The market for used machinery is quite strong, especially if the recent Fortis Plastics LLC auctions are any indication, according to some auctioneers and used equipment sellers.
Great American Group LLC of Woodland Hills, Calif., and Branford Group of Branford, Conn., conducted four live webcast auctions during January and February at four closed Fortis facilities and offered a total of 130 injection presses, 20 extruders and other equipment.
Roy Gamityan, a senior vice president and auctioneer with Great American Group, did not provide total sales, but noted that more 1,500 registered buyers took part, with interest coming from the U.S. as well as China, India, Peru, Italy and the United Kingdom.
The sales were held in Jackson, Tenn.; Fort Smith, Ark.; South Bend, Ind.; and Poplar Bluff, Mo.
“I would say there is a direct correlation to the economy,” said James Gardner, a Branford Group partner, in a telephone interview. “Two or three years ago, you probably could not sell the bigger machines, but now, there [is] huge demand.”
The Fortis auction was one of the largest in the last few years, he said, adding that interest was worldwide, but that in most cases, U.S. buyers prevailed.
Bruce Miller, owner and president of Molds & Plastics Machinery Inc. of Miami, agreed.
“The prices are strong for used equipment on the plastics production side,” he said, noting that molders are cautious about buying new equipment and have been seeking used machines.
“We've seen some upward pressures on the used equipment, but it will probably change as the economy strengthens,” he said, noting that confident companies buy newer equipment.
Miller added that about 75 percent of what he buys is for export to South and Central America or the Caribbean, but that at recent U.S. auctions, the domestic buyers have raised the prices. His company bought one press online at the Fortis auctions.
Nate Smith, president of Absolute Machinery of Worcester, Mass., also monitored the auction and noted that late-model and larger-tonnage machinery did bring strong pricing. He did not purchase any molding machines.
Gardner said another unusual upcoming webcast auction on Branford's schedule is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy auction of a 115,000-square-foot Basic Line Inc. facility in Perth Amboy, N.J., on March 29. It will include 18 injection molding machines, support equipment, more than 2,000 housewares molds and trade names and intellectual property.
“It is very unique — trade names and housewares — just about anything you'd see in a college dorm,” Gardner said.