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Image forming apparatus

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Title: Image forming apparatus.
Abstract: Disclosed is an image forming apparatus incorporating a discharging unit that discharges a printing medium outside the housing of the image forming apparatus, and which stacks the discharged printing medium. The discharging unit includes a discharging part arranged on the transportation path of the printing medium in the housing, a stacking lever rotatably supported on the housing and a driving unit that drives the stacking lever to rotate. The discharging part discharges a printing medium outside the housing, and stacks the discharged printing medium on a stacking unit provided outside the housing. The stacking lever guides the stacking of the printing medium in the stacking unit. A control unit may be provided to control the driving unit so as to vary the revolution position of the stacking lever based on the discharged position of the printing medium discharged by the discharging part. ...


USPTO Applicaton #: #20110042890 - Class: 271314 (USPTO) - 02/24/11 - Class 271 
Sheet Feeding Or Delivering > Delivering >Rotary Conveyor

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20110042890, Image forming apparatus.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from Korean Patent Application No. 10-2009-0078410, filed on Aug. 24, 2009 in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates generally to an image forming apparatus, and more particularly, to an image forming apparatus employing a printing medium discharging unit capable of stably discharging and stacking printing media.

BACKGROUND OF RELATED ART

An image forming apparatus such as, for example, a printer, an electronic copier, a facsimile, a multifunction device and the like forms an image on a printing medium by one or more of various types of image forming processes, including, for example, an electrophotographic, an ink jet, a heat transfer, or the like. An image forming apparatus typically includes a discharging unit for discharging a printing medium on which an image has been formed.

In general, a discharging unit of an image forming apparatus may include among others a discharging roller provided on the discharging path of the printing medium, a stacker onto which the printing media are stacked and a stacking lever that guide the stacking of a printing medium discharged onto the stacker by the discharging roller. The stacking lever is typically rotatably disposed to a main body of the image forming apparatus, and reciprocally rotates by the force of a printing medium being discharged and by its own weight, allowing the stacking of the print media without requiring a separate driving force to downwardly press the printing medium.

In the discharging unit of the conventional image forming apparatus configured as described above, since the speed at which the movable end of the discharging lever descends by its own weight is slow, the stacked order of a printing medium may become out of the correct sequence in the case of a high speed discharging of printing media. That is, a sheet that is later in sequence may actually be stacked under the preceding sheet of printing medium. Further, the printing medium that is stacked out of order may prevent the printing medium that should have properly preceded it from being properly stacked so that the preceding printing medium may become turned over or may deviate from the stacker. Such improperly stacked printing medium may then prevent subsequent sheets of printing media from being discharged normally, and may even cause a jam.

SUMMARY

OF DISCLOSURE

Accordingly to an aspect of the present disclosure, there may be provide an image forming apparatus that may include a housing, an image forming unit and a discharging unit. The image forming unit may be disposed in the housing, and may be configured to form an image on a printing medium. The discharging unit may be configured to discharge the printing medium outside the housing, and may be configured to stack the discharged printing medium. The discharging unit may comprise a discharging part disposed on the transportation path of the printing medium in the housing for discharging the printing medium outside the housing, a stacking unit on which printing media discharged outside the housing are stacked, a stacking lever which may be rotatably disposed in the housing, and which may be configured to guide stacking of the printing medium in the stacking unit, a driving unit configured to rotate the stacking lever and a control unit configured to control the driving unit so as to vary the revolution position of the stacking lever based on the discharged position of the printing medium being discharged by the discharging part.

The image forming apparatus may further comprise a discharging sensor disposed on the transportation path of the printing medium. The discharging sensor may be configured to sense the discharging position of the printing medium. The control unit may be configured to control the driving unit based on a sensing result of the discharging sensor.

The control unit may control the driving unit so that an end portion of the stacking lever maintains an ascending state when the leading end portion of the printing medium enters the stacking unit, and so that the end portion of the stacking lever descends when the trailing end portion of the printing medium enters the stacking unit.

The discharging part may comprise a discharging roller disposed on a first rotation shaft rotatably arranged on the printing medium transportation path and an idle roller formed on a second rotation shaft rotatably arranged on the printing medium transportation path, the second rotation shaft extending parallel to the first rotation shaft.

The stacking lever may comprise a revolution shaft disposed in the housing and a lever member rotatable about the revolution shaft, the lever member comprising an operating unit ascending and descending by the driving unit and a pressing unit configured to come into a pressing contact with the printing medium.

The pressing unit of the lever member may be formed to have at least one of a rectilinear shape, a rounded shape having a rounded end, a step shape and a bent shape bent toward the stacking unit as it extends away from the revolution shaft toward end of the pressing unit.

The stacking lever may comprise a second revolution shaft arranged in the housing, a second lever member rotatably disposed on the second revolution shaft and a link member. The second lever member may comprise a second operating unit interlocked with the operating unit of the lever member to ascend and descend therewith and a second pressing unit configured to come into a pressing contact with the printing medium in a pressing direction opposite to a direction in which the pressing unit of the lever member presses the printing medium. The link member may connect the operating unit of the lever member and the second operating unit of the second lever member.

The stacking lever may comprise a second revolution shaft arranged in the housing, a second lever member rotatably disposed on the second revolution shaft and a weight coupled to the second lever member. The second lever member may comprise a second pressing unit that may be configured to come into a pressing contact with the printing medium in a pressing direction opposite to a direction in which the pressing unit of the lever member presses the printing medium. The weight may bias the second pressing unit toward the pressing unit of the lever member by its own weight.

The driving unit may comprise a solenoid having an operating rod that ascends and descends by an electromagnetic force. The operating rod may be connected to an end portion of the stacking lever.

The driving unit may comprise a driving source configured to supply a rotation force, a cam member driven by the driving source to rotate and an elastic member elastically biasing the end of the stacking lever toward the cam member. The cam member may be configured to regulate the ascending height of an end of the stacking lever based on the rotational position of the cam member.

The stacking lever may comprise a revolution shaft arranged in the housing and a plurality of lever members disposed to the revolution shaft. The plurality of lever members may be arranged to be spaced apart from one another by a predetermined interval, and may respectively comprise an operating unit ascending and descending by the driving unit and a pressing unit pressing on the printing medium. The control unit may control the driving unit so that an end part of a lever member positioned in the central part of the printing medium in its widthwise direction among the plurality of lever members further descends in comparison to an end part of another lever member positioned at an edge part of the printing medium in the widthwise direction.

The driving unit may comprise a driving source configured to supply a rotational force, a plurality of cam members which are rotated by the rotational force supplied by the driving source and a plurality of elastic members. The plurality of cam members may be configured to regulate the ascending height of the operating unit of each of the plurality of lever members based on the rotation position of the plurality of cam members. The plurality of elastic members may elastically bias the operating unit of each of the plurality of lever members toward the cam members.

The driving unit may comprise a solenoid with an operating rod that ascends and descends by an electromagnetic force, an ascending/descending member which is interlocked with ascending and descending of the operating rod to thereby ascend and descend and a plurality of elastic members provided between the ascending/descending member and the operating unit of each of the plurality of lever members to elastically bias the operating unit of each of the plurality of lever members.

According to another aspect of the present disclosure, an image forming apparatus may be provided to include a housing, an image forming unit disposed in the housing for forming an image on a printing medium and a discharging unit configured to discharge the printing medium outside the housing. The discharging unit may stack discharged printing media, and may include an operating plate rotatably supported in the housing, a driving unit disposed in the housing for driving the operating plate to rotate, a discharging part supported on the operating plate for discharging the printing medium outside the housing, a stacking unit in which the printing medium discharged outside the housing by the discharging part is stacked, a stacking lever supported on the operating plate for guiding the stacking of the printing medium in the stacking unit based on the rotational position variation of the operating plate and a control unit which may control the driving unit so as to vary the revolution position of the stacking lever based on the discharged position of the printing medium being discharged by the discharging part.

The image forming apparatus may further comprise a discharging sensor disposed on the transportation path of the printing medium. The discharging sensor may be configured to sense the discharged position of the printing medium. The control unit may be configured to control the driving unit based on a sensing result of the discharging sensor.

The control unit may control the driving unit so that an end portion of the stacking lever maintains an ascending state when the leading end portion of the printing medium enters the stacking unit, and so that the end portion of the stacking lever descends when the trailing end portion of the printing medium enters the stacking unit.

The discharging part may comprise a discharging roller formed on a first rotation shaft supported on the operating plate and an idle roller formed on a second rotation shaft supported on the operating plate. The second rotation shaft may extend parallel to the first rotation shaft.

The operating plate may be configured to revolve about the first rotation shaft or about the second rotation shaft.

The driving unit may comprise a solenoid with an operating rod that ascends and descends by an electromagnetic force, and that is connected to a side of the operating plate.

The driving unit may comprise a driving source configured to supply a rotational force, a cam member that is driven to rotate by the rotational force supplied by the driving source and an elastic member. The cam member may be configured to regulate the revolution position of an end of the operating plate based on the rotation position of the cam member. The elastic member may be configured to elastically bias the end of the operating plate toward the cam member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various features and advantages of the present disclosure will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of several embodiments thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional view illustrating an image forming apparatus according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a partial sectional perspective view illustrating a discharging unit according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIGS. 3 and 4 schematically illustrate operation states of the discharging unit of FIG. 2;

FIGS. 5 and 6 schematically illustrate the operation of the lever member of the discharging unit of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 schematically illustrates a discharging unit according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 8 is a schematic perspective view illustrating a discharging unit according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 9 schematically illustrates the operational state of the discharging unit of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 schematically illustrates a discharging unit according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 11 is a schematic perspective view illustrating a discharging unit according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 12 schematically illustrates the bent shape of printing media by a pressing unit of a lever member of the discharging unit of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a schematic perspective view illustrating a discharging unit according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 14 is a schematic perspective view illustrating a discharging unit according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 15 schematically illustrates operational state of the discharging unit of FIG. 14; and

FIG. 16 schematically illustrates a discharging unit according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF SEVERAL EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to several embodiments, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout, repetitive descriptions of which may be omitted for brevity sake. It should be also noted that in the drawings, the dimensions of the features are not intended to be to true scale and may be exaggerated for the sake of allowing greater understanding.

FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional view illustrating an image forming apparatus according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

Referring to FIG. 1, an image forming apparatus according to an embodiment may include a housing 1, an image forming unit 10 disposed inside the housing 1 for forming an image on printing media M and a discharging unit 100 for discharging the printing medium M outside the housing 1.

The image forming apparatus may further include a printing medium supplying unit 30 mounted to the housing 1 for supplying the printing medium M. The printing medium supplying unit 30 may be detachably provided to an inner portion and/or to an outer portion of the housing 1, and may supply the printing medium M to the image forming unit 10. The printing medium M supplied through the printing medium supplying unit 30 is transported toward the image forming unit 10 through a transportation path 41.

According to an embodiment, the supplying unit 30 may include a first supplying unit 31 used for an automatic supplying of the printing medium M and a second supplying unit 35 used for a manual supplying. The first supplying unit 31 may be provided inside the housing 1, and may supply the printing medium M by the rotation of a first pickup roller 33. The second supplying unit 35 may be disposed outside the housing 1, and may supply the printing medium M to the transportation path 41 by the rotation of a second pickup roller 37.

The transportation path 41 may be provided inside the housing 1. The printing medium M supplied from the printing medium supplying unit 30 may be transported along the transportation path 41. To that end, the transportation path 41 may include a plurality of transporting rollers 43 and 45. According to an embodiment, in the transportation path 41, the path through which the printing media are supplied from the first and second supplying units 31 and 35 diverges into two paths while the remaining path for the forming of image and for discharging the printing media is provided as a single path. The image forming apparatus may further include a plurality of sensors S1 and S2 for sensing the transportation position of a printing medium being transported on the transportation path 41.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20110042890 A1
Publish Date
02/24/2011
Document #
12787913
File Date
05/26/2010
USPTO Class
271314
Other USPTO Classes
271220
International Class
/
Drawings
17



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