Used Packaging Machinery Buying Guide


Pre-owned or used packaging machines are not like cars. There generally isn’t a certified pre-owned program, they often don’t come with a warranty and many times, the price isn’t that much less than new. So why buy used?


There are deals to be had but you’ve got to do some work to find them. Used equipment dealers specialize in, you guessed it, used machines. Their aim is to buy low and sell high. Another avenue to look for used equipment is your local packaging distributor.


Often times, the local folks need to sweeten a new machine sale and offer to take back the old machines in trade. In addition, their goal usually is to create a new on-going customer and might sacrifice a bit of profit on a used machine to make that happen.


No matter where you buy the used packaging equipment, there’s still a risk of buying a dud. Here are some suggestions on how to minimize that risk:

1.    What is the current condition of the packaging machine?

Like a used car, a used shrink wrapper or stretch wrapper may look amazing in pictures and video and it certainly could be. But as with pre-owned vehicles, beware that there are things an untrained eye can miss. Like an ASE certified auto mechanic, an independent highly-trained packaging technician can look under the hood and point out things that could make or break the deal.

2. Can you see the used packaging equipment in person?

The best-case scenario is the equipment is still in operation in the seller's facility. That way, you can visit to see the packaging system in person while it is running the in regular production. This will give you the best overall picture of its capabilities.

Even if the machine isn’t in continuous operation or has been mothballed for a while, you should insist that the seller run it for you. If they can’t or won’t, it’s best to proceed with extreme caution. This is not to say that the equipment is bad, but making a substantial investment in used packaging machinery without seeing it successfully run increases the risk of buying a headache.

3. What is the packaging machine's history?

Who was the original packaging equipment manufacturer? When was it manufactured? How long has it been in operation, and more importantly, how many hours or cycles has it run? Like a used car, make, model, year and mileage can give you a good indication of the level of wear on a used packaging machine.

This is where working with a local trusted distributor can really pay-off. In many cases, the distributor selling the used machine also sold it when new and has maintained it throughout its life. It’s a bit like buying a used car that’s had one owner and has been serviced only by the dealer.

4. What application/environment was the machine originally built for?

Most packaging machines are based on standard platforms but may have been customized for a particular product. Let’s use a flow-wrapper as an example. You may need a machine to wrap hockey pucks where every product is the same size and weight.

Let’s say you, a hockey puck manufacturer, found a machine that was used in a bakery to wrap sandwiches. A sandwich wrapping machine might have dust/crumb modifications, gas flush, and a valve applicator added. It might also a tear notch in the seal jaws as well as zipper applicator. Hockey pucks don’t need any of those things but might need other options to ensure they run through the machine

Retrofitting is possible, but remember it is much easier (and usually less costly and labor-intensive) to build a machine to your specifications than to retrofit an existing machine to your specifications.

Plant environment should also be taken into consideration. If your product necessitates sanitary design or enclosures with a higher IP Rating, a machine used to package snacks will likely not fulfill those requirements.

Discount Packaging Depot offers a wide variety of used packaging machines. If you don’t see what you need on the website, call us. If we don’t have it, we may be able to find it for you.


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