How It Works: The PCR -- Recharger
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How It Works: The PCR
By Lester Cornelius Apr 01, 2000 As printer makers pushed their machines to achieve faster print speeds, a number of drawbacks in the old printing process technology became more problematic. At the center of many of these problems was the method of charging the organophotoconductor (OPC). Most of the primary charging rollers (PCR) appearing in the Canon printer cartridges since the Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 4000 have been foam, and for good reason. The foam PCRs represent a significant design improvement over both the previous hard rubber PCR (see Fig. 1) and the corona wire configuration. The softer foam PCRs create less wear on the OPC, do not make noise and charge the OPC more efficiently. Printer cartridge remanufacturers need to understand how the PCR works and why it is such a critical component in the more recently introduced longer running, faster printers.
Charging the OPC
An OPC must be charged in order to develop the latent image, which is an invisible image of varying electrical voltages on the surface of the photoconductor (see Fig. 2). Then, as in all laser printers, a laser beam discharges sections of the OPC to a much lower voltage than the original surface charge. The areas where the voltage is lower form the latent image and attract toner that is then transferred to printed page. The areas where the OPC remains fully charged repel toner, keeping the corresponding sections of the printed page white.
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a conductive rubber layer and a thinner. also known as a corona wire.. a tungsten or tungsten alloy wire placed close to the OPC is used to initially charge the OPC.Recharger
http://rechargermag.com/Articles/2000/04/01/How-It-Works-The-PCR.How It Works: The PCR -. 3). which then allows electrons to move to the surface of the OPC (see Fig. The high voltage also produced a considerable amount of ozone. which is a pollutant and an irritant. it blocks the charging process at that point and lowers the voltage on the surface of the OPC. The electrons create an overall negative charge on the OPC. Like a discharged area.09..
This charging system had its drawbacks. The tungsten wire requires a costly power supply to handle the high voltage.
In older laser printer models. which is an electrical insulator. This high voltage causes the surrounding air. If a small amount of airborne toner lands on the corona wire. These charging devices are composed of a metal shaft.000 volts is applied to the wire.a. 4). A high voltage of more than 5. less conductive outer coating (see Fig. the low voltage attracts toner to the OPC. and the printing process continues with the laser beam discharging areas of the OPC to form the latent image.
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25. which results in unwanted print defects.2013 00:36
. The next generation of charging devices employed hard rubber PCRs. to break down and become ionized.
PCRs can sufficiently charge the surface of the OPC with much lower applied voltages (in Canon/HP printers. Charging takes place in both nips (see Fig. The AC voltage must be about twice (peak to peak) the DC voltage. DC voltage alone will create a very uneven distribution on the OPC surface. the less voltage it takes to cause the air to transport electrons to the OPC. not where it makes physical contact with the OPC surface. Because of this.
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25. As the AC voltage cycles. Canon discovered that applying an AC voltage with the DC voltage will create very uniform charging. but in a very small area referred to as the nip. which begin charging the OPC at about -700 applied voltage. the OPCs are charged by the PCR to a voltage of about -650 volts). The frequency of the AC voltage is the number of cycles per second that the AC voltage completes. very little ozone is produced. 5)..a. Typical voltages applied in these machines are about -700 volts DC and about 1600 volts AC (peak to peak). In order to create more uniform charging.How It Works: The PCR -. PCRs in IBM machines use much higher DC voltages to charge the OPC than Canon engine PCRs. The greater the distance between the charging device and the OPC. The nip area is the small pie-shaped wedge formed where the round PCR presses against the round OPC (see Fig. The pulsing AC voltage facilitates uniform charging on its peaks. 6).Recharger
However. but it does this. The PCR does cause air to break down and allow electrons to move to the surface of the OPC to charge it.2013 00:36
. The smaller the space.09. To achieve overall charging uniformity. Charging takes place in this narrow air gap. PCRs do not charge the OPC where the two components make physical contact. which is only between five and 20 microns wide.com/Articles/2000/04/01/How-It-Works-The-PCR. these bands must overlap. as is the case with the corona wire structure. the pulsing charge on the OPC creates a charge banding surface. unless a fairly high voltage is used. the higher the voltage necessary to transport electrons. the frequency of the AC voltage must be increased. This means there is a noncharging space between the leading edge nip and the trailing edge nip.
which can be amplified by the metal OPC tube. Higher frequency does not come without its own problems. cleaner. the greater the likelihood of squealing or humming. As the AC frequency increases. The foam PCRs have the added benefit of being virtually bump free. however.Recharger
http://rechargermag. less than 50 microns are not significant. Canon has several patents for the foam PCRs.
Charging becomes more uniform as the AC frequency increases because the charging bands overlap and occur more often. New OEM cartridges commonly sport PCRs with bumps less than 50 microns. This makes charging easier and it widens the charging bands. Hard rubber PCRs usually develop small bumps in the manufacturing process. it can create a physical resonance. The soft foam also does not create squealing or hum from the AC voltage. If you take a close look at the hard rubber PCRs in the NX. or high pitched sound emanating from the OPC. The four points of improvement for foam PCRs over hard rubber PCRs are: more uniform charging due to the nip shape. A thorough explanation of the design can be found in
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25.com/Articles/2000/04/01/How-It-Works-The-PCR. The soft foam PCR presses against the OPC to create longer.How It Works: The PCR -. These bumps can cause small areas of non-uniform charging. This means that higher AC frequencies can result in an annoying hum..a.09. or vibration. less wear on the OPC due to the softer materials. Bumps greater than 50 microns are significant.2013 00:36
. As the speed of the printers increases. no squealing or hum due to the resonance from the AC voltage. This means that the faster the printer.. This allowed Canon to use higher AC frequencies in the faster printers to keep the charging uniform without creating noise. narrower nip shapes than with the hard PCR. you will see small bumps on the surface. in the PCR. the AC frequency must also increase to keep the charging bands overlapping and uniform. The foam PCRs also do not contribute as much to OPC wear as the older hard rubber designs. Canon addressed the issue and increased PCR charging efficiency in faster printers by developing the foam PCR. Aftermarket OPC manufacturers dealt with this phenomenon by inserting a sound-dampening rubber plug in their OPCs. bump-free surface for more uniform charging. The electric properties of the foam PCRs do not degrade as the hard rubber designs tend to do.
. it will not charge the OPC (see Fig 8). These solvents can cause the PCR to adhere to the OPC if they remain in stationary contact over an extended period of time. causing the power supply to exceed its output and therefore lower its output voltage. This patent describes how the foam PCR is made even softer by creating holes in the foam parallel to the metal shaft.007 issued Feb. If the OPC surface does not charge.How It Works: The PCR -. require an outer layer for two reasons.Recharger
http://rechargermag. and the PCR will not cause electrons to move to the surface of the OPC. This effect can be seen when there is a pinhole defect in the outer layer of the OPC. Plasticizers are slowly evaporating solvents that keep the rubber soft. 1995. It also restricts current flow laterally across the PCR surface. The outer layer must block any plasticizers. All power supplies have maximum outputs. 14. The smaller the cell size. The outer layer must also prevent localized electrical shorting. 7).
Canon patent #5.. This can result in an increase in background levels. whether hard rubber or foam. Exceeding the maximum output will cause the voltage to drop. This phenomenon is called black-line shorting.2013 00:36
. The usual culprit for a pinhole in the OPC coating is wear.
The Outer Coating on PCRs
All PCRs. Canon claims that cell size below 50 microns is optimal. This can become quite noticeable and objectionable to the end user. If a film of electrically insulating debris forms on the PCR. the more uniform the charging.390.com/Articles/2000/04/01/How-It-Works-The-PCR. The foam cell size is important. toner particles will be attracted to it and a print defect will occur.09. it will attract some toner and paper dust. Larger cell sizes probably create areas of charging that do not overlap.
When voltage is applied to the PCR. Background is unwanted toner transferring to the white areas of the print.
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25. and this is the most important feature of this layer (see Fig. it shorts to the metal ground of the OPC. When a PCR rolls over a pinhole. The outer layer reduces current flow directly from the metal shaft to the surface of the OPC.a.
Soap and water are poor cleaners for PCRs as they do not remove many toner additives and OPC powders. The intended purpose of these products. The mild abrasive cuts through stubborn films and the soap removes the debris. where clean air laws are quite strict. This quickly evaporating solvent has low toxicity. the outer layer must be replaced or built-up for reuse. Pinhole defects trap toner and other debris. They are electrically insulating greases and counterproductive for use in remanufactured cartridges. but they must be cleaned. commonly available from electrical supply stores. As the outer layer of the foam PCR wears thin. a noncharging area will develop on the PCR. The function of the cartridge can be so seriously diminished that remanufacturers believed their OPC wiper blades were failing or that their PCRs were defective. PCR offset defects are easy to spot because they typically vary in dimension. This defect will express itself in repeating black dots on the printed page (see Figure 9). but is flammable. The Canon patents prevent the aftermarket from duplicating the foam PCRs although several soft rubber PCRs have been manufactured as a substitute.
A Word About Conductive Grease
It is a fairly common practice for remanufacturers to grease the conductive plastic clip that holds the PCR in the cartridge. As printers run faster and longer. but repeat at the PCR circumference. Care must be taken that the grease is only applied to the clip and the metal shaft of the PCR. If the pinhole traps toner.Recharger
http://rechargermag. In order to prevent this from occurring.How It Works: The PCR -. I am not aware of any soft rubber PCRs that are equal in all respects to the Canon foam PCRs.
Pinhole Defects on the PCR
As on the OPC. is to improve heat dissipation for electronic components that give off a lot of heat.09. The toner in the PCR pinhole is redeposited on the OPC with each succeeding revolution of the PCR. pinhole defects on the PCR affect the printing process. If it is nonconductive debris. Grease on the PCR surface will cause print defects unless you clean it off completely. When applying electrically conductive grease to the PCR clip. the best PCR cleaning solution is still a mildly abrasive nontoxic soap cleaner. soapy cleaner is one of the best solutions to clean PCRs. it could express itself as an offset defect. if one is used.. Some of the OPC powders available to remanufacturers have a greater affinity to create this problem. One of the best for plastics is Exxon's Isopar C. This is done to improve electrical contact between the PCR metal shaft and the clip. The only grease that should be used. remanufacturers generally use as little as possible. Many solvents have a tendency to attack rubber and most plastics.com/Articles/2000/04/01/How-It-Works-The-PCR. In states like California. the possibility for reusing the foam PCR without remanufacturing it diminishes.
Canon claims. Remanufacturing the original foam PCR is a sound alternative.
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. Thermally conductive greases have been mistakenly used in the past. Care should be taken in selecting a cleaning solvent. is electrically conductive grease. it is more susceptible to forming pinhole defects sometime in the next cycle of reuse.. while reducing friction and wear on the clip. that OPC powder lubricants like Kynar should not be used in cartridges with PCRs due to the tendency for these powders to create an insulating film on the PCR.
Cleaning and Remanufacturing the Foam PCR
Foam PCRs can be reused if the outer layer is not damaged. such as paper dust. in several patents. A mildly abrasive.a.
How It Works: The PCR -.
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25. Adapting your remanufacturing process to take advantage of the foam PCR's design characteristics will undoubtedly yield good results. 718-729-4970. Remanufacturers will do well to remember these as they develop their production processes. Cornelius is also the chairman of the STMC and the Int’l ITC. fax 718-729-5291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. at 800-682-7371.a.2013 00:36
.. For further information.
Using This Information
The foam PCR design is a technogically sound design to solve a number of problems. president of Optical Technologies Corp.com. and an expert in coating formulation.com/Articles/2000/04/01/How-It-Works-The-PCR.. There are some very compelling reasons Canon chose not to use hard PCRs in newer print engines.
About the Author Lester Cornelius is the technical director of Remanufacturing Technologies Corp. contact Lester Cornelius.. it is also a good candidate for remanufacturing.Recharger
Copyright 1105 Media Inc. His coatings have been used by OEMs and remanufacturers alike to extend their products’ lives and performance.