There are both active and passive tags that can withstand steam sterilization. Elecsys Corp. offers a low-frequency (LF) tag that can withstand the process (see Elecsys Buys Swiss Maker of Specialty RFID Tags), and other companies will design and manufacture tags that can withstand sterilization as well, if the order is large enough.
I have not seen a tag with a counter, but I don’t think one is necessary. If the goal is to record how many times a tagged item is sterilized, this can be achieved on the back-end. A simple software application could count the number of times it sees the same serial number being recorded before, during or after the sterilization process, and send an alert when an item has reached the maximum number allowed.
AvantaPure makes a tag that can withstand radiation and chemical sterilization. I believe it will also withstand steam sterilization. Click here for more information.
—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal
Can RFID Be Used to Measure Pressure? »