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To Help Track Filter Integrity, Manufacturer Introduces HF Tags

Millipore will begin selling filtration products with integrated RFID technology to allow its drugmaker customers to access data about a filter's test performance.
By Claire Swedberg
Millipore provides the stand-alone AccuSMART RFID reader, which captures data from the tags during the second round of testing on the production floor. The reader includes an antenna well, in which the filter cartridge can be inserted for reading. An average biopharmaceutical company can use 500 filters, of a variety of types and sizes. Scanning the RFID tag, Adams says, is a much simpler solution than looking up paperwork about testing results.

George Adams
In the future, he states, Millipore will begin testing sensors integrated with the Tagsys RFID tag to be used with the filters, beginning with temperature sensors. Gauging the temperature of the filter could enable biopharmaceutical manufacturers to verify that they have achieved the proper temperatures—for example, when sterilizing the filter. In such a case, Millipore would provide middleware for fixed and portable readers.

Initially, the RFID tags will be embedded only in the filters that are most critical for manufacturers and, thus, provide the most value for the cost increase resulting from RFID system. The tags will raise the cost of the filter by a small percentage, Adams says, while the AccuSMART RFID readers, with a built-in printer, will cost $10,000 to $15,000. "We want to introduce this into the marketplace, where almost all end users will see value," Adams says. "We will introduce it in stages," he adds, while keeping an eye on the dropping cost of RFID tags as well.

Millipore will be sending a pre-notification letter to its customers, alerting them to the fact that it will be embedding some of its filters with SMART Technology filters. After that, he says, adoption rates will vary depending on the customer.

Several global biopharmaceutical companies have tested the SMART technology, Adams says, though he declines to name them. These firms will be investing in RFID readers to use the new system as it becomes commercially available sometime in the next few weeks.

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