8 questions to ask before purchasing used tissue converting equipment

Tissue converting equipment is a substantial capital investment, leaving some converters to contemplate purchasing used machinery to stretch their budget dollars. Previously owned equipment is a viable option since it’s generally available at a fraction of the cost of new, but does an attractive price point provide enough of a value to justify the purchase?

Get clear answers to the following questions before making a final decision to purchase used tissue converting equipment over new.

1. Who’s selling the equipment, and why?

This question is often top of mind for potential purchasers, and with good reason since a good deal of money may be on the line. Do your research. Ask who is selling the equipment. If the seller is unfamiliar to you, ask colleagues if/what they know about the seller’s reputation and don’t hesitate to vet them through any established dealer relationships you may have. Be persistent in getting clear answers as to why the equipment is being sold, too. The answer may reveal a solid reason not to buy — like a history of breakdowns — or, it may be as simple as the equipment no longer suiting the converter’s needs, perhaps making it an ideal buying situation for you.

2. Is the tissue converting equipment refurbished or remanufactured?

If you’re just starting up or maybe looking to expand incrementally, investing in refurbished or remanufactured equipment may be a cost-effective decision. Often, refurbished pieces are fully torn down, inspected, upgraded and reassembled which provides an added peace of mind. Plus, refurbished and remanufactured tissue converting equipment may come with an extended warranty or customer service support absent from new purchase arrangements.

3. Is the equipment capable of expanding physically and technologically to meet future capacity needs?

Used tissue converting equipment that solves your challenges in the moment may appear to be a deal, but don’t rush to judgment. Carefully examine its expansion capabilities — are they sufficient for one year down the road? Five years? And don’t overlook technology. You may be able to receive upgrades now, but technology can quickly become obsolete and you could eventually be left with no option other than replacing the machine sooner than you thought.

4. Can the machine produce the product I need?

When considering a used piece of equipment make sure it capable of producing the product attributes you need and that it is fully capable of running specific papers such as TAD/structure or LDC/conventional. 

5. Are the safety and control systems up to date?

Older tissue converting equipment may be prone to certain deficiencies in safety and control systems or may not meet current OSHA guarding standards. Maintaining these critical functionalities to your standards can become increasingly difficult as machines age out of certain upgrade capabilities, potentially putting your productivity and workers at risk. Consider having the machine’s OEM look at the machine to confirm its condition prior to purchase.

6. Is there a warranty in place that covers service, support, spare/replacement parts and maintenance?

Cost is only one aspect of a used equipment purchase decision. Knowing what you’re buying beyond the machinery is essential, or you may be subject to some unpleasant surprises when you realize replacement parts are no longer available, or service and repair costs will soon approach the purchase price of the equipment.

7. Who will handle installation planning?

New equipment has the upper hand when it comes to installation since there is no question about how the installation will be handled. It becomes a bit more pressing with used setups. The seller is not necessarily qualified or inclined to participate in the installation, and hiring professionals to plan and install used equipment on your line could mean not saving as much money as you intended.

8. Is financing available?

Budget often dictates used equipment purchases, and having all of the money to cover machinery costs, installation, training and related expenses isn’t always available. Arranging for financing a major capital purchase isn’t uncommon, but weigh the ROI. Will the increased productivity and expanded opportunities counterbalance taking on an interest-bearing payment? Will you maximize the value of the equipment before you have it paid off? If you’re financing, you may want to keep new equipment as a possibility as you may get more favorable financing terms, and new machinery may qualify for certain tax incentives.

To make sure you’re asking the right questions about finding tissue converting equipment that’s the right fit for your line, goals and budget, ask Valmet for guidance from leaders in the tissue converting equipment market.