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Blinded by the Price

When scouring the Internet for equipment bargains, a lack of information makes it hard to be sure which equipment is legitimate and which are lemons in disguise.

When scouring the Internet for equipment bargains, a lack of information makes it hard to be sure which ones are legitimate and which ones are lemons in disguise. Since many machines posted for sale online do not come with a warranty, user manual, maintenance log or chain of custody documenting prior owners, eager shoppers considering auctions and plant liquidation sales need to do their research before purchasing based on a price that seems too good to be true, according to Larry Stoma, design engineer for The Witte Co. 

Stoma has helped many companies recover from hasty used-equipment purchases. He offers these recommendations for evaluating screeners, classifiers, fluid bed dryers, coolers, conveyors, dewaterers, and other used or refurbished process equipment: 

  1. First, determine what the process needs, then search online based on these needs. If the equipment would not solve the problem, then any price is too high.
  2. Know exactly what’s offered. If there is any doubt about what is pictured or described, then involve an engineer with experience in designing and operating similar equipment.
  3. Call the manufacturer with the serial number and ask for the original specifications for comparison to the equipment for sale.
  4. Ask for manuals, training guides, maintenance logs and any other information that may be available.
  5. Verify the dimensions and compare to the facility — including doorways.
  6. Understand that most warranties are non-transferrable and voided when the equipment is modified in the field.
  7. Know local regulations. For example, several U.S. states require baghouse dust collectors and have outlawed cyclones. Most second-hand equipment sellers are unlikely to be up to date on the regulatory environment in 50 different states or in different countries.

The Witte Company maintains an archive of original specifications for every system manufacture,d and provides the history, original duty, and parts list for people considering buying used Witte equipment. The company also offers to print drawings and manuals, and personally inspect the used equipment on-site before purchase.

For more information, please email Stoma via [email protected] or visit