Refurbished or second-hand parts?

In many manufacturing plants, machines can occasionally be quite old and therefore when an obsolete component of the machine breaks, it may be difficult to find a new replacement. For certain types of machine, there are sometimes no up-to-date replacements available and so the replacement must be like-for-like. Sourcing a second-hand part is often a go-to for manufacturers, but it does not come without downfalls.

Advances in technology and changes in the make-up of machinery mean that manufacturers are ridding themselves of old or outdated equipment. This has led to a dearth of component availability as many parts are disposed of. This causes a problem for manufacturers who still use legacy equipment, as they are faced with the sudden breakage of a discontinued part.

Many manufacturing plants still rely on legacy equipment to run critical applications. When these parts break, manufacturers have the issue of sourcing obsolete parts.

Used obsolete parts can be found across the internet, often appearing of great value with low costs for both price and delivery – some even offer extended warranty. To a manufacturer plant, desperate to get their equipment back on-line, this can seem like a very attractive proposition.

There are many uncertainties when buying a used part. What is the condition of the item? Is it like new? How long has the part been used for, and how intensely? Has it been properly maintained?  It’s often difficult for sellers to be exact about this information, but if the part breaks again then this can have implications to the business. For time critical operations such as food processing manufacturing plants, when even a delay of a few hours can be critical to the operations and wastage of the business. When replacing a mission critical part, can you afford to take a risk on an unknown used part?

The alternative to buying a used part is to use a refurbished or reconditioned part. These parts are used original components that have been cleaned, thoroughly inspected and had any worn or damaged elements replaced. Although they are not new, they are in all aspects ‘like new’. The parts have been rigorously tested to ensure they perform as well as a new part and last as long. The warranty will also be longer as the part is likely to last as long as a new part.

Vigilance still needs to be undertaken, however, as there are no standard industry levels to which a reconditioned or refurbished part needs to meet. Choose a supplier that is able to be open and honest about the condition of your part and can supply the necessary support and after care.

A reliable supplier of obsolete parts can form a crucial aspect of a manufacturer’s operations, so it therefore stands to common sense to have a reliable supplier on-hand to ensure that you can replace parts quickly and to the desired quality.

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