Published On: April 26, 20224 min read

If you have tried to purchase plastic processing equipment recently, you do not need to be told how long the lead times have been and how frustrating the process is. Like so many things, the manufacture of new equipment in the plastics industry has slowed tremendously, which has caused a chain reaction. Why is this the current situation?

According to Industrialspec.com, the delays and shortages in the manufacture of plastic processing equipment are the result of a “perfect storm.” The first part of the storm involved raw materials. When COVID began to overtake the world in early 2020, suppliers pulled back, assuming there would be shrinkage in the market. Instead, the opposite happened. Demand surged. This was a result of the rapid increase in glove and mask manufacturing, as well as an increase in plastic usage through all of the food and beverages people were having delivered to their homes.

plastic processing equipmentThe second part of the storm was literal storms. The hurricane season of 2020 was one of the busiest in recent history. This further delayed shipping and made the rising demand even harder to meet.

Finally, the labor shortage has impacted the plastic processing industry as much as it has so many others around the world. Whether the labor shortages have been due to cases of COVID or people seeking new jobs, or some combination, many plants have had to shut down temporarily or adjust how they do business to accommodate a smaller workforce.

While the explanation for equipment shortages and shipping delays are rational and make sense on a global scale, as a business owner, you can’t easily relay these explanations to your customers, who need and want things immediately. You have plastic parts you need to manufacture and you do not want to be a delay for the businesses who depend on you. What can you do to alleviate this pressure?

Purchasing Plastic Processing Equipment is Never Easy

Purchasing capital equipment for your business is always rife with decision-making, and these decisions are not easy. What machine would help boost productivity the most? Do you need to replace machinery or do you need to add to your inventory? Will demand continue at the current level for long enough to rationalize purchasing equipment to meet that demand? There is one more decision that should be added to this list of complexities, however. That question is whether you should buy new equipment or whether you should investigate recycled or used plastic processing equipment.

This year is an ideal time to consider purchasing used and recycled plastic processing equipment. Whether you are seeking injection molding equipment, extrusion molding equipment, or something else, you are likely to find what you need from a reputable resource. By the same token, if you are looking to liquidate some of the equipment you have on hand to make room for the new, these resources can often assist with that side as well. There are several advantages to purchasing used or recycled equipment, including:

• Minimal lead time
• Lower cost
• Greater ROI
• Less risk

What should you look for when choosing a used or recycled machine?

• Make sure what you are purchasing has all of the features and capabilities you are looking for
• Keep resale in mind. Even if you don’t need a special feature, if you resell the equipment in a year or two, that same capability could help your profit
• Know the market and do your research. Make sure you know what similar equipment is selling for both in terms of new equipment and other recycled or used equipment. Don’t assume the first deal is the best deal.
• Make sure you have all attachments that the machine requires. The refurbishment process should ensure this, but it is always beneficial to double check.
• Is there still a warranty or has that expired? If it has expired, confirm you can purchase a new warranty.
• What exactly was refurbished, if anything.
• Can the machine run in front of you before your purchase so you can evaluate its performance.

If you are dealing with the right kind of industrial reseller, this information should be easy to gather and assess. If it is not, that might be a sign that you need to shop elsewhere.

plastic processing equipmentEven in regular market conditions, buying used or recycled plastic processing equipment can be highly beneficial for manufacturers. The money saved over purchasing new equipment can be used for new hires, improving the workplace environment, or extending additional benefits. Using less new equipment can also mean that workers who have been in the industry for a few years will not need to be trained as they would need for new equipment. The skills and familiarity already exist.