Conical tubes and vials are an essential component of every biomedical lab, used in almost every experiment. These common containers are used throughout laboratories to securely store cell aliquots, antibodies, and nearly any other reagent, as well as serving as sample reaction tubes. A single experiment may even necessitate using hundreds of these tubes. As such, it’s easy to forget that labeling them also takes time and effort.
Vial & microtube identification
Laboratory best practices suggest identifying the top of the tube, ideally with a 2D barcode, as well as the side with serialized text and/or an additional 1D or 2D barcode. This provides a bird’s-eye-view of the information that allows tubes to be readily identified without the need to remove them from storage boxes. Furthermore, labeling both the side and top of screw top vials is essential, as caps can be easily misplaced during an assay. Thus, if the side is not labeled too, the sample can become misidentified, wasting precious samples and/or reagents.
This traditionally would require using rectangle and circle labels. As such, each individual label would be peeled and applied, taking some time and effort in order to identify each tube. This is especially true for small dot labels, which can be tricky to peel, handle, and apply accurately on vial caps and tube tops. Furthermore, as these vials will often undergo storage in low temperature environments, it is recommended that any label used be resistant to at least deep-freeze storage and, ideally, cryogenic conditions as well. High temperature resistance might also be required, in case the microtubes are placed in heated water baths on heating plates during the course of the experiment.
A new label technology
Efforts are continually made to improve the efficiency of all processes in the lab; for example, high throughput technologies are now more used than ever to screen for molecules and identify new therapeutic targets. Sample and inventory identification is no different. LabTAG has developed a variety of unique labeling solutions for the lab designed for specific applications. This includes metal-detectable labels to prevent the loss of tissue samples in histology, adhesive-free tags for identifying various PCR tubes and strips, as well as hand-cuttable lab tape that can be used on the go.
Patent-pending SnapPEEL™ technology makes labeling cryo vials and microtubes simpler, faster, and more precise. Perfect for all tube labeling in the lab, particularly workflows that rely on high volumes of cryo vials and tubes. SnapPEEL technology incorporates a circle directly connected with the rectangular label, creating a unique new shape called CirTANGOTM. This allows both labels to be peeled in a single motion, making applying the circle label on the vial cap more accurate. This is in contrast to existing rectangle and circle labels that require a separate, two-step action to peel and affix the labels, with the dot labels often being difficult to peel and apply accurately, especially when wearing gloves. Once the circle portion of the label is affixed to the top of the tube, the rectangular portion can be effortlessly detached from the circular label. This frees the rectangular label, which can then be easily affixed to the side of the tube.
Currently offered on our standard thermal-transfer cryogenic labels for liquid nitrogen storage, NitroTAG® labels with SnapPEEL technology significantly decrease tube labeling time, increase labeling efficiency, while also reducing excessive and unnecessary label manipulation and handling. Perfect for long-term cryo storage in lab freezers and liquid nitrogen tanks for biobanking.
This new labeling technology is compatible with nearly any type of label, which is crucial as tubes and vials are likely to encounter various environments in the lab, from cryogenic freezing and high heat sterilization to intense chemical exposure. SnapPEEL can also be added to other label formats, such as direct thermal and laser/inkjet labels upon request. Ensuring that these containers are labeled hassle-free is necessary to increase workflow rate while helping reduce the potential for repetitive strain-related injuries due to manual handling.
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.