Tips on buying used equipment online
When scouring the Internet for equipment bargains, a lack of information makes it hard to be sure which bargains 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, shoppers need to be cautious, says Larry Stoma, design engineer for the Washington, N.J.-based Witte Co. The family-owned firm designs and manufactures drying, cooling, screening and related process equipment.
The lack of owner documents should be considered as red flags before purchasing, especially when the selling price seems too good to be true, Stoma says. Prospective equipment buyers shopping at online auctions and plant liquidation sales need to investigate closely.
Stoma has helped companies recover from hasty used equipment purchases. He offers the following recommendations for evaluating screeners, fluid bed dryers, coolers, conveyors, dewaterers and other used or refurbished water/wastewater, salt handling and recycling equipment:
*First, determine what the process needs, then search online based on those needs. If the equipment would not solve the problem, then any price is too high.
*Know exactly what’s offered. If there is any doubt about what is pictured or described, then check with an engineer with experience in designing and operating similar equipment.
*Call the manufacturer with the serial number and ask for the original specifications for comparison to the equipment being offered for sale.
*Ask for manuals, training guides, maintenance logs and any other information that may be available.
*Verify the dimensions and compare to the facility — including doorways.
*Understand that most warranties are non-transferrable and voided when the equipment is modified in the field.
*Know local regulations. For example, several states in the U.S. require baghouse dust collectors and have outlawed cyclones. Most secondhand equipment sellers are unlikely to be up to date on the regulatory environment in 50 different states or in different countries.
The Witte Co. maintains an archive of original specifications for every system manufactured, and provides the history, original duty and parts list to 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, contact Larry Stoma at the Witte Co. at LarryStoma@witte.com. Phone: 908-689-6500.