What is a Multi-Function Printer/ All-In-One Printer?

A Multi-Function Printer – MFP (or) All In One printer is basically a combination of Printer, Copier, Scanner and Fax in a single device. The biggest advantage of the Multi-Function printing concept is the attractive price of all these units vis-a-vis the combined cost of buying them separately. Moreover, all these devices are required in an office set-up or even at homes.

An MFP consists of a document feeder/ flat-bed scanner where papers are kept for scanning, copying or faxing (source copies). An MFP also contains a fixed amount of papers in the internal storage tray. These papers are used for printing the print/ scan/ copy/ fax results (output copies). Some MFP’s can print-on/ support multiple sized papers, other than the commonly used A4 sheets. Some of them even have separate trays for holding different sized papers.

The printing technology used by MFP can be either ink-jet or laser. Ink-jet printers have low acquisition costs and high running costs. They are suitable for small volume of printing. On the other hand, laser printers have high acquisition costs and low running costs. They are suitable for high volume of printing.

Some All-in-ones can scan/ copy/ print on both sides of the paper automatically, without requiring any user intervention. These MFP’s can be expensive but they save a lot of time for the users.

An MFP connects to a PC using USB cables or they can connect over the LAN Network using Network Cables. Some of them can also connect to the Wi-Fi Network using a built-in wireless adapter. So, the user can just give a print or scan command right from their network connected computer.

All-In-One printers come in a wide variety of ranges, often specified by their speed of printing. The common speeds of printing range from 5 PPM to 30 PPM and even more in high-end MFP’s. The faxing capability is optional but many All-In-One printers come included with that functionality.

There are specialized Multi-Function printers for large organizations that can take a higher load / scan&print faster than the low-end MFP’s. These are much like large copier machines, but they include copying and scanning functions as well.

Almost every multi-function printer comes with a LCD back-lit display to indicate the status of the process and to allow users to select functions through certain specific keys that are present next to them. Some MFP’s can directly print photos from an attached digital camera.

MFP’s come with CD/DVD with installation software that needs to be installed in the computers that want to access its functionalities. Some of them even have document finishing capabilities like stapling, punching holes, folding papers, etc.

An important consumable for any multi-function printer is its toner ink cartridge. There are both black and white cartridges for black and white printing as well as color cartridges for color printing. The cost of these cartridges should be considered while buying MFP’s as they constitute a high recurring expenditure and one generally needs to buy cartridges from the same manufacturer as the MFP.

Multi function printers/ all-in-one printers are manufactured by many vendors including Brother, Samsung, Konica-Minolta, Epson, Hp, Xerox, etc.


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