What Is A Multifunction Printer?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

A multifunction printer or MFP is an office machine that has multiple device functionality within a single unit. For personal residences and small business environments, multifunction printers are popular because they take up considerably less space than separate machines. For large corporations, multifunction printers can serve as centralized devices for document management, distribution, and production. Typically, an MFP has fax, photocopier, printer, and scanner functionality.

As of 2013, virtually every printer manufacturer carries multifunction printers. They are ideal for personal and professional use including small businesses, commercial operations, and enterprise initiatives. Regardless of the MFP price point, all models perform the same basic functions. One of the biggest differences among machines is the printing technology. Generally personal MFPs use inkjet methods while commercial and enterprise MFPs use laser-printer technology.

Traditionally MFP manufacturer marketed MFPs according to segments based on page-per-minute (ppm) speed and duty-cycle or robustness. Today it is much more common to find general definitions for specific audiences and their desired capabilities. As speed and basic functionality alone are not always enough to differentiate between the devices’ features, these less formal definitions are often beneficial. For example, two color multifunction printers with similar speeds may end up in the same segment even though they have significantly different prices, due to major differences in the other features.

The less formal MFP categories are as follows:

  • AIO. An AIO small desktop unit intended for personal or home office use. Printing and scanning functionality are a high priority. AIO MFP packages may include photo organization and simple optical character recognition (OCR) software.
  • SOHO MFP. A SOHO MFP is a large desktop or small freestanding unit intended for small office or home office use. The simplest SOHOs have printing, copying, scanning, and faxing functionality while higher-end models may also include simple document storage and retrieval and basic authentication functions.
  • Office MFP. An office MFP is a mid-sized freestanding unit intended for centralized office system use. In addition to the basic MFP functionality, office MFPs come with secure, networked document storage with advanced network scan destinations; capacity to run custom software; and common network user credential authentication.
  • Production printing MFP. A production printing MFP is a large freestanding unit intended for centralized printing or reprography. Instead of having more functionality than office MFPs, production printing MFPs have high speeds, top quality output and advanced finishing functionality (i.e. book creation).

Are you in the market for a multifunction printer in the Texas Panhandle? If so, get in touch with the copier pros at UCI. We are a full-service copier company that has been serving the greater Amarillo area for several years. To learn more about the multifunction printers that we have available, visit our website or call us at 806-372-7722.