Who’s Buying What & When?

USGlass Magazine Survey Explores Past and Future Machinery and Equipment Purchases

By Ellen Rogers

Most any major machinery manufacturer will tell you, the last couple years have seen solid equipment sales. The results of a recent machinery purchasing survey conducted by USGlass magazine in partnership under the auspices of the Key Media & Research (KMR) research department will attest to that: 92% of survey respondents told us they’d made a significant machinery purchase in the last 24 months. Add to that, 95% of respondents reported that they expect to make a significant fabrication machinery purchase in the next five years. That’s good news for machinery suppliers.

Glass and metal fabricators are making machinery purchases for a number of reasons. Given the ever-increasing demand for labor, it’s not surprising that many respondents told us their main cause for the equipment purchases was to improve their operation efficiencies, and that includes a shift toward automation. Companies also cited a need to update older equipment and a drive toward safety as other key reasons for their purchases.

Respondents also answered a variety of questions related to their machinery and equipment buying plans. These include budget, types of equipment they will be buying and when they expect to see a payback.

If your company plans to purchase new equipment and/or machinery, or has done so in the past year, we welcome your participation in future articles. Contact Ellen Rogers at erogers@glass.com to tell us about your recent and future purchases.

Market: New or Used?

According to industry consultant and USGlass columnist/blogger Paul Bieber, new is usually better than used due to the new technology reflected in equipment.

“In a washer for instance, there are measurements of the water quality, how much soap to add and when the tanks need to be cleaned,” he says. “You can automatically change the brush height for each thickness of glass, which is a huge time saver on a daily basis.”

Bieber says with high-end equipment such as tempering ovens, it can be challenging to find parts. “You need training to run an oven, and getting a seller to send over a top-line technician with the sale, for at least a week, is always problematic. Overall, a tempering line is so complicated that you need a factory rep to back you up and buying from another glass company just will not work out as well as buying new.”

As far as how much companies spent, with about 33% spending $150,000 to $499,999, Bieber suggests this likely represents those companies just starting to invest in new equipment or doing major upgrades to their existing lines. “These are probably the regional and local fabricators seeing the economy is still strong and are investing in it,” he says. “If someone is in a medium-sized town somewhere across the U.S. or Canada and is dependent on a regional fabricator who delivers once a week to their area, this level can get them comfortably started in IG, fabrication or tempering.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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