What's that pad on the left side of the track on my Epson P400?

Apr 16, 2019
There is a spongy pad at the left end of the printer track. The pad is not mentioned in the P400 manual. During a head cleaning, the print head visits this area about three times. I have no idea what it's doing, but I'm sure it's causing the ink buildup that you see in the picture below. I should mention that my printer needs a LOT of head cleanings because I'm using third party carts and inks (Piezography). I hope that admission does not get me banned from this forum.

After a head cleaning, I can see a pool of new ink on the pad, on top of the gunk. The ink just sits there on the surface. It is not being absorbed.
p400 gunk.jpg

The pad itself is only about 1/3 inch thick and seems to be removable. It would be easy to clean and replace. I will do it unless advised not to.

Can anyone explain the purpose of this pad, and why mine is overflowing like this?

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