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Question and Answer

Knowing the Ins and Outs of Used Equipment

by Staff

May-June, 2002
At some point it was bound to happen. You find your plant bottlenecked from increased volume demands or unable to serve a client with a new application. You could invest in a new machine, and in some cases, that is the best solution. However, there is the alternative to consider used equipment as well. At a fraction of the cost of new machinery, rebuilds and upgrades are a sensible solution for extracting more productive life from your existing equipment. Whether you want to increase machine speed, provide more accurate material positioning, convert different stock sizes or improve set up cycle times, contact a company who is experienced with rebuilding or upgrading to provide an assessment of the convertibility of your existing machinery.

If your converting equipment has been around for years, it may not need to become extinct. An experienced rebuilding/reconditioning company can determine if your style or model is suited for a rebuild or it can search for a used model that can be rebuilt or upgraded. Most upgrades are not just to replace antiquated components, but can be used to create an even more productive machine (better than new). A good rebuilt machine can reduce set-ups, ease maintenance, handle a new product or project, and improve volume. With solid rebuild and upgrade services you’ll extend the useful life of your machinery and avoid or prolong the cost of buying new.


Many finishers/printers ask, “What are the differences in the terms thrown around for Used Equipment?” Clear definitions for each level of machine condition provide customers with a better way to evaluate their purchase options. Concise and consistent descriptions for each level of machine are very important in determining value. With a variety of used equipment alternatives you can focus on specific solutions that meet the capital investment plans for each and every customer.

AS-IS:“As-Is” is defined as equipment that would be sold with the understanding that no additional repairs or rework would be completed, “As-Is” machinery can be selected to suit any budget, and is usually chosen with a specific model, size or age in mind. “As-Is” equipment typically involves a comprehensive broker/dealer and end user inspection, a clear contract of what attachments and tooling are included, as well as who is responsible for all facets of shipment preparation and related costs. “As-Is” equipment can be sold out of an existing plant still under power, from a plant that has a surplus warehouse, from a shutdown plant, or from a dealer or manufacturers’ stock. Warranties or guarantees are seldom provided.

RECONDITIONED: Equipment sold as reconditioned, refurbished or repaired is typically found in a dealer or a manufacturers’ facility or purchased on behalf of a customer with the specific intent on putting a used machine in good working order. The reconditioned, refurbished or repaired machine is cleaned, inspected, and painted if necessary. Components that have worn out or broken are repaired or replaced. Worn components that still have reasonable useful life are not replaced (unless specifically requested to do so by the customer). Major machine components may have a limited warranty as stated on the contract.

REBUILT: A rebuilt or remanufactured machine entails a complete tear down (disassembly), inspection of all components and replacement or repair of all items needed to bring the machine to “as new” condition (OEM specifications). This would include all bearings, bushings, chains, rollers, guides, electrical relays, motors, clutches, brakes, castings, weldments, control components, and operator stations to name a few. The machine is professionally repainted to original or customer preferred colors. The goal of a rebuild is to put the machine back to specs and in “as new” working order. A limited warranty or guarantee would be provided.

UPGRADED: An upgrade or “modernization” is just as it sounds…the adaptation of new/modern/more readily available components or systems to a “core” old machine to achieve more modern, reliable, and serviceable performance. An upgrade or “modernization” may take the following shape:

  • Replace all dated control components with contemporary substitutions.
  • Upgrade motors, brakes, and clutches to greater duty cycle with more readily available service parts.
  • Modify the machine mechanics to produce board material and carton shapes that were not originally intended (i.e. increase cutting or folding material capacity).
  • Add contemporary safety devices or warning/monitoring systems to older machines…for ergonomic or operator safety improvements.
  • Adapt newer materials such as nylons, special alloys, etc. to replace aged designs (components)…guides, wear strips, levers, rollers, wheels, pulleys, etc.
  • Adapt new electronic drives to replace old cams, clutches, or power transmissions for better speed and torque regulation of feeders, pumps, main drive shafts, etc. (i.e. P.C. based servos, adjustable frequency drives).
  • Replace old contactor (relay) logic and related electro-mechanical components with PLC’s or other logic devices.

Time and money drive most business decisions and is the key to why many companies choose well-accepted brands of used equipment to fill their production needs. The constant availability of moderately priced and proven converting technology requires a partner skilled in the selection process. Pick an experienced partner focused on converting equipment repair and rebuilds, as well as the skills to evaluate available machinery. Working with a competent resource is essential, whether purchasing “As-Is”, Reconditioned”, “Rebuilt” or “Upgraded” equipment.

InsideFinishing would like to thank American International Machinery for its contribution to this article. AIM specializes in new and used folding carton and corrugated converting equipment and is the exclusive North American supplier of the Signature brand folder gluers and other converting machinery. AIM can be reached at 414-764-3223 or visit: www.aim-inc.net.