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RFID Labels for Diagnostic Labs

RFID Labels for Diagnostic Labs

Dependable RFID enhanced label solutions tailored to your practice

RFID labeling solutions to help your lab stay ahead of the game—in both efficiency and technology


Developing diagnostic analytical equipment and consumables that are smarter, faster, and ahead of the competition takes continual innovation, and is becoming the expectation. On top of that, you’re working with the pressures of ever-tighter platform launch timescales, compliance requirements, budget constraints, and more…

 

After years of helping our partners in the research and diagnostics fields, we’ve come to understand the challenges you face and we aim to help you find solutions to your automation, ID and tracking challenges. This is why we’ve decided to offer RFID solutions to our customers. We want youto not only find solutions to the challenges you face, but enhance your entire operation in the process.

 

rfid

RFID is continuing to grow in popularity in the research and diagnostics field among many other industries—and for good reason. We have witnessed firsthand how the benefits of RFID can lead to increased efficiencies, improved tracking and more accurate identification. Here are a few things RFID has to offer that barcodes can’t:

  • Scanning without line of sight: Unlike barcodes, RFID tags can be scanned without line of sight, and depending on the type of RFID you choose, the scan distance can be anywhere from a few millimeters to a few meters. This can speed up scanning and reduce the need to re-scan leading to improved efficiencies.

  • Increased memory: Since barcodes are a visual representation of data, they take up physical space, meaning the more data you require, the larger your label will need to be. Though the size of an RFID tag can be affected by memory, data can be stored in a much more compact manner with RFID than with barcodes.

  • Adaptability: While the information represented by a barcode can’t be changed once printed, RFID tags introduce the ability to add or alter information. This additional information can be added at a later date if necessary, or codes can be written in to “kill” tags once they reach an expiration date.

What is a smart label?

Although RFID is often compared to barcode technology, it doesn’t have to be a replacement. Barcodes and RFID work great in tandem with one another and when they do we call them smart labels.

A smart label allows the barcode to act as a second form of identification under circumstances where RFID might not be practical and vice versa. It also allows for easier integration into your current systems.

Key Features of a Smart Label

RFID Diagnostic
Labels

Specifics

Description

Frequency

HF, UHF

We offer both high frequency and ultra-high frequency RFID labeling solutions to accommodate a variety of read ranges, read rates and application needs

Read Range

HF: measured in millimeters or centimeters
UHF: measured in meters

The read ranges of high frequency RFID are generally quite low being measured in millimeters or centimeters, while UHF RFID read ranges are typically measured in meters

Type

Passive, Semi-Passive

We offer both passive and semi-passive RFID technologies so you can choose to stick with the basics, or add specialized features

Size

Custom

We can provide custom size and shape labels to suit a range of application needs

Chemical
Resistance

Various lab chemicals

Our RFID labels are able to withstand a wide variety of exposures to lab chemicals. Just let our team know what chemicals your labels will be exposed to

Memory

Custom

Let us know what your requirements are when it comes to memory and we will work with you to create a tag that meets your needs

Adhesives

Engineered for purpose

As a label manufacturer we offer a range of specially engineered adhesives to accommodate your needs

Container Types

Tubes, vials, well plates, bottles, cartridges, conical tubes or vials etc.

We are experienced in manufacturing labels for a variety of consumables and are willing to work with you to tailor a label to a more unique application

What Can RFID Do For You?

  • Prepare for the future by integrating RFID into your processes. This technology is growing fast and gaining momentum. Getting ahead of the curve will help your facility grow.

  • Track consumables both quantitatively and qualitatively with a hybrid RFID-barcode system.

  • Optimize your branding, organization and identification system by integrating color into your labeling strategy.

  • Trust your RFID labels to withstand your processes when they are specially engineered to do just that.

  • Increase efficiency and accuracy by working with a single supplier for both label and RFID sourcing, utilizing both barcodes and RFID for double authentication, and improving usability with simplified and convenient scanning.

  • Ensure a closed loop system with the ability to input commands into your RFID system.

  • Build trust between your business and your customers when you provide proof of authenticity directly on the label.

  • Log data automatically when you connect your tags directly to your internal database or the cloud.

  • Predict maintenance and orders when you encode your tags to track usage, expiration or maintenance due dates to ensure your team is always prepared.

  • Combine RFID with your current barcode strategy to provide secondary identification and smoother integration.

High frequency RFID label development kit brochure

High Frequency vs. Ultra-High Frequency

HF vs. UHF

High Frequency

Ultra-High Frequency

Operating Frequency

13.56 megahertz

860-960 megahertz

Data Transfer Rates

Acceptable for a variety of uses

Very fast

Read Range

Measured in mm and cm

Measured in ft and m

Material Impact

Low, can operate on objects exposed to water

High, significantly impacted by liquids and metals

Smartphone Compatible

Yes

No

High Frequency (HF)

  • Operates at 56 megahertz
  • Data transfer rates acceptable for many uses
  • A wide range of storing capacities
  • Read distances that range from millimeters to centimeters
  • Can operate on objects exposed to water
  • A great variety in the amount of tag size and memory combinations available
  • (NFC) allows you to communicate with the tags using a smartphone!

Ultra High Frequency (UHF)

  • Operate between 860 and 960 megahertz
  • Read distances are usually measured in feet and meters
  • Significantly impacted by liquids
  • Quick transfer rates
  • Cost efficient

Check out this article to learn more about RFID frequencies and their ideal  applications

Passive vs. Semi-Passive

Passive vs. Semi-Passive

Passive

Semi-Passive

 Components

Integrated circuit and antenna

Integrated circuit, antenna, battery

Power Source

Inductive coupling

Battery

Lifespan

Long

Shorter

Data Storage

Lower, but an external database can be utilized

More storage

Real Time Updates

No

Yes, if desired

Passive

  • Made up of two parts, an integrated circuit and an antenna
  • Tags receive power as they are being read during a process called inductive coupling
  • Long and stable lifespan
  • Lack of moving parts reduces failure points
  • Lower data storage
  • Data middleware or software required to do the heavy lifting
  • Cost effective

To some, the lack of additional features may be a deal breaker, but to others the simplicity of passive RFID is what makes it so appealing. The long lifespan and reliability of passive RFID make it a great choice for any items being stored for an extended period of time. Additionally, passive RFID tends to be a more cost effective option, so in applications where the tagged item doesn’t need to be tracked for long it’s a good match.

Semi-Passive

  • Contain an integrated circuit, an antenna and a battery, but aren’t limited to those three pieces
  • The inclusion of a battery in semi-passive tags allows additional features such as sensors, real time tracking and sound notifications to be applied to the tags
  • Limited read range
  • Limited lifespan

What really differentiates semi-passive RFID from passive RFID is the inclusion of a battery, which give these tags the ability to support additional features without increasing read range. With the ability to add features semi-passive RFID is best suited for applications where those additional features, such as environment monitoring, are necessary and the tagged items remain within range of the reader.

Find out more about passive and semi-passive RFID in our blog post

Who Should Consider RFID?

Research and Diagnostics Labs

Simplified scanning can reduce effort and downtime leading to higher throughput speed, efficiency and accuracy. Introducing RFID can help your lab keep up with demand, and prepare for the future as RFID is integrated into more and more diagnostic instruments and devices.

Instrumentation Manufacturers

Integrating RFID into your devices and tools can allow for increased efficiency and tracking capabilities during use.

Adding expiration and usage tracking capabilities to reagent packs and cartridges reduces the likelihood of faulty test results due to accidental misuse of the product.

Proof of product authenticity can also be added to assure your customers they’re using tools & consumables they can trust to provide consistent results.

Additionally, the lack of requirement for line of sight when reading RFID tags allows cartridges, plates or other equipment to be easily read upon insertion into a device. Where barcodes might sometimes become obscured, an RFID signal will be able to be picked up.

Blood Banks

By utilizing a smart label strategy, all necessary printed information can be recorded on your samples while being backed up in an RFID tag. This allows for efficiency improvements by reducing the effort required during scanning, but also ensures samples retain their integrity even if the visual label were to become obscured.

How Can RFID Be Used In Research and Diagnostics:

  • Improve scanning accuracy and efficiency in automated instruments
  • Provide proof of authenticity of medical supplies
  • Track samples and supplies throughout the lab, or along a workflow
  • Record a detailed history quickly and easily

Smart-Reagent

Find out how you can utilize smartphones with RFID in your lab >

How Much Does an RFID Solution Cost?

Since all of our RFID solutions are special engineered to work for a specific lab it’s difficult to throw out a cost. RFID solutions vary dramatically in price depending on the application.

There are however, a number of factors that come into play when calculating the cost of your solution, such as:

Memory

Higher memory RFID tags tend to cost more but they also offer a lot of value to those who need them. Sometimes it’s vital certain information is stored in tags, and it just won’t work with the standard offerings.

Discuss memory requirements with your RFID integration partner to find the right amount of data storage for your purposes, you may find an alternative storage option, such as storing critical information in the tags and the rest in a database.

Category of tag

Whether your tag is high frequency or ultra-high frequency, passive or semi-passive will affect the cost.

Higher frequencies offer higher read ranges and read rates, often leading UHF tags to cost more than HF tags. Certain applications will receive a great benefit from the capabilities of UHF, while other applications will benefit more from HF, so it’s best to look for the features you need and the value they offer your facility when considering costs.

Cost also differs between passive and semi-passive tags, as semi-passive tags require a battery while passive tags don’t. The battery drives up the cost of semi-passive tags, while offering the added benefit of being able to record sensed data.

Read Distance

In addition to the category of your tag affecting the read range of your RFID tags, other measures can be taken to increase the read distance. Any additional measures to increase read distance will however, affect the cost of your tags.

Volume

The volume of tags you order will affect your costs. Simply put, the larger the order the higher the overall cost.

Materials: Copper vs. Aluminum

Whether you decide to go with copper or aluminum tags will greatly affect the cost of your solution. Choosing aluminum tags can save you a bit of budget, but it’s not suitable for small applications.

Additionally, as the size of the tags increases, so does the amount of required material and cost.

Environment

The environment where your RFID system is to be implemented will have a great effect on its functionality.

Liquids and metals in surrounding areas can absorb or reflect the radio-waves, slowing down read rates, or preventing the transmission from reaching the reader. Many labs don’t realize how common of an issue this is. On top of supplies and equipment in the lab, wiring and plumbing systems within the walls can have an effect on your RFID transmissions.

Scheduling a site visit with your RFID integration partner will help them pinpoint any trouble areas so they can customize your system to meet the conditions of your environment. Sometimes these accommodations can lead to increased costs, but they will ensure optimal performance from your RFID system.

Read our blog post to find out more about the effects surrounding materials can  have on RFID

Sterilization Resistance

Many labs require tools, devices and containers to be sanitized and many sanitization methods are extremely harsh. Our RFID labels can be customized to withstand sterilization procedures, including gamma ray radiation. Adding sanitization resistance to your labels will affect the price, but will provide assurance that your tags can withstand your processes

Check out our list of unrealistic RFID expectations to find  out if your implementation plan is achievable >

Ready to Discuss Your Implementation Plan?

Contact Our Sales Team Today

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