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1. WO2007008612 - PRINTER WITH MULTI-PASS MEDIA TRANSPORT

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters
CLAIMS:
1. A thermal printer comprising:
a receiver medium path shaped to guide a receiver medium for movement in a forward direction from an urge roller to a print line, the print line being between a printhead and a platen with said platen being adapted to controllably position the receiver medium during printing by the printhead and with said receiver medium path further shaped to guide the receiver medium to return to the urge roller after printing;
a stop surface positioned to block reverse movement of the receiver medium;
a motor operable to cause the urge roller to urge movement of the receiver medium through the receiver medium path in the forward direction; and a processor operable to cause the urge roller to move the receiver medium through the receiver medium path in the forward direction until a trailing edge of the receiver medium is moved to a point in the receiver medium path where reverse movement of the receiver medium causes the receiver medium to locate against the stop surface, said processor then enabling the receiver medium to travel in the reverse direction to engage the stop surface wherein the receiver medium path guides the receiver medium along a path of known length from the stop surface to the print line;
said processor further being operable to start printing after the receiver medium is positioned against the stop surface so that the print line is located at a known distance from a trailing edge of the receiver medium when printing is started.

2. The thermal printer of claim 1, wherein said medium supply path guides the receiver medium so that the urge roller moves the receiver medium in a forward direction against gravity and wherein the processor enables the receiver medium to travel in the reverse direction by ceasing the urging of the urge roller.

3. The thermal printer of claim 1, wherein said medium supply path guides the receiver medium along a path that causes the platen to position the receiver medium by moving the receiver medium past the printhead in a direction against gravity and where the receiver medium is returned to a position proximate to the urge roller by allowing gravity to cause the movement in the reverse direction after printing.

4. The thermal printer of claim 3, wherein the medium supply path is further shaped to allow gravity to return the receiver medium to the stop after printing.

5. The thermal printer of claim 3, wherein the motor and the urge roller are operable to return the receiver medium to the stop after the receiver medium has been returned to the urge roller.

6. The thermal printer of claim 1, further comprising a diverter positioned in the receiver medium path between the platen and the urge roller for selectively guiding a receiver medium after printing to one of an exit of the receiver medium path and the urge roller and an actuator for selectively positioning the deflection surface in response to signals from the processor.

7. The thermal printer of claim 1, wherein the length of the path of known length from the stop surface to the print line is generally equal to a length of the receiver material.

8. The thermal printer of claim 1 , wherein said urge roller is operable in a reverse direction and wherein said processor is adapted to enable the receiver medium to travel in the reverse direction by urging movement of the urge roller in the reverse direction.

9. The thermal printer of claim 1 , wherein the platen and the receiver medium path are arranged so that by positioning the receiver medium during printing, said platen advances the receiver medium to return to the urge roller.

10. The thermal printer medium of claim 1 , wherein the receiver medium path has a length from the stop surface to the print line that is generally less than the length the receiver material.

11. The thermal printer of claim 1, wherein the stop surface is movable so that the length of the known length can be adjusted.

12. The thermal printer of claim 9, wherein the stop surface is positioned between the platen and the urge roller in the forward direction.

13. The thermal printer of claim 1 , wherein the urge roller and the receiver medium path apply forces to the receiver medium to conform the receiver medium to the path of known length.

14. The thermal printer medium of claim 1 , wherein said motor is also linked to said platen to cause the paten to move for controllably positioning the receiver medium.

15. The thermal printer of claim 1 , wherein the receiver medium path further comprises a space gate separated from the urge roller to apply a force resisting movement of the receiver medium by the urge roller thereby inducing a tension in the receiver medium that conforms the receiver medium so that it is positioned along the path of known length when positioned against the stop surface.

16. A thermal printer comprising:
a stationary receiver medium path having walls shaped to guide a receiver medium for movement in a forward direction from an urge nip through a print line to stage a receiver medium for use in printing said receiver medium path further shaped to guide the receiver medium as it is moved from the print line to return the urge roller during printing to a point where the receiver medium is positioned to be guided so that it can be staged for a second printing operation;
a stop surface blocking movement of the receiver medium when the receiver medium is moved in a reverse direction through the receiver medium path without interfering with forward movement of the receiver medium through the receiver medium path;
a printing nip at the print line, the printing nip comprising a movable platen to engage the receiver medium and to move the receiver medium past an opposing printhead, the printhead having an array of printing elements arranged across the receiver medium when the receiver medium is positioned at the print line for transferring donor material from a web of donor material to the receiver medium as the platen moves the receiver medium past the print line with the stop surface, receiver medium path, and print line arranged so that the receiver medium path guides the receiver medium along a path of known length from the stop surface to the print line to position the receiver medium with the trailing edge of the receiver medium at generally the same distance from the print line at the start of printing of both the first printing and second printing operation using the receiver medium;
an urge roller at the urge nip to urge the receiver medium for movement at least between the urge nip and the printing nip; and
a processor operable in a staging mode to advance the receiver medium through the receiver medium path in the forward direction until a trailing edge of the receiver medium is moved to the position where reverse movement of the receiver medium brings the trailing edge of the receiver medium into contact with the stop surface, with the processor then causing the urge roller to urge the receiver medium in the reverse direction until the stop surface blocks reverse movement of the receiver medium, positioning the receiver medium so that a starting point of the receiver medium is positioned at the print line;
said processor then being operable in a printing mode wherein the processor causes the printing elements to transfer donor material from the web of donor material to the receiver medium while causing the platen to move the receiver medium past the print line, and along the receiver medium path so that the receiver medium is returned to the urge nip;
said processor further being adapted to operate in the staging mode at least one additional time to stage the receiver medium so that a second printing operation can begin with the starting point positioned at the print line.

17. The thermal printer of claim 16, further comprising a diverter positioned between the printing nip and the urge nip for selectively guiding said receiver medium into one of an exit of the receiver medium, and to the urge nip and an actuator for selectively positioning the deflection surface during a final printing process the processor can cause the diverter to direct the receiver medium to an exit path.

18. The thermal printer of claim 16, wherein the receiver medium path further comprises a medium supply entrance slot adapted to engage a medium supply and a rotatable pick roller adapted to engage receiver medium in the medium supply and urge the receiver medium through the medium supply entrance slot to the urge roller to load receiver medium during printing, and wherein said processor is further operable in a loading mode to cause the pick roller to urge receiver medium from the medium supply.

19. The thermal printer of claim 18, wherein the receiver medium path is shaped to guide the receiver medium in the forward direction to return from print line to the urge roller, wherein distance in the forward direction from the printing nip to the urge nip is greater than a length of the receiver medium and wherein said pick roller can be positioned to engage the receiver medium in the receiver medium path to advance the receiver medium to the urge roller when the receiver medium does not contact the platen or the urge roller.

20. A method for operating a printer having a receiver medium path for guiding the receiver medium past a print line of a printhead the method comprising the steps of:
loading the receiver medium into a receiver medium path;
advancing the receiver medium in the forward direction toward a printhead;
reversing movement of the receiver medium until the receiver medium positions a trailing edge of the receiver medium against a stop surface at a staged position wherein the receiver medium travels along a path of a known length from the trailing edge of the receiver medium to the print line;
printing a first image beginning at the area at which the print line confronts the receiver medium when the receiver medium is at the staged position;
returning the receiver medium to the staged position; and
printing a second image on the receiver medium beginning with the receiver medium in the stage position.

21. The method of claim 20, further comprising the step of diverting the receiver medium to an exit of the printer after the steps of advancing, urging and printing have been performed at least two times.

22. The method of claim 20, wherein said steps of advancing and reversing comprise the steps of advancing the receiver medium to an area in the receiver medium path wherein reverse movement of the receiver medium causes a trailing edge of the receiver medium to be moved against the stop surface and wherein the step of reversing comprises reversing the receiver medium until the trailing edge of the receiver medium contacts the stop surface.