Brand value of a pre-owned: Productivity and maintenance

The recent Smithers Pira Report and the ensuing discussions have again put the spotlight on the most important aspect of a pre-owned kit — its productivity. Rahul Kumar weighs in on the issues surrounding pre-owned machinery

26 Jun 2011 | By Rahul Kumar

There was a controversy recently after a Smithers Pira Report graded the productivity of used sheetfed presses from Heidelberg as producing higher volumes of print annually than competitor machines. While the said competitors raised questions about the report, Heidelberg supported it. 
According to Klaus Nielsen, managing director at Heidelberg India, the survey used 450 used presses of different brands and format size coming to market for sales on a worldwide basis to assess the annual number of impressions they produce. The report was commissioned by Heidelberg, as the company wanted an independent third party to verify the findings it had done. The company tracked data for last two years which verifies the findings of Smithers Pira. The report used the total impression the presses had and divided that by the age to get the number of impressions/year. However, there are at least two important variables the report does not mention: shifts, and run-length.  
On the other hand, Klaus Schmidt, Koenig & Bauer (KBA) director of marketing and corporate communications, has denounced the findings. He told PrintWeek India, “It seems that the Smithers Pira study has been ordered as a white paper with the target to reach the published result. The number of prints per year is no clear indicator for the productivity of a press. It depends on the press configuration (number of colours, inline finishing equipment, straight or perfecting), structure of the print jobs produced (long or short-runs, standard or sensitive substrates, good enough or high-end quality), the qualification and motivation of the press crew and the business model of the print shop (one, two or three shifts).”
PrintWeek India asked leading suppliers of pre-owned machinery — Sangam Khanna, managing director (Komori division), Insight; Deepak Agarwal of Printing Machine Solutions and Leon Lagrand, sales director, Mekes Graphic Machinery about their take on the issue.
Sangam Khanna: Some machines are good, but one has to be lucky to find one. It’s like a lottery ticket. But if you plan and mitigate this risk with the help of the manufacturer tests and quality parameters, the risk can be mitigated to an extent. Productivity may be good but in comparison to a new machine, it is rare to find one. Productivity depends on the nature of work one is doing, but according to a Komori global survey, if a customer can produce 35 to 40% machine running time only producing print, it is considered to be good, or in terms of a numeric value, if the customer is producing a print of 25-30 lakh impression a month is good.
Deepak Agarwal: As per our opinion, Heidelberg is one of the leading brands in offset machinery. But other brands like KBA, Komori and Ryobi are also equally worth it, and they are user-friendly, in terms of operation, productivity and printing quality wise. Everyone has different kind of needs and requirements, so the equipment has to be chosen considering same. We import all our machines from reliable sources to ensure higher productivity and smooth operation of equipment irrespective of any brand. We supply pre-owned equipment of well known suppliers like Heidelberg, Komori, KBA, Ryobi, Polar, and Stahl. Different equipment have different pros and cons and it's our job to identify the best possible solution as per our customer's requirements. Since we are independent from any specific brand, we can suggest the best solution.
Leon Lagrand: It all depends on the generation of machine you opt for At the moment, there is a lot of demand for young generation machine with latest technology. But if customers investigate what they really need for their production, I am convinced many can use older generation machinery. The question of what is productivity is different for every customer. For the ones who want to produce high volume books of the same size, an older perfect binder is perfect. A customer, who produces runs of 100 copies in different sizes, will need a more modern machine with quick change over time. We deliver pre-owned machines from all major suppliers, such as Heidelberg, KBA, Komori, Manroland, Muller Martini, Kolbus and Aster and have no preferences. All different machines will have different advantages and it is our job to supply our customers the machine which fits best to their needs. Since we are independent from any brand we can give a clear advice.
Sangam Khanna: We do have preventive maintenance contacts and comprehensive maintenance with parts contacts with us to offer to our customers.    
Deepak Agarwal: The machines we import are thoroughly inspected and checked before dismantling so that we can ensure about the quality levels of machine. Based on this, we can sell the machine in various conditions. If a customer wants a machine as it is, we can deliver same. Otherwise, we can take the responsibility until a smooth handover of the machine in production is completed. We are associated with highly-skilled and experienced engineers who ensure not only a problem-free installation but also best posible output can be taken from the equipment. 
Leon Lagrand: All machines we buy are checked before dismantling so we know the condition. Based on this, we can sell the machine in various conditions. If it is good enough to sell in as-is condition, it can go straight. But if the machine needs repairing or re-conditioning, we will do that in our workshop before delivering. This we carry out as a project, based on customer’s wishes and needs and what the machine requires for service. Our technicians are very skilled and experienced to advise us on what is needed to have a good running machine and a problem free installation.

Sangam Khanna,
Brand Matter
Komori has a used refurbishing plant in Malaysia to address the demand of used Komori machines. We supply only certified Komori machines. 
Checklist before purchase
Purchase of a used machine has always been like a lottery ticket. If you are lucky, great, but if one comes across a bad patch then the customer goes down in a few years depending on the nature of damage. My advice is to be careful and do not trust anyone.
Vinay Kaushal, 
Provin Technos 
Brand Matter
Today, brand does not matter. All established brands are preferred. We sell only pre-owned machines of the brands we represent in India. We do a very selective business in the pre-owned segment as it’s very important to provide service to our customers equally. 
Checklist before purchase
One, the printer should look for what he needs. Analyse the service support available for machine and the cost of ownership of machine before taking a decision. Two, as far as possible, don’t get others to decide on what you buy and don’t buy what is available. Three, use the services of the authorised service providers for machine inspection report. Four, invest in a relatively new equipment as this will save you on operational cost. Five, always use the genuine spares and services from the authorised providers. 
Rakesh Sodhi,
Sodhisons Mechanical Works 
Brand Matter
Brand does matter but configuration and run impressions and year of make is more important.
Checklist before purchase
Every pre-owned press needs to be evaluated on various parameters like year of manufacturing, configurations, brand, print runs, and condition of machine. Self inspection either by dealer or customer is compulsory.
Jitesh Doshi,
PAN Graphics Machinery 
Brand Matter
Komori and Heidelberg are the favourites among used offset printing machines.
Checklist before purchase
One, buy from reputed used machinery dealers (They may be more expensive but quality and money is secured). Two, if you are buying any expensive and young machine then an onsite inspection is a must. Three, insurance is a must with ICC A cover. Four, make sure that all major parts of the machine are in working condition, including electric cards and software at the time of inspection. Five, stay away from fly-by-night international dealers from internet which may offer very low price but will run away with your money.
Neeraj Dargan,
Manroland Sheetfed India 
Brand Matter
We work at the edge of technology and are finding favorable buyers for our machines. We are looking forward to a promising year after our re-launch in India.
Checklist before purchase
The only suggestion is to buy such machines from the company itself as nearly all companies are channelling quality used machines themselves and let the experts do their job. Of course, the price is marginally higher than the fly-by-night operators but it ensures survival of the buyer.
Lalit Goyal,
Graphics Impex
Brand Matter
We are in post-press segment, and yes, brand matters a lot. Stahl in folding machines, Muller Martini in saddle stitchers, Kolbus in hard case and perfect binders seem to be a popular choice. 
Checklist before purchase
My suggestion will be to opt for a dealer with an experience and a certain goodwill and who can provide support later on. Cheapest is not always the best.