What’s the Difference Between Refurbished and Used Equipment?

The acquisition of pre-owned test equipment has become increasingly popular in the past five years. Test engineers are more receptive to the idea of buying pre-owned equipment, often referred to as used and refurbished. Of the two types, refurbished equipment is fast becoming recognized as the highest quality option.

Used equipment has been widely defined, ranging from demonstration units warranted by the manufacturer to as-is units with the risk of unknown quality and capabilities. Traditionally, and by definition, used test equipment might not be repaired or calibrated prior to sale.

Always be aware of the quality ramifications when acquiring used equipment. As the user, you are responsible for verifying the quality of the product received.

Refurbished equipment provides you with a new acquisition option. Typically, it is a higher quality product that saves approximately 30% or more in comparison to new equipment.

The difference between refurbished and used equipment lies inherently within the maintenance and calibration of the equipment. Refurbished equipment is extensively tested, cosmetically improved, and calibrated prior to sale.

Customers should always verify the quality standards and procedures of pre-owned equipment suppliers. To verify that the quality standards and procedures are in place, customers sometimes audit suppliers. Considering the crucial elements that are inherent in this exercise, auditing suppliers should become a more commonly practiced ritual. In addition, the provision of warranties is an important indication of a supplier’s willingness to stand behind its products and services.

Benefits of Refurbished Equipment

Buying refurbished equipment has significant benefits beyond technical performance. In addition, refurbished equipment is more readily available for tight deadlines.

This is not necessarily the case with new equipment. Many times, refurbished equipment is available for immediate and overnight shipment. Whether you are buying, renting, or leasing, you usually can count on lower prices and faster delivery by choosing refurbished equipment.

The Quality Process

When the refurbishment process is carried out in compliance with the highest standards, careful attention is given to the interior and exterior of the equipment. In the first phase of this process, the equipment is subjected to rigorous electrical testing to ensure it meets all original manufacturing specifications. A complete check is conducted for full operation of the equipment, including preventative maintenance and calibration.

The process continues with a comprehensive cosmetic procedure. If required, knobs, controls, and other interior parts and exterior panels are refurbished or replaced to meet with industry standards for new equipment. Final inspection of the equipment, which includes electrical calibration, completes the process.

Who Supplies Refurbished Equipment?

Not all suppliers have the financial or quality commitment to provide in-depth refurbished equipment. When selecting a pre-owed equipment supplier, carefully examine the facilities and the procedures in place. The fact is that few companies supply quality refurbished test equipment within the realm of this three-phase procedure.

About the Authors

Dave White is senior vice president of sales and marketing at Telogy. He has participated in test-equipment marketing for more than 20 years, including 14 years at Hewlett-Packard.

Mana Naghibi is a market analyst at Telogy. Before joining the company, she was employed at Frost & Sullivan as an industry competitive analyst in the test and measurement research group. Ms. Naghibi received an honorary B.A. degree in international affairs from the University of Toronto and has served in the research industry for 10 years.

Telogy, 3885 Bohannon Dr., Menlo Park, CA 94025, (800) 835-6494.


Disposing Underutilized Equipment

It’s a good business practice to formulate a procedure to dispose of idle equipment. Over time, this equipment can represent substantial costs within your operations, by being classified as a nonproductive asset or occupying valuable floor space. On the other hand, this equipment can be sold to generate a new source of equipment funding.

The solution is very simple: Sell back or trade in underutilized instruments to an equipment-management services company, an opportunity often overlooked in the test and measurement industry. When you trade in or sell back your underutilized test equipment, you will:

Increase your test-equipment budget.

Ensure greater availability of updated equipment at all times.

A few companies in the test and measurement industry, such as Telogy, provide trade-in and sell-back programs. By partnering with these companies, you can receive instant cash or establish an immediate line of credit toward future acquisitions. Under today’s budget constraints, this is an efficient and profitable way to manage your test equipment needs.

Copyright 1998 Nelson Publishing Inc.

February 1998

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