Whether you ship a used machine every other day or only once every few years, it's important to have a checklist to review all the necessary items to ensure your equipment is properly prepared, transported and received without issue. One of the best ways we at SFMS can help is to share the knowledge with your directly. Checklists in general are great reminders of completing all the tasks required to complete a given job. They remind us of the seemingly inane and mundane items that could be big deals if not caught early on.  Mostly they help us ensure all the items are packed away with the machine and the shipper has provided the best possible preparation for a machine ready to journey across town or across the country.  

Drain it Out 

One of the most crucial steps in preparing machinery for shipment is to thoroughly drain all fluids from the machine. This goes beyond just coolant and cutting oils; it also includes hydraulic oils. Ensuring that all fluids are properly drained is essential for several reasons.

Firstly, shipping a machine with fluids still inside can result in leaks or spills during transit, which can damage the machine itself or even pose a safety hazard. Also any used fluids are likely treated as hazardous waste by the DOT and trucking companies can be fined heavily for not having the proper paperwork, protective gear and permits to transport these materials. By thoroughly draining all fluids, you minimize the risk of any accidents or damage occurring during transportation.

Secondly, removing fluids from the machine also helps to prevent any potential contamination or cross-contamination. If fluids are left inside, there is a chance that they can mix or react with each other, leading to potential damage or malfunction of the machine. By draining all fluids, you eliminate this risk and ensure that the machine arrives at its destination in optimal condition.

Additionally, draining the fluids from the machine allows for more efficient packaging and handling. Fluids can add unnecessary weight and bulk to the machine, making it more difficult and costly to ship. By removing the fluids, you can reduce the overall weight and size of the machine, making it easier to package and transport.

Overall, properly draining all fluids from the machine before shipping is a vital step in the preparation process. It not only protects the machine itself but also ensures a smooth and problem-free journey to its destination. So, make sure to include this important task on your pre-ship machinery checklist to guarantee a successful shipment every time.

Lock It Down

When preparing machinery for shipment, it is crucial to secure any components that have the potential to move during normal operation. This step is essential to prevent severe damage during transit. By locking the axis, tool changer, and other relevant components, you can ensure that they remain in place throughout the journey.

Locking the axis, for example, prevents any movement in the machine's linear motion system. This ensures that the machine's positioning remains intact and avoids any misalignment that could occur during transportation. Similarly, securing the tool changer prevents any accidental rotation or shifting that could damage the tooling or surrounding components.

In addition to the axis and tool changer, it is important to identify and secure any other components that may move during operation. This could include pneumatic cylinders, rotating parts, or even loose wiring. By thoroughly assessing the machine and identifying potential risks, you can take the necessary precautions to secure them effectively.

There are various methods for locking down these components, depending on the specific machinery. This could involve using locking mechanisms, fasteners, specialized clamps or simply blocks of wood, called cribbing. Whatever method you employ it is essential to consult the manufacturer's guidelines or seek professional advice to ensure that the correct methods are employed.

By securing these movable parts, you can have peace of mind knowing that your machine is well-protected during transit. This extra step in your preparation process will help to ensure a successful and problem-free shipment, minimizing the risk of any damage or malfunction upon arrival.

Clean it Up 

Prior to shrink wrapping, it is crucial to thoroughly clean the machine to ensure that it is in optimal condition for shipment. Take the time to vacuum out any debris or chips that may have accumulated in the machine, paying attention to hard-to-reach areas. This not only helps to maintain the cleanliness of the machine but also prevents any loose chips from causing damage during transit.

After vacuuming, wipe down all surfaces of the machine to remove any dirt, dust, or oil residues. Use a gentle cleaning solution and a soft cloth to ensure that the machine is thoroughly cleaned without causing any damage to its components. By doing so, you will not only enhance the appearance of the machine but also protect it from potential corrosion or deterioration.

The goal is to make the machine look as if it is ready for action, making precision parts, rather than looking like it is destined for the dumpster. A clean and well-maintained machine not only reflects positively on your business but also gives the recipient confidence in the quality of the equipment they are receiving.

In addition to cleanliness, it is important to check for any loose or damaged parts during the cleaning process. This includes inspecting the tooling, fasteners, and any other components that may be prone to wear or damage. By addressing any issues before shipping, you can avoid potential problems and ensure that the machine arrives in perfect working order.

Remember, the cleanliness and overall condition of the machine play a significant role in the successful shipment and reception of the equipment. So, don't overlook the importance of cleaning and maintaining your machine before it embarks on its journey.

These are just a few of the simple steps to take in preparing Machinery for transport. Click the graphic below to download our complete checklist to keep on hand for each and every time you ship a machine. 

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