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MFD


An MFP (Multi Function Product/ Printer/ Peripheral), multifunctional, all-in-one (AIO), or Multifunction Device (MFD), is an office machine which incorporates the functionality of multiple devices in one, so as to have a smaller footprint in a home or small business setting (the SOHO market segment), or to provide centralized document management/distribution/production in a large-office setting. A typical MFP may act as a combination of some or all of the following devices:

  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Photocopier
  • Fax
  • E-mail

MFP manufacturers traditionally divided MFPs in to various segments. The segments roughly divide the MFPs according to their speed in pages per minute (ppm) and duty cycle/robustness. Despite this, many manufacturers are beginning to avoid the segment definition for their products, as speed and basic functionality alone are often not sufficient to differentiate the many features that the devices are capable of. Two color MFPs of a similar speed will be in the same segment, despite having potentially very different feature sets, and therefore very different prices. From a marketing perspective, the manufacturer of the more expensive MFP would want to differentiate their product as much as possible to justify the price difference, and therefore the segment definition is avoided.

Many MFP types, regardless of the category they fall in to, also come in a "printer only" variety, which is the same model without the scanner unit included. This is even the case with devices where the scanner unit physically appears to be highly integrated in to the product.

Today, Multifunction printers are available from just about all printer manufacturers. They are designed for home, small business, enterprise and commercial use. Naturally, the cost, usability, robustness, throughput, output quality, etc. all vary with the various use cases. However, they all generally do the same functions; Print, Scan, Fax, and Photocopy. In the commercial/enterprise area, most MFP have used Laser Printer technology, while in the personal, SOHO environments, Inkjet Printer technology has been used. Typically Inkjet printers have struggled with delivering the performance and color saturation demanded by enterprise/large business use. However, HP has recently launched a business grade MFP using Inkjet technology.
 

An image of MFD