LabTAG scientists were busy throughout 2023 designing and testing new identification technologies to help laboratories better track and manage samples. Below is a brief collection of the most impactful new labels and other solutions that hit the market last year, providing a solid foundation for researchers and medical personnel to keep growing their labs, enhancing patient safety, and further minimizing preventable errors.
Space optimization has always been an issue when delivering microscopy slides to consulting pathology departments. Most facilities that produce histochemically stained tissue slides integrate 1D barcodes onto the slide, taking up most of the room; however, upon delivery, the slide often has to be re-labeled with a 2D barcode for accurate tracking. Enter the patent-pending Histo-PinTAG, a novel type of removable label with a unique design incorporating a small dot label connected to a printable rectangle. The dot label blocks the scanning of the existing barcode without covering the rest of the information on the original label, while the thermal-transfer printed rectangular portion containing a new barcode can be effortlessly snapped-off and affixed just below the original label. If the sample needs to be returned, the label can be removed without damaging the original label or leaving behind residue.
The histological process also involves using tissue cassettes, which have historically been hard to label and track. Thus, two separate solutions were devised to better label and track cassettes. The patented HistoBAR is a new type of tissue cassette that comes with a specialized frame that “locks” the label in its place during formalin fixation, dehydration, clearing, and paraffin wax embedding. This ensures the associated xylene-resistant label remains affixed to the cassette, providing a cost-efficient option that allows users to employ 2D barcodes to track and trace histology specimens instead of handwriting directly on cassettes or using expensive cassette printers.
Once cassettes are finally paraffin-embedded, it can be beneficial to identify them with our patent-pending ParafiGARD labels. Developed in 2023, these thermal-transfer labels can be applied to hard-to-stick surfaces, like paraffin-embedded tissue cassettes, incorporating a unique metallic foil layer that can be detected using a metal detector. This helps prevent the accidental loss of tissue cassettes in the lab, which may be accidentally discarded in the garbage. Using these metal-detectable labels, labeled blocks can be easily identified in cupboards or garbage bags using a metal detector, ensuring any mishaps are corrected immediately and irreplaceable patient specimens are not wasted.
In the lab, identifying both the cap and the side of vials and tubes is recommended for accurate tracking and to avoid unwanted identification errors. To make this process as simple and quick as possible, our patent-pending SnapPEEL technology was designed, incorporating a novel circle-and-rectangle shape that allows users to easily peel the label from the liner, attach the circular portion of the label to the cap, then snap off the rectangular portion and affix it to the side of the tube, all in a single motion. SnapPEEL is currently available for use with NitroTAG® thermal-transfer cryogenic labels for cryo vials, microtubes, and freezer vials, as well as FreezerTAGTM labels for small PCR tubes. It can, however, be added to any other durable label solution intended for vials and tubes, including labels utilizing other printing methods.
New Label Formats & Features
In addition to the new patented and patent-pending solutions mentioned above, LabTAG also developed new variations of existing label solutions to better serve laboratory needs. Transparent and blackout versions of popular label classes were created that will allow containers to be labeled without concealing their contents as well as for covering up existing information and labels with incorrect or outdated data. A blackout version of Laser CryoSTUCK® was developed for already frozen containers, and clear labels were created to identify PCR tube strips and microscope slides, respectively. Our CryoSTUCK tape with GatoCUT technology was also improved, adding a new self-wound feature that makes the hand-cuttable tape even easier to use and more eco-friendly, as it no longer has a liner. A transparent version is also available.
LabTAG by GA International is a leading manufacturer of high-performance specialty labels and a supplier of identification solutions used in research and medical labs as well as healthcare institutions.