The Importance of Using and Securing RFID Tags onto Medical Instruments

There are a wide variety of reasons that RFID tags are used, from tracking packages to pets, to vehicles and even patients.

An RFID (radio frequency identification) is a tagging device that transfers information to an RFID computer program to keep track of and communicate with products and people. The tags are "smart" in that they can store all kinds of information including pages of data, descriptions, and serial numbers. RFIDs do not require a power source like a GPS system, but instead use radio waves to transmit their data.

A microchip in a pet is an example of an RFID that is implanted into the animal to provide a permanent ID. Many of us can relate to the fear that comes from losing a family pet. An RFID can provide a level of comfort to the owner should a pet ever go missing because the tag can provide the finder with the owner's contact information. This same thought process can be applied when thinking about the large volume of medical instruments used in surgeries and procedures performed in the hospital that must be located afterward.

So why are RFIDs becoming increasingly important to the medical industry? A typical hospital uses hundreds of medical instruments a day on patients receiving care in operating and emergency rooms. As regulations become more stringent, the assigning of serial numbers and application of RFID tags to medical instruments has become even more important. Users with different skill levels must be able to navigate their way through a plethora of medical tools and choose and prepare the proper ones for the procedure. Tracking instruments is critical because they not only need to be accounted for at the end of a process, but users must make sure that none are misplaced so patients are kept safe.

If you’re a manufacturer involved in the production of medical tools, housing assemblies, and single- and multi-use medical devices, then finding an adhesive that can withstand multiple cycles of autoclave or STERRAD (plasma) is of great interest.

A typical application might involve fixing an RFID onto a pair of surgical scissors. 

RFID Tag Being Secured to Surgical Scissors with Encapsulant

The adhesive utilized for RFID chip encapsulation must form extremely strong bonds to the stainless steel and other metals that surgical instruments are made from, enable the tag to remain in place throughout a procedure, and to ensure safe instrument usage and storage. For tools that must tolerate repeat sterilization, the adhesive may also need to possess low water absorption properties. Additionally, the manufacturer may need a product that meets certain requirements such as fast cure or certifications like ISO 10993-5 cytotoxicity.

Designed to be autoclave resistant for more than 100+ cycles, MD® 1040-M is a broad-spectrum, LED optimized adhesive that can be used to quickly bond, pot, or encapsulate RFID chips onto medical devices, tools, and vials. It features exceptional bond strength to stainless steel and aluminum substrates used in medical instruments. This material may be a suitable choice for manufacturers searching for a reliable, solvent-free, RoHS compliant solution for their process. Learn more about this cutting-edge product here.

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