Pre-Owned Laboratory Equipment with Certified Performance

Verification of Accuracy and Precision
Verification of Accuracy and Precision

Low-volume liquid handling is a core component of almost every modern laboratory.  With continued advances in automated liquid handling, laboratories are realizing new gains in throughput, precision and overall efficiency.  

With these industry advances and ever-growing research demands comes a growing focus on quality. As a result most liquid handler manufacturers like Agilent, Tecan, Beckman, Perkin Elmer, and Hamilton offer services designed to test liquid handler performance so that buyers have assurance that their newly acquired instrument meets stated performance specifications. However, laboratories purchasing used and refurbished equipment from auctions or third-party vendors are often not afforded the same level of quality & technical assurance (but they should be).  

When budgets call for a more  affordable automated liquid handler (ie, not new) with proven accuracy and precision, one needs to look at suppliers that have established and documented quality control & quality assurance programs in-place. As part of the supplier  quality system, the performance of each automated liquid handler and dispenser should be validated for accuracy and precision using a testing standard such as the Multichannel Verification System (MVS®) from ARTEL (Westbrook, ME).  Liquid handlers that have passed the MVS test should come with hard copy data showing the instrument performs to manufacturer specifications and  each system subsequently sold as “ARTEL Certified”.  With this performance data, customers will therefore receive strong, documented and objective assurance that the volume transfer performance of each automated liquid handler meets OEM specifications.  By using a third-party volume transfer measurement system with results that are traceable to international standards, a re-seller will have differentiated itself from brokers of liquid handling instrumentation and even some OEM’s. 

Is your vendor consistently raising the bar?  Does your certified pre-owned laboratory equipment provider focus on microplate based products such as liquid handlers, plate  dispensers, plate storage devices, plate sealers, plate washers, laboratory automation systems and their peripherals?  Are their products guaranteed to meet or exceed the original manufacturer’s specifications?  Does your certified pre-owned laboratory equipment provider really know what they sell?  Are they specialists in their field? Do they have certified & validated tools to ensure that you are getting a quality produc or are they just brokers?  You just may want to ask these questions before you buy and remember that the lowest price is not necessarily the best value.

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