The technology of printing has come a long way since Gutenberg invented moveable type. Today’s printers are capable of sorting, collating and printing complex images and data in a range of millions of colors and fonts, with high speed and accuracy. A boon to home and office has been the advent of multifunction printers for production printing.
Multifunction printers generally go by the acronym MFP. They’re also known as All-in-one devices, or AIOs, and Multifunction Devices, or MDs. They combine several office functions into one machine, and they’re available in a variety of sizes and configurations. Typical applications for these devices contain all or any combination of the following functions:
Virtually all major printer and copier manufacturers now offer multifunction machines, and the range of models varies by use from home to enterprise, with similar differences in price and durability; technology has advanced to the point where speed is comparable among the full range.
The main difference between home and enterprise use, aside from price and longevity, are size and the print technology used. Most home units are tabletop models that use inkjet technology for printing and photocopying. The amount and quality of images and output for a large enterprise demands a free-standing floor model and laser-jet precision for its output. Regular small to medium businesses can purchase anywhere within that range, according to their budget and the demands of their business.
The full range of sizes is designated this way:
AOIs, which are for personal or home office use; mostly for small-scale printing and scanning, basic software photo editing bundles are included
SOHO MFPs, which can be desktop or freestanding models; used for small offices, they can be connected via USB as peripherals and have greater document sorting and fax capabilities than models designed for home use
Office MFPs, which are mid-sized central office units; they’re usually networked and expandable to connect with a number of other devices and have advanced capabilities, such as stapling, hole-punching and booklet creation
Production printing MFPs, which function mainly as digital printing presses in large-scale publishing operations
A multifunction printer is an example of how technology decreases in size as it increases in capabilities. A system such as this reduces the amount of space an office requires to perform its typical daily processing and printing chores. They provide a savings of time, money and efficiency.Multifunction technology printers are the latest boom in the technology as the cost if less for so many functions also occupies less space and is not too heavy.