Banding Solutions for the OmniDTF

“Banding” refers to the appearance of visible horizontal lines or streaks on a printed image that appear in the left & right direction of printhead carriage movement. Rather than a streak of white or colored ink smearing across film that would indicate a head strike, banding appears as inconsistent ink coverage (see example photo below).

Banding example

Most Common Banding Solution

When troubleshooting a banding problem the first step is to print a nozzle check. This is done to distinguish between ink flow issues from mechanical or configuration issues.

If the nozzle check isn’t looking great when you experience banding there’s a good chance the issue can be resolved by simply running a printhead cleaning. This is because banding can occur during longer print jobs due to ink mist from the printing process building up and beginning to dry on a printhead’s nozzle plate. So if you’re currently experiencing a banding problem, run a nozzle check now and follow that with printhead cleanings, as needed, to resolve a poor nozzle check.

OmniDTF nozzle check example
Lower humidity environments will typically require more frequent head cleanings since the ink will be more prone to drying on the nozzle plates.

If head cleaning doesn’t result in getting a good nozzle check, something may be limiting the ink flow that will require more troubleshooting to resolve, which we’ll get into momentarily.

But first, if you are getting a good nozzle check but still have banding, there are a couple of OmniDTF UI software settings to check and confirm that it is optimized to provide great quality prints.

Let’s look at those software settings now.

OmniDTF UI Software Settings

OmniDTF UI Settings screen, Feed Adjustment

On the Settings tab of the OmniDTF UI software, check the Feed Adjustment section’s Mode and Type options. We want Mode set to “Heavy” and Type set to “Strong” for the best results.

Feed Adjustment recommended settings

These are the normal, default settings of a new OmniDTF UI software installation, and it’s a super easy fix if your settings aren’t right.

With those software settings out of the way, let’s dig into potential ink flow causes and solutions.

Ink Flow Limiting Causes & Solutions

Low ink level in ink bottles
This is a simple but often overlooked fundamental cause of color dropouts and banding.

It’s important to keep an eye on ink levels and make sure they never drop below their defined minimum levels (see below image) before being refilled to ensure consistent ink flow.

OmniDTF ink bottle minimum and maximum levels

Air pockets or bubbles in ink lines
All of the components in the printer’s ink flow path are designed to maintain an air-tight system. In normal operation, with proper maintenance, there should be no air in the ink lines.

If you find air pockets or bubbles in one or more ink lines, use the Load ink feature for the white or color (or both) printheads to “prime” out the air pockets. As always, keep an eye on the waste ink bottle when using the Load ink and Printhead cleaning features and empty it as needed to ensure that it doesn’t overflow.

Clogged, damaged, or worn out damper
Dampers are consumable parts whose functions are critical to good ink flow. If a) you’re getting bad or inconsistent successive nozzle checks that aren’t resolved with head cleaning, b) your ink levels are good, and c) there’s no visible bubbles or air gaps in your ink lines (or air keeps returning to the lines after priming it out) then it’s recommended to contact OmniPrint technical support about replacing the damper for the problem channel(s).

There’s a link at the bottom of this page to another knowledge base article with details about dampers, in case you’re interested in more details about 4 things that dampers do to help maintain good ink flow.

Clogging in ink lines
Normal use and maintenance will prevent clogging of the ink lines, but excessive air in the ink lines or longer-term idle periods with no ink flow can result in dried or drying ink clogging the ink lines.

If your printer will be idle for more than 3 weeks (even if wet capped) we recommend contacting OmniPrint technical support to schedule an appointment and prepare the printer for extended downtime or storage.

Routine Preventative Maintenance
Finally, we recommend cleaning out your white ink bottles at least once per year to remove any sediment that may be collecting there due to the heavier pigment needed to product white ink.

Likewise, don’t forget to regularly agitate the white ink bottles to keep the white ink well-mixed and circulate the white ink during your routine startup process.

OmniDTF Consumables & the Support Kit

Consumable Parts

Consumable parts are those parts expected to require replacement during the warranty period through no fault of the part’s quality or the manufacturing process. For examples of consumable parts in general, car owners will be familiar with the concept as it applies to tires, brakes, oil filters, air filters, windshield wipers, etc.

Like any piece of industrial equipment with moving parts and fluids, the OmniDTF system includes parts that must be maintained and periodically replaced over time. These are known as “consumables”. Replacement of consumable parts is not covered by the warranty (except in the rare case of defects that occur in brand-new equipment) and should be factored into your operating budget as a normal cost of doing business.

Some consumable parts are critical to the operation and maintenance of the printer. For example, if you have a damper or capping station that leaks air then you may not be able to print or properly wet cap the printer until the problem is resolved.

We recommend keeping spares of consumable parts on-hand to minimize downtime when they do need to be replaced. The most convenient and economical way to ensure that you have a set of consumable parts on hand when you need them is with OmniDTF Support Kit.

The OmniDTF Support Kit

OmniPrint has created a collection of consumable parts into a support kit for the OmniDTF. The idea is to make it easy to place a single order (part number “KITSPRTDTF“) at a discounted price to keep a set of consumable parts on hand. 

Having an OmniDTF Support Kit on-hand saves you the administrative and shipping time of placing individual orders for individual parts as they require replacement. In addition to the over 18% cost savings of the kit compared to purchasing the parts individually, eliminating the downtime of waiting for a part to arrive and the cost of multiple shipments for each individual part is a solid investment in keeping your operation running efficiently and at maximum production.

OmniDTF Support Kit Contents

Here are the parts included in the OmniDTF Support Kit in a simple table. Images of each part will be shown below the table.

Qty.DescriptionPart Number
1DTF Absorbing PadP-DTF3041
1DTF White Ink Circulation FilterP-DTF4024
8i3200 Damper Assembly (preassembled damper, tubing, clip, and quick-connect fitting)P-i2OM1003
1Capping Station Set (‘2’ capping stations, preassembled with Tygon tubing)P-DTF4086
10Freejet SwabsP-MC1007
1Syringe, including adapter piece for dampersP-MC1004
1Freejet Grease canister, 7gP-FJG7G
1Wiper BladeP-DTF6001
6 ftTeflon tubing for ink lineP-DTF3040
3 ftTygon tubing for ink line interconnectionsP-CB1032

OmniDTF Absorbing Pad - p/n P-DTF3041
OmniDTF Absorbing Pad
White Ink Circulation Filter
Damper Assembly
Capping Station (‘2’ in Support Kit, included tubing not shown)
Syringe, including adapter for dampers & tubing
Freejet Grease
Wiper Blade
Teflon Tubing
Tygon Tubing

How to Shut Down & Wet Cap the OmniDTF with No Power and No PC (video)


As mentioned in the OmniDTF System Shutdown article (linked at the bottom of this page), performing proper maintenance and wet capping the printer when shutting it down is critical to maximizing the service life of your printheads, capping stations, and wiper blade. 

The process detailed in that article requires using the OmniDTF UI software to wet cap the printheads after completing the shutdown maintenance. Moving the carriage away from its home position can be done from the printer’s control pad or the OmniDTF UI program. 

But what if you experience a power failure or your PC has lost its ability to communicate with the printer for some reason?

In the below video and the following instructions, we explain how to manipulate the capping station platform and the carriage to allow performing shutdown maintenance and wet capping the printer manually in the event of a power failure or any situation that prevents normal use of the controls and software.

Turn off the power switch on the printer before proceeding if you have lost power. This is done to ensure that the printer doesn’t suddenly come back on if power is restored. Mechanical movement during the printer’s initialization could injure someone in the middle of performing maintenance and also damage the printer. It is also recommended to turn off the curing oven to ensure that it doesn’t come back on and heat up while unattended.

Demonstration video

Your PC Can’t Wet Cap the OmniDTF

If you have not lost power and the printer’s control panel is working fine but you can’t complete the wet cap process from the OmniDTF UI software on your PC for any reason, follow the usual shutdown procedure until it’s time to click on the software’s WetCap icon. At that point, follow the instructions near the end of this article for Manually Wet Capping the Printheads.

The Printer Has No Power

If you have lost power, first make sure the Emergency button hasn’t been accidentally depressed by rotating it about ¼ turn clockwise. That will release the button and restore power if it had been depressed.

If the Emergency button was not depressed, either power is no longer being provided by the outlet or the printer’s power system needs troubleshooting. In either case, we want to ensure that the printer’s carriage will not move if power is restored while you’re working on it by turning off the printer’s power switch. Optionally, you can also unplug the power cable.

The Dust-Curing Machine’s master Power switch or its oven’s ‘Curing’ switch (for power to the oven) should also be turned off, to prevent it from coming back on while potentially unattended when power is restored.

Manually Releasing and Undocking the Printhead Carriage

  1. Remove the small, black rubber plug covering a hole below the printer’s control pad and locate the screw head on the other side of the hole(s) exposed by removing the plug(s).
If your printer has two rubber plugs below the control pad, remove both and identify which is best aligned with the screw.
  1. Identify whether the head of the screw in your printer has a Phillips or Allen-type head.
  1. Rotate the screw counterclockwise to lower the capping station platform until it can turn no further in that direction.
Remove the right side window for a clear view of the side of the capping station platform to visually confirm the capping stations’ downward movement.
  1. After the capping stations are fully lowered, manually push the carriage to its fully leftward position to perform the routine shutdown maintenance.

Confirm that the carriage is all the way to the left as far as it can go. If it is positioned over the platen, the heat rising from the platen heater can cause the ink in the printhead nozzles to dry out and clog them.

With the carriage at its full left position, you can now perform all of the routine shutdown maintenance steps.

Manually Putting the Carriage in its Home Position

The printhead carriage’s Home position is not its fully-right position. That would be too far right and the nozzle plates and capping stations may not be properly aligned.

Use the metal tab on the right side of the printhead carriage and the slotted sensor on the carriage frame to find the Home position. The correct carriage position is when its tab reaches the assembly’s sensor window, at the mid-point of the slot.

Position the carriage so the end of the metal tab just reaches the center of the sensor’s gap.

Manually Wet Capping the Printheads

At this point, you should have already performed the shutdown maintenance, filled the capping stations with Super Cleaner, and moved the carriage to its Home position. If not, do that now before continuing.

If your printer and its control panel are working fine but you need to manually wet cap the printer because you can’t do it from the OmniDTF UI program on a PC, push the Enter button on the printer’s control pad to put the printhead carriage in its Home position, then turn off the printer’s power before proceeding.
  1. Remove the black rubber plug(s) under the printer’s control pad, if you haven’t already done so. (See steps 1 & 2 in the Manually Releasing and Undocking the Printhead Carriage section above.)
  2. Use a Philips head screwdriver or Allen wrench (depending on the screw head behind the exposed hole) to rotate the screw clockwise while looking through the opening made by removing the right side window to watch the capping station platform rise.
  3. Continue rotating the screw until the capping station presses against the bottom of the printhead, then raise it about another 1/4″ or so to compress the capping station seals against the printhead plate.

The printer is now properly shut down and wet capped when the above steps have been completed.

If you haven’t already done so, this is a good time to empty the waste ink bottle and confirm that all of the ink clips are closed.

OmniDTF Printhead Alignment (video)

You will occasionally want to adjust the printhead alignment of your OmniDTF printer, to maintain ideal horizontal & vertical registration between the color and white layers of your prints. This adjustment does not involve manually repositioning the printheads. Instead, it is done using the OmniDTF UI software.

View the below video or read the following instructions for each step of the printhead alignment process.

Print Speeds

There are three Print Speed settings for the OmniDTF: Production, Normal, and High Quality. All printhead alignment adjustments are made for a given Print Speed, so alignments should be made with the Print Speed being used when printing selected as the Print Speed for the alignment. The Print Speed currently selected for printing is shown (and may be changed) on the Settings tab.

OmniDTF UI: Production Print Speed setting
The default Production speed is recommended and delivers the fastest output at any resolution & ink volume selected from Print Pro’s Environment options.

Alignment Types

There are four types of alignments that can be done. We’ll explain and detail the process for each following the list of types below:

  1. Head Vertical Distance Adjustment
  2. Head Horizontal Distance – Left Adjustment
  3. Head Horizontal Distance – Right Adjustment
  4. Bidirectional Adjustment

To get started, all printhead alignment adjustment types are found under the Align tab of OmniDTF UI program.

Align tab of OmniDTF UI program

Head Vertical Distance

This adjustment, labeled Head Vert Distance Adjust in the software, aligns the white printhead with the CMYK printhead as the film moves forward while printing. (This “vertical” movement of the film is considered the Y axis, while the carriage’s left & right motion is considered the X axis.)

If you know that your printer’s vertical registration is off, be sure to first check the tension of the feed roller knobs on the back of the printer and make sure the left and right sides are at their minimum tension/friction settings before making a vertical printhead alignment adjustment. This mechanical adjustment is critical and may cause random vertical registration issues that cannot be resolved by this software alignment of the printheads.
  1. Select your Print Speed to match that on your Settings tab (or the speed you want to now align for if you’re running alignments for multiple speeds.)
  2. Select the Head Distance option on the left side of the Align screen.

    OmniDTF UI - Align Heads, Vertical Distance
  3. Click the N Check button under the Head Vert Distance Adjust heading when you’re ready to print the test pattern.

The test pattern prints a series of black & white horizontal line segments above numbered labels. The numbers range from -14 to +14, in increments of 2 and with zero in the center position.

Vertical alignment test print example
Vertical Alignment test print example (partial)

Yes, it’s a bit of an eye test, but our task is to identify the column number whose line segments show the black & white portions in best alignment with each other, resulting in a single straight horizontal line. In the above example, the best column is ‘+4’.

In the ‘+2’ column the white segments are slightly below the black segments, and in the ‘+6’ column the white segments are slightly above the black segments. As you look to the left of the ‘+2’ column you can see that the white segments keep getting further below the black segments and to the right of the ‘+6’ column the white segments keep getting further above the black segments.

So, our takeaway from the evaluation of the test print is that the column with the best alignment is ‘+4’.

  1. Now let’s return to the OmniDTF UI software’s Head Vert Distance Adjust section and note the current value of H2. In our screenshot from step #2 above, the value of H2 is “1453” and the number we got from evaluating the test print in step #3 was ‘+4’, so we add ‘4’ to ‘1453’ and enter the result of 1457 into the H2 field.

    If the column number from step #3 had been a negative number (‘-4’, for example), we would have subtracted ‘4’ from ‘1453’ and entered ‘1449’ into H2.
  2. Click the Save button in the top right corner of the OmniDTF UI window to make the alignment adjustment.

    OmniDTF UI: Save button
  3. Repeat step #3 above to print another test pattern. This should result in the best-aligned column sitting in the ‘0’ position. If this is the case, the vertical distance adjustment is now completed. If not, repeat steps 3 – 5 to ensure that the best alignment is in the ‘0’ position

Left Horizontal Distance

There are two horizontal distance adjustments under the Head Horz Distance Adjust heading. This is because your OmniDTF prints bidirectionally, so the white and CMYK printheads need to be aligned in both printing directions. The Left Adjust is used for the horizontal alignment when the carriage is moving from right to left, and the Right Adjust for when the carriage moves from left to right.

The process and test patterns for both the Left and Right printhead horizontal distance alignment adjustments are identical, so we will detail the process just once. The instructions will call out the Left Adjust button and H2 field, and you will follow these same steps modified for the Right Adjust button and H2 field for the Right Horizontal Distance Adjustment.
  1. Click the Left Adjust button to run a test print.
    OmniDTF UI: Horiz Left Adjust button

    The test pattern prints a series of black & white vertical bars above numbered labels. The numbers range from -12 to +12 with zero in the center position.

    OmniDTF UI: Horizontal alignment test print

    The goal is to have the best-aligned set of black & white bars in the 0 (zero) position. So, our takeaway from the evaluation of the test print is that the column with the best alignment is ‘-11’.
  2. Now let’s return to the OmniDTF UI software’s Head Horz Distance Adjust section and note the current value of H2. In our screenshot from step #1 above, the value of H2 (for the Left Adjust line) is “9”. The number we got from evaluating the test print was ‘-11’, so we sum together ‘9’ (or ‘+9’, to be exact) with ‘-11’ and enter the result of ‘-2’ into the H2 field…

    H2 field set to -2

    …then click the Save button.

    OmniDTF UI: Save button
  3. Repeat step #1 above to print another test pattern. This should result in the best-aligned column sitting in the ‘0’ position.

    OmniDTF UI: Horiz alignment test zeroed out

With the 0 (zero) position of the test print showing the black & white segments in perfect alignment, the Printhead Horizontal Distance Adjustment (for the leftward motion, in this example) is now complete.

Right Horizontal Distance

The exact same process as the Left Horizontal Distance Adjustment is used to check and adjust the rightward motion alignment.

Follow the instructions from the above Left Horizontal Distance Adjustment section, substituting the Right Adjust button to run test prints and the Right Adjust H2 field to enter updates to that value, as needed.


Our final task is to align the printheads during bidirectional printing (both left and right.)

  1. Select Bidirec Adjust from the options on the left side of the OmniDTF UI program.

    OmniDTF UI: Bidirectional Adjustment

  2. Click on the N Check button to print a test pattern.

    OmniDTF UI: Bidirectional test print

    The Printhead Bidirectional Alignment Adjustment test pattern will print.

    OmniDTF UI: Bidirectional alignment test pattern example

    The vertical bar test pattern has top & bottom black segments and a grey middle segment.

    Our task now is to identify the number under the test bar where the middle segment is best aligned with the top & bottom segments, creating a straight vertical bar with the right & left edges of each of the three vertical segments perfectly aligned.

    In our example test print image above, the ‘+3’ column is vertically aligned.

    Bidirect test pattern aligned at +3

  3. Returning to the OmniDTF UI program, we take that value (‘+3’) and sum it with the number in the direct Value field (‘12.00’ in the above screenshot example.) 12+3=15, so we will replace the value of ‘12.00’ with ’15’.

    OmniDTF UI: Bidirect value set to 15

    …and then click the Save button in the upper right corner.

    OmniDTF UI: Save button

  4. Click the N Check button again to print another test pattern and confirm that the vertical segments are perfectly aligned at the 0 (zero) position.

    OmniDTF: Bidirect test print aligned at zero position

    With the 0 (zero) position of the test print showing the black & gray segments in perfect alignment, the Printhead Bidirectional Adjustment is now complete.

Wrap Up

Congratulations! If you’ve been following along on your OmniDTF printer while reading this article you have now completed all four printhead alignment processes: the Vertical Distance, Left Horizontal Distance, Right Horizontal Distance, and Bidirectional Adjustments.

Remember that these adjustments are each made with a specific Print Speed setting, so if you print using different speed selections at different times then you’ll need to repeat this process for each speed that you use.

OmniDTF System Shutdown (video)

Properly shutting down your OmniDTF printer is very important to ensure that it will be ready to print the next time you start it up. Fortunately, the process is very easy!

Take about 10 minutes to go through these simple steps when you’re finished with your print jobs.

Wet capping the printheads after completing the shutdown maintenance steps is critical to prevent ink from drying in the printhead nozzles, potentially clogging them permanently.

Click the Related Articles link at the bottom of this page if you are experiencing a power outage, printer hardware issue, or PC connectivity problem preventing you from following the instructions below.

Curing Oven Shutdown

If you haven’t already done so, start by turning off the Curing Oven’s main power switch. This is a master switch that will cut power to the Duster, Shaker, and Oven — so shutting off any other switches is optional.

Printer Shutdown Maintenance & Wet Capping

See the below video demonstrating the OmniDTF printer shutdown maintenance and wet capping processes, or read the following description.

Demonstration video

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Press and hold the Carriage Left button until the printhead carriage is in the center of its range of motion to ease access to the ink clips and expose the capping stations and wiper blade.
    Carriage Left button

    Wiper blade and capping stations
  2. Clamp all 8 of the ink line clips shut.

    Ink clips shut
  3. Use the Carriage Left button again to move the printhead carriage to its full-left position.
  4. Wet an anti-static foam swab or a clean, lint-free cloth with Super Cleaner to thoroughly clean:
    • The full length of the wiper blade
    • The rubber seals surrounding both capping stations

      Swabbing capping station seal and wiper blade
  5. Remove any bits of dried ink on the capping station sponges or seals with tweezers.

    The remainder of the steps before wet capping the printhead are all about keeping the printhead mounting plate and the side edges of the printhead nozzle plates clean. If these areas are allowed to accumulate ink then eventually the dried ink will hang down below the printhead and leave streaks on the film.

    Before continuing this maintenance process, please note the following images of the shape and relationship of these parts to each other, and examples of how they may appear before and after cleaning.

    Area of printhead mounting plate and nozzle plate edges to be cleaned.
    OmniDTF printhead mounting plate and nozzle plates
    Bottom of printhead mounting plate with printheads installed. Red arrows point to areas of the mounting plate; blue arrows point to the nozzle plate side edges

    Areas of the printhead nozzle plate cleaned by the wiper blade, not manually
    Printhead nozzle plate faces (don't clean manually)
    Red X’s mark the face of the nozzle plates, an area that we don’t clean manually.

    Before & After examples of dirty and clean mounting plates and nozzle plate edges
    OmniDTF printhead plate before and after cleaning
    Cleaning the mounting plate and nozzle plate edges daily prevents ink buildup.

    Now that you’re familiar with the area we’ll be working with, let’s proceed with cleaning the mounting plate and the side edges of the printhead nozzle plate.
  6. Remove the left-side window to access the chassis interior’s left side.
    Left side of OmniDTF printer with left window panel removed.
    Left side of OmniDTF printer with the window panel removed.
  7. Place a mirror or smartphone camera in selfie-mode inside the front-left corner of the printer chassis, tilted at an angle to provide you with a view of the printhead plates and their mounting plate, which face downward on the bottom of the printhead carriage, to orient yourself and get your hand into position to begin cleaning the area.

    Placement of smartphone inside chassis
    Top-down view of a smartphone in selfie-mode tilted at an angle to display the printhead mounting plate and the printhead nozzle plates.
  8. Use a clean, lint-free cloth dampened with Super Cleaner to reach under the printhead carriage and wipe any ink from the mounting plate and the side edges (only) of the printhead nozzle plates.
    1. A foam swab can be used to clean the area at the front of the white ink printhead if a cleaning cloth wrapped around a finger won’t fit in the space.
    2. If contact with the printhead’s nozzle plate is made accidentally, dab the contacted area with Super Cleaner on a clean, lint-free cloth before wet capping.

Wet Capping the Printhead

  1. Fill both capping stations to the brim with Super Cleaner.

    Clean wiper blade and capping stations

    The wiper blade and capping station seals should now be free of any ink build-up and the capping station sponges completely submerged in Super Cleaner, up to the top of their seals.
  2. Click the WetCap button under the Settings tab in the OmniDTF Windows program.
    OmniDTG app menu bar with Wetcap selected

    This will send the printhead carriage to its docked position and raise the capping station seals to press against the bottom of the printhead plate, bathing it in Super Cleaner within an air-tight seal.

The printer can now be turned off from the power switch on the right side, near the back of the printer.

Power and Ethernet ports

Finally, just empty the waste ink bottle so you’ll have a fresh start next time the printer is used.

That’s all there is to it.

Congratulations! The printhead maintenance components have now been cleaned and the printhead is wet capped.

Maintenance Log Sheets

Performing the recommended maintenance is the most important factor in maximizing your equipment’s service life and consistently getting high-quality prints.

We recommend using the daily, weekly, and periodic maintenance log sheets for your printer and pretreatment machine (PDF download links below), to help you and your staff track and manage your equipment maintenance schedules.

Consistently performing the recommended steps at the beginning and end of each printing day will go far to prevent interruption of your production work that could otherwise occur due to insufficient maintenance.

Staying on top of the daily, weekly, and other periodic preventative maintenance also helps to maximize the service life of the equipment and protect your warranty.