New technology, new process, new configuration, new this, new that, bold, powerful, shiny. Trade shows are fashion runways for new machinery, and the halls glimmer with freshly minted presses, slitter rewinders, finishing systems, everything. Sprinkled among the exhibitors are a handful of dealers and brokers of used equipment, quietly taking care of the needs of hundreds of converters who are looking for a good price on a decent machine that once was owned by somebody else.
The market for used equipment today is "vibrant," according to John Dignam, co-owner of J&J Converting Machinery, Grandview, MO, USA. "It seems to be back. The phone is ringing, people need more capacity. The buyers are there. The problem is to find the good machines." Dignam's view is echoed by others in the pre-owned press business, who say that the recent period of trepidation seems to have abated. "It's very strong, better than it has been in the past three to four years," says Cindy Glass, sales and marketing director for HC Miller, Green Bay, WI, USA. "A lot of people are not as scared as they were a year or two ago."
AAA Press International is having a "fantastic year" buying and selling used equipment. According to Mark Hahn, VP of sales and marketing, when times were tough converters were limiting their purchases to platemakers and rewinders. "Now they are buying $200,000 presses with cash. Some are still leasing new equipment, but most don't want to be caught in a situation like that. Some have good local banking relationships, and are able to get loans." AAA Press is based in Arlington Heights, IL, USA.
With the recession came a deadness in sales of pretty much everything in the big equipment category. The future was unknown, and folks tended to hold on to what they had and wait out the dark days. Yet out from that miasma came some fine label presses--late model, low mileage machines. "Typically when that happens, someone made a mistake," Dignam says. "More than half the time it's a bank calling. There's less of that now" Glass concurs: "Some people who bought new just before the market went bad couldn't afford to keep them. They went on the market a year old, with a thousand hours on them. We have seen some 201.0 models with very low hours, bought in anticipation of getting a certain piece of work, and they lost the job."
Today's market has shifted. "When the economy is going gangbusters and everybody's doing well, it's a tough time for used equipment,"...