Identifying samples in analytical labs

Sample processing plays an important role in the work flow management of analytical samples. Every day a large number of samples are examined in laboratories all over the world. The efficient marking and allocation of such samples is one of the biggest challenges in analytical labs today, because the exchange of probes can have dramatically impacts. Therefore, a lot of time and effort is spend improving quality management. The integration of small RFID tags (such as our 9.4mm diameter 13.57 Mhz inlays) onto sample vials and laboratory bottles together with the use of our special bulk-tag RFID terminals allow operators to detect and locate multiple samples at a time and offer an opportunity sample processing improvement in the lab. During operations, all sample processing steps, results and data are stored and monitored on the RFID tag which is directly located at the sample. This guarantees that exchange of samples cannot occur. Furthermore, this technology can be used to produce continuous documentation and ensure tracebility according the rules of FDA CFR Part11.

Our product lines support the users need to have a certain mobility to do their job, by utilizing the latest and always up to date mobile technologies like Wi-Fi, mobile computers and PDA’s. These help our clients to increase their productivity and efficiency by enabling both wireless and mobile computing. With sample tracking the RFID unit can even be placed at the location where the sample is taken. Information such as date, sample type, methodology and even GPS reference can by placed on the chip for future reading at the laboratory. This information can then be electronically sent to the receiving laboratory which gives operators an advanced status of what samples to expect and when.

The modern way - Smart PDA with RFID module gains a certain mobility. Even GPS reference data could be obtained automatically during sampling.

Blood alcohol tests - a real life example

The actual approach tries to use bar-coding extensively through out the lab. Of course barcode technology is mature and reliable. Moreover the label itself has relative negligible cost. Relative in such a way, that SOP’s (Sample Operating Procedures) often require labelling sample containers multiple times for different analysis steps. Furthermore the main drawback is the need for human intervention in reading the tag, the tag needs to be located on the package and the laser reader pointed on it. Counting all these together the real cost are often not negligible, by the way. Last but not least the barcode only identifies a unique number and has not the capability to store more important sample data on it. Today laboratory managers are still relying heavily on barcode technology but the demand to move forward to a new and reliable technology increase every day. As an example of such a well proofed solution, the workflow of blood alcohol tests together with its chain of custody are described in detail in our Audit Trail brochure.

The actual way - Barcode on forensic DNA sample.


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