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Charlie Taylor

This is how the Swedish RFID company will multiply its sales

Published: 11 May 2022, 15: 31Updated: 16 May 2022, 10:57The RFID company 4E Antenna is at the beginning of its export journey. Right now they are making their first major delivery to Italy, and if all goes well, sales will multiply next year. But it costs to grow that’s why they have turned to EKN, the Swedish Export Credit Agency.Read more about how you can secure financing for your continued growthRFID tags are radio-based barcodes that can replace regular barcodes. The tags are very easy to read it can be done from a distance of about ten meters and this has opened up a lot of new opportunities in as many industries. Just think what it does for store inventories. With RFID tags as price tags in a store, you can make an entire inventory just by going into the warehouse and swiping in the air with a reader, says Lars Granbom, CEO of the company 4E Antenna, which manufactures one of the RFID tags’ main components, the antennas.

From toxic to non-toxic

RFID is a growing industry. According to Lars Granbom, about 20 billion RFID tags were produced in 2021, and that figure is rising by just over 20 percent per year. But there are durability problems in conventional production. If we look at the antennas, they are made of plastic and aluminum layers that are laminated together. In conventional manufacturing, aluminum is then etched away from the antenna. It is a waste of aluminum and it creates a toxic waste sludge that must be disposed of.4E Antenna has patented a manufacturing process where the antennas are made of paper instead of plastic. In addition, you do not need to etch away aluminum in manufacturing. In our process, 70–80 percent less aluminum is used than usual. We completely get rid of plastic, we do not use toxic etching chemicals and we do not create toxic waste. In addition, our process means a 60 percent lower carbon footprint than today’s conventional production, says Lars Granbom.

“Business-critical support”

The business idea is to build and sell the machines that produce these environmentally friendly RFID antennas. 4E Antenna is in the middle of its first delivery; a machine has been ordered by an Italian subsidiary of one of the world’s largest label manufacturers. However, each machine is a large order for 4E Antenna, and during the manufacturing process it has been very important to have proper working capital through bank loans. Our bank then applied for an operating credit guarantee from EKN and that guarantee meant that EKN covered a large part of the bank risk. This of course made it easier for the bank to say yes, explains Lars Granbom. If everything goes as planned, the Italian customer will also order more units during the year, and this will place even higher demands on cash flow. It is incredibly exciting but just as costly to grow so fast. The support we have received from our bank and EKN has been business-critical for us. Hopefully we will have reason to turn to EKN again already this spring, says Lars Granbom.Read more about how you can get help with financing your export investmentThe article is produced by Brand Studio in collaboration with EKN and not an article by Dagens industri

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