Have you ever heard an OEM rep say the following, “There is a board problem.” “The equipment has reached its end of life.” Is it true?
End of Life Laboratory Equipment… What does it really mean?
“End of Life” (EOL) usually implies that the product has reached the limits of its primary market viability and as a result, support is either no longer available or very limited. If you have a system that is EOL the OEM may find it difficult to help you in servicing/supporting the unit. EOL is also the designation given to older units when OEM’s decide its time to upgrade to new equipment.
As purveyors of remanufactured laboratory equipment we’ve seen the major OEMs assign EOL designation a number of times to reliable, workhorse systems that could potentially keep working if parts and engineers were available to nurse them through their occasional hiccups. But, in light of the never-ending stream of new and “improved technology”, these products are left behind and OEM services are refocused on new and late-model equipment.
This can be a serious sticking point for facilities struggling to make ends meet with shrinking revenue and budgets. Fortunately, through years of talking and working with their Parts and Service Departments, we’ve come to realize a few things concerning end of life histology equipment.
What We’ve Learned
Technical Support- It is our experience that when the OEM terms their product EOL the OEM technical support for the unit is generally phased out.
Parts Support- One of the prompts for EOL designation is part scarcity. When the parts suppliers that manufacture components for OEMs no longer supply the parts for a particular unit the OEM will generally begin to lean toward dubbing the system EOL.
Field Service Support/Training- In the case of an EOL service call, the OEMs still try to provide field service support, but there is no guarantee that there will be an experience tech available to help. If a unit is no longer being sold, then it stands to reason that engineer training for it will cease.
How We Can Help
Technical Support Phase-outs- An OEM phase-out should direct a distressed user immediately to third party groups like Medical Equipment Source. Just because the OEM new-bloods don’t know your existing equipment doesn’t mean an independent old-timer can’t still keep it kicking!
Parts Scarcity- Don’t despair just yet! The used parts market is a great place to find reconditioned and tested parts from older equipment and second source new parts.
Field Service Turn Downs- Once again, the solution for this lies in the wealth of experience available from Medical Equipment Source. We employ engineers that began their careers in OEM stables working and training on the equipment you’re now having trouble with.
When “End of Life” is Really “Dead”
Just to be certain that I’m not building up false hopes of immortality for that tissue processor or cover slipper, let me make it clear that not even the third-party market can cure every problem for every EOL system.
Some equipment is so old that used parts vendors have abandoned the last few bits and pieces based on space constraints.
The same is true relative to engineering. The independent old-timer might not make service calls anymore, and while he’s taught his own new-bloods the ins and outs of some of the older stuff, there’s only so much space in a newbie’s brain for things he may never use versus the material he’ll use every day working on machines from the big OEMs.
However, with the help of Medical Equipment Source, it’s safe to say that a piece of equipment can outlast its OEM-designated End of Life, so don’t let the phrase bring you down immediately. There are still companies that may be able to help you.
If you need PM/Service or us to remanufacture your existing equipment call us to request a quote on an EOL system.