Tue, Nov

Second hand rise

Second hand rise

With money tight it's hardly surprising that trade in used wide-format printers is stronger than ever. So can you find real value-for-money deals?

You can't always afford to put off investment. But then you can't always afford to buy new - sometimes secondhand just has to be the way to go. If that's where you're at there are plenty of value-for-money deals to be had right now, whether you're a start-up looking for entrylevel kit, searching for diversification tools, or just need more capacity/replacement printers. Mimaki reseller Signmaster Systems does a roaring trade in second user machines and according to managing director Phil George, the company has "recently been seeing machines come in and a sale agreed the same day, such is the demand for hardware." It conducts a comprehensive refurbishment programme on every machine it sells and offers them with a full warranty for up to 12 months. "For Signmaster, every secondhand machine we sell indicates that another customer has invested in a new model", says George. "They've usually upgraded to an increased size, speed or often because they want the full manufacturer's warranty - but what all this means is that their existing machine becomes available for someone who's getting into wide-format printing." Mimaki UK distributor Hybrid Services reflects Signmaster's approach to secondhand machine sales, with national sales manager John de la Roche, saying: "Time and again, a Mimaki customer will reinvest in the latest technology, and as well as being a great fillip for us that they've gone on to further invest in our products, it can also often free up a perfectly good machine for a customer who's either just starting out, or is working to a limited budget. "At Hybrid, we keep spare parts in stock for machines up to seven years after the product has been discontinued by Mimaki, ensuring that even old machines can be serviced and supported to a high standard." Back at Signmaster, George is eager to stress the competitive pricing of used machines, with units available from around ?5,000 for an entry-level print and cut bundle. Roland too has noticed an increase in demand for used kit, especially for entry-level machines. Martin Phillips, director of sales, says "these requests come from people looking to enter new markets and from those who are looking to spend redundancy cash on a new business venture etc. "Typically, buyers can save approximately 50% on the RRP of a machine. These machines are also covered by Roland's standard two-year limited warranty, so the customer has added peace of mind in that respect because the machine is still covered and serviced by the manufacturer.

He warns would-be buyers of refurbed kit to look for the 'Roland Approved' brand as proof that it has been reconditioned using original Roland parts and by Roland certified engineers in order to guarantee the performance. While there are more businesses looking for refurbished machines Fujifilm says the problem it has is that its refurbished machines are still fairly few and far between. Fujifilm Graphic Systems refurbishes Acuity and Maxjet machines in its workshop in Bedford along with thermal, violet CTP and plate processors. All machines have to meet the same technical quality specifications as a new unit, and are warranted dependant on age accordingly. The Inca Spyder, Turbo and Onset wide-format printers are sold by Fujifilm Sericol. When users trade-up to newer or more powerful models, then Inca brings them up to specification and provides support, if requested, at its Cambridge facility before they go to their new homes. Over at Velmex, managing director Mark Keeley says: "It is an exceptionally good time for the secondhand equipment market at the moment. Typically we find that customers will arrange lease rental deals for secondhand Canon imagePrograf printers and then replace it with new equipment after only six- or seven-months once they see the benefits of using large-format printers and want to use the most up-to-date models on the market. "We are finding that the 44in range, such as the Canon imagePrograf iPF810 and iPF820 and the Canon imagePrograf iPF8100, are very popular secondhand LFP models as they are so versatile. "We arrange the same lease finance deals as new equipment through our reseller network, but offer a full warranty and service package in order to make it attractive to the finance companies. They need to know that they are not lending thousands of pounds for a secondhand Canon printer that is no longer worth that amount."
Fastek Graphic Services in Leeds is an established name in the refurbished prepress hardware market and is an independent supplier of new and used products to the graphics industry. It has an active secondhand arm where used Epson printers are full refurbished by its technical department before going back onto the market. "We return each printer to prime condition and sell these complete with a six month warranty," says director Barry
Singleton. The company also provides service contracts and an ad-hoc repair service, depending on what you prefer. Durst offers used products from its demo centre in Austria, which have undergone extensive 'Quality Plus' controls. It also provides a search facility for specific secondhand machines through its website (www.durst-online.com). You will need to register in the client list and you will then be informed via e-mail as soon as the product you are looking for becomes available. Similarly, Durst will help, whenever possible, to arrange the disposal of old machines, if required when purchasing a new Durst model.

Where to look?

- Manufactures and suppliers
- Specialist used kit dealers
- Online
Do an online search for used wide-format printers and you'll be bombarded with sites, not all of them particularly useful. But some are - like superwidesolutions.de. The Germanbased operation specialises in superwide-format inkjet printers and has been selling used printers in this space for the last three years. It trades across Europe and into the Middle East and Africa, using it's own engineers from Germany or local freelance engineers for installs. So far the company has sold around 50 used printers, and at the time of going to press had four machines in its warehouse and a dozen still in operation at clients wishing to sell them. Director Bernhard Huber says the machines usually sell for 40 - 50 % of the original price if it's a current model, less if it's older, depending on the model. But be aware, that though the company does some refurbishment pre and post installation as necessary, it does not offer warranties.

Selling used kit?

If you're looking to sell used printers it could be worth contacting the BPIF Financial Alliance Pre-owned Machinery Initiative (www.bpifcreditalliance. com/BTGAlliance/pre-owned-machinery). This relatively new service, which can be used by BPIF members and non-members, provides various levels of input and support on how to get the most from your for-sale assets. The Alliance has enlisted some of the UK's main preowned machinery specialists to assist in this process and can provide the following.
- Desktop valuations: a quick way to assess the potential
values of your equipment. The valuation will detail the
range of equipment values generated from our experts
both on a trade and retail basis.
- Detailed reports following a physical inspection of your
equipment: something required by finance organisations
prior to any firm offer of assistance. The report will be
professionally produced in conjunction with a nominated
expert following a site visit, giving values and
recommendations with potential time scale and costs
- Advice, guidance and assistance in selling your
equipment from site to obtain the best resale value possible
As you might expect there's a cost associated with all
this. Here's an example of what you can expect to fork
- Desktop valuations:
?100 + Vat for BPIF members
?200 + Vat for non-members
- Reports:
?500 + Vat (assuming reasonable travel and the volume of
items included)
10% discount for BPIF members


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