Where it comes from:
Used process plants, equipment, and machinery are typically available not because the components are obsolete or no longer operable, but because they were in facilities which were phased out due to changing markets, technology, and economics. They were built, owned and operated by a company like yours and still were operating at the time of plant shutdown. They were sold (usually to offset dismantling costs) without misrepresentation and are offered back to the industry in the same way.
Equipment and machinery which is of standard manufacture, sound and not broken, has the same basic quality it always had. Reconditioning can make it the equivalent of new.
If not already tailor-made for your specifications, modifications can often make it so. Exchangers can be retubed. Columns can be retrayed, or packed. Compressors can be recylindered. Pressure vessel nozzles can be rearranged. Modifying existing equipment is mechanical work, just as making new equipment is, but most of the work is already done. You can have soundly engineered used equipment and systems at or, more often, over design requirements.
It is obvious that the use of existing equipment eliminates or minimizes lead time and its' attendant costs.
With used equipment the return on plant investments can be substantially higher than with new. Plants and expansions not feasible because of high and rising costs of new equipment can be shown attractive with used, since quoted prices will not change and order prices will not escalate. Project budgets can be held to.
No reputable equipment dealer wants to sell sub-standard equipment. He will permit and encourage the buyer to make any desired test prior to purchase, and will sell machinery contingent upon it being suitable for reconditioning, by normal procedures, to operating condition.
Some used equipment dealers are also in the business of rebuilding, and offer certain guarantees. Many sales are made "as is" which, we believe, is the way your company sells used and surplus items, and in this case, the buyer is backing his own judgment. Your organization is not without people qualified to make such judgments, and it is a fair guess that your company was built by backing more difficult judgments than this. Your plant or process will not operate because of warranties. Read a new equipment warranty. Guess whom it protects?
The recycling of heavy equipment reduces to a fraction the consumption of energy and natural resources, the dependence on imports and the impact on the environment represented by new manufacture from raw material. It is wasteful (and costs you a lot of extra money) to build something that is already built.
Parts & Service:
The original manufactures of most available used machinery are still in production of parts, and offer mechanical and technical service. They also have many competitors for that business. In addition, original spare parts stocks are often included with used equipment. Example: you can buy a used centrifugal compressor with spare rotor for less than the price of the new rotor.
We think that these common-sense points merit the serious consideration of chief officers of operating companies, their management teams and their contractors. These factors if combined with a willingness and competence to select components from the large inventories which exist could make good used equipment a reasonable first choice rather than the last.