Ensuring the Quality of Used Test Equipment

By Mike McHale, Livingston

With companies having to contend with increasingly rigid budget constraints, the amount they set aside for acquiring test hardware needs to be reined in. As a result the acquisition of used test equipment (as well as equipment rental) has become more common. But, when buying used items in this particular market sector, you need to be sure you don’t trip over the potential hazards. It is therefore vital to choose your supplier as carefully as possible. The following article highlights the key points to be aware of when looking to source used equipment. 

As next generation technology standards continue to emerge, keeping test equipment inventories up to date with more sophisticated models is unavoidable. Used equipment presents a more financially attractive route for accomplishing this. Despite its cost advantages there is often considerable resistance to such a strategy though. The predominant reason for this being that purchasing professionals’ past experiences of buying used equipment have not been particularly good – so they are understandably cautious about getting their fingers burnt again. In many cases when they think of used equipment it conjures up an image unreliable products that are in poor condition.

Used equipment suppliers are generally characterised in the following way. Their operations are quite small and they don’t necessarily have much longevity in the market. Both these traits have serious implications for potential clients. Firstly, due to their size, they will only have a relatively limited number of items to choose from. This is far from ideal for the purchaser, as the equipment on offer might not be that well suited to the particular application for which it is required. Compromises may have to be made, with the nearest available option being settled for. Secondly, the equipment they stock will have come from a multitude of different places. The problem that stems from this is that they have little, if any, knowledge of the length of time each item of equipment has been in use for, how well it has been treated during that period, how regularly it has been recalibrated, or how often it has received maintenance work. This lack of detailed information means customers have a high degree of uncertainty about the purchased products and whether they will function correctly long term. Thirdly, such vendors are not really geared up for any form of post-sales support, often holding the view that once an item of equipment test has been purchased they no longer have to take any real responsibility for it.

In stark contrast to all this, what the market really requires from a used equipment vendor is the following:

1.       A wide selection of products, covering all of the main equipment manufacturers.

2.       Access to comprehensive data pertaining to the equipment’s working life up to that point (including its maintenance and calibration records), in order to ensure acceptable quality levels are maintained and the customer can have complete confidence in the products it purchases.

3.       Highly-trained engineering staff to carry out rigorous checks on the equipment before it goes on sale. 

4.       Provision for any issues after the sale has been completed to be efficiently dealt with.

By meeting all of the criteria outlined above, Livingston is helping to eliminate people’s preconceived ideas about sourcing used equipment. An integral part of the Microlease Group, it is well positioned to serve the global test and measurement market with high quality refurbished products, thanks to its industry-leading test rental business activities. Through this it has access to a broad portfolio of ‘nearly new’ ex-rental equipment from highly regarded brands such as Aeroflex, Anritsu, EXFO, Fluke, JDSU, Keysight, Rohde&Schwarz and Tektronix. Furthermore, it has the technical resources needed to support its customers throughout the purchasing process and thereafter.

Livingston has over 5,000 products available for rent or sale direct from stock – such as oscilloscopes, logic analysers, frequency counters, function generators, multimeters, power quality analysers, signal generators, thermal imagers and protocol testers. The quality of its used equipment is beyond question. Prior to sale each item undergoes a stringent 23-step inspection procedure that makes certain of long term reliable performance. In addition, all used equipment sourced from Livingston comes fully calibrated, with a 1 year warranty too.

In conclusion, for a long time direct purchase has been by far the most favoured method for sourcing instrumentation, but the changing financial landscape means alternatives now need to be explored. By engaging with one of the new breed of total solutions providers now addressing this market, who offer quality used equipment as well as rental packages, companies can fully satisfy their test requirements in cost effectively without placing themselves at any risk of the purchased items letting them down. As a result of its radical approach to the sale of used equipment, Livingston is playing a key role in driving the evolution of the test equipment supply chain.

 

For more information of Livingston’s used equipment offering visit: +44 (0) 208 614 4055 http://www.livingston.co.uk/48/contact-us/

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