Gutter Machines: A Supplier's Perspective
By Mike Milliman
Machines: A supplier's perspective
By Mike Milliman of Rain Trade
There are several different types of seamless K-style gutter machines: 5-inch,
6-inch, 5- and 6-inch combination machines, 5-1/2-inch fascia machines, and
machines with the Alcoa-style hook. Affordable machines to make seamless
half-round gutters have yet to hit the market; current models cost
approximately $40,000 and are not portable.
Pricing for a new K-style seamless gutter machine can range from
$5,875 to $15,000 depending on the size and brand. When buying a
gutter machine most people ask what the major difference is between the
types of machines. The main difference is the drive roll system, whether it is a
polyurethane drive roll system or a steel roll system. Polyurethane drive roll
systems are considered the top of the line for the following reasons: First, they
are free-floating; with no need to travel from jobsite to jobsite with coil in the
machine, there is less material
waste. Second, they enable the machine to run 24-gauge steel. Third,
polyurethane rollers grab the coil better, which means less slippage in cold
weather and condensation.
In addition, because machines with polyurethane drive trains are top of the
line, they come with other bells and whistles that others do not, such as:
turnstile uprights that rotate 360 degrees; push-button controls at entry and exit
ends; and jog- and continuous-run switches.
With steel roll system machines you need to travel from jobsite to jobsite with
coil run through the machine to prevent the machine from falling out of
adjustment. Nor will these machines run 24-gauge steel. Both types of
machines, steel- and polyurethane-drive, will run aluminum and copper.
Additional questions to consider when buying a gutter machine
What size gutter does your market call for, 5-inch or 6-inch or both? If 5-inch,
you need to know the size of coil is 11-7/8 or 11-3/4 inches. The gauge for all
sizes is .032 or .027.
What material will you be running through your machine: aluminum, copper,
painted steel, or a combination?
What is your time frame? Typical lead times for delivery of gutter machines
are anywhere from 10 days to four weeks depending on the brand and model.
Where is the machine going to be stationed? Will it be in a shop, on a truck, or
in a trailer?
Gutter machines are usually sold in packages. They normally come
with a set price for the machine, the uprights, the spools, and the guillotine.
Some manufacturers include a couple of run-out stands in their package as
well. Check what is available with the package to ensure you are comparing
apples to apples.
Accessories for gutter machines include:
Run-out stands that hold the gutter as it rolls out of the machine and prevent a
downward slope in your gutter.
Machine-mounted cradles that go in place of an upright for easier loading and
unloading of coils onto your machine.
Floor cradles that are great time-savers for smaller runs of gutters since you
do not have to load a spool of a small coil for just a small footage. You place
your coil in the cradle behind the machine and run it through.
Should you buy a new or used machine? Although gutter machines
have changed slightly over the years, the gutter has remained the same. If you
are looking for a bargain and the machine appears to have been taken care of
over the years, you can find a good deal on a used machine.
Used machines will tend to fall out of alignment more frequently than a new
machine, so you should be very familiar with any used machine you buy. If
you are familiar with gutter machines and able to adjust them, a used
machine is a good deal. Otherwise, the time and money to find someone who
can periodically adjust a used machine will quickly offset your savings. Buying
a new machine gives you time to become familiar with the machine before
something happens. With a used machine, you never really know what you
Mike Milliman is co-owner of RainTrade Corporation, a gutter supply company
based in Lake Bluff, Ill., and distributor for three gutter machine manufacturers.
About the Author
Mike Milliman offers information on Gutter Machines from the perspective of a supplier, offering you a new perspective into this industry.
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