The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the uptake of advanced technology, and growing importance of technologies such as hypersonics and advanced materials. In the last three years alone, there have been over 174,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defence industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Bonded fiber laminates. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

180+ innovations will shape the aerospace and defence industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the aerospace and defence industry using innovation intensity models built on over 262,000 patents, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, bonded fibre laminates, thermoplastic elastomer laminates, and vibration supression devices are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Centrifugal fan impellers, ceramic composite laminates, and gas turbine engine testing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are protective blade coatings and blade alloy welding, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the aerospace and defence industry

Bonded fibre laminates is a key innovation area in aerospace and defence

Fibre Metal laminate is a metallic material consisting of several thin metal layers, bonded together with layers of composite material. This means that the material acts like a simple metal, but has advantageous properties with regards to metal fatigue, impact, corrosion resistance, fire resistance, weight savings, and specialised strength properties.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of bonded fibre laminates.

Key players in bonded fibre laminates – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defence industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to bonded fibre laminates

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Modern Meadow 44 Unlock company profile
Boeing 22 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 19 Unlock company profile
Hexcel 15 Unlock company profile
Hardwire 13 Unlock company profile
Yupo 10 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 9 Unlock company profile
Spirit AeroSystems Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
ADHETEC 8 Unlock company profile
Arjowiggins Security 8 Unlock company profile
CRRC Group 7 Unlock company profile
Gurit Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Diehl Aviation Laupheim 6 Unlock company profile
Safran 6 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 6 Unlock company profile
Airbus 6 Unlock company profile
Wabash National 6 Unlock company profile
Teijin 6 Unlock company profile
Raytheon Technologies 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Boeing is the leading company in this area. The company’s ongoing development and production of commercial aircraft means that it is seeking solutions for materials that can provide lower maintenance costs for customers along with safety features and potentially weight savings, which lead to cost savings in terms of fuel. Hexcel, another leading company in the sector, produces industrial materials with potential aerospace applications. Other key patent filers include Ford Motor, followed by Hardwire and Yupo.

In terms of application diversity, Gurit leads, followed by ADHETEC and Modern Meadow. By geographic reach, Teijin is top, followed by Gurit and Hardwire.

Advances in bonded fibre laminates are expected to significantly benefit the commercial and military sector, and provide advanced aircraft solutions.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Defence.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.