Can I Use RFID for Autoclaveable and Thermodisinfectable Medical Device Identification?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan I Use RFID for Autoclaveable and Thermodisinfectable Medical Device Identification?
RFID Journal Staff asked 9 years ago

Would the tags withstand the sterilization process?

—Name withheld


There are a variety of tags currently on the market that can withstand sterilization. Xerafy‘s XS passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tag can be attached to or embedded in tools, and can withstand high temperatures, such as those experienced in an autoclave. The tags are being used by Danish hospitals to track surgical instruments (see RFID System Tracks Surgical Instruments in Denmark).

Omni-ID‘s Fit 200 is a small, passive UHF tag designed for use on small metal assets, such as surgical instrument. The Fit 200 can survive cleaning processes, including autoclaves, and is compatible with typical finishing processes, such as dipping, coating, heat-shrinking and moulding, for embedding into tools and other high-value equipment.

German RFID firm Tagitron sells the HardTag MOM transponder, a metal-on-metal tag designed for applications in the medical, pharmaceutical, chemical, biologistics and automotive industries. The IP 68-rated tag is composed of an autoclavable compound material, is available in a range of sizes, and features a general read range of up to 6 meters (19.7 feet) on metal. It is available with RFID chips supplied by NXP Semiconductors, Impinj, Alien Technology, Fujitsu and Infineon (see RFID News Roundup: Tagitron Expands Family of RFID Readers, Antennas, Tags and Inlays).

Active tags tend to be larger since they have a battery, but I know of at least two long-range active tags designed to survive sterilization within an autoclave. Awarepoint‘s T2S tag is designed to withstand steam autoclave cycles at temperatures of up to 135 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit), as well as common liquid sterilization methods. The tag measures less than 1.5 inches in width and length, and can remain on assets as they undergo sterilization, thus enabling hospitals and health-care organizations to monitor the sterilization process (see Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital Tracks Trays Packed With Surgical Instruments). And AeroScout offers a Wi-Fi-based active RFID tag that can withstand autoclaving, known as the AeroScout Autoclave Tag.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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