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Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING LINERLESS LABEL TAPE WITHIN A PRINTING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2002/053390
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus for printing on a continuous web of linerless tape (20) defined by a print side for subsequent application to an article (14). The apparatus includes a support, a rotatably driven platen roller (24), a print head (60), and a stripping apparatus (28). The support is configured to maintain a continuous web of linerless tape. The rotatably driven platen roller is located downstream of the support. The print head is associated with the platen roller. More particularly, the platen roller directs the continuous web of linerless tape past the print head for printing on the print side thereof. Finally, the stripping apparatus is positioned adjacent the platen roller and downstream of the print head for directing the web of linerless material from the platen roller. In this regard, the stripping apparatus includes a first roller (80) and a second roller (82). The first roller is positioned to receive and contact the print side of the linerless tape. Conversely, the second roller is positioned to receive and contact the adhesive side of the linerless tape. The first and second rollers form a nip for engaging the linerless tape and operate in tandem to strip the linerless tape from the platen roller during use thereof. In one preferred embodiment, the second roller is configured to minimize adhesion with the adhesive side of the tape, and is rotated at a speed greater than that of the platen roller so as to impart a tension on the web of linerless tape. In another preferred embodiment, a hot ribbon wire cutter is provided to sever a label segment from a remainder of the web.

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Inventors:
Wood, Thomas L. (Post Office Box 33427 Saint Paul, MN, 55133-3427, US)
Vasilakes, Lloyd S. (Post Office Box 33427 Saint Paul, MN, 55133-3427, US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2001/015895
Publication Date:
July 11, 2002
Filing Date:
May 15, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY (3M Center Post Office Box 33427 Saint Paul, MN, 55133-3427, US)
International Classes:
B26F3/12; B41J3/407; B41J11/70; B41J13/22; B41J15/04; B41J15/16; B41J35/06; (IPC1-7): B41J15/04; B26F3/12; B41J3/407; B41J11/70; B41J13/22; B41J15/16; B41J35/06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Buss, Melissa E. (Office of Intellectual Property Counsel Post Office Box 33427 Saint Paul, MN, 55133-3427, US)
Hilleringmann, Jochen (Bahnhofsvorplatz 1 Cologne, 50667, DE)
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Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. An apparatus for printing on a continuous web of linerless tape for subsequent application to an article, the continuous web of linerless tape defined by a print side and an adhesive side, the apparatus comprising: a support for a continuous web of linerless tape; a rotatably driven platen roller located downstream of the support; a print head associated with the platen roller, wherein the platen roller directs the continuous web of linerless tape past the print head for printing on the print side thereof ; and a stripping apparatus positioned adjacent the platen roller and downstream of the print head for directing the web of linerless tape from the platen roller, the stripping apparatus comprising: a first roller positioned to contact the print side of the linerless tape, a second roller positioned to contact the adhesive side of the linerless tape, wherein the first and second rollers form a nip for engaging the linerless tape and operate to strip the linerless tape from the platen roller.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first and second rollers are rotated at a surface speed greater than that of the platen roller to impart a tension on the web of linerless tape.
3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein a rotational surface speed of the first and second rollers is at least 101% of that of the platen roller.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the adhesive side carries an adhesive, and further wherein the second roller defines a contact surface for engaging the linerless tape, the contact surface being configured to minimize adhesion with the adhesive side.
5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein a plurality of spaced grooves are formed in the contact surface for minimizing a surface area of the contact surface.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein each of the plurality of grooves has a longitudinal width in the range of 0.320.64 cm.
7. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the contact surface is defined by a plurality of spaced rings.
8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the rings are 0rings mounted over a central shaft.
9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the 0rings are slidably mounted over the shaft such that the 0rings will slip relative to the shaft at elevated tensions.
10. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein each of the plurality of rings are spaced by a distance in the range of 0.320.64 cm.
11. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the contact surface is coated with a release material.
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the stripping apparatus is configured to process linerless tape having a thickness less than 90 microns.
13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first roller is positioned relative to the platen roller to define a wrap angle of the web of linerless tape along the platen roller of at least 60° from the print head.
14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the first roller is positioned to define a wrap angle of 90°.
15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the second roller is positioned relative to the first roller to define a wrap angle of the linerless tape along the first roller of at least 60°.
16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the second roller is configured to be selectively retractable relative to the first roller for positioning the web of linerless tape between the first and second rollers.
17. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a guard associated with the second roller downstream of the nip for stripping the web of linerless tape from the second roller.
18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the second roller forms a plurality of spaced grooves, and further wherein the guard includes a plurality of fingers each sized to extend within a respective one of the grooves.
19. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the print head is a thermal transfer print head and the apparatus further comprises a ribbon, passed between the print head and the web of linerless tape for printing on the print side thereof, and a ribbon guide for guiding the ribbon downstream of the print head, the ribbon guide being positioned relative to the platen roller to define a wrap angle of the ribbon along the platen roller of at least 30° from the print head.
20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the ribbon guide is positioned to define a wrap angle of the ribbon along the platen roller of 60°.
21. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the print head is an ink jet print head.
22. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the platen roller is opposite the print head for supporting the linerless tape during a printing operation.
23. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the adhesive side carries an adhesive.
24. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a cutting device positioned downstream of the stripping apparatus for severing a segment of linerless tape from a remainder of the web of linerless tape, the cutting device including a heated cutting element.
25. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the heated cutting element is positioned such that during a cutting operation, the heated cutting element initially contacts the print side of the web of linerless tape.
26. The apparatus of claim 25, further comprising: a tension device downstream of the heated cutting element for maintaining a tension in the web of linerless tape during a cutting operation.
27. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the heated cutting element is a ribbon wire having a height: width ratio greater than 20: 1.
28. The apparatus of claim 27, wherein the height: width ratio is greater than 25: 1.
29. The apparatus of claim 27, wherein the ribbon wire has a width of approximately 0.08 mm.
30. The apparatus of claim 27, wherein the ribbon wire has a height in the range of approximately 0.252.54 mm.
31. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the heated cutting element is a ribbon wire, and the cutting device is characterized by an absence of a support backing for the ribbon wire.
32. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the heated cutting element is configured to sever a web of linerless tape carrying an adhesive and having a thickness of less than about 90 microns.
33. A cutting device for use with a label printing device to sever a label segment from a web of linerless tape for subsequent application to an article, the web of linerless tape being defined by a print side and an adhesive side, the cutting device comprising: a heated cutting element; and a supply device for directing the web of linerless tape to the heated cutting element; wherein the heated cutting element is positioned relative to the supply device such that the heated cutting element initially contacts the print side during a cutting operation.
34. The cutting device of claim 33, wherein the heated cutting element is a ribbon wire having a height: width ratio greater than 20: 1.
35. The cutting device of claim 34, wherein the height: width ratio of the ribbon wire is greater than 25: 1.
36. The cutting device of claim 34, wherein the ribbon wire has a width of approximately 0.08 mm.
37. The cutting device of claim 34, wherein the ribbon wire has a height in the range of approximately 0.252.54 cm.
38. The cutting device of claim 37, wherein the ribbon wire has a height of approximately 2 mm.
39. The cutting device of claim 33, wherein the heated cutting element is configured to sever a web of linerless tape having a thickness of less than about 90 microns.
40. The cutting device of claim 33, wherein the heated cutting element is configured to reach a temperature in the range of 260°371° C upon application of 24 volts.
41. The cutting device of claim 33, wherein the heated ribbon wire is configured to reach a temperature of 260°371° C upon application of a voltage for less than approximately three seconds.
42. The cutting device of claim 33, wherein the heated cutting element is a ribbon wire supported only at opposing ends thereof.
43. The cutting device of claim 33, wherein the supply device includes a pair of nip rollers directing the web of wireless tape from a platen roller to the heated cutting element.
44. The cutting device of claim 33, further comprising: a print head positioned upstream of the heated cutting element.
45. A method of printing indicia on a continuous web of linerless tape with a printing device including a print head associated with a rotatably driven platen roller for. subsequent application to an article, the web of linerless tape defined by a print side and an adhesive side, the method comprising: providing a stripping apparatus including first and second rollers forming a nip therebetween, the stripping apparatus position adjacent the platen roller downstream of the print head; providing a continuous web of linerless tape; extending the web of linerless tape along a tape path from the platen roller to the stripping apparatus such that the platen roller contacts the adhesive side, the first roller contacts the print side, and the second roller contacts the adhesive side; rotating the platen roller to drive the web of linerless tape past the print head; rotating the first and second rollers to pull a portion of the web of linerless tape from the platen roller; and printing indicia on the print side with the print head; wherein the first and second rollers operate to direct the web of linerless tape from the platen roller.
46. The method of claim 45, wherein providing a continuous web of linerless tape includes providing a web of linerless tape having a thickness of less than about 90 microns.
47. The method of claim 45, wherein providing a web of linerless tape includes providing a web of linerless tape carrying an adhesive on the adhesive side.
48. The method of claim 45, wherein the first and second rollers are rotated at a speed greater than that of the platen roller to create a tension in the web.
49. The method of claim 45, wherein extending the web of linerless tape along a tape path includes establishing a wrap angle of greater than 60° along the platen roller.
50. The method of claim 49, wherein the wrap angle along the platen roller is approximately 90°.
51. The method of claim 45, wherein extending the web of linerless tape along a tape path includes establishing a wrap angle of greater than 60° along the first roller.
52. The method of claim 51, wherein the wrap angle along the first roller is approximately 90°.
53. The method of claim 45, further comprising: preventing the web from wrapping around the second roller.
54. The method of claim 45, wherein the printing device is a thermal transfer printer and further includes a continuous ribbon disposed between the print head and the print side of the web of linerless tape, the method further comprising: establishing a wrap angle for the ribbon about the platen roller of at least 30'downstream of the print head.
55. The method of claim 54, wherein the wrap angle of the ribbon about the platen roller is approximately 60°.
56. The method of claim 45, further comprising: severing a label segment from the web of linerless tape with a heated cutting element after pulling a portion of the web of linerless media from platen roller.
57. The method of claim 56, further comprising: heating the heated cutting element to a temperature in the range of 260° 371° C prior to severing a label segment.
58. A method of severing a label of segment from a web of linerless tape within a printing device for subsequent application to an article, the web of linerless tape being defined by a print side and an adhesive side, the method comprising : providing a cutting device including a heated cutting element; directing the web of linerless tape to the heated cutting element such that the print side is proximate the heated cutting element; and contacting the web of linerless tape with the heated cutting element to sever a label segment from a remainder of the web.
59. The method of claim 58, further comprising: heating the heated cutting element to a temperature in the range of 260° 371° C prior to contacting the web of linerless tape.
60. The method of claim 59, wherein heating the heated cutting element to a temperature of 260°371° C includes applying a voltage across the cutting element for approximately three seconds.
61. The method of claim 58, wherein providing a heated cutting element includes providing a heated ribbon wire having a height: width ratio greater than 20: 1.
62. The method of claim 61, wherein the height: width ratio of the ribbon wire is greater than 25: 1.
63. The method of claim 58, further including: providing a web of linerless tape having a thickness of less than 90 microns.
64. The method of claim 63, wherein providing a web of linerless tape includes providing a web of linerless tape having a polypropylene backing.
65. A tape path for a continuous web of linerless tape within a printing device for subsequent application to an article, the printing device including a print head associated with a platen roller and a stripping apparatus positioned adjacent the platen roller downstream of the print head, the tape path comprising: a wrap angle along the platen roller downstream of the print head of at least 60°.
66. The tape path of claim 65, wherein the wrap angle is 90°.
67. The tape path of claim 65, wherein the stripping apparatus includes first and second rollers forming a nip therebetween, the tape path further comprising: extension of the web from the platen roller to the nip.
68. The tape path of claim 67, wherein the tape path further comprises: a wrap angle along the first roller from the platen roller to the nip of at least 60°.
69. The tape path of claim 68, wherein the wrap angle along the first roller is approximately 90°.
70. The tape path of claim 68, wherein the tape path further comprises the print side in contact with the first roller.



 
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