Starting up a cannabis testing lab can be a challenging experience. Expanding your cannabis testing laboratory can be difficult as well. There are many important aspects to consider in the cannabis testing industry -- perhaps most importantly from a cost perspective is sourcing the right analytical testing equipment.

Along with the technical requirements of your work, the choice of dealer for instruments is of paramount importance in securing not just the best device, but the best service, support, and other solutions as well. This especially important for the dynamic cannabis industry which is seeing tremendous growth and is burdened by changing standards and testing regulations.

Cannabis Testing Instrument Selection

You may have done your research and have consulted with experts in identifying models and manufacturers that are suitable for your needs. It is definitely wise to consider options that combine your preferred features with alternative technology of which you may not be familiar. Cannabis testing is a constantly changing industry. It is essential to “future-proof” in order to adapt to changes in scale or regulations – factors that are certainly relevant as your business grows. With this in mind, a dealer that offers a range of instrument platforms and models is ideal.

Cannabis Pesticides and Mycotoxins Testing

You’ve focused on a AB Sciex Q-TRAP 5500 instrument for your pesticides and mycotoxins testing needs. Exchangeable sources such as Nanospray II and APCI probe, in addition to the TurboIonSpray source, can make the platform versatile for multiple testing matrices and applications. Perhaps another model, the Sciex Triple Quad 4500, appears well-suited for the flow rates and high-throughput your future operations will demand. It can be extremely helpful to have multiple choices from a central vendor to ensure that quality and performance is extended regardless of the instrument.

Cannabis Residual Solvents and Terpenes Testing

Your testing lab may have the need for a gas chromatography system such as the Agilent 7890A. Multiple injectors and detectors, an Agilent 7683B autosampler, and a matching Chemstation PS workstation, can increase the value of the purchase considerably. Complete end-to-end platforms ensure compatibility and performance, and can be essential for proper lab operation.

Cannabis Heavy Metals Testing

A GC-MS system such as the Agilent 6890N with 5973 mass detector might be a suitable choice for your heavy metals testing lab. The multiple high-performance components, pumps, control systems, and other necessary systems make quality and compatibility top priorities in keeping this instrument platform operational.

Cannabis Potency Testing

The Thermo TSQ Quantum GC triple quadrupole GC-MS/MS might be an ideal platform for your potency testing lab. A compatible Triplus 100 autosampler and Xcaliber 2.2 PC workstation can be valuable for your sample throughput and data analysis needs. Again, the multiple components and systems will necessitate important consideration of quality and performance with such an instrument setup.

A wide selection of brands, technology, and models not only enhances the shopping experience, but equates to significant credibility that the dealer understands your needs, has expertise of the technologies, and has a scope of operations that can support you at the point of purchase and well into the future.

Cannabis Testing Instrument Performance and Quality

Pre-owned and refurbished instruments are an excellent way to address your current needs while cutting upfront costs. A potential concern you may have is quality and performance, and whether you’ll have to swallow additional costs and loss of time down the road. A premium dealer will remove this concern from the equation by providing documentation showing the system was qualified to meet original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications.

Cannabis Testing Instrument Warranties and Guarantees

A dealer that offers a comprehensive set of warranties and a guarantee is one that stands behind the quality of their products, workmanship, and overall quality of the experience. Warranty options should range from short term, such as 3 months, to several years, in order to fit specific customer needs. Perhaps even a one-year in-house repair warranty is offered. Those willing to offer a money back guarantee further support the notion that they are in business to see you succeed.

Instrument Service and Support

Your choice in dealer should also take into account service and support options to keep the equipment running smoothly. Preventative maintenance cannot be stressed strongly enough, and the dealer should have options in this regard such as yearly scheduled service checkups. Other options may include on-site repair and exchange or custom fabrication of parts and components. Again, a premium dealer will have the ability and the means to provide these services. Additionally, independent and original manufacturer service calls may be offered to ensure timely responses. Not to be overlooked is the availability of telephone technical support after the equipment is delivered.

Training

Optional training or method development is a luxury only select refurbished equipment dealers offer. These may include factory or on-site training programs based on individual needs and logistics. In special cases, method development and field applications work can sometimes be negotiated.

Cannabis Testing Instrument Costs and Financing

Of course, a main priority in the cannabis testing business is cost, and purchasing a refurbished instrument may go a long way toward minimizing that concern. This is contingent, however, on the quality and the reliability of the dealer. You should consider all aspects of the proposal and weigh them appropriately to your needs, as the sale involves much more than just the instrument price tag. When the moment to purchase arrives, it’s valuable to have financing options that mesh with your plans. An in-house financing option is best as it removes a lot of the red tape involved in an outside service. If there ever is an issue or concern, it is helpful to have a direct line of contact between sales and financing.

Rent – Lease – Own

The expanse of product and service offerings are a testament to the vitality of the dealer. The ability to accommodate a variety of needs, whether they be rental, rent-to-own, or short and long-term leasing, in addition to outright sales, is another sign of a diversified and capable company. Some buyers may have limited funds or are contract based, and thus a rental or short-term lease is preferred. Others may have start-up funds and limited space, but realize that demand may dictate growth of both. Then a rent-to-own option may be best. Other companies want the ability to turn on a dime as regulations evolve. There is no shortage of possibilities which makes ownership flexibility a valuable commodity.

Shipping Services

The logistics involved in how the equipment will be packaged and shipped are often a concern and sometimes an afterthought. There are quality shipping services that specialize in transport and care of highly sensitive equipment. It is, however, comforting to have the option of employing an in-house shipping service for the important fact that communications and chain of command will be tight. This option may also involve cost savings over the independent shipping option.

Expertise and Reputation

One of the most important factors to consider is the pedigree of the company, both in terms of history as well as reputation. A trusted dealer should have a record of successful customer engagements and a reputation as a reliable source of service and support after the sale. Do your research and find out these details, as they will be very important in forging this new partnership.

Return on Investment

Sum it all up with return on investment. Consider all of the above factors when calculating the end cost. The cannabis testing industry continues to evolve and costs can quickly add up without the proper instruments and resources at your side. The manner in which investment funds and operating capital are spent directly correlates with the ultimate success of the testing lab business.

What you invest in now may very well pay back big dividends if the purchase brings your operations to the next level. Of course, the opposite is true as well. For these reasons, choose your cannabis testing equipment resource wisely.

This editorial was written by LabX and published in conjunction with International Equipment Trading Ltd.

View IET Cannabis Testing Solutions at LabX.com

For the last three decades, International Equipment Trading Ltd. has established itself as the preeminent source of dependable laboratory equipment for independent laboratories, small and large industries, research institutions and universities around the globe.

IET Ltd. maintains a large inventory of refurbished analytical instruments and accessories from leading manufacturers such as: Agilent, Thermo, Sciex, Waters, Bruker, Perkin Elmer, Shimadzu, JEOL and others. The equipment includes electron microscopes, gas chromatographs, high pressure liquid chromatographs, centrifuges, elemental analyzers, atomic absorption, inductively coupled plasma (ICP), uv-vis, infrared, X-ray, mass and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers.

International Equipment Trading Ltd. offers excellent values with peace of mind and warranties backed by comprehensive service that will insure your satisfaction.

IET Ltd. is a leading provider of refurbished mass spectrometers, offering a wide range of manufacturers and models suited for a variety of applications.