It can be concerning when you receive an end of life (EOL) or end of service life (EOSL) notifications for your trusted calibration instrument. The difference between the two terms is not always clear. Understanding the differences is key so you can evaluate the risks with your aging device, and plan for the future.
While your lab has an extensive history with this quality equipment, it needs to be understood as equipment ages the risk of failure increases each year.
End of life of a product means that the product has been discontinued and is no longer offered for sale.
Some manufacturers will offer extended service support following the end-of-life date. During that time they will continue to service or repair for as long as the spare parts are available. The terms and conditions are at the discretion of the manufacturer.
Typically, manufacturers offer a replacement product that builds on the legacy of the product that has reached the end of life. They also may have a last buy on the product being discontinued. Strategic manufacturers will often ease the transition for existing customers by providing retrofit capabilities to newer products. This helps labs plan and budget for the new instrumentation.
As a lab, one has to plan for both the current year and the years ahead. If the requirement for the calibrator is immediate and short term, it may make sense to take advantage of the last buy.
End of service means that a product has outlived the parts that are required to repair it.
This situation is a risk to laboratories that depend on their equipment daily. Without planning, it can create a loss of production or perhaps revenue. To prevent these risks, it is important to know the typical end of service life cycles on key instruments. This will help you properly plan the process of replacing aging equipment and eliminate the surprise of obsolete equipment.
When a product reaches end of life, a manufacturer may be able to do some repairs for a little longer, to buy you some time. However, once it reaches the end of service life, there are components or parts that are no longer replaceable or fixable.
With regular care and maintenance of equipment, it maintains longevity. When you get an EOL or EOSL notice, it can be easy to assume that the instrument is no longer working. However, that is not necessarily the case. If those are the only notice you receive, then the equipment is still operational for the timing being. You should note that once the equipment does need repairs, it may not be possible.
Once a notice is received it is time to begin to plan and transition for the new piece of equipment.
Utilize EOL and EOSL notices in budgetary planning. More companies than ever are utilizing three to five year planning to minimize the risks of production stoppage. The notices can be used as a case to management that old equipment presents a financial risk. Being proactive with management and the budget can minimize catastrophes.
Check on trade-in stipulations. Many manufacturers will offer a month or two to keep the old equipment and the new equipment running side by side to ensure that there are no issues with the new unit. Trading in an old model for promotional savings will help with budgeting.
End of life and end of service are investable for all equipment, but it does not have to be painful. Careful planning can not only minimize the risks to your production and profitability, but it can open up to more efficiency. If you are having trouble figuring out the next best step for you, SRP control systems can help. Contact us today.