Time to Upgrade? Water Purification Systems

New Regulations, Increased Use, Flagging Performance and Significant Maintenance Main Drivers to Buy

Like other types of equipment, when the cost to repair the unit starts to represent a significant portion of the price to buy new, it’s probably a good time to upgrade your water purification system.

“This cost threshold will vary, but could be as low as 20 percent of the cost of a new ‘equivalent’ unit,” says Joseph Plurad, North America field marketing manager for lab water at EMD Millipore (Billerica, MA).

Other drivers behind a new system purchase include: regulatory influences, the system being used much more than expected, or the system is no longer able to produce the grade of water quality needed.

Julian Purcell, director of operations and service at ELGA (Woodridge, IL) which is the global laboratory water brand of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, adds the average lifespan of a water purification system is seven years. Asking when the last time the system was serviced and calibrated and if the system is providing the correct water quality data (readings) is also important when deciding when to buy a new unit, he says.

Of course, if the system is running well, is regularly maintained without exceeding the manufacturer's recommended maintenance frequency, and parts are still available for the unit, an upgrade probably isn’t necessary, Purcell and Plurad say.

EMD Millipore’s Milli-Q® Integral water purification system provides pure and ultrapure water at users’ fingertips.

However, if the system is old, it may be wise to upgrade before it fails and leaves the lab high and dry.

For those strapped for cash, vendors such as ELGA and EMD Millipore have a variety of options to fit users’ needs and budgets.

“The user must fully understand what water quality will be needed, then select a water system that meets the minimum,” Purcell advises. “Evaluate available budget, and determine what features you truly need, as opposed to the features you would like.”

As with other types of lab equipment, the initial purchase cost is the only real drawback to buying a new water purification system, one that is fairly low when compared to the overall costs of equipment and supplies for a renovated or new lab.

ELGA’s PURELAB flex is designed around users’ needs. It combines ease of use with the accurate delivery of pure water. The flexible modular system can be configured to deliver the quality of water users need for their applications.

Users can just upgrade parts of their systems, but that can be more costly than buying new and also carries the risk of contamination, Purcell and Plurad say.

Overall, determining exactly what their current and future needs are will help users make the best choice on whether or not to upgrade, and get the highest value.
Other considerations before buying:

  • Always compare the cost for upgrading parts to the cost of a new system, but also include the value of the warranty
  • Ask about reliability and available service for the unit
  • Find out the cost of consumables
  • Costs will vary depending on the features available with the system
  • Some vendors offer systems that can be “incrementally” upgraded, which can save you money
  • All "purified water" is not "equal"
  • Be sure to establish repair vs. replace thresholds for your equipment

Article courtesy of Lab Manager Magazine

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