Would you buy a 20 year old computer?
- Simon Harvey
This is an interesting question to which most of us would answer ‘No’! Imagine your PC failing and taking a trip out to the computer store to browse a selection of used PCs from 1999. Probably running Windows 95 or with a bit of luck perhaps Windows 98 (you’ll pay extra for that!).
So why don’t you? No doubt you are concerned about backup; will components fail which are no longer supported? Will you get reliability? Are there technicians available that know the software? Will the manufacturers help? Furthermore, technology has come a long way in the last twenty years and it’s almost definitely not going to support our favourite programs and apps which are designed to increase productivity and make life simpler.
So what has this got to do with machinery?
Customers often ask us for used machinery as they are working to a budget. A well refurbished machine can often be an option in order to get started in business or for a non core process where there is little budget available. For simple machines this is certainly worth considering as electrical parts are standard items and even bespoke components can be reversed engineered. But what if the ‘brain’ of the machine is essentially an old computer?
Buying used CNC machines
Machines such as CNC press brakes or plasma cutters may be in good condition from a mechanical or hydraulic perspective but are ultimately reliant on controls and software which may be up to 30 years old. In the best case scenario these controls may perform faultlessly for a number of years but in other cases they can fail and require a costly control retrofit which ultimately means investing in old technology.
Looking at the whole life cost
We recommend considering whole life cost when purchasing a machine. In many cases a new machine with a simple intuitive control will give years of trouble free running and will of course include a parts and labour warranty of at least 12 months, giving peace of mind that there will be no unexpected costs. When also taking into account new technology which improves productivity and reduces parts cost, the whole life cost of a new machine can be comparable to used or even cost less.
So what do we advise?
Here at Bison we do still offer used CNC machines when they can be refurbished to an acceptable standard, although we will often recommend investing a little more initially in a new machine with a known cost over a fixed period. With this in mind we offer a range of products including entry level machines which are manufactured with quality components but to a budget intended to be an entry level model. An example of a product like this are the CNC press brakes from RVD Machinery.
Ultimately the choice is yours; our job is to help you make an informed decision taking into account the whole life cost of the equipment and giving consideration to the latest technology and productivity features. In our showroom you can often view both new and used alternative and make an informed decision. You can view the Bison Machinery 360⁰ Showroom Tour or contact us to arrange a visit.