How to shop for used sheet metal equipment
If you own a smaller machine shop, and you’re looking to expand your business operations, moving into the sheet metal industry is often a good move.
Instead of only focusing on metal cutting, die cutting, and other basic machine operations, you can begin using press brakes and other bending machinery to expand your operational capabilities.
The demand for sheet metal services is very high, exhibiting a solid 1.4% CAGR in 2017. With the proper equipment and operators, expanding into the world of sheet metal fabrication can be quite lucrative.
But sheet metal equipment is very expensive, especially if it’s brand new. One of the best ways to save money is to shop for used sheet metal equipment. In this guide, we’ll discuss what you need to know about shopping for sheet metal equipment.
1. Define Your Needs
If you have not yet begun working with sheet metal, it’s better to start slow. You should define your needs – as well as your goals.
For example, if your goal is to be the #1 source for small-batch sheet metal bending services, you may need a press brake with automated tool loading and a 3-axis back gauge.
By defining your goals from the outset, you’ll be able to get a more clear picture about the specific machinery needs that you will have.
2. Think About Your Budget
Next, it’s time to start thinking about your budget, and how much money you can spend on new or used sheet metal equipment.
Luckily, you can get quite a bit of high-quality used sheet metal equipment for a reasonable price. While a brand new press brake can cost you over $100K, in some cases, you can usually find high-quality machinery for a fraction of that price.
You should also think about whether or not you’ll need equipment financing. If your business is healthy and expanding, you may be able to take out a bank loan or an equipment loan to purchase your new equipment. This may be a good idea if you need to maintain financial liquidity – just make sure that you are going to be able to repay the loan quickly.
3. Plan Your New Shop Layout
You should shop for equipment with your current shop layout in mind. If you already have some empty areas where you can safely install your new equipment, that will make things much easier for you.
Make sure to take measurements of your shop to make sure that the equipment will fit, and ensure that any potential workplace is roomy, well-lit, and safe.
If you don’t currently have enough space for a new machine, it may be time to think about expanding to another location, or moving your operations to a new building.
4. Do Your Due Diligence
When shopping for a used piece of equipment, make sure that you test it to make sure it works properly. You should also ask for any available ownership and maintenance logs. You’ll want to make sure that any sheet metal equipment you get is high-quality, and free of any major mechanical defects or other issues.
You may even want to bring along a trained mechanic or equipment service technician, and ask the owner if you can inspect the machine. In most cases, they’ll say “yes” – and if they don’t, that’s a bit warning sign.
5. Get Your Employees Trained On All Of Your New Equipment
Once you’ve purchased your new equipment, you need to make sure that your employees are trained on its operation – even if they won’t be using the machine. This will help ensure the safety of all of your workers, and compliance with all regulatory standards.
Shop For Used Sheet Metal Equipment Now – And Expand Your Business Operations!
Additional sheet metal manufacturing capacity is always a good thing for your business – whether you run a small shop, or manage a larger machining company. So if you’re shopping for used sheet metal equipment, follow this guide – and make sure you get the most for your money.