Air Flow Simulation Technology

ABOUT AIR FLOW

Air flow, as the name suggests, means how the air should flow. The hot air that is generated inside a printer while printing should be efficiently exhausted to maintain the desired temperature inside the machine. Brother investigated the existing air flow and thoroughly refined each component. As a result of this research, Brother successfully invented a high-performance model while at the same time achieving a more compact body.

ADVANTAGE

During the printing process, a certain amount of heat is generated inside a printer. Therefore, the printer is equipped with cooling fans in order to create the air flow to control the temperature inside the machine. By optimizing the air flow, Brother aimed to make a compact yet eco-friendly printer.

Excess heat can be exhausted while automatic duplex printing

Most of the Brother printers boast the automatic duplex printing function, which is one of the typical eco-friendly features to save printing paper. The air flow simulation technology also greatly contributes in achieving this function. In the automatic duplex printing process, the heated paper stays inside the product for a given time. By optimizing the air flow to release the excess heat quickly, Brother aimed to increase the durability of the peripheral parts and the lifespan of each part.

Reduction in the number of cooling fans reduced power consumption

Through intensive investigation of the air flow inside a product, the air flow was able to be effectively controlled and the number of cooling fans was reduced. This improvement resulted in a reduction of power consumption. An even more eco-friendly product came into being.

THE ENGINEERS' STORY

Our aim is to produce a high-performance yet compact printer. To develop the ideal model, it is essential to configure the “air flow.” This is the course of heated air inside a printer, in which numerous precision parts are compactly arranged. Let us share with you this story of one enthusiastic engineer who courageously took an unconventional approach.

  • A trailblazer, who designs invisible routes and strives for a better air flow to develop state-of-the-art printers.

    Development Planning Dept.
    Norio Uchida

  • To achieve conflicting ideals at the same time

    To add a new function to the printer, the number of parts must increase, but desirably, the machine itself should remain compact. By increasing the printing speed to make it as fast as possible, the temperature inside the product increases. However, the temperature should remain constant. How could we achieve both conflicting ideals? We tackled this challenge from the perspective of the “air flow,” the route by which the heated air should flow.
    Inside Brother printers numerous precise parts are installed, which range from tiny to large. Every single part is precisely arranged, down to the millimeter. By effectively controlling the air flow between the narrow space, the hot air generated inside the machine can be efficiently exhausted. If the heated air is transferred to the outside smoothly, the entire body of printer becomes more durable and its energy-saving performance is further enhanced. However, the route of air flow is invisible. A completely fresh, unprecedented approach was required.

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  • Using digitization instead of skilled engineers’ techniques. The innovative technology opens up new possibilities.

    In the past, when inspecting an air flow, engineers had to measure each part’s temperature while actually operating a prototype in the final stage of development. In those cases, fairly accurate figures were obtained since the near-complete product was tested. However, it took long time to obtain the overall results. In addition, engineers were required to adjust each part’s position and improve the entire layout using their advanced design skills. This stage of development was only entrusted to highly experienced professionals. This time, we decided to introduce state-of-the-art simulation technology to drastically change this process. This technology enabled us to predict how heated air flows even at the component design stage. It also increased the measuring efficiency remarkably. Even less-experienced engineers were able to take an active part in this simulation and worked in much closer cooperation with each part design team. This reliable simulation technology accelerated the improvement of air flow.

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  • The air flow simulation technology is useful for the automatic duplex printing feature

    The air flow has a great influence on each printer feature. The automatic duplex printing feature that most of the Brother products possess is one example. This is one of our typical eco-friendly features to save printing paper. The excellence of this function is thanks to the air flow simulation technology.
    During the printing process, heat is generated inside the printer. In duplex printing, after one side of the paper is printed, the heated paper is sent back into the printer. At that moment, the temperature at the surface of the paper reaches up to approximately 60°C. The problem is how to dissipate this heat. Running air flow simulations and making predictions repeatedly, we strived to find out the best flow of heated air to achieve the right temperature while reducing power consumption.

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  • Even further exploration of the ideal, invisible air flow

    After repeated tests of the air flow, comparing actual models to the ideal values in simulations, we finally found out the most efficient air flow that we had ever observed. By increasing heat efficiency as well as energy-saving performance, uniform temperature inside the product can be maintained, which results in an extension of the life of the product. Currently, this is our ideal air flow. We are confident that we have developed a superior product with high-performance and a compact body and of course users can utilize the automatic duplex printing function with ease.
    The air flow simulation technology, through which the entire product design can be scrutinized and optimized, has already become indispensable to Brother’s product development. By continuously refining this technology and seeking even better air flow, we are committed to producing eco-friendly products for years to come.

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A new eco-friendly printer is created, achieving a reduction in environmental impact by improving air flow.

Improved air flow brought about the reduction in environmental impact.
This achievement is unseen, but highly advantageous.

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