Innovative Product Developments in Japan
E-Garde has expanded its product offerings since 2007.
CEO Etsuro Inamoto talks about the innovative developments of the portfolio in an interview with RFID & Wireless IoT Global.
Inspired by the potential of RFID, Etsuro Inamoto founded E-Garde in 2007. The company has 50 employees and is based in Nihonbashi, Toyko. E-Garde delivers a wide range of RFID products to customers from various industries worldwide, many of which focus on access control applications. The goal is to expand the portfolio to cover IoT with Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI). All products are assembled in Japan and China. Parts are supplied from Japan, China and Europe.
"After the Tōhoku earthquake and the resulting nuclear disaster in 2011, we saw the importance of expanding our business abroad. Now, we serve customers worldwide." - Etsuro Inamoto, CEO, E-Garde
1. Mr. Inamoto in 2007 you founded E-Garde. At that time, the company only produced smartcards. What outstanding events or milestones can you look back on in the company's 15-year history?
Inamoto: Since 2007, we have always been active in innovative product development. In 2010, we expanded our portfolio to include printing technologies. Between 2012 and 2014, we secured major OEM partnerships in Hong Kong and China, and introduced the production of silicon products and plastic housing designs.
Other milestones include a dual tag patent we obtained in 2015 and the launch of the wristband tag “Que Bangle” in 2016. Our first smart paper cards were sold to the North American market in 2018. In 2021, we developed the biodegradable paper smartcard. In 2022, we started producing printed circuit boards.
2. Can you briefly describe the product portfolio?
We have a diverse product range. We produce dual tags, hard tags, RFID sensor tags and RFID data loggers. We also have multi-functional smart paper and wooden cards, and a selection of RFID keycards, wristbands, and keyfobs.
3. What quality characteristics do the products meet?
Our RFID products are manufactured using sustainable, high-quality materials. All products produced are certified according to the international ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 27001 standards, and go through strict quality control. We comply with customer specifications, along with domestic and foreign laws and regulations to ensure that the products we supply meet customer expectations.
4. What innovative new developments has E-Garde launched?
We have recently launched two new ranges of sensor ICs. The first are the new acceleration sensor ICs which can synchronize the data transfer of more than 100 chips. The second are the battery-free capacitive sensor ICs that can sense temperature, moisture and pressure. These are suited for applications in water level, load, and screw loosening detection.
The capacitive sensor ICs can measure a minimum resolution of 0.1 pF and a maximum of 4,000 pF. The measurement range is between 0.1 and 100 pF.
5. Which development partners does E-Garde work with?
We are working closely with Japanese semiconductor manufacturer Lapis Technology on the joint development of capacitive sensor ICs and integrated UHF circuits. Development and performance inspections of the IC chips are conducted by E-Garde for every application.
We are also working on a project concerning the development of a unique IC chip in cooperation with the AutoID Lab at Keio University. Here, E-Garde is actively involved in the manufacturing and circuit design of RFID tags.
6. What role does sustainability play in product development?
Our mission is to save time, power and resources. In this sense, all product development at E-Garde is linked to sustainability. By utilizing RFID, we were able to improve working environments and productivity. We established a system for the management of chemical substances in our products. This way, we ensure that our products are free of regulated chemical substances. We also use materials that have a low environmental impact.
7. What will be new on the market in 2023?
In 2023, we plan to release two new products. The first is a quantity measurement sensor and the second is a capacitance measurement tag.