For startups, small companies and family businesses, finding the budget to make big investments in new food packaging equipment can be a challenge. For many of these companies finding a great deal on some used equipment may seem like an option to get them through until they have the cash on hand, but this is a risky decision and one that rarely works the way it is intended.
There are several different reasons to avoid choosing used packaging equipment. To help illustrate these issues, it is important to consider the pros and cons of used and new options and how they compare.
Costs – Initial and Ongoing
There is no question that the cost of new food packaging equipment is going to be more than the cost of equipment that is used. While this is true in every case, there are some real downsides to getting a really cheap used item just to try to get through.
The lowest cost equipment is often very well used and close to the end of its life cycle. It is going to be slower to operate than new equipment, reducing the potential of the production line. It is also going to be more likely to need ongoing repair, which can result in a full stoppage of production and absolutely no production on the line.
These two issues, when compared to the cost of the new equipment, may easily offset the savings in just a few months of use. It can also prevent your business from saving for a new purchase.
Assistance and Support
As with any type of new machines, food packaging equipment will have a manufacturer’s warranty and also support from the manufacturer for a set period of time. A few of the top manufacturers offer free phone support for as long as you own the equipment, which allows you to ask questions, troubleshoot problems and even work with the manufacturer to create solutions for packing modifications you may need to make.
With used equipment, you will be on your own. You may or may not be able to find a repair technician with experience with that particular brand and model, and it may or may not be possible to find OEM parts for repairs.
Additionally, and another very critical factor to consider is that old equipment may not integrate with the automated equipment on your line through your production software. This can result in the need for manual adjustments to equipment, which always increases the risk of human error and wasted product.
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