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GenTech Scientific
Analytical Instrument Sales, Service, Parts and Training.

Guide to Mass Specs

Basic Guide to Purchasing a Refurbished Mass Spectrometer

BASIC GUIDE TO PURCHASING A REFURBISHED MASS SPECTROMETER
… and choosing a reputable provider.

First: Determine the needs of your laboratory. Ask the following questions...

  • Do you have a limited budget for purchase?
  • Will you need proven technology?
  • Are you interested in a demo of your instrument before purchase?
  • Are you interested in long term support?
  • Do you have instruments to trade in from other manufacturers?
  • Do you have existing components that will be integrated into your purchase?
  • Are these components from different manufacturers?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you are most likely interested in purchasing REFURBISHED equipment.

Second: What is your Application? Your application will help you determine what type of MS you will need. (Broad Range of Analyses or 1 or 2 routine ASTM, EPA methods)

Third: Do you need a GC system or LC system for your separation? Consider the characteristics of the system that best suits your needs.

GC/MS Considerations 
Single Quad MS Ion Trap MS  Triple Quad MS 

Features:

  • Mass Range 10-700 amu (Typical)
  • Small Footprint
  • EI or CI Capability
  • Introduction by GC or Solids Probe
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Spectral Library
  • SIM

Typical Models:

  • Agilent-597X
  • Thermo-DSQ, SSQ
  • Shimadzu-2010, QP 5000
  • Perkin Elmer-Clarus, Turbo Mass

Features:

  • Mass Range 10-700 amu (Typical)
  • Small Footprint
  • EI or CI Capability
  • Introduction by GC or Solids Probe
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • SIM

Typical Models:

  • Thermo-GCQ, Polaris Q
  • Varian-Saturn

Features:

  • Mass Range 4-4000 amu (Typical)
  • Parent/Daughter Ion Identification
  • EI or CI Capability
  • Introduction by GC or Solids Probe
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Neutral loss Precursor Ions
  • Spectral Library
  • True MS/MS
  • SIM

Typical Models:

  • Thermo-TSQ
  • Varian-1200L
  • Waters/Micromass-Quattro

LC/MS Considerations

Single Quad MS Ion Trap MS  Triple Quad MS 

Features:

  • Mass Range 50-2000 amu (Typical)
  • ESI/Turbo Ion Spray
  • APCI / Heated Nebulizer
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • SIM

Typical Models:

  • Thermo-SSQ
  • Agilent-1100
  • ABI-150
  • Waters-ZMD

Features:

  • Mass Range 50-4000 amu (Typical)
  • ESI/Turbo Ion Spray
  • APCI / Heated Nebulizer
  • Nano Spray
  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Extended Mass Range Available
  • MALDI
  • SIM

Typical Models:

  • Thermo-LCQ Family

Features:

  • Mass Range 50-4000 amu (Typical)
  • ESI/Turbo Ion Spray
  • APCI / Heated Nebulizer
  • Nano Spray
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Parent/Daughter Ion Identification
  • Neutral loss Precursor Ions
  • SIM

Typical Models:

  • Thermo-TSQ
  • Waters/Micromass-Quattro LC
  • ABI-365, 2000, 3000

 

Finally: When buying refurbished, the most important decision is choosing a reputable provider for your instrumentation. Ask your provider if they offer the following Value-Added Benefits:

Technical Support:

  • Do they provide installation in your facility with their own engineer, or do they rely on a subcontractor?
  • Do they have multiple engineers on staff?
  • Are their engineers trained and capable of multi-vendor support?
  • Do they have chemists on staff to assist you?
  • Do they have the ability to service past and present models?
  • Do they offer expert technical telephone and field support?
  • Are their engineers experienced instrument operators?
  • Can you talk directly to the service engineers prior to purchase?
  • Will they provide you with the manuals to operate your instrument?
  • Do they have proof of insurance to work at your facility?
  • Do they stock hard to find parts?
  • Do they offer additional customized training courses for operation, maintenance and methods?

Business Philosophy:

  • Do they deliver a high quality, fully refurbished and tested instrument, or is it simply a used mass spec?
  • Does the company service what it sells?
  • Do they own, not broker, the equipment they sell?
  • Do they have a proven track record and a distinguished reputation?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they send test and calibration data to prove instrument performance?
  • Does the vendor build custom crates for instruments before shipping?
  • Are they willing to provide references prior to purchase?
  • Is the instrument thoroughly cleaned and carefully packaged prior to shipment?
  • Do they offer a 1 YEAR WARRANTY?
  • Do they offer a satisfaction guarantee with every instrument they sell?
  • Does the vendor have an up-to-date, well-maintained web site or just a list of equipment for sale?
  • Do they have a large inventory or just 1 or 2 instruments?
  • Will they provide you with photos of the actual instrument from their inventory?
  • Can you visit the vendor and see the instrument in operation prior to purchase?
  • Is the integrity of the company reflected in their Dun & Bradstreet and BBB profiles?
  • Do they have the instrument in inventory, or will they purchase it to fill your order?

Pricing:

  • Do they offer flexible payment terms, or do they always require payment up front?
  • Are financing solutions, such as Lease/Rental, available?
  • Do they offer reasonable labor and travel rates?
  • Will they take your existing equipment in on trade?
  • Is the trade-in price fair?
  • Are they willing to offer a quantity discount?
  • Do they provide a detailed quote outlining the pricing, warranty and shipping/installation?
  • A refurbished Mass Spec should cost 30% to 50% of the new list price. Is their pricing in line with this?
  • Do they have competitive prices and offer added value?