Michigan State University’s Axia Institute Announces the Launch of Axia Lab™ as its RFID Tag Validation Program

Global pharmaceutical leader Fresenius Kabi is Lab’s first customer - Axia Lab enables customers to jumpstart innovation in RFID initiatives and address key supply chain traceability needs

October 7, 2021

MIDLAND, Mich. – October 7, 2021 – The Axia Institute of Michigan State University announced the creation of Axia Lab™, a premier research and consulting service leading the way in radio frequency identification (RFID) tagged item assessments, testing, compliance, and technical implementations. Axia Lab provides a neutral environment to facilitate impartial testing of the performance of RFID-tagged items according to GS1 Standards.

“The Axia Lab was created to empower RFID innovation and collaboration across the supply chain. Our mission is to collaborate with industry to help enable the future of RFID-enabled technology, solving some of supply chain’s greatest challenges – from smart packaging, serialization and traceability, and risk mitigation, to data analytics and security,” said John D. Hatfield, Executive Director, The Axia Institute. 

Beginning with the pharmaceutical industry, Axia Lab conducts testing and validation of tagged items according to GS1’s Tagged-Item Performance Protocol (TIPP) testing, to ensure that serialization using RFID-tags is deployed using a globally accepted standard. Axia Lab’s testing is designed to eliminate the need for in-house tag performance tests along with the associated resources, time and expense. TIPP is a standardized test method that can be repeated and independently verified by all stakeholders, providing performance grades for tagged items, not only tags or inlays. Importantly, these grades enable stakeholders to communicate their actual tagging requirements more accurately. TIPP makes RFID characterization easy for the end user, as dBm levels, orientation pattern, detuning and proximity effects are all included in a grade. For example, acquiring a TIPP grade of “S05V” includes all necessary requirements.

Dr. Bahar Aliakbarian, Michigan State University’s Supply Chain Management Research Associate Professor, and the Axia Institute’s Director of Research & Development, commented, “RFID is an important element of supply chain traceability. Particularly, in the health care supply chain, implementation of RFID can help improve patient safety, save hospitals, companies and other organizations thousands of dollars in theft and counterfeit prevention, save hundreds of workhours in stocktaking and reduce a myriad of misidentification issues.  But this can’t be done alone. Our lab serves as a neutral exploration ground, collaborating with industry and globally recognized academic researchers to develop new protocols and ensure compliance with global, consistent standards, simplifying and speeding up RFID deployments. Our access to the highly sophisticated equipment and researchers at the national top-ranked MSU School of Packaging, Supply Chain Management, and Engineering makes us unique for this mission.”

Fresenius Kabi, a global health care company that specializes in lifesaving medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion, and clinical nutrition, has recently partnered with Axia Lab to test their +RFID smart-labeled portfolio of medications (https://plusrfid.com).  

“For Fresenius Kabi, working with the Axia Lab is another way we can help hospitals fulfill their mission of patient care and safety,” said Gwen Volpe, director of medication technology at Fresenius Kabi USA. “RFID-enabled products must exhibit high performance, quality and reliability.  Axia’s testing protocols ensure that +RFID smart-labeled products have gone through the rigor of a comprehensive performance analysis and are tested in real-life scenarios using accepted GS1 global standards.”  

About Axia Lab™

Axia Lab, part of The Axia Institute at Michigan State University, is a research facility that collaborates with various businesses and industries around the world to test the performance and quality of RFID-tagged items (TIPP testing) according to GS1 standards. Axia Lab helps set the standards while trailblazing the path for modern RFID performance and tests, including reliability, collision, shipping, cybersecurity, grading tests on tags and inlays, counterfeit, packaging design, and more. Taking a holistic approach, Axia Lab serves as an impartial exploration ground for RFID Testing services performed in partnership with experts from MSU’s College of Engineering and School of Packaging with future services to include waste valorization and biomass characterization services. Visit lab.axia.msu.edu to learn more. 

About The Axia Institute 

Located in Midland, The Axia Institute®, is a premier research and education center dedicated to developing effective and sustainable solutions to improve public and private value chains. Established by Michigan State University in 2013, the Axia Institute® is part of MSU’s Office of Research and Innovation and partners with industry to solve grand challenges and conduct impartial, cross-disciplinary research in areas of value chain optimization, data analytics, engineering, smart packaging, anti-counterfeiting, and water and food safety. The Institute was founded by leaders in value chain creation and development at MSU, including the Eli Broad College of Business, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, College of Engineering, College of Social Science, and School of Packaging. Founding donors include The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Corning Corporation, Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation, Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, and the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation. For more information, please visit www.axia.msu.edu. 

About Fresenius Kabi 

Fresenius Kabi (www.fresenius-kabi.com/us) is a global health care company that specializes in medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition. The company’s products and services are used to help care for critically and chronically ill patients. The company’s U.S. headquarters is in Lake Zurich, Illinois. The company’s global headquarters is in Bad Homburg, Germany. 

For further information, please contact:

The Axia Institute 

John D. Hatfield     
Executive Director    

Dr. Bahar Aliakbarian
Research Associate Professor  
and Research and Development Director 

Fresenius Kabi

Matt Kuhn
Senior Director, External Communications