Is the purchase of a new custom press engineered to your specific needs a better business decision than acquiring a seemingly lower cost, used press that can be adapted to your forming operation?
Beckwood understands the appeal used equipment has to certain manufacturers. The short lead times and lower up-front purchase prices of used presses can be attractive. However, committing to a used press can have significant challenges, which may not show up at the point of purchase. Several factors can influence the decision to purchase a new press versus a used press; project timeline, up-front versus long term cost implications, and application requirements are just a few.
When shopping for a hydraulic press, new or used, it is important to ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are maximizing your company’s capital equipment dollars and making the right choice for your situation.
Application Needs: How important is a press designed around your specific application?
A custom press provides everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Size, speed, tonnage, safety, controls, accuracy, etc. are engineered to your specific application. A used press, however, will undoubtedly require certain sacrifices. In some instances, those sacrifices might be acceptable, but multiplied over time, those concessions can significantly impact productivity, safety and overall profitability.
When considering your application requirements ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I be getting all of the functions I need? Where do I have to make sacrifices?
- What retrofits will need to be performed on the machine in order to allow it to work with my application?
- Will I be using more floor space than is really necessary? How does that affect my operations?
- Will I need to include a pit, a platform or other environmental adjustment?
- Will I have to change my processes to suit this press or vice versa?
- How will this press affect my product quality?
- Will I be able to easily source spare or replacement components?
- Will my operators be able to work safely and efficiently on this press?
- Who will I call for support should I need assistance with the machine?
Service & Support: Are your in-house maintenance resources well-developed?
In addition to matching your application needs, new (Beckwood) presses are built with the newest, most efficient components, offer an extended warranty, and are backed by a robust factory service & support team that also provides operator and maintenance training. While there are some exceptions, the majority of used presses are sold ‘as-is,’ featuring antiquated components and non-existent support.
When searching the used market, you should closely evaluate the age, condition and operation of any pre-owned machinery. It’s important to know, prior to making any commitments, where the press was used, how it was used and why it is being put up for sale. You should also request all available service records which will indicate how well the previous owners maintained the equipment. Answers to these questions will either instill a certain sense of confidence in the used purchase decision or act as red flags that’ll help avoid disaster.
Whether you buy new or used, be sure to ask these questions regarding service and support.
- Who do I call if I need service or support? (Even if it is not the same company you bought from – be sure there is someone you can call.)
- How much is service and support? Is it hourly, is it a contract, is it per trip, etc.?
- What is the average turnaround time on a support call?
- What do you expect annual maintenance on this machine to cost (in both time and money)?
- When was the last time this machine was serviced? Who performed that service?
- Is there anyone available that my internal maintenance team can contact with questions?
Budget: Is your budget more sensitive to up-front investment dollars or long-term unexpected expenses?
Custom doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive, and capital expense budgets should factor in up-front and long-term costs of the various options available. Used equipment can have costs which are clearly evident, including retrofitting, facility modifications and delivery & installation requirements not offered by the seller. Over time, additional ‘hidden’ costs can impact the overall cost of the project, such as maintenance & repair and efficiency-loss due to the adoption of equipment initially designed for a different application.
When comparing a new custom press to used alternatives, consider these individual costs:
- Machine Cost – Actual, up-front cost of each solution
- Retrofitting Cost –Controls, safety systems and other press modifications required to adapt to the application or company standards
- Facility Cost – Any facility changes needed to accommodate the incoming press (pits, other foundation work, etc.)
- Delivery and Installation Cost
- Annual maintenance cost, including spare parts and maintenance time
Timeline: When must you have a fully functional press on your shop floor?
In most cases, by the time the need for capital equipment is realized, researched, and approved, the available timeline for purchasing, installation and start-up has dwindled. On the surface, an expedited project timeline naturally lends itself to purchasing used equipment, but in many situations, the time associated with purchasing and retrofitting a used press can be comparable to the lead time of a new press. Additionally, it is often assumed that custom presses require long lead-times, and feature ‘custom’ parts with obscure availability. In fact, many custom presses are associated with expedited lead times, and Beckwood’s presses feature off the shelf components readily available from local suppliers. Plus, taking into consideration certain adjustments which must be made to fit the ‘square’ used press into the ‘round’ application hole, the overall time-to-operation between the two scenarios can be closer than you think.
When planning your timeline consider the following:
- How soon is the press available?
- How long will it take to transport the press to your facility?
- How long will upgrades/retrofitting take?
- How long will testing take before it is operable?
Don’t settle for a press that falls outside of your ideal specifications. You can have a press engineered to your exact requirements for a surprising value when the long-term view of the project is taken into consideration. The positive impact of equipment that’s made for you can affect the quality of your products, the size of your profit margins, the efficient use of your facility space, the safety of your team members and much more.