‘In Germany and internationally there is a market for refurbished systems, which has grown significantly over the last two years,’ Hans-Peter Bursig of ZVEI (the Central German Association for the Electrical Engineering and Electronics Industries) pointed out. The acquisition of these refurbished medical systems, directly from a manufacturer, has now reached a worldwide volume of c. $1.3 billion with an annual growth rate of up to 15%.
Nowadays, around 90% of all medical equipment is re-usable. Around 55% of the demand for these second-hand systems (often so extensively refurbished that they are good as new) is from the USA and 20% from Europe - half of which is from Germany. Naturally, the demand centres on particularly high quality systems such as CT (29%) and MR (22%).
Quality marked - For the past five years (along with Philips and GE) Siemens has offered refurbished medical systems through its subsidiary Siemens Medical Solutions. These are refurbished in two modern reconditioning centres - Forchheim, Germany and Chicago, USA - then, stamped with the manufacturer’s quality mark ‘Proven Excellence’, they are resold in Europe, the USA, and worldwide, Each system goes through a rigorous, multi-stage quality assurance process before marketing. This comprises the steps selection/buyback - de-installation - refurbishing/reconfiguration - installation. In addition, the systems are always resold with the latest version software installed. The quality of the reconditioning process is comparable with the manufacturing process for new systems and offers the second-hand user the highest possible application security - something not always guaranteed in acquisitions from independent retailers. A 12-month warranty, user training and a buy-back option, if required, are also part of the package.
The customer base includes doctors in surgeries (around 30%) as well as university hospitals with over 1,000 beds. The company offers not only service and financing solutions but also versatile configurations for the systems. Whether the demand is for an ultrasound scanner for routine examinations or a biplane heart catheter laboratory for interventional diagnosis - customer requirements are individually met, Siemens reports. ‘We sell refurbished Siemens systems for the most diverse areas such as angiography, X-ray, computed tomography, nuclear medicine, MRI and ultrasound scans,’ said Hans-Peter Seubert, civil engineer and head of Siemens RS. ‘We also have systems in our portfolio that, up until very recently, were exclusively available as new equipment, for example, the SOMATOM Sensation 16 CT system or the AXIOM Artis FC angiography system. More than 1,000 quality-marked, refurbished systems are available, which confirms the high demand for, as well as the high acceptance of these systems in the market.’
To check out second hand systems (about 30% cheaper than new) go to: www.siemens.com/refurbished