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Thin, Rechargeable Battery for Sensor Tags Optimized for Cold Chain Logistics

The EnerCera battery, an ultra-thin and compact lithium-ion rechargeable battery developed by NGK Insulators, is the ideal rechargeable battery solution for thin sensor tags used in cold chain logistics. It contributes to optimal temperature and humidity control required for pharmaceutical transportation.

What is cold chain logistics?

Cold chain logistics refers to the process of keeping products at the specified low temperature throughout production, transportation, and consumption. It is used to maintain the quality and safety of goods and products that require low temperature control, including fresh, refrigerated, and frozen foods, as well as electronic components such as semiconductors, and pharmaceutical products.

Compliance with Good Distribution Practice (GDP) in pharmaceutical transport

The cold chain plays a key role in the transport of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Since rapid changes in temperature during their transportation and storage can degrade their quality, continuous temperature control is vital in both of these phases.

Strict guidelines are in place for the transportation of pharmaceuticals, the representative example being the Good Distribution Practices (GDP). The GDP is an international standard, and was established to ensure quality throughout the supply chain for pharmaceuticals. To be compliant with its requirements, manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and logistics companies must maintain rigorous control over the conditions during the distribution of pharmaceuticals.

Temperature and humidity logger system essential for managing pharmaceutical and vaccine transport

Temperature and humidity loggers that sense (measure) and log (record) temperature and humidity during the transportation process in real-time and systems that detect shocks and transmit the occurrence of abnormalities in the event of accidents are essential for establishing a transportation management system that meets the GDP guidelines. In addition, the sensor tags must resist separation from containers and packages of pharmaceuticals, which vary significantly in size and shape.
Given these requirements, there is a growing demand for thin, easy-to-use sensor tags for logistics that can be used as temperature and humidity loggers and which are also compatible with curved container surfaces.

Using the EnerCera battery for IoT devices to produce thin sensor tags

Thin and lightweight power source is required to create flexible sensor tags.

The EnerCera battery is an ultra-small/ultra-thin Li-ion rechargeable battery using NGK’s original crystal oriented ceramic plate as electrodes. It achieves features required to power IoT devices but had been difficult to incorporate in existing Li-ion rechargeable batteries, such as being ultra-small/ultra-thin, high capacity, high output, high heat resistance and long lifetime.

Due to its ultra-thin, lightweight design, and the bendability needed to conform to curved surfaces, the EnerCera Pouch allows the EnerCera battery to be combined with flexible circuit boards, creating paper-thin bendable sensor tags that are easily attached to curved surfaces.

flexible sensor tag

flexible sensor tag


The EnerCera solution

Temperature control is essential for cold chain logistics when transporting pharmaceuticals.
In addition to offering remarkable safety, EnerCera enables reliable communications and long-life operation, even at −40°C, while its high output allows wireless communication over long distances. These features make it possible to maintain the highest level of quality control to satisfy GDP guidelines, to contribute to realizing stable supply chains for pharmaceuticals, and to strengthen compliance.

Optimal temperature control

  • High output for wireless communication over long distances
  • Capable of logging and storing temperature, humidity, impact events, and other sensing data

Ideal for cold chain logistics

  • Reliable communication and long-life operation, even at temperatures as low as −40°C
  • Contributes to quality assurance of pharmaceutical products and supply chain stabilization

Compliance with GDP Guidelines

  • Extremely low risk of overheating, catching fire, or exploding
  • Helps achieve advanced quality control to meet GDP Guidelines

Examples of applications

Below are some example applications for sensor tags powered by EnerCera.
Inolux Japan, ENJI, Cold storage Japan, and NGK start Development of Temperature and Humidity Control Service Using Sensor Tags for Transporting Wine

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