Machine Shipping

Machine Shipping Information

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- Basic Shipping Info -

AutoMate CNC machines are large. bulky and can weigh up to 5000 lbs. The potential for damage to a machine or injury to shipping personnel or bystanders is significant. These machines require special attention throughout the transportation process.

Four Methods of CNC Machine Shipping Include:

1) Basic Truck Freight Delivery - Foam Protected and Wrapped Machine
2) Basic Truck Freight Delivery – Wooden Crate Protected Machine
3) Advanced Truck Freight Delivery – Separated Divider w/ Non-Stop Delivery
4) Flat Bed Truck Delivery – Direct delivery of protected and tarped machine

**All Trucks Used by AutoMate CNC to Deliver CNC Machines are Equipped with Air Ride Suspension Systems. We want to be sure your machine has as smooth a ride as possible.

**AutoMate CNC Recommended Machine Delivery Method: Our recommendation is that each customer use the Advanced Truck Freight Delivery – Separated Divider w/ Non-Stop Delivery for shipping of machines they purchase. This method is a little more expensive, but we can, and will provide assurance that the CNC machine will be delivered safely and without damage.

Customers who decide to use Basic Truck Freight Delivery can expect to receive their machine safely, but it requires more vigilance and responsibility on the part of the customer who is receiving the machine.

Determining Machine Weight and Dimensions:

Determining crated machine weight and dimensions is complicated. A number of factors go into this equation. Please allow us to help you determine the machine and shipping combination that work best for you. To get started, fill out the quote form on the website, and we’ll get back to you with a machine and shipping quote. Or, call us at 800.476.4849 – an Automate CNC technician would be happy to answer your questions.

- Fork Lift Requirements -

Fork Length:

In our warehouse operations we use forklifts with 6000 lb. lift capacity and 6’ forks. Six foot forks can be used safely with all of the AutoMate CNC Lathes and Mills, except the FTL400 Lathe. We have a set of extension we add to the 6’ forks for this lathe.

Max Lift Capacity:

The first step is to determine the weight of the crated CNC machine you are receiving from the machine specifications page. Next, check the stated lift capacity of the fork truck you intend to use. The lifting capacity of this machine must be greater than the weight of the machine you are purchasing. 

Machine Delivery Options:

You may prefer to use professional shippers and riggers to receive and set up your machine. Many larger organizations and government agencies are required to use a trained and registered machine tool rigger/mill wright.

Other Options:

If you do not have experience handling this size and type of machine we welcome a discussion about delivery options with you. Call us at 1-800-476-4849 and speak with one of our representatives to discuss the logistical solution best suited for you.

- International Shipping -

Shipping to Canada

We use a variety of transport companies for Canadian shipments. We do this to ensure you the best possible rates when going across the border. There are two different options you can consider for handling customs paperwork, duties and taxes going into Canada.

The first option is to act as your own servicing agent. We will sell you the machine, and contacting a broker and handling customs duties, taxes and fees is up to you.

The second option includes an all-inclusive package where we take care of everything for you. Your job will be to prepare to receive the machine when delivered.

Shipping to Other International Locations

For international shipments of AutoMate CNC lathes and mills we use Mid-America Overseas as our broker. We will quote and ship to the port nearest you. Forwarding of the machine from the port to your door will be your responsibility. Please provide valid contact information and a ship-to address when requesting a quote for shipment to a location outside the US and Canada.


Four Methods of Machine Delivery - Options

1. Basic Truck Freight Delivery – Foam Protected and Wrapped Machine

In general, AutoMate CNC Lathe and Mills are small enough to fit into standard sized freight trucks. Also, the weight of most machines is less than the maximum 5000 weight of an individual delivered item, as stated by most truck freight companies.

We have delivered tens of thousands of machine tools by truck freight through the years. So we know it can be done safely. We also know that the size and weight of these CNC machines brings additional risk of damage to package and/or person.

Loading Dock or Direct From Truck: The first consideration for Truck Freight delivery is availability of dock. The easiest way to unload a CNC machine direct from a common freight truck by using a loading dock with adjustable dock plate.

If you do not have a loading dock you can still receive a machine via truck freight delivery. In this case you must arrange with the AutoMate CNC technician to have the machine placed on the back of the truck for delivery. A forklift can drive up to the truck on the ground and lift the machine out of the back of the truck.

Fork Truck Requirements: (See Details Above).

If you're unsure of your personnel or fork lift's capabilities, please contact a local rigger for assistance.

Receiving the Machine: Prior to receiving your machine you will receive an email from with us with instructions and pictures of the machine just before it is loaded on the truck to leave our warehouse.

When the machine arrives you should compare these emailed pictures to the look of the machine packaging when it arrives. You must note any damage to the lathe or mill on the bill of lading before the trucker leaves in order to be able to hold the trucking company liable for damage before it arrives at your location.

It is similar to doing a walk around of a rental car before you sign to accept it. You must note any damage to the machine on the truck company’s bill of lading before signing for acceptance. It will be assumed that any damage that is noted to the machine at a later date will have happened after the machine arrived at your location.

2. Basic Truck Freight Delivery – Wooden Crate Protected Machine

There is a way to deliver a CNC machine by truck freight that entails less risk. A second option that carries greater assurance of safe delivery is to build a wooden cross-member crate around the machine before it ships. We charge $300-500 to build a crate around the CNC machine and pallet.

The terms of delivery for a machine with crate are the same as for a CNC machine that is foamed and wrapped. Be sure to read the section just above, to learn about shipping a CNC machine by Truck Frieght.

Receiving a CNC Lathe with Wooden Crate: The procedure for receiving a machine with crate is the same as if you had shipped the machine without a crate.

You will receive pictures of your machine as it sits in its crate on the delivery dock before leaving our location. You should compare the machine you receive with the pictures. It’s a good idea to take pictures of the machine as you receive it.

Any damage to the machine or crate must be noted on the trucker’s bill of lading before he leaves your location. It is assumed that any damage to the machine noticed after the machine is delivered to your location will have occurred after the machine was delivered.

3. Advanced Truck Freight Delivery – Separated Divider w/ Non-Stop Delivery

To assure safe delivery of your CNC machine, while still relying on standard Truck Freight Delivery, the best way to have your machine delivered is with “Separated Divider”. This shipping method is more expensive, but we can provide the assurance that your machine will arrive without damage.

Process of Shipping with Separated Divider: The actual process of preparing and shipping a CNC machine by this method is straight forward. We will negotiate a delivery quote from our shipping Company, ESTES TRUCKING for your machine delivery. Should you accept this delivery method we will prepare the machine for shipment with standard foam and plastic wrap protection.

Delivery of Separated Divider Shipment: When the machine is loaded on the truck at our location it will be placed in the front of the trailer, just behind the cab. After strapping the machine down the driver will place a set of metal bars – the secure divider system – between the two walls of the trailer.

No other freight will be able to make contact with your machine. Your machine will not be moved to another truck before it arrives at your location. It will be a direct shipment from our location to yours. It’s a bit expensive, but you can rest assured your machine will arrive safe and ready to go to work.

4. Flat Bed Delivery

Flat bed delivery makes the most sense when you don’t have a truck loading dock. Many of our customers in rural locations opt for delivery by flatbed truck.

Fork Lift and Unloading Area: The rules for having an adequate fork lift stated above in the Truck Freight Delivery apply for flatbed truck also. Be sure to read the section about fork truck requirements.

Fork Truck Rental: It is common for customers who don’t have a forklift to arrange for rental of a forklift on the day the machine will be delivered. Let us know if you need assistance in renting a forklift and driver, if you don’t have experience.

To receive a delivery by flatbed truck your location must be accessible by the truck and trailer tandem. The driver must have a path to drive through or turn around in while at your location. There must also be room for the fork truck to move in from the side of the trailer to lift and remove the machine tool.

One other note of caution: The ground must be hard enough to handle the weight of fork truck and machine. Soft dirt or gravel are not an adequate foundation for moving a machine tool and delivery vehicle.

Receiving/Inspection: The CNC machine will be covered by a tarp while it is traveling. The machine is well protected using this type of delivery, so you should not expect to have damage to your machine.

However, it is still the responsibility of the person receiving the machine to fully and carefully inspect the machine for damage. Any damage should be noted on the bill of lading before accepting the machine as being delivered.

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  800-476-4849  |  170 Aprill Drive  |  Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103  |  USA
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