Should You Buy Used Pallet Wrapping Machine?

Should You Buy Used Pallet Wrapping Machine?

Are you planning to buy a pallet wrapping machine anytime soon? Are you torn between looking for a brand new pallet wrapping equipment or should you look instead for a second-hand unit? It’s a tough call when you can’t make up your mind between the two, you don’t want to make a mistake in your decision. Failure of judgment here on what kind of machine you should acquire will cost your business a significant amount of money, and any organization would not want that to happen. 

It is normal for people and business organizations to acquire machines and equipment that are only appropriate for their application. Business entities sometimes will take time before they will decide to scale up and transition from manual wrapping of their products to automatic wrapping. Building a line that will enable them to accommodate their production capacity will come first. Then, afterwards, they will determine the pallet wrapping strategy and machine to fix it. 

The Pros and Cons of Buying Second-Hand Pallet Wrapping Machines

For most companies, the most compelling reason why they are having second thoughts when it comes to buying a pallet wrapping machine is the price itself. The last time I checked, a brand new semi-automatic would run in $10,000 to $12,000 range whereas a used unit would fetch for $3,000 to $6,000 range. 

You may qualify a used machine as a good and practical deal, if and only if you can see clearly that somehow the equipment is still relatively new. Risks are likely to go up with age or years that it has been used by the previous owner. Therefore, you may need to factor in potential replacement part or repair costs. 

Normally, used units are out of warranty already, and repair or maintenance costs it incurred in the past will usually make it less attractive to potential buyers. Hence, it should have a reduced price, much lower than the prevailing cost of a brand new unit.  

For a second-hand  unit of semi-automatic wrapping machine:

  • Pro – 30-60% lower than the cost of a new machine
  • Pro – Up and running pretty quickly
  • Con – the risk of repair, the pre-stretch, and the film delivery system are most prone to issues
  • Con – Warranty has expired
  • Con – Lower productivity level as opposed to what a brand new machine can deliver
  • Con – less support for troubleshooting and optimizing performance

Automatic machine wrappers actually come with their own range of unique questions.  It is rather more complicated, hence, there is a higher risk for repairs and maintenance works.

The set-up requirements and increased machine complexity are two factors that are likely to drive various potential but subtle issues with a second-hand unit are likely to rise and come to the surface, which usually are not always very apparent. 

Potential issues with the automatic pallet wrapping machines include:

  • May not come with the most recent technical innovations  
  • Conveyor spacing 
  • Does the machine load from the sides or the end? Sideloading necessitates  longer conveyors
  • What is the flow orientation or direction? Is it coming from left or right?

Special applications like corner board placers, top sheet placers, short load logic (load below load height sensor for example) all create unique engineering problems that need to be solved.


We have this final word of caution,  according to the 2016 Plant Engineering Maintenance Survey, 50% of unscheduled downtime is due to aging equipment. Another 25% would be accounted for the lack of proper maintenance for the machines.  

About Author: James