Shipping Damage
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How to prevent Machinery Freight Damage from ruining your day:

Sometimes a customer will buy a machine from us but they have no experience receiving and unloading expensive machinery. The customer usually has a fork lift but they may not know that they have the important responsibility to inspect the machine before they sign the Bill Of Lading and unload it from the delivery truck. Because we use reputable trucking companies with a lot of machinery moving experience it is unusual for shipping damage to occur but it can still happen. Therefore.......You MUST inspect the machine for shipping damage BEFORE you sign the Bill Of Lading and BEFORE you unload the machine. This is very important to you. Because once you sign the Bill Of Lading or unload the machine, then the machine is your responsibility.

If you see serious damage during inspection that you believe will prevent the machine from functioning properly, please call us so we can advise you to reject the machine and send it back. But if you see minor dents or scratches or other minor damage that will not prevent the machine from doing the work you bought it for, call us and we will advise you that you can accept the machine - but you MUST write all the visible damages down on the Bill Of Lading in case there is some serious hidden freight damage that is discovered later. A damage claim cannot be made once you accept the machine as is. Take photos with your cell phone camera. Document everything. Do not let the delivery driver rush you. Machinery is expensive. You bought a new machine and the trucking company is paid a lot of money to deliver your machine to you in new condition. They also have insurance in case they accidentally damage your machinery while it is in their custody. If in doubt about what to do when confronted with damaged machine, please call our office and talk to a member of our staff.

Are you having us ship the machine to an Export Company (aka Freight Forwarder)? You will need to send them an email, fax or letter in advance explaining to them that they MUST inspect the machine for shipping damage BEFORE they sign the Bill Of Lading and BEFORE they unload the machine. If your Export Company accepts a damaged machine without noting the damage on the Bill Of Lading, the trucking company will not pay for your damage claim. American Machine Tools Company does not control the trucking companies and cannot reinburse you for a damaged machine if the trucking company is not going to pay for it. It is your responsibility to make sure your Export Company follows these rules because they are acting as your representative when the receive the machine. If you are worried your export company might forget to inspect then you should send the machine to them on a flat bed truck.

Flat bed truck versus standard truck: A flat bed truck will often cost at least 50% more for small machines. Large machines must be shipped on a flat bed truck. Small machines are easier to unload from a flat bed truck because you can access both sides with your fork lift or you can use a crane. If you have a loading dock then a standard truck is usually chosen since the fork lift driver can drive inside the truck to access the machine and pull it off the truck onto the loading dock. Small machines normally ship in a wooden crate (see photo below) on a standard truck and large machines are normally shipped on a flat bed truck (see 2nd photo below). Freight damage almost never happens on a flat bed truck because the machine is rarely moved once is is loaded, strapped down and tarped. We often need a week or more to find a flat bed truck that is going in your direction but a standard truck will normally be about to pick up your machine the next day.

Some important points that are worth repeating:
• If you are buying a machine that is very long or is top heavy, it should be shipped on a flat bed truck (chained or strapped down) because it will be too difficult to unload from a standard truck or the machine may tip over inside a standard truck.
• If your machine arrives with a scratch or dent or broken handle, then you should accept the machine after writing down the minor damage you have discovered. Take photos while the machine is still on the delivery truck. The machine will still work fine with a scratch or dent and we can send you a new handle to replace a broken one.
• If you see serious damage during inspection that you believe will prevent the machine from functioning properly, please call us so we can advise you to reject the machine and send it back.
• Be very careful unloading most machines because many of them are much heavier on one side and therefore need to be fork-lifted off center. You will need to test lift it to find the center of gravity.
• If you are having your machine shipped to an Export Company, make sure they inspect the machine for shipping damage BEFORE they sign the Bill Of Lading and BEFORE they unload the machine.
• Some machines are top heavy. So when you fork-lift them the machine can easily tip over. You need to strap or chain the body of the machine to the mast of the fork lift for safety.
• Many machines should be installed level, shimmed if necessary and bolted to the floor to prevent them from moving or tipping over.

• Electricity is best connected by an electrician using a circuit breaker that can handle an amperage spike during the machine work cycle.
• When using a machine: ALWAYS KEEP HAIR, CLOTHING, HANDS AND FINGERS CLEAR OF THE MOVING PARTS! Hire or learn from an expericed machine user. SAFETY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

Photo should freight damage to machine shipping crate This photo shows what can happen when a long machine in a protective shipping crate is shipped on a standard truck. Notice the damaged shipping crate. Some of the machine parts were found on the floor of the truck. On top you can see one of the legs and the damaged shafts connected to counterweights. The green leg was OK but the bent shafts had to be replaced. This is an example of a machine that should be accepted but the damage must be written on the Bill Of Lading and photos should be taken while the machine is still on the truck so that a damage claim can be made.
Photo shows a machine on a flat bed truck This photo shows a large CNC milling machine that was delivered on a flat bed truck. It will be chained or stapped down to the truck so that it cannot tip over and then it is tarped. Machines that are shipped on a flat bed truck are normally never moved until they reach their destination. This avoids potential handling damage that can occur at your local shipping terminal where the machine is moved from long haul truck to warehouse to local delivery truck.

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