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What Does MFP Mean For Printers?

An MFP (multi-function product/printer/peripheral), multi-functional, all-in-one (AIO), or multi-function interface (MFD) is an office computer that combines the functions of several devices into one to save space in a home or small business (SOHO market segment), or to provide unified paper management/distribution/production in a large-office environment. Email, fax, photocopier, printer, and scanner are only a few of the functions that a standard MFP will do.

MFPs have historically been split into different categories by producers. The MFPs are approximately divided into segments based on their page-per-minute (ppm) speed and duty-cycle/robustness. 

Many vendors, on the other hand, are starting to stop segmenting their goods because speed and simple functionality alone do not always distinguish the many features that the devices provide. 

Despite having theoretically very different feature sets and therefore very different costs, two color MFPs with identical speeds can end up in the same segment.

In order to explain the price differential, the maker of the more costly MFP will like to distinguish their goods as far as possible, so the segment concept is avoided.

Almost all printer manufacturers sell multifunction printers as of 2013. They are suitable for use in the home, small business, industry, and industrial environments. Price, usability, robustness, throughput, output quality, and so on all differ depending on the use case. 

They all, however, perform the same tasks: print, scan, fax, and photocopy. Most MFPs in the commercial/enterprise sector use laser printer technology, while inkjet printers are used in personal and SOHO settings. 

Inkjet printers have traditionally failed to meet the efficiency and color saturation requirements of enterprise/large business applications.

All-in-one MFP

  • An all-in-one device is a portable desktop workstation that can be used at home or in the workplace.
  • These devices are designed for home use and may provide bundled tools for photo organization, basic OCR, and other functions of interest to a home user. 
  • The simple functions of Print and Scan would still be included with an All-in-One, with most even having Copy and a smaller number of Fax capability.
  • Previously, these machines were normally not networked and were connected by USB or parallel cable. Even low-cost all-in-one systems now offer ethernet and/or Wi-Fi connectivity as of 2013. 
  • In some situations, wireless systems need a wire link to a host computer (usually USB) to initialize the device, and once initial initialization is complete, the device can allow wireless operations for all subsequent work.
  • Features geared toward home and personal usage may be present in all-in-one devices that are not found in larger devices. Smart card readers, direct access to digital cameras, and other related functions are among these features.

Office MFP

  • A central office system in a mid-sized free-standing unit.
  • These are typically the most feature-rich MFPs available. They provide basic print, copy, and scan functions, as well as networked document storage with security, authentication using common network user credentials, the ability to run custom software (often a manufacturer can provide a Software development kit), advanced network scan destinations such as FTP, WebDAV, Email, SMB, and NFS stores, and data transmission encryption.
  • Finishing functions such as duplexing, stapling, holepunching, offset modes, and booklet formation are typically available as options on office MFPs.
  • While most office MFPs are networked, some have optional or normal USB and parallel links. The print engine in most Office MFPs is focused on mid-range photocopiers (both color and black-and-white), but Hewlett-Packard recently launched two Office MFPs based on fixed-head inkjet technology.

MFP for Production Printing

  • A big free-standing device intended for use as a central printing or reprographic department device.
  • Although these machines are far larger and more costly than Office MFPs, they typically lack the sophisticated network capabilities of their smaller counterparts. 
  • Instead, they focus on high-speed, high-quality production, as well as advanced finishing capabilities such as book formation and cover insertion.
  • Production printing is often categorized into two types: light production printing and hard production printing, with speed being the distinguishing factor. 
  • By most manufacturers’ expectations, a 100ppm device, for example, falls into the light production printing range.

Small Office/Home Office MFP

  • In general, a SOHO MFP may only include basic Print, Copy, Scan, and Fax capabilities, but at the higher end of the spectrum, it can also have easy paper storage and retrieval, basic security functions, and other features, making the SOHO scale difficult to distinguish from the Office MFP scale.
  • SOHO MFPs are usually networked, but they may also be linked via USB or, in rare cases, parallel. 
  • Simple finishing capabilities such as duplexing, stapling, and hole-punching could be available on SOHO MFPs, but this is uncommon. Document performance offset, sorting, and collation are all common features.
  • A SOHO MFP is more likely to provide an automated document feeder, more fax capability, and higher production speed than an All-in-One product. 
  • Most SOHO MFPs have a background of low-end black-and-white photocopiers, and the print engine is designed to work with this hardware.

When researching multifunction printers, you’ll come across versions with a variety of features. If you want to use the equipment for industry, you may want to look for models that only print and scan, while if the product is for home use, you may want to look for models that only print and scan. 

A multifunction printer that generates high-quality color graphics can be preferable if you’re a graphic designer. When shopping for multifunction printers, it’s necessary to compare features because they can differ in terms of speed, print quality, and other features.

Are You Looking for A Business Photocopier Near Concord, California?  

Office Machine Specialists has been servicing and selling office equipment since 1995. A family-run business that has dedicated our efforts to providing the best equipment options and after-sales service to our clients. Our goal is to ask the right questions and guide our customers to make smart decisions about new machine leases and purchases.  We were servicing copiers long before the internet was a viable resource, and have transitioned to the digital workflow environment of color printing, scanning, account control, and fleet management. With over 20 years in the industry, we have extensive experience with many brands and consider OMS to be a valuable resource to any organization. Contact us for all of your copier needs here!