If you're ready to expand your production line but not in a good position to splurge on brand new machinery, buying previously owned machinery can be a great option. First, buying into a new product line can turn you into an unwilling beta tester for the machine, which can cost both time and money. Secondly, you can get a much better price on used machinery.
Look for Refurbished Equipment
A used piece of machinery can often be bought at auction, but you're also buying the maintenance history of the item. This may turn out to be a great price but a bad investment. Equipment from a knowledgeable shop is often a better option, though it can be a bit more costly. If a machinery dealers gets the chance to buy a machine back from the previous owner, they may take the time to go through it, make repairs and update any failing components. If you have a good relationship with your current dealer, check with them about their current inventory.
Examine the Machine In-Person if Possible
It's critical that you or someone knowledgeable of the workings of this type of machine check it out in person. How clean is the machine? When you turn on the machine, how does it sound, feel or even smell? A worn gearbox will chatter, and poor wiring will smell hot. Dirty machines are inherently unsafe. Warehouse and construction workers are among the most commonly injured on the job. By examining equipment for defects before purchase and use, you help keep yourself and your workers safe.
Take Along Your Own Expert
If you're planning on bringing in a new-to-you machine for your facility, chances are that you've got someone on staff or have a connection who's used this type of machine or seen it in work. Bring them along to your inspection. This is particularly important if you're buying at auction or at a liquidation sale of any sort. It's easy to apply the term "gently used" to any item, but you need to make sure that there are no risks to your business when you plugin or fire up the machine. Your employees, facilities, and the person who uses it will be much safer if you can bring along someone with knowledge of how the machine is supposed to look and function. Do your best to get approval to power up the machine. If the owner won't give you that, be prepared to take it to a technician for a full assessment.
Try to Get a Start Up Guarantee
If you're buying from a dealer, try to get a partial guarantee, or see if the seller will help with the install and any training. New machines can be dangerous when used by novices. If you're buying it from someone getting out of the business, consider offering them a consultation fee to assist in setting up and powering up the machine for the safety of your employees.
A great deal isn't a great deal until it's running safely on the shop floor. You should absolutely attend auctions and check out used machinery. It's a great way to expand your production lines with lower investment costs. Just be ready to do your due diligence on second-hand machines before they get put to work.