Our typical set of electronics would include a set of boards, which control all functions of the printer. All boards are connected with each other via industrial CAN bus. This architecture makes it a fairly flexible system. If necessary, the system can be easily extended or changed by adding extra boards with specific functionality (e.g. controlling vacuum or servo-motors), or by removing them.
In addition to the set of boards, the system includes 2 personal computers – one as a RIP station and the system's GUI, and another as a control PC. The RIP station is a PC with pre-installed RIP software engine and control software for printer operation and adjustment of printer's parameters. The control PC is usually mounted on the inside of the printer. It is responsible for receiving data from the RIP station, data post-processing and transmission to printheads. Data for printing are transmitted from the Control PC via Ethernet protocol to carriage board, which is located on printhead block near the printheads. The received data are divided there and transmitted to each printhead. Printhead driver boards are used to control printheads; they convert the data from carriage board to the format compatible with the specific printhead model. Thus, to convert the printer to use a different model of printhead it is enough to change several small printhead drivers. The set of other boards remains the same.
Due to modular architecture of the control system, the increase of the data line capacity with PCI-express technology does not change general architecture of the system based on PCI. We use PCI based control set to control a limited number of printheads (e.g. up to 12 Konica Minolta 1024), if larger quantity of printheads (24, 30 or more) must be operated - we use PCI-express board.