Printing instructions for using the Epson 4900 (SB) or 4900/7900 (DPL) inkjet printers are located in black binders at each print station. Follow the illustrated instructions as closely as possible and don't forget to consult the other sections in the back of the printing manual to learn how to do things like load custom paper profiles, set custom page sizes, load roll paper, and more. Below are some suggested best practices and illustrations and explanations of common problems.
1) DO A NOZZLE CHECK!
It's a good idea to run a nozzle check before you do any printing. IT WILL SAVE YOU TIME! Both the SB and DPL have paper set aside for running a nozzle check. Check the printing manual at your station for specific instructions on how to do this. You want the printer to produce a clean test pattern with NO GAPS in any of the lines. If any gaps are present, run a cleaning cycle.
here is an example of a particularly bad nozzle check indicating severely clogged nozzles:
It's important to know that running nozzle checks is a routine part of printing with an inkjet printer. It is not a regular maintenance issue! You can make a perfectly good print and then in the middle of the next print, you could see banding indicating a clogged nozzle. It's frustrating, but again, running a nozzle check before you print can confirm that your printer is firing on all cylinders and unlikely to cause you problems.
A nozzle check takes about 30 seconds to run. It will save you time in the long run. Make it a habit!
Banding is what you can experience if you fail to run a nozzle check before printing. Banding occurs when one or more of the printer's nozzles become clogged, leaving lines, or bands, of un-printed area in your print. When you get banding in a print you'll want to run a head cleaning and then a nozzle check to confirm if the cleaning worked.
NOTE: banding always occurs in the direction the printer head travels. In this case, the print head was traveling horizontally, back-and-forth <===========>
3) Missing Colors
Sometimes all of the nozzles for one particular color can become clogged - and your print will look off. It's not always obvious - the first reaction is to assume color settings weren't right. But if it looks like a color is missing, that's a good clue that one probably is missing. Run a nozzle check to confirm your suspicions, and if necessary, a head cleaning. For severe clogs like this, you may have to run several rounds of cleanings and checks.
Bad Print with Cyan missing:
4) Head Strike
Your print finishes and you notice some black smudges on it. What you've got there is likely a head strike. Ink can build up on the bottom of the print head and smudge against your paper as it prints, or maybe you've got some really thick or really curled paper. If you've got thick or curled paper you can adjust the Platen Gap per instructions in the printing manual. If you've got regular paper that you're sure is flat, the printer just might need to rest. In that case, it's best to turn the power off and leave it sit for awhile. If that doesn't solve your issues, Print Technology staff can attempt some aggressive cleaning measure.
NOTE: as with banding, head strike smudges occur in the direction the print head travels in (horizontally in this case).