• Importing Machinery from China: A Complete Guide

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    In this article we cover machinery imports from China. While “machinery” may refer to 3D printers, wheel loaders or tattoo removal lasers, there are certain risks that all of these have in common.

    In this article, we cover regulations, spare parts, warranties and maintenance issues, when importing machinery and spare parts from China.

    Machinery Manufacturers in China

    Machinery encompasses power tools, agricultural machinery, packaging and printing machinery, forklifts, wheel loaders and many other products.

    These products are part of entirely different industries, but there are still some major industrial clusters in China that may be of particular interest to machinery buyers. Below follows a list of the most important cities and provinces:

    • Kunshan, Jiangsu
    • Changzhou, Jiangsu
    • Xuzhou, Jiangsu
    • Shanghai, Shanghai
    • Jinhua, Zhejiang
    • Rui’an, Zhejiang
    • Wenzhou, Zhejiang
    • Ningbo, Zhejiang
    • Tai’an, Shandong
    • Jinan, Shandong
    • Qingdao, Shandong
    • Shenyang, Liaoning
    • Dongguan, Guangdong

    In most industries, the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong makes up more than half of China’s machinery exports.

    If you want to visit suppliers, the easiest way to get there is by first flying to Shanghai, and then travel by high speed train to, and between, the provincial cities.

    wheel loader

    Types of Machinery Manufactured in China

    Below follows an overview of relevant products that are produced in Mainland China, for the export market:

    •  Wheel Loaders
    • CNC Machines
    • Laser Cutting Machines
    • Agriculture / Food Production Machines
    • Roll Forming Machines
    • Welding Machines
    • 3D Printers
    • Brewery Equipment
    • Packaging & Printing Machinery
    • Injection Molding Machines

    Technical Specifications

    Most buyers of machinery, parts and vehicles are not looking to order customized products, but factory designed products. However, referring to technical product specifications is as important when buying factory designed products. Keep in mind that there’s no universal standard of “good quality” – especially not in China.

    Below follows a few suggestions that you may want to include in your product specification:

    • Model
    • Definition of usage
    • Motor
    • Functions
    • Voltage
    • Power (W)
    • Efficiency (%)
    • Protection Class (e.g. IP65)
    • Control system
    • Software
    • Bearings
    • Weight
    • Certification (e.g. CE Machine Directive or ASTM)
    • Export packaging

    When buying factory designed products, the supplier shall provide all product specifications, including detailed datasheets. A supplier refusing to offer such documentation is most likely not a manufacturer, but a small trader.

    machinery

    Machinery Safety Standards, Labeling Requirements & Technical Documentation

    Vehicles, agricultural, production and various other types of machinery are regulated by one or more directives, or ‘consensus standards’. In most markets, including Europe, America, Australia and India, the importer is responsible to ensure that their imported machinery is compliant with applicable standards.

    Compliance with local machinery regulations is not optional. Importing non-compliant machinery may result in having the units seized by the customs authorities – or face a forced recall, combined with heavy fines.

    The main issue, when buying from China, is that most machinery is made for the domestic market – rather than foreign markets.

    ‘Made for China’ machinery is not generally not compliant with mechanical and electrical safety standards in other countries and markets, such as the EU and the US. Thus, verifying that a supplier can show previous compliance is critical.

    In some industries, the compliance rate is as low as 5%. That said, before you can verify if a supplier is compliant, you need to know which standards and directives are relevant in your market. Keep reading and find out.

    European Union

    The Machinery Directive (MD) is applicable to machinery either manufactured in the European Union or imported from outside.

    Even if the items are manufactured overseas, the importer is responsible to ensure that the machine is CE compliant, which includes the following:

    • CE mark on product unit, packaging, and user manual
    • Compliant with electrical and mechanical regulations (as specified in the CE Machinery Directive)
    • Issue a Declaration of conformity and technical documentation (i.e., design drawings, bill of materials, and risk assessment)

    However, some types of tractors, motor vehicles, trailers, and electrical appliances are regulated by more specific directives. Some EU member states also apply their own, local, regulations.

    There are also a wide range of ISO standards developed for specific types of machinery (e.g. ISO 5247-3:1993, Weaving machines). Click here to read more about ISO standards.

    As with all electrical components, RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) compliance is also required. We’ve already covered the RoHS directive in a separate article, which you find here.

    As already mentioned, keep in mind that most machinery made in China is produced for the domestic market.

    Thus, verifying CE Machinery Directive compliance is critical, before an order is placed. Otherwise, you run a great risk of importing non-compliant machinery, which is illegal to place on the market.

    United States

    ASTM International has developed and published a range of standards. However, unlike the CE Machinery Directive, which is applicable to most machines, there are no single ASTM standards that regulate all types of machinery.

    Instead, different ASTM standards apply to different types of products. Click here to read more about ASTM standards.

    There are also other consensus standards (industry developed) administered by other organisations, including:

    • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
    • Robotics Industry of America (RIA)
    • Instrument Society of America (ISA)
    • National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA)
    • Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL)

    Australia and New Zealand

    Machinery is not regulated by a uniform directive or set of standards in Australia. Instead, various standards are applicable to different types of machinery. Certain types of machinery, including mobility scooters, trolley jacks and mini bikes, are required to be AS/NZS compliant.

    Electrical machinery, on the other hand, is regulated by the ERAC Equipment Certification System. Click here to read more about Australia product safety standards.

    Other Countries

    Certain countries accept machinery that is compliant with American and European standards. However, there are plenty of countries that have implemented their own machinery regulations, including India and Nigeria:

    India

    Regulates pumping, irrigation, drainage and sewage equipment, automotive components, electronics and optical equipment, testing instruments, and most other types of machinery are regulated by the ISI mark directive or BIS Product Certification Scheme.

    Nigeria

    Most types of machinery are regulated by the SONCAP directive. Compliance with the SONCAP directive requires a pre-shipment approval, proving that the item is compliant with the applicable NIS (Nigerian Industrial Standards). Click here to read more about SONCAP, and other product regulations.

    Test Reports

    When sourcing machines in China, you have two options:

    a. Pay for a machine to undergo lab testing (by an accredited third-party)

    b. Limit your product selection to machines that are already lab tested

    Option A is rarely viable for small businesses, as lab testing for machines can cost more than US$10,000.

    Hence, you will likely need to limit your product selection to SKUs with existing test reports.

    A test report should include the following information:

    a. SKU (Product ID)

    b. Issuing company (i.e., SGS or Intertek)

    c. Manufacturer

    d. Issuing date

    e. Applicable regulations (i.e., Low Voltage Directive)

    The test report is only of value if it’s valid for the same SKU that you’re planning to buy, and if it comes from the same manufacturer.

    Some suppliers provide fake test reports or documents that are actually owned by another company.

    Just keep in mind that the test report is not enough. You also need to create a DoC, technical file, and ensure that the machine is correctly labeled.

    Replacement Parts & Warranties

    Many Chinese machinery manufacturers claim to offer warranties, sometimes spanning for several years. However, before you place an order, you are wise to confirm the specific warranty terms set by the supplier.

    At most, Chinese suppliers offer free spare parts, but only if the importer pays the freight cost. In some cases, it’s cheaper to buy spare parts locally, rather than paying for the air freight, not to mention import duties and other taxes.

    Replacement part deliveries also take plenty of time, and a standstill in production can cost millions.

    Thus, it’s critical that you maintain a spare parts storage, that keeps you running until the supplier has delivered a replacement. At a minimum, you should expect to wait 30 days for new spare parts to arrive.

    Chinese manufacturers also have a bad habit of doing whatever they can to avoid honoring the warranty terms. Thus, you need to clarify how warranty claims shall be settled.

    Sending damaged parts back to China for examination is both time-consuming and expensive. The only viable way to settle warranty claims is by sending images and video, documenting the damages.

    Installation, Service and Maintenance

    Chinese machinery suppliers sometimes offer installation services. However, they rarely have employees, or partnerships with maintenance firms, overseas.

    Thus, their offering is limited to sending a technician overseas, but only if they can obtain a visa for the country of destination.

    The complexity of securing a visa for a Chinese temporary worker is not be underestimated, as I learned myself a few years ago. A European client of ours ordered PVC banner printers from a manufacturer in Shenyang, Liaoning province. Their decision to not invest in a Quality Inspection proved to be a disastrous move when the cargo arrived.

    The printers were defective, and needed repairs and new parts. As they lacked the technical experience to repair and install the machine by themselves, not to mention the needed parts, their only option was to request direct assistance from their supplier.

    We were tasked with resolving the situation and provided the supplier with clear instructions on how to obtain an EU Schengen visa, for one of their technicians. Without going into details, I can say that the machine was, literary, collecting dust for more than 6 months, before the visa was secured and the technician could get it up and running.

    That’s the time it can take to get things done.

    Machines require maintenance, repairs, and spare parts – all of which are offered by American, European, and Japanese machinery suppliers.

    However, their Chinese counterparts are not nearly as sophisticated.

    Of course, there may be exceptions that I am personally not aware of, but in general, businesses importing Chinese made machinery better rely on local technicians, or their own skills, and spare part suppliers – rather than expecting the supplier to solve anything.

    This is also one major, or perhaps the most important, reason why Chinese machinery manufacturers are yet to gain momentum in developed countries.

    Functional testing and quality control

    Remember what I said about the client that received a damaged banner printing machine? For unknown reasons, they decided that a Quality inspection was not necessary. That mistake cost them tens of thousands of euros, in terms of lost business.

    It’s critical to verify that a machine is fully functional, and compliant with your quality requirements, before the shipment.

    Returning defective items to China is rarely an option, for the following two reasons:

    1. Even if you do return the items, the Chinese customs authorities may not allow the shipment back into the country.

    2. Assuming they do, you are not guaranteed a refund from the supplier anyway. At best, they’ll patch it up and send back the machinery your way – but only after you’ve paid the return freight.

    Thus, you must verify that your machines are functional, and compliant before the cargo leaves the factory. The only way to do this is by performing an on-site Quality inspection, either by yourself or by hiring an inspector based in China.

    Testing shall not be limited to a basic component checklist and visual control, but also involve “real life” functional testing.

    Functional errors and minor defects can be resolved quickly by the factory workers if discovered in time. Even if technical issues can be resolved, after delivery, it will cost you dearly.

    Technicians in the west are several times more expensive than their Chinese counterparts.

    Machinery Trade Fairs in China

    Canton Fair (Phase 1)

    The Canton Fair is not only China’s biggest trade fair but also Asia’s biggest trade fair for machinery and parts. Here, you’ll find suppliers of electric engines, pumps, packaging machinery, sewing machines, and much more – all under the same roof. Click here to read more about the Canton Fair.

    Other information
    • When: October
    • Location: Guangzhou, China
    • Visa required: Yes
    • Airport: Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport or Hong Kong International Airport
    • Venue: China Import and Export Fair Complex
    • Address: No. 380, Yuejiang Zhong Road, Guangzhou

    Hong Kong Trade and Development Council (HKTDC) Fairs

    HKTDC hosts several annual trade fairs in spring and autumn. The following trade fairs are relevant to buyers of medical devices, printing machinery and electrical machinery:

    • Hong Kong Electronics Fair, October
    • Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair, April
    • Hong Kong International Medical Devices and Supplies Fair, May
    Other information
    • Location: Hong Kong S.A.R
    • Visa required: No
    • Airport: Hong Kong International Airport
    • Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC)
    • Address: 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai

    List of Machinery Manufacturers in China

    Listed Companies

    • Guangzhou Keshenglong Carton Packing Machine
    • Ruian Honetop Machinery
    • Shenzhen Xinquanli Machinery
    • Zhejiang Changjiang Machinery
    • Dongguan Hengsheng Machinery Manufacturer
    • Jiangsu Yawei Machine Tool
    • Luoyang Shiying Machinery Production
    • Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group
    • Shaoxing Jinhao Machinery
    • Twothousand Machinery

    Disclaimer

    We are not affiliated with any of the companies listed in this guide. We have selected these companies based on their claimed product scope, history, certification, and capabilities.

    Guangzhou Keshenglong Carton Packing Machine

    Guangzhou Keshenglong Carton Packing Machine is a carton packing machine manufacturer established in the 1990s. The company specialized in manufacturing carton printing machinery and carton packaging machinery.

    The comprehensive services offered by Keshenglong include R&D of the machine parts and components, machine designing, machine producing, and machine assembly.

    Keshenglong has exported its machinery to over 70 countries, including several countries in the EU, the United States, Canada, and Australia.

    Main Products

    • Computerized high-speed flexo printing slotting die-cutting machine
    • Computerized high-speed flexo case-makers
    • High precision printing slotting die-cutting machines
    • Top-bottom printing die-cutting machines
    • Flexo printing slotting die-cutting machines

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO/IEC 27001, ISO 45001
    • Compliance: Machinery Directive, Low Voltage Directive
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: No.77 Xieshi Road, Zhongcun Town, Panyu District, Guangzhou, Guangdong

    Ruian Honetop Machinery

    Ruian Honetop Machinery was founded in 2002 in Ruian, Zhejiang Province, focusing on providing solutions to packaging companies of various products, such as food, granules, liquid and paste, powder, paper straws, and other types of products.

    In addition to packaging machines, Ruian Honetop Machinery also produces more than 20 types of automatic machines in over 60 models, such as paper straw production machines, rotary premade pouch packing machines, and mask making machines.

    Main Products

    • Paper straw making machines
    • Vacuum pouch making machines
    • Paper slitting machines
    • Paper printing machines
    • Carton making machines
    • Sealing machines
    • Face mask making machines
    • Scale systems
    • Feeding conveyors
    • Working platforms
    • Metal detectors
    • Vacuum cleaners
    • Check weighers

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: UL, Machinery Directive
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: Gexiang Industrial Zone, Feiyun Street, Ruian, Zhejiang

    Shenzhen Xinquanli Machinery

    Shenzhen Xinquanli Machinery was established in 1995 and engages in the research, development, and manufacture of sofa machinery.

    The company has a professional technical team of engineers and product designers who provide customers with professional technical advice, plant process planning, and professional mechanical products and other services.

    The product lines of Shenzhen Xinquanli Machinery are divided into 6 segments, covering every part of a sofa, such as fiber making, foam cutting, filling. These machines include semi-auto fiber carding & cushion filling lines, manual foam angel cutting lines, and CNC contouring lines.

    Main Products

    • Fiber machines
    • Foam cutting machines
    • Sofa machines
    • Chair machines
    • Splint cutting machines
    • Toy filling machines
    • Grinding products and tools

    Summary

    • Certification: Not mentioned
    • Compliance: Machinery Directive, EMC Directive
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: Intersection of Lanzhu East Road and Jinlan Road, Pingshan New Area, Shenzhen, Guangdong

    Zhejiang Changjiang Machinery

    Zhejiang Changjiang Machinery is a professional designer, manufacturer, and exporter of garden machines from Taizhou, Zhejiang province. The company was founded in 1998 and has been engaged in R&D activities for the past two decades, offering ODM and OEM grass trimmers and grass mowers of more than 30 models, available in different capacities, wheel sizes, heights, and fuel tank volume, and out power.

    For example, clients can customize lawn mowers with different sizes, depending on the practical applications. Other customizable elements include the usages of the machines, such as motorcycle lawn mowers, hand-held lawnmowers, and auto-pilot lawnmowers.

    Currently, the factory area of Zhejiang Changjiang Machinery covers more than 55,000 square meters, with an annual export volume close to 40,000,000 USD.

    Main Products

    • Hand push lawn mowers
    • Self-propelled lawn mowers
    • Trimming machines
    • Riding lawn mowers
    • Lawn trimmers

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: Machinery Directive
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: Changjiang Road No.9, Wenling, Taizhou, Zhejiang

    Dongguan Hengsheng Machinery Manufacturer

    Dongguan Hengsheng Machinery Manufacture was founded in 2000, specializes in the designing and manufacturing of machinery used in the PU and urethane foam product processing industry, such as furniture, beddings, textiles, and footwear.

    Currently, Hengsheng is able to produce more than 3,000 sets of machines per year. These products include foam making machines, cotton regeneration machines, and foam flattening machines.

    Main Products

    • Foaming machines
    • Cutting machines
    • Contour cutting machines
    • Rebonding machines
    • Laminating machines

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: Machinery Directive
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: Room 814a, Building A1, Area A, Dongguan Tianan Cyber Park, No.1 Huangjin Road, Nancheng District, Dongguan, Guangdong

    Jiangsu Yawei Machine Tool

    Jiangsu Yawei Machine Tool, founded in 1956, is one of the leading firms in the sheet metal forming machine tooling industry.

    The company has been engaged in the research and development, manufacturing, and sales of CNC laser cutting machine, metal plate processing, coil line equipment, linear and horizontal multi-joint robots, and other intelligent and automation machinery.

    Currently, Jiangsu Yawei Machine Tool owns a manufacturing center of more than 330,000 square meters, employing more than 1,200 people, yielding a net revenue of a hundred million Chinese RMB. In 2011, was listed in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Company.

    Main Products

    • CNC sheet metal press brakes
    • CNC shearing machines
    • CNC blanking compound machines
    • CNC punching machines
    • Cross-cutting machines
    • 2D and 3D laser cutting machines
    • Laser welding machines
    • Laser cladding machines
    • 3D printing machines
    • Composite wires
    • Aluminum wires

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: Room 814a, Building A1, Area A, Dongguan Tianan Cyber Park, No.1 Huangjin Road, Nancheng District, Dongguan, Guangdong

    Luoyang Shiying Machinery Production

    Luoyang Shiying Machinery Production is a manufacturer specializing in the designing and manufacturing of tractors based in Luoyang, Henan. The company mainly produces medium to large scale tractors, castings, forgings, and other parts and components of agricultural machinery.

    The tractors of Luoyang Shiying are mainly used in agriculture fields. There are more than 10 models of medium to large scale tractors that are used for harvesting, planting, and fertilizing.

    Main Products

    • Four-wheel tractors
    • Farm tools
    • Machinery parts and components

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: Machinery Directive
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: Luoyang Airport Industry Park, Henan

    Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group

    Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group was founded in 1943, which is now one of the renowned and influential construction machinery corporations in China.

    Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group focuses on providing clients customizable solutions for their construction projects. At the moment, the company offers more than a hundred models of heavy-duty machinery designed to be used for crane lifting, mining construction, earth-moving, and more.

    For each type of machinery, there are various customizable options. For example, a crane can be customizable into a truck-adapted, crawler-adapted, rough-terrain-adapted, tower-adapted, and lorry-adapted style.

    Main Products

    • Hoisting machinery
    • Mining machinery
    • Excavators
    • Loaders
    • Road machinery
    • Piling machinery
    • Non-excavation machinery
    • Concrete machinery
    • Special vehicle
    • Aerial working equipment
    • Sanitation machinery
    • Fire-fighting machinery
    • Tunnel machinery
    • Resource exploration machinery

    Summary

    • Certification: Not mentioned
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: Tongshan Road, Xuzhou, Jiangsu

    Shaoxing Jinhao Machinery

    Shaoxing Jinhao Machinery is located in the textile market of Asia China Keqiao Textile City in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province. The company focuses on manufacturing and supplying automatic and computerized textile knitting machines for gloves, socks, bras, underpants, and sweaters.

    Currently, the factory of Shaoxing Jinhao Machinery occupies more than 40,000 square meters of land and employs more than 800 workers, mainly exporting to Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

    Main Products

    • Flat knitting machines
    • Glove knitting machines
    • Stockings knitting machines
    • Double cylinder socks knitting machines
    • Underwear knitting machines

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: Keyan Industrial Area, Shaoxing County, Zhejiang

    Twothousand Machinery

    Twothousand Machinery was founded in 2000, focusing on providing solutions for commercial kitchen equipment.

    Twothousand Machinery builds 6 types of machinery, which are kitchen machinery for food preparation, baking equipment, cooking equipment, refrigeration equipment,

    stainless steel storage shelves, and utensil sterilizers.

    Twothousand Machinery mainly serves restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets, offering more than 30 types of machinery for the purpose of food refrigeration, food processing, and baking.

    The manufacturing center of Twothousand Machinery is located in Guangzhou, occupying more than 5,000 square meters areas, with a showroom of over 1,000 square meters inside the factory, displaying more than a hundred models of machinery.

    The production capacity of Twothousand Machinery is around 100-5,000 pieces per month, depending on the individual type of machinery and different customization requirements from the customers.

    Main Products

    • Stand mixers
    • Dough mixers
    • Immersion blenders
    • Pizza dough presses
    • Noodle machines
    • Ice cream machines
    • Ice cream cone machines
    • Fried ice cream machine
    • Frozen yogurt blender
    • Shawarma machines
    • Salamander grills
    • Crepe machines
    • Rotary rack ovens
    • Chicken rotisserie ovens
    • Gas fryers

    Summary

    • Certification: Not mentioned
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Not mentioned

    Location: No 105, 18 West Street, Huagang Garden, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, Guangdong

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