Standards and Regulations/Directives

Risks When Buying or Selling Used and Rebuilt Machinery

What about used machinery?

Suppliers of used machinery have responsibilities for machinery safety under the industry standard ANSI/PMMI B155.1.

Used machinery suppliers stand in the shoes of the OEM and have responsibilities to make certain that the machinery can be used with acceptable risk. In some situations, this may require updating the machinery guards or control systems to current day standards. In other situations, the existing safeguarding may be used provided acceptable risk is achieved. This is the requirement under ANSI/PMMI B155.1.  There are other legal ramifications under products liability law that should also be taken into consideration.  For legal aspects, consult your attorney.  However, do not assume that selling a machine “as is” will protect the reseller from liability regardless of the contractual documents, because the industry standard assigns reasonable responsibilities to the machinery reseller.

Fundamentally, used machinery involves certain risks to both this seller and the OEM because if a person is hurt, both will be involved in a products liability lawsuit. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the reseller of used machinery to make certain that the machinery can be used with acceptable risk as required under the standard. To determine if acceptable risk is achieved, use ANSI/PMMI B155.1 and the requirements therein.

What about rebuilt machinery?

ANSI/PMMI B155.1 includes requirements for the modifying or rebuilding of machinery under clause 4.15. The modifier or rebuilder shall use the risk assessment process to ensure that risks are reduced to an acceptable level. If the modifications of the machine or the machine control system create additional hazards, the modifier and/or rebuilder of the machinery has to take into consideration the modifications and ensure that the machine can be used with acceptable risk. If the OEM is available directly or through the supplier information (manuals), that information should also be taken into account.

Fundamentally, the modifier of a packaging machine is responsible for the safety related to the modifications made to the machinery. This is part of the “scope of the work activity” meaning portions of the machine that are not part of the modification are not considered within the scope of the work activity of the modifier.

Rebuilding a packaging machine has responsibilities that depend on the amount of the work that is done and where it occurs. If the rebuild work occurs on the customer’s shop floor, the requirements are different than if the packaging machine is brought into the rebuilders facility and rebuilt there. Similarly, if the scope of the rebuild activity is for the entire machine or part of the machine, the responsibilities for the safety of the work depend on the scope of the work activity.

Fundamentally, the more you do, the more you are responsible for doing safely.

Another aspect of the rebuild is the nature of the work.  If the work is repair or restoring a machine to its original operations and capabilities, that is different then updating, upgrading, improving upon those operations and capabilities.  Again, the more you do, the more you are required to do.  In most cases, if the rebuild occurs off-site and not at the customer’s facility, the machine should likely be brought up to current standards.

There are plenty of business opportunities in rebuilding or modifying existing packaging machine. These opportunities should be taken advantage of, but with the knowledge of the safety requirements in the industry standard ANSI/PMMI B155.1.  In particular, these requirements should be considered before quoting a job so that additional safety requirements and the costs involved are not missed in the project work.