Keywords non-impact printers, electrothermal printers
Start Date: 01-MAR-89 / Duration: 24 months
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The development of a dot printing technology, considering the very high quality obtainable on all kinds of paper and the relatively low cost of the printing mechanism, could constitute a good solution for producing hard copy from typewriters and high-quality printers attached to personal computers. Dot printing systems could have widespread use in workstations, word processors, high and low end typewriters and printers.
ETR is a dot-type printing system without impact (and therefore silent), able to print in both alphanumeric and graphic mode at very high resolution, and with excellent quality on every kind of paper. It is a thermal printing technology, using solid ink deposited on a ribbon, softened by heat and then transferred to the paper. It can be considered as a development of conventional thermal systems.
As a first step, in order to fully exploit the potential of this technology, the project addressed every key element both from the theoretical and practical point of view. This enabled the consortium to reach the most up to date level in the present technology and to increase its know-how for further improvements. New ideas included the development of a completely different system for the deposition of the metallic layer, used as a return current path in the ribbon. The use of a base layer with a completely different structure was also investigated.
At the same time a different printhead was developed to take into account the requirements for higher printing speed, such as resistance to wear and thermal dissipation. The last step was to be the development of a prototype using a ribbon without the presently used metallic layer.
The project also planned to investigate other new ideas and to implement known technological processes (such as direct current magnetron sputtering of thin metallic layers on polymeric substrates) not yet used in thermal ribbon production.
Although the technical results were achieved on time, the project, originally planned to last 36 months, was terminated after 24. The emergence on the marketplace of black-and-white and colour printers based on cheaper technologies (mainly laser and ink bubble jet) led the consortium to withdraw from the electro-thermal printer market and cease their R&D activities in this field.
Dr R. Bosio
Strada Volpiano 53
I - 10040 LEINI (TO)
tel: + 39/ 11-9981421
fax:: + 39/ 11-9980726
telex: 212477 OLCART I
BALTEA SPA - I - C
AEG OLYMPIA AG - D - P
MANCHESTER POLYTECHNIC - UK - P
ING. C. OLIVETTI & C. SPA - I - P
ETR - 2125, December 1993
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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook