THE ZEFSCI BLOG
5 Critical Factors When Buying Refurbished LCMS Instruments
If you’re looking into buying a refurbished LCMS instrument, there are several things to keep in mind. In this article, we outline 5 important considerations to help narrow down your search and find the right instrument.
Not every lab can afford to buy a new LCMS instrument when they need to.
Because of this, many labs are starting to purchase their LCMS equipment refurbished. But before we get into what that process means for you, what exactly does “refurbished” mean? And how is it different from a used instrument?
Used vs. Refurbished LCMS: Is There a Difference?
In the world of pre-owned LCMS instrumentation, the terms “used” and “refurbished” are used interchangeably in many places.
However, there is a general distinction that many industry sellers abide by when listing pre-owned analytical instruments.
A “refurbished” LCMS system is a pre-owned system that has been serviced, repaired and certified to meet the original manufacturer’s performance specifications.
A “used” LCMS instrument doesn’t necessarily have to meet these standards. A used system is just that – a used system. It may not have had preventative maintenance done in a while, and it won’t have verifiable proof that it can meet performance standards.
But be careful because this is a general rule, not an industry-wide accepted standard. Vendors of pre-owned lab equipment will have their own product labeling conventions.
For the purposes of this article, the point of this distinction is to make sure that you know what to look for to ensure you’re getting an LCMS that can stand up to the rigors of the research and tests you intend to put it through.
The Benefits of Going with a Refurbished LCMS Instrument
Leading manufacturers have been making high-quality LCMS instruments for many years. That means even older refurbished systems can still have many years of top-level performance left in them.
If you’re budgeting for a new system, depending on your application, a refurbished system may be more than sufficient to meet the sensitivity and performance needs for your research. Plus, it may save your lab money in the long run, and that leftover budget can be used for continued maintenance on the system.
Unless there are specific add-ons, specialty parts, or strict performance and sensitivity standards you need to conduct your research, a refurbished LCMS instrument can be a great way to go.
With that out of the way, let’s dig a little deeper into the five factors to keep in mind when looking for a refurbished instrument.
5 Considerations for Buying a Refurbished LCMS
#1. Consider Your Budget for LCMS Equipment
Cost can be a major determining factor in buying LCMS equipment. Unless you’re working with a large equipment budget, looking at refurbished equipment can help you stick to your budget.
From the sticker price alone, refurbished LCMS instruments are definitely a good investment compared to buying a new system. However, you still need to conduct due diligence. Purchasing an instrument that needs repairs or has a lackluster service history could end up costing you more than a new system in the long run.
The next few considerations we’ll cover will help you make an informed decision about the LCMS instrument you ultimately choose.
#2. Does the System have a Warranty?
Another thing you’ll want to know when looking at refurbished instruments is if any come with a warranty or not.
While not every refurbished instrument will come with coverage, it could be a differentiating factor that can help you narrow down your search.
Any warranty on the instrument takes a significant amount of risk out of the purchase, so look for it.
#3. Performance Capabilities
Another important factor is making sure that the refurbished instrument you’re considering can meet the performance requirements of your research.
Refurbished instruments are typically certified to meet the manufacturer’s original performance specifications. However, you should still make sure those performance standards are sensitive enough for the research or work you need the instrument to do.
#4. Service History
Of course, when labs get rid of their LCMS systems there is a tendency to ask what could be wrong with the equipment. However, labs get rid of equipment for a variety of reasons.
Don’t assume that all pre-owned or refurbished systems have a history of breaking down. At the same time however, you should investigate the use history of the instrument as much as you can.
Try to determine where the instrument came from, if it was regularly serviced, what it was used for previously, and if that use history is compatible with your research. If it is, then you have more assurance that it will work for your purposes. Oftentimes this service history can be difficult to obtain, so partnering with your service provider to do a pre-inspection visit before purchase may be helpful. Some chemicals that run through these instruments can cause corrosion or contamination that is difficult to remove, shortening the lifespan of internal parts. While it may meet specifications now, this could lead to premature failure of the instrument.
#5. How Will You Service It?
Usually buying refurbished means it won’t come with OEM service coverage contracts. Also depending on how old the model is, parts and consumables may be hard to find.
Make sure you have found a service partner capable of supporting the equipment, and have a plan in place to service and maintain your new investment in a refurbished system before you buy it.
Conclusion – Refurbished Works When You Know What to Look For
A refurbished LCMS instrument can be a more budget-friendly way for your lab to expand its analytical capabilities. Before you buy, make sure you do your due diligence on the instrument.
Once you’ve decided on the instruments, make sure you line up a servicing and maintenance contract to keep it in working order. The last thing you want to do is invest in a refurbished LCMS that breaks on you a few months in.
Looking at refurbished LCMS equipment? The multivendor service experts at ZefSci can help you get a service plan in place for your new investment. Get in touch today.