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: Turbine parts brazing.
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
Turbine parts brazing is a key innovation area in aerospace and defence
Currently, a large amount of air is needed to cool turbine blades. In the aerospace industry, technological developments in other areas are leading to increased cooling requirements and higher demands on the turbine itself. The less air needed to cool the blades means more air is available for propulsion. Brazing is one method that is being implemented to repair blades damaged by high temperatures.
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 turbine parts brazing.
Key players in turbine parts brazing – 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 turbine parts brazing
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|General Electric||119||Unlock company profile|
|Raytheon Technologies||102||Unlock company profile|
|Siemens||42||Unlock company profile|
|Rolls-Royce Holdings||28||Unlock company profile|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries||27||Unlock company profile|
|Alstom||23||Unlock company profile|
|Safran||20||Unlock company profile|
|CDP Equity||18||Unlock company profile|
|Toshiba||14||Unlock company profile|
|Melrose Industries||13||Unlock company profile|
|Honeywell International||13||Unlock company profile|
|Kennametal||7||Unlock company profile|
|IHI||7||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
General Electric is one of the leading patent filers in turbine parts brazing. General Electric has been filing numerous patents related to turbine parts brazing as a particular method of repair. Many of these are focused on exploring ways to repair turbines damaged by the high heat that aircraft turbines are increasingly being subject to. Some other key patent filers in the sector include Rolls-Royce, Raytheon Technologies, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
In terms of geographic reach, IHI leads the pack. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kennametal stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of application diversity, Kennametal held the top position, followed by Rolls-Royce, IHI, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Melrose Industries.
Turbine parts brazing development, when examined through the lens of patent filings, is being driven by industries that manufacturer and use engines – the aerospace and defence, and automotive industries being the most significant of these. Subsequently, filings are present from companies in both these industry groups.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Defence.