Labels suitable for use within a typical laboratory can require a full roster of requirements to ensure that it lives up to the environment it is going to be used in. Laboratories can be a busy and sometimes a hostile place to be for a label, the fast pace of a clinical trial, the urgent samples required for a patient diagnosis or the ever-growing throughput of over 10 million requests per year throughout the busy NHS network of major analytical laboratories.
This environment will test even the most durable labels and here the label needs to be built for resistance against a wide range of prospective contaminants, The laboratory label is the “super” label, surviving in extreme cold, moisture and enduring attack by solvents. The amazing thing is that whilst it is being subjected to all of the hostile treatment it still needs to perform, no time for falling off tubes or smudging through handling, this “super” label is built for amazing durability. Barcodes still need to be scanned, including the new super-efficient 2D matrix codes so tolerance against moisture, including freeze thaw cycling is critical to the success of the label.
Decisions need to be made as to which format is best suited for your requirements, do you require labels, pre-printed having the information already on the label, maybe a clinical trial could have the date, names and reference id on them with a unique colour code to differentiate the types of trials. An analytical laboratory doing daily tests may be best suited having blank labels, printed through the use of a Thermal transfer printer or they could utilise a laser printer and have labels supplied as A4 or A5 sheets. These decisions will lead you down the path to plan for your sample identification needs and create a clear path to understanding what is required to make a durable long lasting sample identification label.
Whether the label is used in a pathology laboratory or it is stuck onto a piece of glassware used for a DNA testing the most important thing is traceability, without this the sample loses its ability to be untainted, for this reason the ability to get the correct label material, adhesive and protection on the label is the ultimate challenge. There are many options in the marketplace and being able to recommend the most appropriate uniform for this “super” label is key, choose wisely and you will benefit in the long run.