Tennyson was thinking about a brook when he wrote the lines, “Men may come and men may go, but I go on forever.” But he might just as well have been writing about a good piece of machinery.
Machine tools, motors, overhead cranes, handling equipment, generating equipment, construction machinery, printing machinery—in fact, practically every kind of mechanical device has many more years of service built into it than the average person can see.
The fact that good machinery, like Mr. Tennyson’s brook, “goes on forever,” (of course, a brook could run dry!) has bolstered the development of trading in used industrial equipment to the point where it comprises a full-fledged industry of its own.
There are hundreds of established dealers in used and rebuilt industrial equipment with the experience and facilities to furnish a great many of industry’s requirements at a saving of from 30 to 70 per cent of the cost of new equipment. And they can do this better today than ever before because of the overall upgrading of industrial plant equipment through the recent war period.
It is true that not all of the equipment which is available is the last word in atomic-age efficiency, but the great majority is far from being obsolete—even by today’s strictest standards.
We know of hundreds of cases where a piece of used equipment has enabled a manufacturer to fill a critical spot in his production line which might otherwise have been indefinitely delayed. We know of cases where complete shops have been equipped with used or rebuilt machine tools. Entire power plants representing tremendous investments have been delivered at a price substantially less than the cost of new installations.
It is almost a physical impossibility to calculate the dollars saved by industry every year through this constantly-growing practice. But we often wonder how many opportunities of this nature are overlooked by plant operators who are either fearful of buying a used or rebuilt machine or who are too dilatory to make the effort to locate and inspect a used machine.
The bugaboo of the second-hand machine has long since been dispelled by improved maintenance methods and by the inherent sturdiness and longevity of modern mechanical devices. Modernization and rebuilding methods have improved, and the industry as a whole is being serviced by a high type of dealer—far removed from the caveat emptor type of dealing that sometimes occurred in the past.
To anyone who might say that this dissertation sounds like a plug for the industry which this publication represents, we offer an opportunity to disprove our contentions anent the sound economics of buying and selling used mechanical equipment.
And we don’t think that we are too far off in making the statement that a good piece of machinery could run forever.