A guide to Importing Machinery from China

Within 2018, China’s largest export is machinery, reaching $3.18 trillion in value. Due to a large amount of choice within the market, careful consideration must be taken with choosing who, how you work with suppliers, and this ensures goods are compliant with the legal and safety requirements to allow them into your chosen country. 

This article aims to give guidance on how to import machinery from China, discussing the need for a good supplier, technical specifications, safety standards, and more. 

Finding the Right Supplier

Once you have chosen which machinery you wish to import, the next crucial step is selecting the right supplier.

Within China, most Machinery manufacturers are based in and around Shanghai, including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shandong provinces depending on the types of machinery you require. Although it is best to visit suppliers to understand their products better, this can become quite difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, implementing the use of a 3rd party organization can be beneficial to ensure goods are of the standards you require. 

There is a wealth of online resources with directories of companies that deal in specific machinery that can align with your needs. For example, in China today, communication can then be made to build a relationship and specify your organization’s requirements.

China has a large number of machinery types that are produced. Some examples are: 

  • Wheel Loaders
  • CNC Machines
  • Laser Cutting Machines
  • Agriculture / Food Production Machines
  • Roll Forming Machines
  • Welding Machines
  • Packaging & Printing Machinery

This is only a fraction of the machinery which is available within China. Because of this, it will take time to find the right supplier for any niche products required by your business. 

Attention to Technical Specifications 

Most organizations do not require bespoke machinery. Because of this, factory-made machinery are a more popular choice. If this is the case for your organization, it is essential to understand the technical specifications of the machinery. It is common for suppliers to provide detailed sheets which provide these specific details.

Key aspects of this sheet in which careful inspection should be: 

The overview of the machinery

When checking the specifications, it is vital to find out which model the machine is and an overview of its functionality and purpose. This ensures the device is built for the task which you are trying to complete. In addition to this, if the model name is known, spare parts may be found later if there are any mechanical faults.  

Its Internal Parts

As well as the overview looking at the main internal parts of the machine will allow giving further clarity on the quality of the machinery. Look at things such as the motor and bearings to ensure they align with your needs. 

The Electrical aspects of the machinery 

In addition to the internal parts, it is also vital to carefully inspect the machinery’s electronics and electrical output, looking for such things as power, voltage, and efficiency. As different countries work in various voltage outlets, making sure these align with what is used within your country is essential. Understanding the power output also clearly indicates additional costs that the machine could produce from production use. 

The software it uses

When using the machinery, understanding the software is essential to being able to use the machine to its fullest. If you are using machinery already, making sure it is similar, or the same type of software will be essential to allow for smooth installation once imported. 

Physical characteristics

Characteristics such as weight are important when importing goods. This will indicate the price of shipping and also ensure that the machinery is made from quality materials. 

Certifications/ Class

The specifications should also mention any certifications awarded to the machinery, such as the CE marking or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). This ensures the machinery fits the quality standards and fits in with regulatory standards. 

 Protection classifications are also mentioned within the specifications. An example of this is the Ingress Protection ratings, which show sealing quality to avoid leakage and protection against foreign bodies such as dust or dirt entering. 

Although each piece of machinery has different specifications, these principal factors will allow your organization to understand the quality before purchasing. This lessens the chance of any bad purchases with lower-quality equipment. 

Safety standards For The Machinery 

When importing machinery from China, many countries have directives and regulatory bodies that impose strict regulations to ensure they are compliant with the universal standard set out. 

If there is an attempt to import machinery that is not standard, it may be stopped and seized before entry into the country. As well as this, potential action may be taker against the importer, such as hefty fines. This is due to the responsibility being on the importer to ensure the machinery complies instead of the manufacturer. 

With this in mind, it is imperative that careful consideration is made and steps are taken to ensure that the machinery complies with the regulations set out by your local body and customs authorities. 

Examples of regulations by country

European Union 

One of the major regulations within the EU is the Machinery Directive (MD) which regulates all machinery manufactured or imported into the EU. 

As well as the MD, Importers must ensure that the CE marketing directive is followed in correlation to correct labeling of machinery, ensuring it is compliant with regulations set out by it and technical documentation is managed correctly. 

Within the EU, there are also regulations regarding electrical components and equipment named The Restriction of Hazardous Substances or ROHS ( more information on it can be found here), which also must be complied with.  

United Kingdom 

Due to the United Kingdom leaving the EU as a result of Brexit, regulations have changed. For example, the transition from the traditional CE marking directive to UKCA markings.

Organizations must be diligent in following these regulations and ensure that all machinery complies with local bodies. Without it, issues may arise getting the goods through customs or having the equipment recalled and seized in a worst-case scenario. 

Testing And Quality Assurance 

Lab Testing Reports

When selecting goods, it is key to note that it is a requirement for all machinery to be laboratory tested. Although some manufacturers provide a test report, some do not. Therefore if they are not tested, then a third party must be used to provide testing. 

The results of the testing will be provided in a detailed report which should cover: 

  • SKU 
  • Issuing company (e.g., HQTS)
  • Manufacturer
  • Issuing date
  • Compliance with regulations that are relevant to the machinery. 

Note: Having a testing report is not the only requirement for importation. Other key documentation may be required as well as correct labeling. 

To have a look at an example testing report which HQTS provides, click the link here.  

Functional testing and quality assurance

One major aspect of importing machinery is ensuring the quality of it is satisfactory. Without it, machinery may be imported that has defects. This can not only have negative monetary implications but can potentially impact an organization’s manufacturing. 

There is also the potential that even if you tried to return the goods back to the supplier, Chinese customs might not allow the machinery to reenter the country. Because of this, third-party quality assurance organizations are extremely beneficial to minimizing the chances of this occurring. 

Quality assurance companies (like us at HQTS) have a range of services from testing, inspections of goods and suppliers, and protocols to ensure that the machinery is quality products and without defects and complies with the regulation and directives mentioned above. 

In conclusion, China has a wide variety of machinery that can be purchased. However, careful consideration must be taken in finding the right supplier and goods of quality to avoid purchasing faulty or not relevant products. This can be done by using third parties to assist in this process. 

HQTS are experts in quality assurance for machinery 

HQTS has over 25 years of experience with inspection services in industry-leading quality control, including machinery testing. Focusing on a wide range of services such as in-depth laboratory testing, functionality testing, and supplier audits to ensure all goods are of quality and comply with the regulatory body’s requirements. 


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