Monday, November 9, 2020

Used versus Reconditioned. What's the difference?

One thing that 2020 has created is opportunity.  No, we don't hear that very often right now, but 2020 created expansion in some sectors.  The POD (print on demand) market is exploding and that benefits the direct to garment decorator.  Masks are a new product all-together with a need for everyone to own many, so corporate branding is essential on these.  This benefits both the DTG printer as well as the direct screen printer.  

One other market that is growing is the used equipment market.  With the rapid shifting in the global economy, many printers are dumping their current machines due to loss of business or change of direction.  These machines are both manual and automatic printers and curing systems for large and small. Much of the local business is still available and new small printers are looking at that opportunity with the idea low overhead by working without store fronts or from home.

Do you buy Used?

Used machines are like used cars.  They are being sold for a reason.  And even when the current owner says, "it ran great yesterday" there are issues.  Many times these issues are easily fixed if the cost of the machine is within budget.  When buying, each machine type has different functionality to pay attention to.

Manual Printers

When looking at manual printers, most things are fixable at reasonable cost.  Just make sure the cost of the press is minimal.
  • Are the platens in good condition?
  • How clean is it?
  • Do the print heads come down and seat tight within the registration gate?  And if not, is the gate adjustable?
  • Do the micros work?
  • Are the head lifts strong, springs or gas shocks?  And if not, are they still available?

Automatic Printers

When looking at auto printers, replacement parts are costlier.  Also, if you have never set one up and want a tech, make sure one is available and that you are aware of that cost.  Covid-19 has limited travel and increased these prices.
  • Are the platens in good condition?
  • How clean is it?
  • Do the print heads come down and seat tight within the registration gate?  And if not, is the gate adjustable?
  • Do the micros work?
  • Are the motors or air cylinders in good condition?  This can be a very expensive fix.
  • Are there squeegee and floodbar sets?
  • Does the flash work and what power is required?
  • If this is an air driven machine, do you have the power to run the compressor?

Curing Systems

Dryers are the mainstay of production.  Used ones are available everywhere.  And these are tricky to determine if they are fully functioning.
  • How clean is it?
  • Do all the heaters turn on?
  • Does the belt run and how old is the drive assembly?
  • What is the condition of the belt?
  • Does the air system function?
  • Does the oven have digital controls?  If so, these are more expensive to repair.
  • Is this manufacturer still in business?  If not, replacement heaters will be difficult to find.

What does Reconditioned mean and is it worth the cost difference?

Reconditioned machinery from Brown has been inspected from top to bottom.  We will admit that we do not clean used machines as we do not want to charge for labor that the end customer can do themselves.  However, all machines are inspected and repaired for all specifications.  Parts that are marginal are replaced.  Wiring in all ovens is inspected and replaced, if necessary, through the heater rack and into the controls.  Heaters and motors are replaced if they are not functioning.  Control panels are rewired and updated to current technology.  

What is all of this worth?  That is up to the buyer.  Our machines are more money than used ones.  However, we know they will work when you get them and Brown provides a 30 day warranty on the complete machine as well as a 1 year on any item we replaced.  That is a reassurance that pays off in production time and your potential profits.

If you are looking at a used machine, contact us to see if that machine is priced where it should be.  Ask us for the potential repair parts costs.  And then see if we have a comparable item that is reconditioned.  You can determine what value that is to you  But we believe that downtime costs more than any up-charge of refurbished.