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Sokymat: Putting Its Know-how to Work

The Swiss company, one of the largest tag producers in the world, provides RFID solutions for three target markets: logistics, access control and animal identification.
By Arris Han
Jan 10, 2005—A stone’s throw away from the idyllic resort town of Vevey is the headquarters of one of the largest RFID transponder producers in the world: Sokymat. Founded in 1964 in the French part of Switzerland, Sokymat began as a maker of coils and later micro coils for the Swiss watch and clock industry. The original owners of the company were from Milan, Italy.

In 1977, Ake Gustafson, a Swedish businessman and inventor, bought the company, which continued to manufacture coils, micro coils and the machines that produce them. But in the late ’80s, as Sokymat faced stiff competition from Asian manufacturers, the company’s business shifted from coils to transponders for animal identification. Gustafson invented the “direct bonding” technology, which automated the assembly of a transponder by soldering the copper coil of the RFID antenna directly onto the pads of the silicon chip. This enabled the company, which filed the patent for the technology in 1991, to mass-produce cost-efficient transponders.

Sokymat was acquired in 2003 by Assa Abloy, the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of locking solutions. The company is now part of Assa Abloy’s Identification Technology Group, which focuses on current and emerging identification solutions within the RFID and smart card markets.

Today, Sokymat produces roughly 75 million low-, high- and ultra-high frequency RFID transponders per year. It supplies manufacturers, vendors and systems integrators with RFID tags, cards and labels for use in logistics, access control and animal identification. The company also designs and manufactures custom transponders for specific operating environments and packaging materials, including tags that work on metal and containers that store liquids. The majority of its transponders are compliant with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), but Sokymat also manufactures transponders for close-loop systems and other special projects.

“Sokymat’s true competitive advantage is in fact our 15 years of working experience in transponder manufacturing technology,” says André Ziegler, CEO of Sokymat. “Thanks to the know-how we inherited as a company with a 40 year history in the development of advanced industrial automation equipment, we developed many of our own manufacturing lines and patented assembly technologies that make our transponders unique.”

In November 2004, Cubit Electronics, an RFID transponder manufacturing company based in Erfurt, Germany, joined Sokymat. Cubit’s expertise is in unique and patented technologies for advanced high frequency transponders. “With Cubit’s integration and by adding to our know-how the expertise that Cubit has in the area of 13.56 MHz RFID transponders, we acquire a competitive advantage on the side of technology,” says Ziegler, “just like when we introduced the direct bonding technology for low frequency transponders.”
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