Demand for second hand plant includes whole sites

Paul Boughton
As the worldwide economy continues to struggle, more and more used process equipment is becoming available - along with entire plants and even sites. And the modern second hand process plant dealer is interested in all three. Sean Ottewell looks at this growing market.

The market for second hand process equipment is truly global. Today, the companies involved sell everything from basic equipment items such as stainless steel tanks, right up to entire plants and even sites.

One such company is International Process Plants (IPP). It specialises in buying and selling used process plants worldwide, and has just acquired three complete salt plants that are available for immediate delivery.

Existing production units include an unused 245,000t/y dry salt plant, an unused 45,000t/y dry salt plant and a previously used 100,000t/y dry salt plant. All three are available to restart in whole or in part, to be operated in place and restarted, or to be moved elsewhere.

IPP's business model is to purchase complete used processing plants, with the land, buildings and equipment, from sites that are being closed globally. In some cases IPP will also take on the environmental remediation of the site.

One of the leading dealers in used processing equipment, the company and its subsidiaries use their globally integrated corporate infrastructure within the US, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Poland, Romania, India, Portugal, Czech Republic, Korea and Russia to identify customers to repopulate a site by making the same product.

Another example of how IPP works is the recent acquisition by its subsidiary Darlington Developments of the former Wellman Palmetto Plant in South Carolina, USA. This purchase includes a 1.1 million square foot building, 760acres of land and all existing machinery and equipment. Darlington Development plans to remarket the plant to one or more users.

Existing production units of 250,000t/y of PET bottle grade resin, 250,000t/y of polyester staple fibre and 120,000t/y of amorphous PET are available to restart in whole or in part, to be operated in place and restarted or to be moved elsewhere. The company says that if the plants are moved to another location, it will use the infrastructure to repopulate the site with other industries.

"Magnified by the current economic conditions, we meet a niche that allows a company interested in expanding capacity an opportunity to do so at a fraction of the cost of building a new facility," said Stan Sackowitiz, IPP's vice president of business development. "With approximately 15 other complete plants that we own for resale and an inventory of over 25,000 pieces of process equipment at our disposal, we can provide a customer a turnkey operation."

For 75 years UK company Perry Process Plant has been working with customers in almost every process sector, including chemical, pharmaceutical, plastics and rubber, food, sugar, fishmeal and paper. The company says its success is based on a number of factors, but particularly simple economics - offering the largest choice of best quality used process equipment at the most cost-effective price - and the ability to offer sale or return turns for most equipment.

The company has recently helped DuPont Asset Management Group, Merck, Novartis Nutrition and Novartis Pharma to sell excess or unwanted plant. In the case of Novartis Nutrition this followed the closure of a manufacturing site in the United Kingdom. The Novartis Pharma contract included removal of all production equipment and infrastructure from a pharmaceutical site that was being shut down in The Netherlands. Perry has also acted as sales agent for Danish company DS Industries for the sale of three plants that produce fatty acid, chlor alkali and power.

As a small example of what the company has to offer, its website currently includes everything from an unused 148-hp, German-made centrifugal blower with a capacity of 3000 m3/h to a selection of used tanks and vessels. These include pitched bottom tank equipment, dished bottom tanks, reverse dished bottoms, and cone bottom tanks to accommodate liquid, viscous and/or semi-solid materials.

Tanks are constructed of aluminium, carbon steel, fibreglass, stainless steel and nickel, while some are glass-lined. Horizontal and vertical tanks are available in many diameters/dimensions and with capacities, up to 20,000 litres. Also available for sale are sphere tanks and high-pressure tanks (Fig.1).

Process Plant and Machinery (PPM) was first established in 2003 as an offshoot of UK industrial services company Haas-Tek. Operating from a purpose-built five hectare site in Scotland, two-thirds of the company's turnover now comes from overseas markets as diverse as Bulgaria, Libya, Ghana, the UAE, Denmark and Ireland.

Among its current offerings are a 51,000 litre insulated and clad liquid silo, a 27,200 litre stainless steel jacketed horizontal tank, a refurbished 30,000 litre Alfa Laval Bactofuge separator, and a 30,000 litre/hour milk pasteurisation and standardisation plant.

F A Maker is one of the largest process equipment dealers in the southern hemisphere with a reputation for quality service and machines. Extensive workshop facilities and a diverse range of skills mean that the company is one of Australia's most versatile and experienced process/plant equipment operators.

F A Maker has over ten acres of new and used machinery for the chemical, food, process, recycling, mining and manufacturing industries.

Among its latest acquisitions are two 20-30t/d Simon Rosedown screw presses, a 10-40 micron output crushing/milling plant, seven stainless steel powder hoppers and frames, and three flameproof tanks with 5500, 8000 and 10,000 litre capacities.

DMC Industries is another player and it focuses on quality new and pre-owned packaging and processing equipment for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, nutraceutical, chemical, food and allied industries. This company's sales strategy is based on having an extensive inventory on its premises and the ability to offer consignment services and appraisals for single pieces, lines or entire facilities.

Among its offerings are a 3 ft3 Gemco slant cone formulator with hastelloy contact surfaces and stainless steel jacket, frame and guards. Another is a Manesty 35 station BB3B tablet press, which comes complete with feed frames, hoppers and guards. As with the other companies in the second-hand market, a lot more technical detail about all of its equipment is available on the site.

A different approach has been taken by Kitmondo, which is an online marketplace for used processing equipment, used packaging equipment and used manufacturing equipment. Each day, buyers and sellers throughout the world visit Kitmondo's classified ads in order to browse through thousands of listings containing used processing equipment, used packaging equipment and used manufacturing equipment. To find out more about each item of equipment and to contact the seller, it's simply a question of just clicking on the listings page.

One of its current items is a one million square feet used clean air recovery vacuum system, with a price tag of US$76,000. Kitmondo includes extensive descriptions of many of the items on its site and the vacuum system, for example, is described as being factory maintained and in excellent condition.

Detailed information is also included about the vacuum pressure tank itself, electrical motors, gauges and available manuals and servicing literature. Another example is a 50 feet Hytrol case conveyor that is listed for US$10,000.

A smaller item on the site is a 1000 gallon used vertical stainless steel tank. A general description of its size is given, although to find out more about its technical spec and price, potential buyers are asked in this - and other - cases to contact the seller direct via the website.

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