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3 key points: buy a new plate rolling machine or a used one?

Which is the better choice for a manufacturing shop to buy a new or used plate rolling machine? Frankly, the answer is “yes” – both are better options in different situations. While modern factories may want to have the best and brightest new machines on their floors to show off to customers, once they’re in production, they don’t stay pristine for long.

new plate rolling machine

The best solution is for the shop to find the ideal rolling machine for each manufacturing process, then refurbish any used machines and keep the shop as clean as possible. It’s still not a problem if a store orders all new equipment from the factory in their company colors. When they buy a used rolling machine, they just need to have some paint on hand to match and a good repairman to make everything look like it belongs to them.

To determine whether a new or used plate rolling machine is the right choice for your specific needs, looking at the advantages of each machine may help you make a more informed decision about each machine you want to buy.

Advantages of buying new manufacturing equipment

  • What you see is what you get.
  • The latest technology gives the company a competitive advantage.
  • May be more attractive in the eyes of potential new customers.
  • Often more flexible to accommodate a wider range of customer requirements.
  • Machines last longer in most cases.
  • Manufacturer’s warranty (usually labor and parts).
  • Higher trade-in value.
  • Reduce maintenance costs, even without a warranty.
  • Replacement parts are readily available.
  • There are machine-trained service technicians in the industry.
  • Often more humane and safer, creating a better environment for employees.
  • More likely to be faster, more precise, more powerful, and more efficient.
  • May qualify for better tax exemptions or government grants.

Advantages of buying used manufacturing equipment

  • Much lower cost than new (not to mention the better chance of negotiating price).
  • The ROI (return on investment) of buying used items is generally getting faster and faster.
  • Shorter lead times when purchasing.
  • Sometimes easier to get than new, which is a real boon when stores are in a time crunch.
  • Available from a wider range of suppliers, from equipment dealers who trade machines into individuals looking to sell used machines online.
  • Well-maintained used equipment can often have a surprisingly long lifespan.
  • Already in service, it could theoretically go into production immediately.
  • Usually simpler to operate and easier to train operators.
  • Some used machines can be easily and cost-effectively upgraded to the latest technology.
  • Ideal for trial runs or short production runs.
  • Many used machines can be considered collectibles, adding charm to the store and keeping customers in mind.
  • An as-is machine can be incredibly valuable to a manufacturer who is willing and able to refurbish it.
  • For stores with skilled in-house service teams, it’s usually not that much of a challenge.

Precautions for buying a used plate rolling machine

While there are risks associated with buying a new rolling machine, the many potential dangers of buying a used rolling machine can easily overshadow them. Buyers of used equipment need to keep in mind the adage “buyer beware”. Here are some key factors to consider before owning any used machine:

  • Is the seller reputable?
  • Why should the machine be sold?
  • Does the machine have a complete list of specs and detailed instructions?
  • Is the machine listed at the proper market price?
  • Will there be added rigging or shipping costs, or any extras not included in the purchase price?
  • Can the seller provide proper documentation for the sale?
  • Is the machine still under warranty of any kind?
  • Do they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you buy from a machinery dealer?
  • If buying from a dealer, can they offer a maintenance contract with the machine?
  • Can the seller provide any history of the machine before they owned it?
  • What type of work is the current owner’s machine used for?
  • Does the machine come with the original manual?
  • Does the machine come with a parts list and diagram?
  • How old is the machine?
  • What is the service time on the machine?
  • Will the seller let you inspect the machine?
  • Will the seller allow you to have a service technician inspect the machine?
  • Will the seller allow you to run the part on the machine to test it?
  • Did the seller allow you to freely discuss the machine with the previous operator?
  • Does the seller have a complete equipment maintenance log?
  • Has the machine been overhauled or refurbished?
  • Are there any upgrades or customizations to the machine?
  • Has the equipment been fitted with appropriate safety devices?
  • Are there any signs of cracking or wear on the machine’s stress points?
  • Does the equipment show signs of post-soldering or other alterations?
  • Are there any signs of fluid leakage on or around the machine, including stains on the floor?
  • How much maintenance do you estimate this machine will need before it goes into production?
  • Does the manufacturer still offer replacement parts for the machine?
  • Does it come with all the original tools?
  • Are replacement tools available?
  • Did the seller inform you of any defects in advance?
  • Does the seller list specific issues or issues with the machine, including strange noises or rattles?
  • Does the machine have any liens or legal liability?

Whether you buy new or used manufacturing equipment, always keep in mind that you are investing in the future. While it’s tempting to buy “used iron” for your shop due to past craftsmanship, there’s always a chance you’ll buy a machine that may need to be scrapped within a few months. Be sure to check with a reputable machinery dealer for all the options and incentives available for new equipment, and weigh these against the potential risks of use before you commit. Whether new or used, a machine that can meet your customers’ expanding needs for years to come is one you’ll want to find a home in your production facility.