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Printers 101

Learn about the many types of printers from the experts at Print Platoon.

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Multifunction Printers (MFPs)

Multifunction printers or MFPs are the standard for modern offices. An MFP combines printer, photocopier, and scanner into a single device. Many MFPs also act as fax machines. The printer element is typically laser or LED, which are better for common office workloads.

Enterprise MFPs are designed for an intense workload, capable of handling tens of thousands of print jobs. They are often modular, so you can get the custom print solution you need: a bin mailbox to sort print jobs, a binder or finisher to get the printed papers into the format you want, an extended paper tray to reduce time spent on filling the printer.

Laser Printers

Laser printers are the most common printer type in the office. Laser printers are fast, reliable, produce crisp text, and have longer lasting cartridges than inkjet printers. Laser printers come in black-and-white or color.

Laser printers use a laser array to produce static electric charges on a piece of paper. These charges are in the pattern of text or image that you send to the printer. Toner, a plastic dust, sticks to the charged paper. A fuser melts the toner into the paper, which is why paper comes out warm from the printer.

LED Printers

The newest addition to the printer world is the LED printer. An LED printer is essentially identical to a laser printer, except that an LED array is used in place of the laser to produce the charges. LED printers are quickly improving in quality and reliability.

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers tell you how they work: they squirt tiny jets of ink onto a piece of paper as it passes through the printer. Inkjet printers are inexpensive and are the best choice for printing images. Professional inkjet printers can produce photograph-quality results.

Solid Ink Printers

Solid ink printers are built by Xerox. They use a solid stick of a waxy ink, which is melted by the printer, sprayed onto a drum, and then transferred to a piece of paper. They produce less waste than laser or inkjet printers.

Thermal Printers

Thermal printers use a specially prepared paper with a heat-sensitive coating. As the paper passes over the thermal print head, it is selectively heated, producing black-and-white text or imagery. Thermal printers are fast and quiet. Receipt printers such as you would find in a grocery store are typically thermal printers.

RFID Printers

RFID printers have one specific purpose: to print unique RFID tags. RFID tags can be identified by RFID readers without needing line of sight, and are extensively used in industries from shipping to healthcare.

3D Printers

3D printers build objects by printing layers of material. Rather than printing on a surface passing through the printer, they print successively over the same material. 3D printers have a huge range of applications from producing prototypes to making items for sale.

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