Automation has been an essential part of manufacturing environments over the years. Around the globe, industries have been upgrading their workspaces to incorporate robots in order to be on track with industry 4.0. This involves integrating new robotic systems or adding to pre-existing robotic assemblies. The robot equipment does not always have to be bought new. In fact, many companies are purchasing second-hand robots in order to satisfy their automation requirements.
The second-hand market represents the sale of used or old equipment and merchandise. Automated equipment is a sector within this market, and is a viable option for manufacturers to invest in. Due to supply chain disruptions and the closure of boarders from the COVID-19 pandemic, second-hand robots provide a necessary and adequate way to substitute for late or cancelled robot shipments. There is also a range of advantages and disadvantages when acquiring and utilizing second-hand robots.
The second-hand market continues to grow; many reasons contribute to the popularity of used robots, however, the main benefits are as follows:
Often, the type and style of an industrial robot are crucial in order to achieve a production requirement. This could involve a custom application, or other machines being dependent. A manufacturer who has already integrated robotic equipment into their production floor may need a replacement of the same model. Depending on how old the equipment is, it may have become obsolete and new robots are not available. A newer robot also may not be compatible with older programs or power sources; therefore, a company would have to invest more money having to upgrade their robotic system to accommodate for one machine. In these cases, the second-hand market would be the only option.
When an item has been labelled as ‘second-hand’, a common thought is that it is damaged, or of poor quality. However, that is not always the case. Industrial robots have an incredibly high lifespan, and used robots often still have years of lifespan remaining. If the second-hand robot was pre-owned by a respectable company who ensured maintenance was conducted regularly, the robot would still have a long operating life. Second-hand robots can also be refurbished to operate just as well as newer ones. Depending on the popularity of a used robot, spare parts may also be widely available in the case of future grievances.
Newly designed robots can often be incredibly expensive and may be a dealbreaker for companies with tight budgets. Used robots are a fraction of the price of a new robot, while still delivering all automation needs. By spending less on robotic equipment, companies not only have a quicker ROI (return on investment), but could also use the savings to purchase more robots, or invest back into other manufacturing operations.
Despite the already stated benefits, the second-hand automation market does have disadvantages and inconveniences to be aware of:
When acquiring a second-hand robot, it is crucial to ensure that it is in working condition. Be sure to be aware of the total working hours as well as reliability with its previous owner. As stated above, be sure the previous owners are of a respectable company who conducted maintenance regularly and ensured the robot operated within its specifications. Another option is to perform diagnostics to check if the robot is in an ideal working condition (ex. FANUC Pro Diagnostic). Doing so will ensure the robot does not perform poorly or have any mechanical errors like backlash, vibration, motor failure, etc.
A second-hand robot may not be equipped with the latest robotic features. Newer robots are usually more efficient, faster, and more accurate than older models. Not to mention, integration with the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) or production monitoring may be easier with newer models. For those who want complex robotic equipment, a newer model may be the best choice.
To summarize, second-hand robots provide an excellent solution for integrating automation into a production floor. They provide a cost-effective and consistent way to revolutionize a workspace. DIY Robotics offers a range of robotic cells well suited for second-hand robots. These cells are mobile and modular which allows the robot to adapt to any work environment, and facilitate a need on a production floor. For more information regarding DIY Robotics cells, please visit our product page.
Please stay connected for more posts addressing robotic industrial applications. If you have any questions regarding the second-hand market or have another inquiry, feel free to contact us and we will put you in touch with an expert.