microsensys GmbH

Contactless process monitoring in autoclaves

RFID sensor technology optimizes quality management during steam sterilization

Erfurt • The possible areas of application of RFID technology are versatile and every solution is subject to its own demands on materials and technology. Especially in medical and pharmaceutical applications, a variety of guidelines apply that are to be maintained. At COMPAMED, microsensys will present current RFID-solutions for medical technology and, a world first, will present a RFID-sensor data logger for complete temperature monitoring during steam sterilization in an autoclave at +134°C and 3 bar.

To extend sensor functionality, the passive RFID sensor transponder and semi-passive RFID sensor data logger of the product family TELID® allows the contactless measuring and monitoring of different physical quantities such as temperature, humidity, pressure or vibration.

With the TELID® Sensor data logger, the state of objects and systems that are sensitive and subject to monitoring can always be shown. Thus, temperature monitoring during the transport and storage of pharmaceuticals, blood or blood plasma bags is as conceivable as it is in quality management during cleaning and sterilization processes.

In washing machines that are used for the pre-cleaning of surgical kits, the system solution is comprised of robust data loggers, reading devices with USB interface and intuitive analysis software for periodic checks of the prescribed temperature profiles which are safely used in practice. TELID® Dataloggers are characterized by an integrated sensor, a real-time clock, and a battery and data storage for measured values and user information. The temperature resistance of the relevant data logger is defined up to   +125°C - too low a temperature value for monitoring steam sterilization! At COMPAMED, microsensys will present a further development of the established TELID®311 data loggers, which guarantees a seamless and efficient temperature control during steam sterilization in autoclaves under conditions of up to +140 ° C and 3.6 bar. Neither water nor common cleaning chemicals can affect the functionality, since the data logger is completely closed with a material combination of stainless steel and plastic compound.

More than 8,000 data packets from sensor value plus time stamp can be recorded with a measurement interval between one and 59 minutes. Thereby, the accuracy of the sensor settles according to the temperature range of up to +/- 0.5K. Subject to the driven measuring cycles during the sterilization processes, the integrated, non-removable battery has a lifespan of approximately three years.

The programming and reading of the TELID® data logger is done by a RFID write-read device, for example an iID®DESKTOPsmart. This reader with USB interface and a plexi-glass enclosure is the perfect connection to TELID®software, which is installed on a PC or tablet. The current version does not only allow you to program and read the TELID® data logger through a intuitive program interface. With the help of this user-friendly software, the user installs the data logger according to their requirements. User specific data, measuring intervals and limit values may also be defined as well as the mode of measurement. So there is a choice of either the "Stop full" or "roll over" mode.

The evaluation of the stored measurement data is done via a short survey, line chart or table. In addition, specific reports A0, F0 and F93.3 can be produced in the graphical evaluation. Like this, it is easier to comprehend if and when defined temperature ranges have been exceeded, not reached or maintained. Resulting measurements are exported as an XML file. Furthermore, the software provides options for data storage, report generation and logger management.

Even human medical RFID-sensor applications can be realized in individual projects. Thus, it is for example possible to determine the internal pressure of the human brain using the implemented pressure sensor. Communication between sensor and evaluation unit is contactless via passive RFID technology. The determined measured values can save lives.

Not only sterilization processes can be objectified with RFID-technology and monitored to prevent forgery. Steadily rising costs and growing demands on the quality of treatment and legal framework in the healthcare sector makes the question of the comprehensible life-cycle of surgical instruments such as surgical kits and sterilization containers more important.

The labeling of surgical kits with miniaturized RFID-transponders allows you to store comprehensible life-cycle data directly on the object. The small transponders have a robust, sterilization-resistant casing and are attached to the most delicate instruments or parts. Special RFID-transponder designs for distinctive and contactless identification are also available for sterile containers. With the transponders that are specifically designed for sterile containers, processes in the healthcare sector as well as by users in practice, in hospitals and also by service providers, can be automated through RFID registration.

With the use of RFID-technology, everyday processes in the health care sector can be simplified and thereby optimized. The benefits of using RFID-technology in the medical and pharmaceutical sector are immense: huge time savings, cost reduction through optimized processes and improvements in quality management are just some advantages. The portfolio of RFID-system components from microsensys for this market segment is diverse and the potential applications are versatile: labeling of surgical kits and sterile containers with sterilization-proof RFID-transponders, specific sensor-transponders for measuring brain pressure, intelligent sample identification and temperature monitoring with sensor data loggers or security and access applications for computer technology.

Questions about potential applications will be gladly answered by employees of microsensys in Hall 8a, Stand H29.2 at the joint booth of IVAM. In addition, marketing manager Nadin Jurisch will explain more on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 14:10 in her lecture "Challenges and Benefits during the implementation of RFID Sensor Technology in Medicine and Health Care" in the "COMPAMED HIGH-TECH FORUM".