Because every piece of equipment, intended use, and circumstances are unique the following checklist cannot be all inclusive and should only be considered a minimal base line for evaluating used equipment purchases.

    1. Does the system have the necessary hardware and controls to achieve your process and throughput needs – will it do what you need both now and in the reasonable future?

    2. Is the equipment safe and in compliance with current health and safety codes?
      Operational safety, liability and reduction of risk is a hot topic of discussion at all business levels. Does the equipment meet CE, SEMI S2, NEC, RoHS, WEEE, NFPA and/or Third Party Field Labeling?

    3. Are the materials previously used in the system a potential contamination to your process or considered toxic? Is there a certification of decontamination?

    4. Can the system be demonstrated and sample coatings provided prior to final purchase?

    5. If the system is PC/PLC based, does the source code and software still reside on the machine? Can it still be supported and is there a backup copy included? Will you face any software re-licensing fees?

    6. Are critical spare parts still readily available and reasonably priced?

    7. What is the overall vacuum integrity of the system? Pay particular attention to the Quality of chamber(s) and sealing surfaces, pumps and valve, hydraulics and pneumatics.

    8. Is there a Residual Gas Analyzer (RGA) mass spectrum analysis available with the system?

    9. Does the equipment come with a complete operations manual, electrical schematics and spare parts lists specific to the system?

    10. Is there a complete service history of the equipment? Have all upgrades and/or modifications been properly documented? Can you speak with anyone who has operated and/or serviced the equipment?

    11. Was the equipment shut down properly and decommissioned by qualified personnel? Make sure wiring was disconnected and not cut and is labeled properly for reconnection and that all required components, etc. still reside with the machine.

    12. Does the system come with a warranty? What are the terms and conditions? Bear in mind that warranties can never be any stronger than their providers – nothing is worth less than a warranty backed by a defunct company or supplier.

    13. Does the system supplier provide on-site service? Are their service personnel properly trained on the specific equipment and its safety procedures?

    14. Can the supplier provide any necessary training for health and safety as well as operational efficiency?

    15. Will the equipment require any special infrastructure – power, ventilation, isolation, shielding, clean room modification, etc.?

If the answers to any of the above are doubtful or negative bear in mind that used equipment you are considering could be a danger; not a bargain. Improperly maintained, defective, and worn-out equipment may expose you and your organization to health and safety hazards as well as jeopardize the efficiency of your operations.

If you need additional assistance evaluating a potential used equipment purchase please feel free to give us a call at 925-373-8201 -- there is no charge for telephone consultation.

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