ink cartridge 114. The power supply 102 may be internal or external of the primer 100 and the printhead 112 and ink cartridge 114 may be separate units or combined in a single unit.
The performance of an inkjet printer is limited by a number of factors, including:
1) [mage processor speed;
2} Data input bus 5peed:
3) Print engine controller speed;
4) Power supply;
5) Paper feed mechanism speed;
6) Prinihead speed.
The pvinihead firing speed in turn ss limited by.
1) Power consumption;
2) Heat dissipation;
3] Ink nozzle refill time;
4) Heat capacity of ink used.
The ink nozzle refill time is in turn limited by:
1) Ink viscosity;
2) Surface tension;
3) Passage/nozzle dimensions.
Assume for the purpose of explaining the invention thai all of the electrical and mechanical components of the printer are capable of printing at 20 pages per minute but that the ink used limits the speed to 4 pages per minute. In the prior art. the prmter would be hard wired to always run at 4 pages per minute even if the manufacturer subsequently improved the ink.
In preferred embodiments of the present invention, each ink cartridge 114 includes a Quality Assurance (QA) chip 116, This QA chip 116 includes read only memory (torn) or erasable and programmable read only memory (eprom) which encodes data regarding the cartridge and the ink(s) contained therein. The printer 100 includes a controller unit 118 which manages the operation of the components of the printer. The QA chip 116 of the ink cartridge !14 may communicate with the printer"s controller 118 via contacts in the printer"s cartridge holder.
The printer"s controller unit 118 obtains data from the ink cartridge QA chip 116 regarding the cartridge and its inks and utilizes this to set the print speed of the printer. The data stored in the QA chip 116 may be as simple as data representing "maximum speed 4 p,p,m, " or it may be data representing physical characterislics of the cartridge or ink or both. Where a cartridge is used for different models and printers, each printer may also have a look up table of printer model and maximum speed encoded in rom or eprom. This may be in separate memory or incorporated in the controller unit 118 of each printer.
Different inks or ink cartridges may provide different "speed ratings". An "everyday" ink may only have a speed rating of 4 p,p,m, whilst the manufacturer may have developed a "high performance" ink

which has a higher speed rating. Accordingly, when a "everyday" mk cartridge is used, the prmter has a maximum speed of 4 p.p.m. but when a "high performance" ink cartridge is used, the printer has a 8 p.p.m. ma.\imum speed.
Accordingly, those consumers who wish lo print at higher speeds can easily "upgrade" their prmter merely by using a higher performance rated cartridge, at additional cost, whilst those content with the "standard" speed need not spend extra on the higher performance ink cartridge. Further, if the manufacturer subsequendy develops a 12 p.p.m. ink cartridge, the printer (with that cartridge) can be used at that speed.
As shown in Figure 2 the other components also have their own Q.\ chip 103 which communicates with the master controller t IS and which provide information to the controller 1IS as to the performance of the respective components. As with the ink cartridge this data may be provided in different forms. If any component is not replaceable it is not essential that it contain or include its own Q.A chip for the purposes of the invention. Instead the data relating lo the various non replaceable components may be stored in the QA chip itself or associated memory.
If other components limit the overall speed, (hey too may be replaced to allow an increase m speed. For e.xampie, the image processor of a low end model may be slower than that of a high end model of the same family. By providing the image processor in a user replaceable package, the speed of the printer may be easily increased (assuming performance is not limited by other components). Tlie replaceable components may have their own QA device which communicates with the controller or other techniques may be used to determine the "speed rating". In components such as the print engine controller unit and image processor unit, the QA device may be incorporated into the main integrated circuit of the unit or may be provided by way of a separate chip.
The printer may be provided with a number of upgradeable components to provide additional performance. Taking the ink cartridge examples above, the use of a high performance ink cartridge in a low end printer may result in a printing speed of 8 p,p,m,, but the speed may be limited by the image processor rather than the ink. In these circumstances, upgrading the image processor may allow the printer to print at 12 p.p.m. using the high performance ink.
In an alternate form of the invention one of the components which may be replaced is the controller unit itself or that part of the controller unit which includes performance related data. As mentioned above, a manufacturer may make a family of printers which share common components. .Market forces allow or require that low performance models be available at low cost and high performance models be available at higher cost. Low end printers at the bonom of the range may cease to satisfy the customer as the customer"s requirements change over time. With current practice, if a customer requires improved performance it is necessary to purchase a new printer. This is an additional cost as well as resulting in a redundant printer, which will probably be thrown away or left unused. By providing a printer with components which can all suppon high speed printing, the overall performance may be controlled using the controller unit itself to limit print speed or other characteristics, such as resolution. By replacing the control unit itself the maximum performance of the printer may easily be changed. Alternatively the

controller unit may be fixed m the printer but removable memory modules which store performance related data may be used.
By replacing the controller unii or memory module with a new unit or module, the end user may improve the performance of the original prin[er. This also allows economies tor the manufacturer; a single printer design and a single set of components may support a family of printers, with the only hardware differences being the controller unit, in the programming of the controller unit or memory module installed. By providing a controller unit with eprom in which the data relating to performance is stored, further savings may be made, A family of printers may share all components with only programming of the cooltol module or provision of memory modules and labeling differentiatmg models.
This allows "bare" printers to be shipped to subsidiaries/distributors in different geographic regions with the subsidiary or distributor programming the eprom of each printer to the necessary performance level. By use of unique ID codes embedded in each controller unit and suitable encryption, unauthorized "upgrading" of the printers (by the distributor or end user) would be prevented.
Figure 3 schematically shows a printer 200 made according to this form of the invention. The printer 200 includes a casing 202 with a socket 204 for receiving a "speed-stick" 206, which includes a controller unit 20S. The speed-stick 206 has terminals 210 which engage corresponding terminals (not shown) in the socket. The design of the terminals is not critical. The controller unit 208 communicates with any QA chips present in the components of the printer in a similar manner to that shown in Figure 2 and controls the overall performance of the printer. Preferably the speed stick includes a label 216 which provides information as to the perfonnance provided. The speedstick includes data which sets the maximum performance achievable. This data may be incorporated m the control unit 208 or in separate memory in the speed stick, A "level 1" speedstick may provide a basic print speed of 4 p.p.m whilst a level 2 speedstick may provide a basic print speed of 6 p.p.m. Preferably the printer will not operate without a speedstick inserted in the socket. If desired the control unit 208 may be incorporated in the printer 200 rather than the speedstick. If the control unit 208 is incorporated in the printer the speedstick may merely include data setting maximum performance levels, together with a QA chip to ensure only authentic speeds ticks will operate the printer.
The replaceable speed-stick may be used with other replaceable components to obtain different performance. For example, a level 1 ink cartridge in a printer with a level I speed stick may provide a print speed of 4 p.p.m. whilst the same ink cartridge in a printer with a level 2 speed stick may provide a print speed of 6 p,p-m. A level 2 ink cartridge may provide print speeds of 8 and 12 p,p.m with level 1 and 2 speedsticks respectively,
[n a similar way to how software manufacturers provide demonstration or "lite" versions of software for no or minimal cost, a low performance printer may be provided by the manufacturer at no or minimal net profit. The printer is capable of a much higher performance but is artificially limited by the master or conffolling QA chip or a replaceable module, such as a speedstick, commensurate with its cost lo the end user. In the same wav that "lite" versions of software may be "unlocked" or converted to the "full"

versiovi, the peifomiance of the piinier may be increased by entering a manufacturer/distributor supplied code or password.
The QA chip of the printer or of the module will normally have a unique identification code and this ID code may be used to create one or more passwords for unlocking greater performance. Since the passwords are generated at least partially on the ID code, the password only works with the specific printer or control module which incorporates the ID jode.
This system enables the user to mcrementally upgrade the performance of the prmter by obtaining and paying for appropriate passwords.
Upgrading of performance maybe achieved via the Intemet or via telephone.
The QA chip includes a unique ID and a random number generator, from which a random number is generated. Tliis random number is used to create an upgrade request code which is transmitted to a manufacturer controlled computer system. The computer system receives the upgrade request code and generates an upgrade code based on the upgrade request code and a secret encoding algorithm. This ei^codmg algorithm is also embedded in the QA chips of each primer or module. After paymenl has been made the upgrade code is transmitted back to the user or printer. The code is effectively specific to the QA chip which originally sent the upgrade request code as it may only be decoded using the random number originally generated by the QA chip and used to generate the upgrade request code. The random number may be stored in the QA chip indefinitely until an upgrade code is received or may be stored for a preset lime and then erased. If the random number is stored indefinitely, e\ery request for an upgrade will result m generation of a new random number so that deciphering of the underlying enerypiional with algorithm is more difficult.
Preferably the manufacturer maintains a database such that failure to install.an upgrade code can be remedied by merely requesting the upgrade code again.
Where the computer is connected or connectable to the Intemet these transactions may occur automatically after initiation by the user and provision of credit/charge card details or similar. Preferably the printer driver application includes an option to upgrade the printer to one or more different print speeds 01 lo upgrade other chaiacterisncs.
Figure 4 shows a printer 250 provided with six sockets 252 for six speed-sticks 254. Any number of speedsticks may be used and, preferably, these may be inserted in any of the sockets. This allows the printer to be progressively upgraded by adding additional speed sticks at any time. In this embodiment the speed rating of speed-sticks is added together, so two single speed-sticks will provide twice base speed whilst a 2x and a lOx speed slick together will provide 12x base speed. In the preferred form the printer will not operate without a speedstick. Alternatively the printer may operate at the base speed without a speedsiick with a single 1 x speedstick providing twice the base speed.
Figures 5 and 6 sho".%" a paper cartridge 300 for a portable prinlei device, for example a camera with an integrated printer. A camera with printer is disclosed in PCT No PCTAU09/00544/US patent serial no. 09/113,060 (docket No .ARTOIUS), the contents of which is incorporated herein. The cartridge 500

may contain paper 302 only or it may also contain other supplies, such as ink. The cartridge 300 includes a strip of paper 302 rolled around a central hollow core 304. The paper is cut to length by the printer as it is used.
The printing speed of portable printers is generally limited by the peak power consumption, which must be supplied by batteries, rather than the average power consumption. Peak power consumption usually occurs during printing and higher printing speeds result in higher peak power consumption. Thus print speed is generally limited by the peak power output of the available batteries.
The cartridge 300 includes two batteries 312 in its central core 304. The batteries 312 connect to the printer"s battery or batteries via contacts 316 at the end of the cartridge and corresponding terminals (not shown) in the printer. The batteries 312 are connected in parallel to the printer"s internal power supply and 50 provide an increase in peak power output, as well as an increased total capacity. This allows the printer to run at a higher print speed than othenvise
Detection of a paper cartridge with internal batteries may be achieved by providing the paper cartridge with a QA chip (not shown) or by merely detecting the power source. For example, on insertion of the cartridge 300 into the printer, a self test routine may be run in which an electrical load is, briefly, placed on the cartridge"s batteries 312. By measuring the voltage across the batteries with and without the load, the peak capacity of the batteries may be determined or estimated. Other methods of determining the peak capacity of the batteries may be used. Obviously, a paper cartridge with no batteries or with discharged batteries will be detected by there being a zero voltage across the printer"s terminals. Testing of the batteries 312 may occur periodically after the cartridge is installed, for lnstancejust before printing, to ascertain if the peak output capacity of the batteries has changed.
The paper cartridge may be a "throw-away" product or a reusable product. If a throw away product, the batteries may be specially made for the cartridge and sealed in place. If the cartridge is reusable as in the embodiment of Figures 5 and 6, a cover 318 may be provided for replacement of the baneries, with the batteries themselves being standard sizes, such as AA size.
Use of standard batteries with a user or factory accessible cover allows a single paper cartridge to be provided with different speed ratings. A cartridge with no batteries provides a base speed. A cartridge with "normal" zinc carbon batteries provides a boost in print speed whilst use of alkaline or other high capacity baneries allows ever faster print speeds.
Figure 7 schematically shows a photocopier 340 according to a further embodiment of the invention. The photocopier is preferably a digital photocopier with a pagewidth printhead. Photocopier maintenance is typically charged on a per copy basis. Additionally, higher speeds can, but not necessarily, lead to higher maintenance costs and higher initial capital costs, A customer may not wish to expend the hiaher capital cost of a higher speed copier. The copier of Figure 7 is manufactured so as to be capable of hish speed reproduction, for instance 40 copies per minute (cpm), but may be supplied at a cost less than a normal 40 cpm photocopier. The copier has two print buttons 342 and 344. The first button 342 is "normal" speed print button whilst the second 344 is a "high" speed print button. In the embodiment these buttons

may equate to speeds of 20 cpm, and 40 cpm. Other forms of speed control may be used including, but not limited to, a rotary dial, a slider, a touch pad and a menu type control, A single copy button 343, shown in dotted outline may be provided with the buttons 342 and 344, or other controls, merely selecting copy speed,
In prior art photocopiers, the copier is provided with a counter, which records copy units, on which basis the maintenance charge is calculated. T\-pical[y copying one side of an A4 page or smaller incurs one copy unit charge whilst copying one side of an A3 page incurs two copy unit charges. In the photocopier 340 of the present invention, in normal speed mode, the copier also incurs these base charges when used via base canter 346. The copier 340 is also provided with a second counter 348, which is only incremented when in a higher speed mode. The rate at which the second counter 348 increments is arbitrary, since ultimately the cost to the user is the counter \alue multiplied by a charge per unit price. The second counter 348 preferably increments at the same rate as the first counter 346, i.e. one unit per A4 copy and two per .•\3 copy, so that in high speed mode an .A4 copy incurs one base unit and one high speed unit. This makes It easier for the customer to see how many "high speed" copies have been made. The per unit copy charge for the second couniei need not have any relationship to the per unit copy charge for the tnsi counter.
The photocopier may be provided with more than two speeds, with higher speeds incurring ever greater overall cost. Whilst separate counters may be used for each speed, there is no reason why a single counter may not be used which is incremented by different amounts depending on the copy speed. Similarly two counters may be provided, one recording base copy charge units and the second recording charge units for higher speed copies. The second counter will increment at different amounts per copy at different copy speeds. The counter{s) may be mechanical or electronic. Additionally the counter may be capable of recording fractions of units. Thus a norma! speed copy may incur a charge of one unit, a twice normal speed copy may incur a charge of 1,2 units whilst a quadruple normal speed copy may incur a charge of 1,3 units. It will be appreciated that the exact nanire of the counter(s) are not critical to the invention, so long as the charge units per copy are different at different speeds.
Where the photocopier is a color photocopier the copy units may also be based on whether a color or black and white copy was made. Again a separate counter may be provided or a single counter incremented by different amounts depending on the nature of the copy.
Whilst the invention has been described with particular reference to printers and photocopiers devices, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to printers and photocopiers and has apphcation to any devices. Range of applications
The presently disclosed technology is suited to a wide range of printing systems. Major example applications include: :, Color and monochrome office printers
2, SOHO printers
3. Home PC printers

4. Network coni^ected color and monochrome printers
5. Departmental printers
6. Photographic printers
7. Printers incorporated into cameras
8. Printers in jG mobile phones
9. Portable and notebook printers
10. Wide format printers
11. Color and monochrome copiers
12. Color and monochrome facsimile machines
13. Multi-function printers combining print, fax, scan, and copy functions
14. Digital commercial printers
15. Short run digital printers
16. Packaging printers
17. Tesiile printers
IS. Short run digital printers
19. Offset press supplemental printers
20. Low cost scanning printers
21. High speed page width printers
22 Notebook computers with inbuilt page width printers
23. Portable color and monochrome printers
24. Label printers
25. Ticket printers
26. Point-of-sale receipt printers
27. Large formal CAD printers
28. Photofinishing printers
29. Video printers 30- PhotoCD printers

31. Wallpaper printers
32. Laminate printers
33. hidoor sign printers
34. Billboard printers
35. Videogame printers
36. Photo "kiosk" printers
37. Business card printers
38. Greeting card printers
39. Book printers
40. Newspaper printers

41, Magazine printers
42, Forms printers
43, Digiul photo album pTinters
44, Medical printers
45, Automotive printers
46, Pressure sensitive label printers
47, Color proofini; primers
4S, Fault tolerant commercial printer arrays
It will be apparent to those skilled in the an that many obvious moditlcations and variations may be made to the embodiments described herein w ithoiit departing from the spirit or scope of the invention..

1. A printing device comprising a control unit and at least one component, the control
unit adapted to control the overall performance of the device selectively usmg first data incorporated in the control unit, or second data incorporated in the component, or both,
2. The printing device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first data comprises data
indicative of at least one performance characteristic of another component.
3, The printing device as claimed in claim L wherein the second data comprises data indicative of at least one performance characteristic of another component.
4, The printing device as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of the first or second data comprises secondary data and the control unit sets the overall performance of the device at least partially on the basis of the secondary- data.
5, The printing device as claimed in claim 4, wherein the secondary data is indicatn e of the maximum performance allowed in relation to the device or the component

6. The printing device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the control unit obtains said second data by interrogating the other component,
7. The printing device as claimed in claim 6 wherein the at least one other component has data stored in memory of the component and the control unit interrogates the at least one other component by reading said data stored in said memory.
8. The printing device as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of the control unit and the component is user replaceable,
9, The device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the device is a printer.

10, The device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said component is selected from the group comprising: a power supply memory; a dam input bus; an image processor, a print engine controller, a printhead an ink cartridge, a toner cartridge, a paper feed mechanism and and combinarion of at least two of the foregoing.
11, The device as claimed in claim 5 wherein the secondary data is unchangeable.
12, The device as claimed in claim 5 wherein the secondary data is changeable,
13, The device as claimed in claim 6 wherein the secondary data is stored in at least one removable component.
14, The device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the component has an ink cartridge and said second data is indicative of at least one of ink viscosity, ink surface tension, maximum flow rate of ink from the cartridge, heat capacity of the ink and passageway dimensions.
15, The device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the component has a Inkjet printhead and the second data is indicative of at least one of power consumption, maximum heal dissipation, allowable operating temperatures, ink nozzle refill time(s), dimensions of ink supply passageways, ink nozzle dimensions and actuator characteristics.
16, The device as claimed in claim 12 comprising a control panel for reprogramming the secondary data.
17, The device as claimed in claim 1 wherem the component is a first and the second data obtained from the first component relates to at least one performance characteristic of a second component.
18, The device as claimed in claim 9, wherein one of the components is an ink jet printhead comprising a plurality" or nozzles formed by microelectromechanical means.

19, The device as claimed in claim 18, wherein the Inkjet printhead is a pageuidlh printhead,
20, The device as claimed in claim 19, wherein the Inkjet printhead is a full color printhead.
21, A device comprising a controller and at least one a4justable or replaceable module,
wherein the module or modules has information accessible by the controller, the controller
being configured to set the performance level of the entire device based on the information.


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Patent Number 202818
Indian Patent Application Number 1723/CHENP/2004
PG Journal Number 05/2007
Publication Date 02-Feb-2007
Grant Date 30-Oct-2006
Date of Filing 04-Aug-2004
Applicant Address 393 Darling Street, Balmain, New South Wales 2041
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 SILVERBROOK, KIA Silverbrook Research Pty Ltd, 393 Darling Street, Balmain, New South Wales 2041
PCT International Classification Number B41J 2/175
PCT International Application Number PCT/AU2003/000156
PCT International Filing date 2003-02-12
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 PS 0482 2002-02-13 Australia