Carrie Ellis, Editor, Chem.Info
In this segment, our editors square off on timely issues relating to industrial maintenance and plant operation. The editorial staff would like to stress that we are not intending to specifically endorse any one viewpoint, however our intent is only to encourage dialogue by showing a point-counter-point on contentious issues
Yes, there are advantages to buying used equipment (namely, the price), but can the equipment be cost-efficient for the length of time you need it? You can do as much research as you’d like, but research can only go so far, and what exactly is standing behind you if or when the plant floor experiences downtime due to worn or otherwise impaired equipment? Is a warranty (if even offered) worth the potential risks?
Even worse, what if someone’s safety was jeopardized due to faulty used equipment? How do you justify the cost savings then?
Although used equipment dealers typically fix, clean and recalibrate items before they’re sold, it doesn’t compare to the security blanket that is buying brand-new equipment. Each product in a series has been essentially manufactured, tested and shipped the same way. This standardized procedure is less prone to human error. Additionally, you have all of the documentation that is automatically included with new equipment to clue you in on things like maintenance and installation, which is not always included with used equipment.
It should be stated, however, that buying used equipment in lieu of new equipment does not ultimately lead to failure on the plant floor. Depending on the lifecycle you’re hoping to extract from the equipment, the only practical decision may, in fact, be to purchase used equipment, so you can obtain a decent ROI. In the case that you are dead-set on buying used, be sure to use a reputable supplier—and if you don’t know—ask around. As the old mantra goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
But, for those of you who like assurance (and have the resources), why take your chances?