SPECIAL SECTION/BUSINESS GUIDE: Second-Hand

December 1, 2007
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Although each second-hand machinery purchase is unique, diligent research and careful evaluation can help ensure the best outcome.



The second-hand machinery market is very mature in the free world markets. A lot of machinery used in ceramic manufacturing is traded each year due to ready availability and lower pricing in comparison to new products.

Delivery for new machinery can take many months, while second-hand machinery offers quick delivery. In addition, the lower price of second-hand machinery can be attractive for applications where the processes to be used and products to be manufactured are not yet established enough to justify the higher investment required with the purchase of new machinery. Although each second-hand machinery purchase is unique, evaluating common requirements, the available machinery and the source can help ensure the best outcome.

Doing the Homework

In industry practice, the term machinery is most commonly applied to larger production machines that have considerable motion in their application and are used to manufacture products in production environments. Generally speaking, the term equipment is applied to items that are not necessarily manufacturing products. Such equipment could be for laboratory, quality control, packaging or other in-plant purposes.

Much of the machinery and equipment used for the manufacture of ceramic products has other applications outside of ceramics, while some is ceramic-application specific. For example, blenders, screeners, and secondary finishing machines like vibratory finishing mills and various types of grinders can either be designed specifically for use in ceramic manufacturing or for other industries. Buyers should identify the manufacturer’s markets for such items and consider if equipment originally designed for an alternative industry might be able to fit their application.

By researching manufacturers of new machinery, reading their literature and learning about accessory features and performance criteria, buyers will be better equipped to speak with second-hand machinery suppliers. New machinery manufacturers often have departments that trade their machinery in the second-hand market or through preferred dealers. A new machinery maker should be considered important to any second-hand purchase, since technical information, replacement parts and updates will generally require a relationship with the manufacturer.

With knowledge about what machinery is needed by type, preferred make, required specifications and industrial applications, buyers can then enquire more intelligently in the second-hand machinery industry to locate the required item or items. A source that routinely trades in the specific type of machinery needed will likely better describe the item’s condition based on experience with similar items.

Building Relationships

Relationships based on responsible business activity and experience cannot be overemphasized when enquiring about machinery and equipment or entering into a business relationship in the second-hand machinery industry. It is important for the buyer to do their homework to determine what equipment they want, what condition they want it in, and what range of values they will accept for the items when purchased in this condition.

It is not uncommon for a second-hand machinery buyer to approach second-hand machinery sellers in a general manner, rather than with a prepared presentation of their actual machinery needs with specific details. Unfortunately, this is not the best approach. Initial discussions should detail what equipment is needed and what the seller can offer to fit the specific needs of the buyer.

It is important to have or develop trust with each second-hand source of supply. It is reasonable for the buyer to enquire into the experience of the seller and to have confidence in the seller’s knowledge of the specific items, as well as the materials or parts that will be processed in the machinery needed.

A relationship that is based on mutual respect is going to bring about the best final transaction. Price is important, but it is secondary to acquiring the correct machine for the application. A seller can have more confidence when they see that they are doing business with professional people who are focused on the proper machine in the proper condition. Price can then be negotiated on a basis of mutual benefit and best value to the buyer.

Finding Sources

Publications are excellent resources for finding suppliers of second-hand and new ceramic machinery, and the market has broadened considerably with the advent of the Internet. Publications have broadened their offerings and potential buyers simply need a computer with Internet access to search worldwide for commodities and suppliers.

When enquiring through the Internet, buyers should identify the location and actual owner of the items offered, and question the potential supplier about their history and experience in the supply of that type of item. In addition to a photo and description, suppliers should offer removal, packing and shipping services, as well as service connections upon delivery and any needed ancillary services.

Buyers should seek professionalism from the seller; there is no reason that the second-hand machinery industry should be any less professional than other industries. Many people and entities have knowledge of the companies that are active in the second-hand ceramic machinery trading business and buyers should seek their referrals, as well as those from major publications, consulting firms, and ceramic and second-hand machinery associations.

Whether buying equipment directly, at auction or in bulk, all of these same considerations still apply. When buying and shipping internationally, buyers should select a source of supply that has additional experience with the necessary documentation and any required specialty packing.

Ensuring a Good Experience

The experience of buying second-hand machinery can be pleasant and productive for individuals and corporations that prepare properly. Whether the requirement is for future planning, determining budget pricing, pricing one’s own machinery, or for immediate purchase, buyers should target a second-hand machinery supplier that is experienced and offers a full range of services specific to their industry.

With the proper preparation, the buyer and seller both benefit from a positive business relationship. Most importantly, the buyer is rewarded with substantial cost savings and quick delivery, providing excellent value for their investment.

For additional information regarding second-hand machinery, contact Mohr Corp. at P.O. Box 1600, Brighton, MI 48116; (810) 225-9494; fax (810) 225-4634; e-mail artmohr@mohrcorp.com; or visit www.mohrcorp.com.

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