What to Look Out for When Buying a Used CMM Machine?

Published by CMMXYZ on July 27, 2018

Buying a Used CMM Machine?

What to Look for and What to Look Out for

Our business has one purpose: we exclusively specialize in coordinate measuring machines. When you purchase a used machine from CMMXYZ, it will have undergone a 31-point check at our facility. We literally strip down the machine and rebuild it with new or re-engineered components to make sure your purchase is working like new.

When most factories decide to curtail their activities, sell off excess inventory, or go bankrupt, some of that inventory may be CMMs. On the Internet, every week, are hundreds of auctions where people can bid on those used items. A prospective customer has no idea what he or she may be getting from an auction. The buyer sees a picture and a description of what the CMM contains, but there is no way to ascertain the condition of the machine or of any of its components.

Auctioneers know nothing specific about these machines. Because they don't understand where the value of a CMM lies, auctioneers really don't answer questions that are most relevant to a CMM purchase. Even the prospective buyer of the machine may not understand the relevance of coordinate measuring machines' accessories. Therefore, especially if one is not an expert on coordinate measuring machines, buying a CMM at an auction is taking a big risk.

In addition to used machines bought at auction, some customers consider the purchase of "flip" machines. When a machine tool company that specializes in used equipment buys a CMM from an end user, and while it is still at the same facility, that company "flips" it for a low profit margin to a buyer. The same problems exist in buying a flipped CMM as at an auction: the people doing the selling don't really understand CMMs or the value of their accessories.

To safeguard from a bad CMM Machine purchase at an auction, a buyer can do two things:

Attend the auction. Then you will be able to truly see the condition of the machine and to assess all the options that are included with it, particularly software.

Instead of going yourself, contract with an expert in the field to attend and inspect the condition and components of the machine. This person could then bid on the machine for you; he or she will have the knowledge to do so more wisely.

Generally speaking, buying a used CMM at an auction is like a game of roulette, because the items of most value on a CMM are its software and the computer that runs it. Are these included? Have they been lost? These are very, very important components of the coordinate measuring machine, much more so than its hardware.

And although software can often be substituted or replaced, not all software products are compatible with different types of machines. The general price of a good software product that works with CAD (Computer Applied Design) is anywhere from $12-$26K. Sometimes machines are resold with disks, but what is required is actually a key called a dongle. A dongle is a USB key that fits into the back of the computer and allows the computer to operate the CMM's software. An auctioned or flipped CMM may not have the dongle key.

The "auction bargain" you have purchased will become less of a bargain, depending on each machine's condition. Your used machine may need mechanical work, such as new airlines or replacement bearings. You may find it has controller problems, non-functional probing, or missing software. In other words, you may have bought a machine at auction for $30K, and it may cost you another $30,000 to render it functional. You won't know this at the time of the auction. Customers often turn to us at CMMXYZ to fix issues with auction-purchased CMMs, so we are very familiar with the problems they face.

Remember also that when you buy a machine at auction you must pay for a CMM professional to pack the machine, for it to be shipped to you, and then rebuilt and calibrated at your facility. These services add another $10-$15K to your expenses. All of this happens before the condition of the machine is even assessed. And, the expert you hire to install your machine may not be an expert on your particular brand or type of CMM.

There is no warranty behind a flipped or an auctioned machine.

If your purchased machine doesn't work, you must hire someone to come in, diagnose the problem, and, hopefully, fix it.When you buy a used machine from a machinery dealer, you are essentially going through the same gamut of issues we've discussed about auction purchases, unless the dealer is an expert in coordinate measurement.

What are the benefits of dealing with CMMXYZ?

  1. You have the assurance that the CMM, when it arrives on your factory floor, works and is fully operational.
  2. Our machines are warrantied. If, within the first 30 days after purchasing a used item from us, something goes wrong with your machine, CMMXYZ will fix the problem with no added cost to you, the buyer.
  3. We can offer a turnkey system. Our price can include all the services, including installing and calibrating. Before shipment we take a video of the machine in operation, we photograph its packaging and loading for shipment, all as added assurances of its future functional integrity.
  4. We make sure that when we (or a designated expert of our choosing) install a CMM, the machine is operational. If it is not, we fix it.
  5. If you need to put different software on the machine you are buying, we have the ability to install different CMM software products on the used machine you purchase from us.

Buying a used machine from a company that specializes only in coordinate measuring machines has many advantages and reassurances. Why take some potentially very expensive risks with another source when CMMXYZ will make sure your used purchase works like new?

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