RFID Tracking in Critical GMP Areas including Cleanrooms

gmp room cleaning

Organizations have to apply well-defined GMP practices in cleanrooms and labs in order to maintain particulate and pathogen free environments. There are formal requirements and guidelines for food, drug, medical device and cosmetics manufacturing where sanitized conditions are maintained. There are several cleaning standards including the ISO14644 and the Federal Standard 209E standards. Since they are operated under strict guidelines, they are subject to several cleaning methodologies. Some of the common SOPs (standard operating procedures) include chemical wipe downs, autoclaving etc. Such standards can bring up some unique challenges when it comes to tracking assets inside these areas. This is where AssetPulse RFID Tracker system comes in handy. 

RFID tracker

1. RFID Tags can withstand Chemical wipe downs

This means the RFID tagged assets in the cleanrooms are also going to be subjected to the cleaning Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Wipe downs can be done with oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide or non-oxidizing agents like alcohols. The RFID Trackers have to be rugged enough to withstand these wipe downs. In areas such as Cleanrooms where such SOPS are enforced, particular attention has to be applied to RFID tag selection.

Not only should the RFID Tracker have a good read range, as is the default requirement, but it should be made of material that will remain unaffected when exposed to such chemical wipe downs. It’s also important to note that equipment in cleanrooms tend to last many years, which implies that the RFID tags chosen should also be rugged enough to withstand chemical wipe downs for many years.

2. RFID Trackers that can withstand autoclave process

Further, several types of equipment will need to be cleaned in autoclaves. Autoclaves use a combination of steam and pressure over a significant period of time. They need to run at very high temperatures and pressures so the pathogens, microorganisms and spores can be destroyed. Metal, glass and various plastic materials may be autoclaved. Not only should appropriate RFID tags suited for the specific type of material be chosen, but it also must be ensured that they can repeatedly tolerate autoclave environments for a period of years.

3. RFID tracker with special mounting options

RFID Tag mounting methodologies should also be carefully considered. Often, commonly available adhesives will not withstand chemical or autoclaving environments for a long and extended period of time. Special adhesives or alternate mounting techniques need to be employed. Hanging, riveting or screwing down RFID trackers or RFID tags in autoclave environments is recommended.

AssetPulse, with its decades long experience in such ruggedized environments, has deployed thousands of RFID Trackers (need to make this a link)in multiple cleanrooms. Not only is selection of the RFID Tracker important, but also the location of the RFID tags should be optimally specified. AssetPulse personnel study the SOPs employed in the areas to see what the best location for the tag is, so read range can be maximized while at the same time, and therefore protecting the tag from unnecessary mechanical impact, shock and vibration.

Further, in case a fixed RFID reader infrastructure is needed in cleanrooms, the readers, antenna, cables etc. need to be fixed in the appropriate configurations so that they deliver the required performance, but at the same time, are able to tolerate the environment. This can be challenging, but is well within the AssetPulse wheelhouse.


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The Role of RFID Asset Tracking Solutions in Oil Industry’s Consolidation Process

As the world oil markets continue to be in flux, consolidation within the oil and gas industry, especially in North America, is accelerating. The small to medium business sector is seeing significant activity.

Companies are being acquired, not only for their customer base, but also for their assets. Organizations that are positioning themselves as acquisition candidates need to streamline their business processes and show enhanced visibility of their assets. This makes them more attractive to prospective acquirers.

RFID Asset Tracking Solutions for Oil and Gas Industry

Using AssetPulse’s RFID based asset tracking solutions, these savvy companies not only achieve 100% visibility of their assets, but also can leverage them to streamline their business processes – processes to accurately check-in/check-out assets to and from jobs, efficiently manage maintenance and inspections of all their equipment, tie all this into their financial systems, etc.

Being able to show end-to-end visibility of their assets along with streamlined operations, makes it easier for potential suitors to do due diligence on the companies, thereby making them more attractive targets. Not only do they position themselves well in the M&A markets, they also enjoy the side benefits of reduced operational costs resulting from efficient use of their assets and resources.

RFID asset tracking solutions

Photo by Dean Brierley on Unsplash

Once an acquiring company has completed a merger, they have to be able to quickly incorporate the new member into their operations. In order to make the unification efficient, companies standardize on using RFID based asset tracking solutions to maximize visibility of their augmented operations and asset inventory.

Mergers lead to additional company locations, servicing an expanded list of regions and geographies. It becomes even more important to know where all the assets are and whether they are being utilized optimally. Leveraging the visibility provided by our RFID solutions, oil and gas companies are able to make decisions about re-allocation of assets amongst the locations based on each region’s business needs.

Further, they are able to make informed determinations on new purchases, balancing the requirements of each location. Excess equipment is either disposed of, or is leased out in order to reduce expenses and increase revenue. The rental side of the business can also leverage the RFID based asset tracking solutions, just like the mainstream business.

And of course, our solutions can also play a significant role in tracking maintenance and inspections of equipment across the entire company. As new divisions or regions are added, it is imperative that HSE policies of the parent company continue to be enforced and adopted. Our solutions show whether preventive maintenance and safety inspections are being done routinely, and can flag alerts if and when the occasional ball is dropped.


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