Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

Buying a Pre-Owned Mass Spectrometer

We buy pre-owned cars, so why not buy pre-owned lab equipment, such as a mass spectrometer (MS)?

Mike May, PhD

Mike May is a freelance writer and editor living in Texas.

ViewFull Profile.
Learn about ourEditorial Policies.
Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify

If You Do Your Homework, Used Lab Equipment Can Be a Great Value

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Seeding Labs makes pre-owned equipment available to scientists in developing countries. “We have several university partners in developing countries who have requested used MS systems from our ‘Instrumental Access’ program,” says Seeding Labs’ director of corporate relations Robert B. Lillianfeld. “For example, used MS systems can help researchers in finding antimalarial compounds in local flora.” In fact, a pre-owned mass spectrometer can attack that worthy endeavor and many others.

As Lillianfeld points out, scientists can also use pre-owned MS platforms to drive their local economy. In Africa, for example, there are ongoing projects to support cocoa production by developing new fermentation techniques for cocoa beans. “Once these techniques are developed,” he says, “it will be important to use an MS to analyze the chemical composition of beans fermented with the new processes compared with those fermented using current processes.”

Get training in Asset Management and earn CEUs.One of over 25 IACET-accredited courses in the Academy.
Asset Management Course

A pre-owned MS, however, could be a good choice for any lab.

Lots on the lot

You might prefer a place with many used MS platforms to consider, like EquipNet (Canton, MA.) “Our exclusive contracts with our clients yield a wide range of pre-owned mass spectrometer equipment from a number of respected original equipment manufacturers, such as Agilent, Waters, Applied Biosystems/Sciex, Shimadzu, and more,” says sales manager Greg Feinberg, adding that EquipNet will find anything that you need. Likewise, Ceylan Bilgin, marketing director at International Equipment Trading (Vernon Hills, IL,) says that his company carries pre-owned and refurbished mass spectrometers from all of the major manufacturers.

When you go shopping, many things must be considered. “Buyers should consider the price and age of the equipment,” says Feinberg. “Also, check to see if the manufacturer still services the platform.”

Related Article: Shopping Around

Most important, make sure that the device meets or exceeds OEM specifications. “We always run qualification data on our instruments,” says Bilgin, “and this data is provided to the customer for review and approval.” To make sure that the instrument has been taken care of properly, Feinberg recommends asking the seller for any preventive maintenance documents.

Compatibility with other systems also matters. If you purchase the front end, say a liquid chromatograph, and the MS from the same vendor, you should expect complete compatibility. If you want to connect a pre-owned MS with equipment already in your lab, ask the vendor if the connection will work.

MS today and tomorrow

To get the most from a pre-owned MS in your lab, ask about its warranty. Most purchases will include some protection, such as 90 days, and extended warranties might be available.

When necessary, the seller might also provide maintenance or service contracts. “We do in-house repairs and on-site repairs, depending on the instrument and location,” says Bilgin.

“We want equipment to live a long and productive life in our partners’ labs,” explains Lillianfeld. “That’s what you should expect from any pre-owned MS that you buy.”