The Hunt for the Best Pre-Owned SMT Equipment Supplier


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When the time comes to increase capacity on the production floor, it doesn’t always come with the necessary budget to buy new equipment and your options are limited. This is where buying pre-owned equipment is often considered by many as unfortunate guesswork, dependent on your team and the source in which you decide you can trust to create an honest buying experience.

Saving money upfront and receiving the equipment much earlier are only two of the main reasons why our customers normally decide to buy pre-owned equipment over new, including all peripherals. For example, feeders for your pick-and-place machines, carts, racks and platform tray feeders are all essential to start up or increasing your capacity for production.

It seems that there are many SMT equipment resellers out there, some with many years of experience and others that are merely intermediaries between a company that’s trying to sell their surplus equipment and you. With that in mind, think of what you can afford not only in terms of the cost of equipment, but also regarding installation, training and support. Most reliable companies will have an experienced sales team and technicians available in-house through the entire buying process.

Expectations for a Pre-Owned Equipment Reseller

A responsible equipment sale begins with the knowledge of each piece of equipment, by your vendor, prior to bringing them back into the marketplace. Having hand-picked all pre-owned equipment prior to conducting the sale of each unit eliminates a lot of the guesswork for you.

With the exception to buying pre-owned equipment at an auction or gambling with a “used/as-is” condition, your vendor should gather as much information as possible when purchasing pre-owned equipment for stock. Dealing with an experienced sales and technician team removes the risks that many buyers have come to know as “buyer beware” scenarios.

Look for a company that does the troubleshooting for you and always ask what services are provided post-sale. Make sure these are documented in your quotation and included with your pre-owned equipment purchase. Areas to cover with each sale include the services to each machine, acceptance, delivery, installation and warranty. Follow up training on-site has also become a valued expectation from pre-owned equipment resellers held to the highest standard.

You can bet if none of these expectations are offered with your pre-owned equipment purchase that anything you hoped for post-sale may be a big disappointment.

Knowing the Difference: Experienced Vendor or Peacemaker?

Pioneer companies are transforming the way they sell and showcase their experience to current and potential customers. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that most companies are focusing on their most powerful sales tool: Their website and turning it into a platform to engage current and potential customers in more than one way.

A company’s website can no longer be only a digital catalogue. Nowadays, it must be a source of useful information about our industry and our products. It has to add value to your web-searching experience, not only exhibit their list of available equipment.

More and more frequently, customers are moving from a simple pit-stop on a website where they used to only look for lists of available equipment, to a longer search of valuable information about “How Tos” or “Dos and Don’ts” of pre-owned machine buying, trading and selling. It’s become more than just a source for equipment.

Many companies’ websites offer short, comprehensive articles that will help you understand how to decide between each category, such as, “Used as-is” and “Refurbished,” or what equipment will do the best job for your specific application and which one may not. The websites are helping prove the companies are both helpful and experienced before they ask for people’s next purchase. Think of this as where the cart is being filled, dumped, or possibly recycled. Customers expect a website to be a source of useful information and a sales team must be prepared with answers they don’t necessarily find in a manual or a description catalogue.

The vendors support and information maybe their strongest attribute than the actual sale of equipment.

What Makes a Good Salesperson?

Certainly, experience counts, but as we’ve come to learn from our many years in the market, it is not the most important merit of a sales person. After speaking to dozens of customers who have gone through at least one bad purchasing experience, it’s not surprising that dependability is the most important attribute our customers are looking for. As both my Grandfathers once said, “you can’t knock it!”

Finding a salesperson who will pick up the phone after the deal is done or not ignore an unpleasant email thread and answer questions like he did before the PO is not always easy. But that is in part the reason why some of the old-time companies are still thriving. They understand that their sales force is the engine of their ship and that the best referrals they will get will come from satisfied customers who recommend their services among their peers or will bring a business card with them, from one company to the next.

During your pre-owned vendor hunting process you will probably speak to more than one salesperson, so trust your instincts. Work with the one that tries to understand your situation and helps you find the best solution for it before he tries to sell you anything.

More likely he or she will be the one who will offer the right piece of equipment and will address any after-sale issues with a better understanding of where you’re coming from. The price is second or even third down the line.

Last but not Least

If you already have experience with one particular platform name, it is likely that you will need little to no help with the installation. Troubleshooting and new operator training will probably be part of your day-to-day process.

Whether you’re buying refurbished, reconditioned, or simply used as-is equipment, landing a decision can seem overwhelming. You and your team must consider the production rate at which you want to be, what type of equipment will give you those numbers and most of all, which vendor you can trust with this decision.

Fortunately, knowing your variables and the different options out there will make your life easier. Once costs associated with the purchase of previously-owned machines are identified, you’re already on the right path. Most important: Identifying what category (reconditioned or refurbished, serviced, used as is) suits you best will reduce the risk of getting an unpleasant surprise when the machine arrives at your floor.

A reliable vendor should deliver pre-owned machines and peripherals that have been hand-picked, supported and maintained. The equipment you buy should be priced according to market value and able to be delivered back onto your production floor with confidence that it will perform. Let your vendor take the guesswork out of buying pre-owned SMT equipment and work with someone you will be confident with who will not disappear after the sale has been completed.

"Pick and place" your relationship carefully with your pre-owned SMT equipment dealer to increase efficiency and profitability.

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