MSU’s Axia Institute launches RFID tag validation program

MIDLAND—Officials at the Axia Institute of Michigan State University announced the creation of Axia Lab, a research and consulting service leading the way in radio frequency identification (RFID) zssessments, 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,” said John D. Hatfield, Axia Institute’s executive director. “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.”

Beginning with the pharmaceutical industry, Axia Lab conducts testing and validation of tagged items according to Tagged-Item Performance Protocol (TIPP) testing under the RFID industry’s GS1 (Global Standard 1), 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 and their 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.

Bahar Aliakbarian, associate professor supply chain management at MSU and director of research and development at Axia, said: “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 German health care company that offers medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion, and clinical nutrition, has partnered with Axia Lab to test its RFID smart-labeled portfolio of medications (

“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.”

Axia Lab, part of The Axia Institute at Michigan State University, is a research facility in Midland 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. It’s part of MSU’s College of Engineering and School of Packaging. Visit to learn more.

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 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 MSU’s 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 Co., Dow Corning Corp., Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation, Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, The Dow Chemical Co. Foundation, and the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation. For more information, visit

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