Sanwa Electronic

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Sanwa Electronic Instrument
Native name
kabushiki gaisha
Traded as Sanwa
Founded August 1959 (1959-08)
Headquarters Higashiōsaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Key people
Seiji Suzuki
  • Radio-controlled transmitters
  • Remote control devices
Revenue 60 million yen
Total assets 3.1 billion yen (2013)
Number of employees
Parent SMC Group
Subsidiaries Airtronics
  • Choice of Champions
  • The 2.4GHz Specialists

Sanwa Electronic Instrument Co., Ltd. (三和電子機器株式会社 Sanwa denshi kiki kabushiki kaisha?), widely known as Sanwa, is a brand of wireless equipment best known for its high end radio-controlled transmitters for scale modelling use. The company have been a subsidiary of the SMC Group since 1965 and began to diversify into the manufacturing of radio-controlled transmitters in 1974 and remote control devices for home and industrial use since 1985.

In North America, Sanwa transmitters are marketed as Airtronics, which began as an independent company producing model airplanes.


Sanwa, originally as part of Sansei Electric Industry, specialized in the research and development of remote control devices in 1959. It merged with Sanwa Denki Manufacturing in 1965 and then became part of the SMC Group. In January 1974, Sanwa entered production and sales of transmitters for radio-controlled models and in December, became a member of the Japan Radio Control Model Industrial Association (JRM).[1]

In 1975, Sanwa became a division on its own, with an office in Tokyo. In August that year it launched its first radio-controlled transmitter, the Mini Propo, and in 1976, Sanwa became an independent company. Its M-sechs wheeled transmitter was the recipient of the Good Design Award in 1990.[1] In 1985, Sanwa diversified into the production of remote controls for domestic and industrial purposes.[2]

Due to its reputation in the radio-controlled modelling industry, its main competitor is Futaba.[3] KO Propo and Spektrum.


F. Lee Renaud began his hobby in model aviation in 1942 with a Joe Ott kit; he began to fly competitively in 1947.[4] While recovering from a heart attack in 1970, Renaud used his medical leave from his office-equipment company job to build radio-controlled airplanes.[3] He formed Airtronics in 1971 to build and sell model airplanes and radio remote-control devices. In his first year, he turned over $40,000.[3] Renaud earned a reputation with model aircraft such as the "Olympic", "Aquila", "Grand Esprit" and "Sagitta", amongst others. In 1980, he introduced the XL transmitter.[4] Renaud died in January 1983, and his wife Barbara took over the company.[3]

In 1982, realizing that his company wouldn't expand on its own without financial backing, Renaud took on a partnership with Sanwa, which bought an undisclosed large stake in the company while the family retained a controlling interest. Under the agreement, the Renauds built airplanes whilst Sanwa took charge of manufacturing radio-controlled transmitters for the Renauds to distribute. As a result, Airtronics increased its sales from less than $1 million in 1983 to $3 million in 1985, and to $8 million in 1989 with a staff of 18 employees.[3]

The library of Academy of Model Aeronautics's National Model Aviation Museum is named after Renaud.[4] Sanwa's Aquila 6 is named after his airplane.

IFMAR World Championship winners[edit]

Following is a list of users who won the IFMAR World Championships, a biennial world championship for radio-controlled cars, using Sanwa/Airtronics transmitters.

Year Class Name Model
1985 1/10 Off-Road Unlimited United States Gil Losi, Jr. Airtronics Report
1987 1/8 IC Track United States Pete Fusco Sanwa Report
1990 1/8 Off-Road Japan Koji Sanada[5] Sanwa Machine 1
1991 1/10 Off-Road 4WD United States Cliff Lett[6] Airtronics Report
1992 1/8 Off-Road Japan Kunihiro Toge[7]
1993 1/10 Off-Road 2WD United States Brian Kinwald[8] Airtronics
1995 1/10 Off-Road 2WD United States Matt Francis[9] Airtronics Caliber 3Ps
1995 1/10 Off-Road 4WD United States Mark Pavidis[9] Airtronics CS2P
1996 1/10 PRO 10 United States Mike Swauger[10] Airtronics Caliber
1997 1/8 IC Track Italy Lamberto Collari Sanwa
1997 1/10 Off-Road 2WD United States Brian Kinwald Airtronics
1998 1/10 IC On-Road 235mm Sports Germany Michael Salven Report
1999 1/10 Off-Road 4WD Finland Jukka Steenari[11] Sanwa M8 Report
2000 1/10 IC On-Road 235mm Touring Car Germany Michael Salven Report
2001 1/10 Off-Road 2WD United States Matt Francis Airtronics
2001 1/10 Off-Road 4WD Finland Jukka Steenari Sanwa Report
2001 1/8 IC Track Japan Kenji Osaka Sanwa
2003 1/8 IC Track Italy Lamberto Collari Sanwa
2003 1/10 Off-Road 2WD United States Billy Easton Airtronics M8 Report
2004 1/10 ISTC Germany Marc Rheinard[12] Sanwa M8 Report
2004 1/10 IC Touring Car France Adrien Bertin[13]
2003 1/10 Off-Road 4WD United States Ryan Cavalieri Airtronics M11
2005 1/10 Off-Road 4WD United States Ryan Cavalieri[14] Airtronics M11 Report
2005 1/8 IC Track Italy Lamberto Collari Sanwa Super EXES
2006 1/10 IC Touring Car Japan Keisuke Fukuda[15] Report
2007 1/5 Touring Car Denmark Martin Lissau Sanwa M11
2007 1/8 IC Track Italy Lamberto Collari
2008 1/10 IC Touring Car Italy Daniele Ielasi Report
2008 1/10 ISTC Germany Marc Rheinard[16] Sanwa M11 Report
2009 1/8 IC Track Italy Lamberto Collari[17] Sanwa EXZES Plus
2009 1/10 Off-Road 2WD Germany Martin Achter Sanwa EXZES Plus Report
2009 1/10 Off-Road 4WD Germany Martin Achter Sanwa EXZES Plus Report
2010 1/12 On-Road Japan Naoto Matsukura[18] Sanwa M11X Report
2010 1/10 ISTC Germany Marc Rheinard[19] Sanwa M11X Report
2011 1/8 IC Track Germany Robert Pietsch[20] Sanwa EXZES-X
2011 1/10 Off-Road 2WD United States Ryan Cavalieri[21] Airtronics M11X Report
2011 1/10 Off-Road 4WD United States Ryan Cavalieri[21] Airtronics M11X Report
2012 1/12 On-Road Japan Naoto Matsukura[22] Sanwa M12 Report
2012 1/10 ISTC Netherlands Jilles Groskamp[23] Sanwa EXZES-X Report
2012 1/10 IC Touring Car Thailand Meen Vejrak[24] Sanwa M12 Report
2013 1/8 IC Track Japan Tadahiko Sahashi[25] Sanwa M12
2014 1/8 Off-Road Canada Ty Tessmann[7] Airtronics M12 Report
2014 1/12 On-Road Germany Marc Rheinard[26] Sanwa M12 Report
2014 1/10 ISTC Japan Naoto Matsukura[27] Sanwa M12 Report
2014 1/10 IC Touring Car Sweden Alexander Hagberg[28] Sanwa M12 Report
2015 1/10 Off-Road 2WD United States Spencer Rivkin[29] Airtronics M12S Report
2015 1/10 Off-Road 4WD Portugal Bruno Coelho[30] Sanwa M12S Report


  1. ^ a b "SANWA". Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "SANWA". [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e Le, Thuan (March 29, 1990). "Hobby-Kit Outfit Supplies Model of Homespun Profit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-07-26. 
  4. ^ a b c "The AMA History Project Presents: Biography of LEE RENAUD" (PDF). Academy of Model Aeronautics. April 2014. 
  5. ^ Denis, Jean-Marc (April 1990). "Championnat du monde TT 1/8" (in French). Rétro Modélisme. 
  6. ^ Blandin, Christophe (November 1991). "Championnat du Monde TT 1/10" (in French). Rétro Modélisme. 
  7. ^ a b "Ifmar World Championship Offroad 2014". Sanwa. 
  8. ^ Blandin, Christophe (1993). "Championnat du Monde de TT 1/10 en Grande Bretagne: Hirosaka et Kinwald les Maitres" (PDF). Auto8 (in French): 94. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b Radio Control Car Action, December 1995
  10. ^ Radio Control Car Action, December 1996
  11. ^ "IFMAR Off-Road Worlds: Racing Action in Finland!" (PDF). Radio Control Car Action (Air Age Media): 59. November 1999. 
  12. ^ "Masami Hirosaka (1/12) et Marc Rheinard (Touring) CHAMPIONS DU MONDE 2004!" (in French). RC Infos. 
  13. ^ "CM 1/10 200mm - Victoire d'Adrien". 
  14. ^ Troyon, Lionel (August 2005). "Championnats du Monde 1/10 Off Road 2WD et 4WD Collegno (Italie)". RC Infos. 
  15. ^ "2006 IFMAR 200mm Worlds – Placings After Finals". September 17, 2006. 
  16. ^ "LRP Wins IFMAR World Championship!!". LRP. 
  17. ^ "Lamberto Collari Wins 1/8th Onroad WC with LRP!". LRP. 
  18. ^ "LRP successful at the IFMAR 1/12 WC!". LRP. 2010-07-02. 
  19. ^ "LRP SXX TC Spec Version2 and Sanwa M11X – the most used technology at the WC in Germany!". LRP. 2010-07-07. 
  20. ^ "Robert Pietsch takes the WC title with LRP and Sanwa!". LRP. 2011-06-08. 
  21. ^ a b "Double World Champions – Ryan Cavalieri and LRP unbeatable!". LRP. 2011-08-04. 
  22. ^ "IFMAR EP 1/12 World Championship 2012". Sanwa. 
  23. ^ "IFMAR 1/10 EP World Championship Result". Sanwa. 
  24. ^ "Chassis Focus – Meen Vejrak". Red RC. November 2012. 
  25. ^ "2013 IFMAR 1/8 RACING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP". Sanwa. 
  26. ^ "IFMAR 1/12th WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2014". Sanwa. 
  27. ^ "IFMAR ISTC 1/10 EP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2014". Sanwa. 
  28. ^ "IFMAR 1/10 IC Touring Car WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2014". Sanwa. 
  29. ^ "IFMAR EP OFFROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (2WD)". Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  30. ^ "IFMAR EP OFFROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (4WD)". Retrieved 27 November 2015. 

External links[edit]