– Why The Big 5 is better in the world of used medical imaging equipment

Estimated reading time: 4 min


Bigger is not always better, but when talking about support and service of used medical imaging equipment bigger is better. If the manufacturer of a system is one of “The Big 5” you as a buyer of a used medical imaging system are better off than with a smaller manufacturer.

With this blog post, you get some basic and very impotent advice when you consider buying a used piece of diagnostic equipment.

Unlike “The Big 5”, this list is short and sweet. These are the 3 key points:


1 Pick Used Equipment Manufactured by The Big 5


2 Availability of Parts and Consumables


3 Regular Preventive Maintenance




Pick used equipment manufactured by The Big 5 | Flexray Medical

Pick used equipment manufactured by The Big 5


There are many fine manufacturers of diagnostic imaging equipment. But, when it comes to buying a pre-owned system there are good reasons to focus on the major 5 OEMs: GE, Hitachi, Philips, Siemens and Toshiba/Canon.

All these brands make great systems. There is hardly a reason to mention, that they have their “pros and cons”, every system does. But all in all a used system from any of these 5 will be great. Also if you are on a budget. More about buying on a budget in this blog post.

Because these 5 OEMs are major players on the market and because they have been around for decades, you do get an advantage with a system from any of them.

What is then the main advantage of picking a system from a Big 5?  The main advantage is you can get it serviced by a skilled third party company and that parts are widely available.

Most third party companies are founded by people/engineers who first had a career as service engineers at one of the big 5. As such they will hold great knowledge on the equipment. This is the key to keeping a used system running for decades: good, independent service and access to spare parts.


Availability of Parts and Consumables | FlexRay Medical

Availability of Parts and Consumables

You need to take the availability of parts and consumables into careful consideration. That is the second important key point when you buy a used system. Not because the system is no good any longer. A well-maintained system will often run well for years to come.

But because, by the rule of randomness, it is a fact that a used system will break down more often than a brand new one. Hence the price difference when you buy a pre-owned system. Thus it is important that both parts and service are easy to come by.

If you buy a great product from a smaller manufacturer you will find it much more difficult and or expensive to get both spare parts and independent service. On top of that, getting basic service is often difficult. That way an often cheaper initial price becomes more expensive over time. Simply due to more costly maintenance in the long run as you quite possibly get depended on an OEM-service contract. Those do not come cheap.

On top of that, even if the availability of the parts and consumables is OK, it is often time-consuming finding skilled technicians that can handle the job if the equipment is not from “The Big 5”. Resulting in very inconvenient and expensive downtime.

Buying a used system of either of “The Big 5” ensures that parts and engineers are widely available from sufficient third party suppliers. This also means increased competition which means you get better prices.


 Regular preventive maintenance | FlexRay Medical

Regular preventive maintenance


As it is the case with anything, if you maintain your medical imaging equipment regularly, then it will run better and longer. Thus be of service to you and your community for a long time. This is also something that has a positive impact on the total expense of your system.

If you are buying an MRI you should ask your supplier for the availability of online-monitoring of the magnet and cooling chain. Such would typically cost a monthly fee, but it can also prevent sudden break-downs. Planned service is always more cost-effective versus a sudden break-down late Friday afternoon. Especially if parts and labour have to be flown in. This is a quite common situation on the African continent.



We stick to our claim that when you buy used medical imaging equipment bigger IS bigger. You get a system that is easier to maintain and service and that consequently gives the system longer uptime. Thus a better return of investment for you.

That is why we specialise in used systems from “The Big 5”.

If you have any questions about this or want to know more, we are always happy to assist you.

Mads Vittrup
CEO & partner
+4528599829 (cell)



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