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RFID Tag Built to Survive Gamma Rays

AdvantaPure says its passive, high-frequency GammaTags can withstand the radiation used to sterilize the polymer bags employed by drug manufacturers—without losing data.
By Beth Bacheldor
Dec 11, 2006Many expect RFID tags to become a far more integral part of pharmaceutical operations—from tracking drugs traversing the supply chain to helping companies monitor and manage drug production. The latter, however, often requires specialized tags that can withstand critical manufacturing processes used by pharmaceutical companies, such as sterilization with electromagnetic radiation or gamma rays.

To meet this need, AdvantaPure, a Southampton, Penn., manufacturer of tubing, fittings and related components for the pharmaceutical, biomedical, food and cosmetic industries, has introduced the GammaTag, a passive, high-frequency (13.56 MHz) RFID tag designed to withstand gamma radiation up to 45 kGy (kilograys). The read-write tag complies with the ISO 15693 standard and is designed to withstand sterilization processes used in "cleaning in place" (CIP) systems, which automatically clean and disinfect components without major disassembly and reassembly work.

The GammaTag, from AdvantaPure, is designed to withstand sterilization processes used in "cleaning in place" (CIP) systems.

Founded in 2001, AdvantaPure, is a division of NewAge Industries, a 52-year-old, family-owned company that manufactures tubing, hoses, fittings, clamps and associated items for a broad range of industries. Shortly after AdvantaPure introduced its product line of tubing components, some of its customers begin asking for a way to track items that would ensure they were regularly checked for quality, replaced when needed and installed and monitored properly.

"These companies are making expensive drugs, and if a hose starts leaking, you might have a multimillion-dollar batch of drugs on the floor," says NewAge Industries' CEO, Ken Baker. "And you could have a contamination issue. It isn't just a lost batch—you could have an environmental problem."

Therefore, AdvantaPure developed its Hose Track system, featuring an ISO 15693-compliant RFID tag able to withstand the high temperatures used in pharmaceutical manufacturing and steam sterilization. The RFID system included a handheld RFID interrogator and a user database that companies can utilize to store and analyze tag readings. The tags were initially affixed to hoses and other tubing, and were later added to AdvantaPure's line of valves, pumps and filters.

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