Multifunction printers, which are also called MFPs, are much more useful than an old fashioned copying machine or a plain printer. These are easily networkable, as they are connected to a computer. Home offices will be able to easily use the Windows printer-sharing function. Larger offices should have a dedicated network printer.
Today’s multifunction printers often operate using server based technology. This offers the ability for the printer to communicate with the rest of the network as well as the main computer using operating codes. Server based technologies allow for incredible flexibility so that developers are really only limited by their imaginations and programming talents. The majority of applications developed for multifunction printers revolve around customized printing and scanning solutions and the required authentication protocols. About the only real limit to the multifunction printer capability is that of an end user interface directly into the application but this is not needed as the interface is through a computer instead.
A multifunction printer is a device able to print, fax, scan or copy. Since it saves money and space, it’s the device of choice for small and home offices. However, not everyone needs one. Multifunction printers don’t perform all functions with the same quality as single-purpose devices and almost none can perform two functions in parallel at the same time. Some businesses, specially in the media industry, do need high-resolution printing. Other businesses need to scan loads of documents. Multifunction copiers can only handle a limited amount of documents at once.
If you are planning to buy one, you should at least check following specifications – multifunction copier speed, printer memory, resolution, fax functions, and the automatic document feeder.
It’s speed can be a problem for large offices, since people will be waiting in line to use the device. As said above, these devices are more appropriate for single users or small teams. A large team of co-workers, who may need the device for different purposes at the same time, needs independent devices for each task. Speed may be expensive. So, if you are planning to use it alone, don’t worry too much about it. You can always perform other tasks as your multifunction copier is working.
Printer memory is also an important technical spec. The more, the better. If a team will be using the device, buy one that has at least 4 MB for each team member. The scanner resolution is also very important if you are working with pictures. Scanners with low resolutions are perfect for scanning your docs, but are not meant for multi-color images. Most multifunction copiers have a low scanner resolution, so pay attention on this topic.
The multifunction printer fax functions like fax broadcasting, color faxing and group dialing are relevant for certain kinds of businesses, where people still communicate through fax. If you need a fax, check those features.
The multifunction printer automatic document feeder is the ability to process a batch of sheets. Many devices can handle 50 sheets. Feeding single sheets is terribly tedious and this is a feature that you will really need, even if you never thought about.
The last advice is to buy a multifunction copier at a store that lets you test it. Read carefully the specifications and make sure that it has all the features and specifications that you need. It’s actually a good idea to get a model that does a bit more than you think you need now so you don’t have to upgrade too quickly, particularly if you are operating a growing business.