Used Equipment: Vetting the Value


Jackson says that makes particular sense if you’re operating a machine with large components that can be expensive to replace, such as spindle motors on a CNC or pumps on a waterjet.

“If it’s costing somebody money sitting in a warehouse, they may let it go for a very small fee,” he says. “Then you can justify buying what we call a donor machine. Otherwise, some of those pieces may never find a home.”

200 Shaping machine CNC with 2 tables CONTOURBRETON NC160-1Click photo to enlargeAs for the market itself, it depends on who you talk to. O’Connor says his observation is there aren’t a lot of people selling used equipment so they can upgrade, and many are hanging on to their manual machines to squeeze the last bit of life from them.

On the other hand, he says there are still some great deals available on higher-priced equipment, such as CNCs.

“Put your feelers out, talk to your friends and talk to the factories,” he says. “There are manufacturers where – if they have a customer in trouble – they’ll say, ‘We’ll make this work.’ They may even do the dismantling and installation for you, and help you get financing.”

His other advice: Set a budget, and if you’re going to have to finance a purchase, get your financing lined up before you begin shopping.

The best advice, though it to do your homework, know what you want ahead of time, and recognize that not every used piece of equipment out there is a real deal.

“Six months or a year ago, someone would get something at a ridiculously low price and then everybody thought they could get something at that price,” says Park’s Kremer. “We’ve kind of gotten through that. Today, people want to know what they’re buying and considering what they’re trying to achieve.”

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