The OEM refurbishing process

So exactly what happens to a piece of medical imaging equipment when it's refurbished? The process varies based on who's doing the refurbishing, but in the case of OEM refurbishing operations, it can be fairly extensive.

1. System selection.
The OEM vendor first must decide whether there's a potential market for a system that's being deinstalled. The age and condition of the equipment are taken into consideration, as well as whether the scanner's software and hardware can be upgraded. In addition, some OEMs prefer not to accept equipment that is under service by third parties.

2. Deinstallation.
The system is inspected prior to deinstallation, then packaged in original packing materials to prevent damage during shipment to the refurbishing facility. Deinstallations are typically conducted by third-party companies that are certified by the OEM.

3. Refurbishing.
Equipment is shipped to a central refurbishing facility, where it is cleaned, disinfected, and painted. The vendor checks the system and subsystems thoroughly, and performs software updates. Some vendors typically have a "standard kit" of parts that are automatically replaced on all systems they refurbish. This can include bearings, cables, and covers on radiography-fluoroscopy equipment, for example.

4. Reinstallation.
The system is transported to the customer site and installed by a third-party service provider that's certified by the OEM. The equipment is started and tested to ensure it works properly.

5. Service and warranty.
OEM refurbishing programs typically offer equipment warranty programs that in some cases are equivalent to what's available on new systems (this can vary by modality). Customers can also receive equipment financing and applications training, as well as guarantees for spare parts for up to five years.

The length of time for the entire refurbishing process varies based on modality, ranging from two to three weeks for CT systems and gamma cameras to 10-12 weeks for MRI scanners.


-- Brian Casey

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