By Matt Weiss & Kevin Weiss, Owner and Head of Business Operations & Strategy
The argument for new vs refurbished HPLC equipment is truly not dissimilar to the argument of new vs certified preowned cars. New feels nice, new is expensive, and the minute “new” gets put into use, it is used. The beauty of a refurbished system is that it performs every bit as good as a new system. It is tested to the same specifications, passes the same tests, and produces the same results. But let’s look at the pragmatic reality. As original manufacturer service and support starts to wane, as early as the end of 2021, many labs are being forced into upgrading their fleet of instruments that ultimately won't do much more than offer a newer interface and improved aesthetics. The technology around HPLC is mature, and therefore manufactures want to incentivize users to purchase the new instruments. This is unlikely to positively affect your bottom line. In some cases in fact, the purchase might hurt your bottom line while funds are being allotted to these purchases. Meanwhile, a variety of options are available to both upgrade and refurbish existing platforms as well as purchase refurbished instruments altogether.
Current HPLC Technology is Mature and Reliable
The major HPLC platforms that Elite LCMS Services supports, that being the Aria HPLC with Agilent and Shimadzu pumps, have been in service for almost 20 years. They have steadfastly produced over and over again, and continue to do so. Some of these individual Aria HPLC systems are producing upwards of half a million results in a year, and that’s on one mass spectrometer. The hardware has a proven history of durability, maintainability, and reparability. So when you look at the strong upside of a refurbished HPLC; The flow path components are brand new. The core hardware is tested to manufacturers specifications. The test results are comparable to any new system. They are warrantied as any other system. And they cost 30-50% less than new.
Third Party HPLC Service and Refurbished HPLC Systems
Elite LCMS Services has installed refurbished system for the last 10 years, a dozen system in the last 4 years. All of which are running perfectly and producing steady results for very happy customers. But, for some customers cost isn’t an issue, and that is to be expected. On top of that, there most certainly are assays that require the latest and greatest technology. For the majority of customers, the bottom line is a key argument, and the ROI argument and capital outlay for a refurbished system is hard to ignore. Particularly for more tried and true assays that simply need scaling. Professionally refurbished systems should always be a strong consideration for the betterment of your labs needs, especially when the key catalyst for purchasing new systems is waning OEM support. Service experts like Elite LCMS exist in a variety of forms. The lack of availability for OEM support doesn't need to force labs into buying exorbitantly price machines when cheaper and comparable alternatives exist.