Within the past few years, a huge aftermarket has surfaced for refurbished medical equipment and devices that have been restored to original efficiency and safety. The refurbishing process includes repairing or replacing any broken and worn parts, as well as updating the electronics and software to the most recent versions.
A Burgeoning Market
Due to the fact that none of the product specifications are altered in any way during the refurbishing process, refurbished medical equipment can be sold all over the world without the requirement to obtain any special approval. Therefore, a rapidly increasing international market has been created for medical devices and equipment that has been refurbished that is entirely separate from the market for unrestored, used and remanufactured products.
The expansion rate of the market seems to have climbed all the way to nearly eight percent per year. Within the next year or so, the yearly sales of this refurbished equipment is anticipated to make it all the way up to more than eight billion dollars around the world.
Both third party vendors and OEM producers of medical equipment and devices have become active within this rapidly expanding market. Refurbished medical equipment is used widely in both emerging economies and developed countries, which is primarily driven by the pressure to keep environmental concerns and healthcare costs as low as possible. It is estimated that currently as much as a third of the CT scanners that are in operation in the United States have been refurbished.
Understanding the Process of Refurbishing
In general, the process of refurbishing will begin with an inspection of the equipment at the location of the original owner, which is then followed by uninstallation of the equipment. The performance history and the condition of the equipment is thoroughly reviewed and assessed.
If the equipment meets certain criteria and the necessary spare parts are available and will remain so for at least the next few years, qualified technicians are brought in to uninstall the equipment so it can be shipped.
Once the medical equipment makes it to the workshop or factory for refurbishing, it is disassembled completely. It is then cleaned thoroughly and disinfected. The finish on the parts are restored and painted as required. Then, all of the components are inspected for operability and wear. Original parts are used to replace any nonfunctioning or worn elements that are found. Finally, all of the systems and software are updated properly.