Innolux Japan Co., Ltd. (“Innolux”), ENJI Corporation(“ENJI”), Cold storage Japan Inc. (“Cold storage Japan”) and NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (“NGK”) announced today that they have started development of a temperature and humidity control service using sensor tags to visualize the environment while transporting and storing wine. The service will enable visualization of quality by controlling temperature and humidity at every step from shipment from the winery to delivery, storage, and sales. The service will contribute to the stable supply of high-quality products.

In recent years, awareness of the quality control of food and pharmaceuticals has been growing due to practices such as HACCP and GDP, and there has been increasing demand for quality control during transportation, from a perspective of ensuring traceability. Wine is among the food products for which control of the storage environment is an important factor, including during transportation, since the quality is significantly affected by temperature and humidity. Furthermore, since strengthening quality control during transportation requires a logistics control system that can detect abnormalities in real time, there has been increasing demand for thin, easy-to-use electronic tags. In light of this situation, the four companies, each with expertise in the fields of logistics and IoT, have joined forces to start development of a logistics control service.

The sensor tags being developed for the service are equipped with NGK’s EnerCera® lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and Innolux Japan’s sensor tag utilizing FHE technology and equipped with electronic paper display. Any detected abnormality in temperature, humidity, and others during transportation and storage is displayed on the electronic paper display, enabling to be viewed at a glance. Moreover, unlike monitoring tags that uses disposable batteries, these tags are rechargeable and can be used repeatedly. Since the tags have a thin profile and can tolerate bending, they can also be mounted on curved surfaces or in restricted space. A trial test conducted in January 2022 succeeded in obtaining 130 continuous hours of storage temperature and humidity data inside a wine cellar. The companies also plan to conduct a trial test monitoring temperature and humidity over about 60 days for wine being transported from Italy to Japan.

Looking forward, in addition to temperature and humidity control, the companies are also proceeding with development to enable to monitor and record such as shocks during transport and/or positional information. Since EnerCera battery can tolerate a wide temperature range compared to conventional rechargeable batteries and can be used in areas under direct sunlight or in cold chain logistics applications, there are plans to trial the tags in a wide range of fields outside of wine industry, such as food and pharmaceuticals. The four companies will continue to contribute their knowledge to applying IoT to logistics, aiming to equip society with safe, secure, and high-quality logistics control services.