Tips For Buying A Used Robot
For most companies, purchasing a used robot is a big decision which requires a good amount of consideration prior to the robot being purchased. There are a lot of robot sellers and resellers out there with many of them having different methods in which they sell used robots. This step by step process will assist in planning for buying a used robot:
- Step One - Understand exactly what the company wants to automate - There are many types of robotic application that can be automated using industrial robots. The majority of applications consist of material handling and robotic welding. Companies with multiple processes they want to automate should also start with the most simple application, rather than trying to automate a complex function. Complex applications typically require more customized integration, reducing the return on investment. For instance, a company might want to automate a welding process that only welds in a long straight line. This is a relatively simple application in which a used FANUC robot would be a perfect fit for. Using a FANUC Arc Mate 100ic 6L with a FANUC R30ia controller integrated with a Lincoln Powerwave i400 welder, the Arcmate 100ic could be set up between 2 stationary tables and perform the weld on one table while the other side is changed out. This would require only the purchase of the used FANUC robot, Lincoln welding supply, possibly a robot riser, the operator station, and the tables if existing fixtures cannot be repurposed.
- Step Two - Determine the condition you want the robot to be in. - Depending on the company the robot is purchased from, generally used robots can be purchased in "as is", new, tested and working, or refurbished condition. New robots are typically direct from the manufacturer and will be the highest cost. While purchasing a new robot will provide the highest quality, it will take the longest time to return the investment. Buying an industrial robot that is in "as-is" condition will be the most cost effective, but presents considerable risk. The seller might offer a money back period but usually makes no guarantees on the robot. Purchasing a tested and working robot can reduce the initial investment and provide a better idea of the condition, however, could present issues down the road in the event the correct preventative maintenance has not been performed on the unit. While certain companies hold different standards on their refurbishment procedures, generally this is going to be the best way to purchase a used robot. Reconditioned used Motoman robots such as the Motoman HP50 can have a significant useful life remaining which will likely meet the need of the desired application. Information regarding robots sold from Robots Done Right can be found in the product information section of this site.
- Step Three - Determine the time frame in which the robot is needed - The lead time on the industrial robot depends on the condition in which it is purchased and where it is purchased from. New FANUC robots can have a lead time of 8-10 weeks from payment not including any integration work that needs to be completed. This might not work in the timeframe in which the application is to start. "As-is" robots can generally be shipped the same day they are ordered, having the lowest lead time. Tested and working robots can likely be prepared for shipment in a day or so, depending on the seller's schedule. Refurbished industrial robots can be prepared within a week. Purchasing a Motoman MH6 with a Yaskawa DX100 controller can not only reduce lead time significantly, but also reduce cost.
- Step Four - Shop around - When shopping for used robots for sale, at least 3 quotes from different robot resellers should be obtained. Companies selling used robots can differ significantly on price. It is not safe to assume that each company is going to be selling a used robot at the same price. Depending on the supply on hand, some companies might be willing to negotiate on price in order to close the sale.
- Step Five - Double check the reconditioning standards of the chosen quote - As previously mentioned, not all robot companies recondition the same. Some companies will simply test, clean, grease, and paint the robot then label it refurbished. The company should be able to provide you with written documentation as to what was completed on the robot. If they are not willing to provide documentation regarding the refurbishment, it is possible that certain reconditioning aspects were not performed. In example, some companies will simply clean or ice blast the visible inside of the controller, whereas others will take the controller apart, cleaning and individually inspecting each part prior to reinstallation. When purchasing a used robot with an integrated welder such as a FANUC Arcmate 120ib or Motoman SSA2000 it is important to understand what refurbishment was done to the welder source itself. While many welding power sources don’t require refurbishment, it is important to know that it was at least tested and working.