The durable nature of forging machinery, coupled with budgetary considerations, spawns a viable market for used equipment. Forgers in the market for production machinery have the option of considering new or used equipment. Each option has its benefits and drawbacks, but read on to successfully navigate the process of purchasing used equipment.

General forging techniques have been known and understood for thousands of years, but large forging machines have only been around since the 17th century. Forging machines are built for durability and to last a long time. This is one of the main reasons why it makes sense to consider second-hand machinery when installing or upgrading forging equipment. Another major advantage of purchasing second-hand equipment is the huge price difference compared to new machines, along with much shorter delivery times. Used machines are generally available immediately, compared to a lead time of over two years for some new machines.

Of course, there are risks associated with second-hand equipment. Therefore, we want to highlight 10 critical factors that should be considered when investigating the purchase of used forging equipment.

Crack Detection

Before you buy any used machines you should always be sure that there are no major cracks in any critical locations. This is generally a very simple check, such as with the color-contrast dye-penetrant method. This simple test will greatly reduce the risks when buying a used machine. If you really want to be thorough, you can also check for cracks ultrasonically.

Age is not a Deciding Factor

Many customers ask about the year of manufacture of the machine and make a decision on this basis. This is a common mistake. Just think about buying a press that was manufactured in 1975, but it only ran at 60% of its actual capacity during the time it was in operation. Then consider a second, newer press from 1995 that ran at 100% of its capacity constantly throughout its shorter life. Which one is more likely to have problems?

Machine History

A machine’s history is far more important than its year of manufacture. History can usually tell you a lot more about a machine’s condition. It is generally a good idea to find out to whom the machine previously belonged and, perhaps, even contact them directly. Often, the previous owner will have a lot of information about the machine and can possibly tell you some facts you hadn’t known before.

The overall condition of a machine usually depends on regular servicing and maintenance. A major failure can often be avoided by checking the machine regularly via a preventive maintenance program and discovering and rectifying any defects before they lead to greater damage. This is also something that can be discussed with the previous owner, or it might even be found in any technical documentation provided with the machine.

Consider Your Options

Keep your mind (and your options) open. Don’t be fixated on one particular machine. Always consider process and equipment alternatives to manufacture the parts you produce and see if something else is available. For example, you might be looking for a specific forging hammer, but there is nothing suitable available. However, there may be a very modern screw press available. Ask yourself if this could be a suitable alternative to fulfill your needs.

Remember, when you order a new machine, you can specify exactly what you want. You might have to be a little more open-minded and flexible with a used machine.

Seller/Machine Dealer

There are many machine dealers in this market offering a wide range of machines. A good idea is to not only undertake a background check on the machine itself, but also on the company you are buying from. Chances are that one of your colleagues has heard something or can give you some advice about where to look first and to whom you should speak. A good track record is very important since you have to trust that the seller will deliver what they promise and that they have nothing to hide.


It is a good idea to confirm the condition of a second-hand machine yourself. Therefore, make sure you are afforded the opportunity to fully inspect the machine before buying it. Take a close look at all the crucial parts. Minor damage and imperfections are not a reason to not buy a machine, but they are obviously a negotiating point. Check the machine for completeness by undertaking a complete inventory. Another point to consider is the location of the machine. If it is stored in a clean and well-kept forging shop or warehouse, there is a good chance that they take good care of their equipment as well. 

The Whole Package

You will have to factor in additional expenses when buying used machines. For instance, the machine might still be stored at the seller’s plant, meaning there will be disassembly, loading and transport costs to consider. Ask the seller if they can offer any of these services. It might be cheaper, easier to organize and also a lot more convenient to buy the machine along with all these services from the same source. This will save you the trouble of having to coordinate the different stages of your project. It also puts you in a stronger position to negotiate the final price (i.e. if you indicate you will place the complete project with one source for a preferential price). In this scenario, the seller is more likely to offer a reduction to secure the project since being in control of all aspects of the machine’s delivery makes their life much easier.


Make sure you know what you are getting. This sounds like a very obvious point, but there are a lot of different questions that should be answered beforehand. These might include what spare parts are available, does the machine include a tool holder, what are the terms of delivery, what is the delivery time, where will the machine be stored until delivery and what are the payment terms. Confirm these in writing prior to purchase.


If the asking price is genuinely too high, then let the seller know your budget. This helps the seller decide whether or not there is a way to match your budget. Being open, honest and transparent often results in better prices.


It is not unusual for a machine you are interested in to be marketed by multiple dealers. Make sure that the person you are buying from is the actual owner of the equipment. If you are buying from a source that doesn’t even own the machine, then you are probably just paying an additional commission for the “middle man.”


The preceding list offers just some points and suggestions to consider when purchasing used equipment. It is not always possible to adhere to all of the points, but it is important to find out as much as possible about the machine and its history before you purchase. The reaction of the seller can also be a good indicator about whether or not there is something they may be hiding. If they won’t disclose the identity of the previous owner, for example, it could mean they are withholding information that might stop you from buying the piece of equipment.

Be mindful that openness and transparency are everything in getting the right machine at the right price.