The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the pressing need for modernization, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), unmanned systems, 3D printing, and composite materials technology. In the last three years alone, there have been over 237,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defense industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Advanced materials in defense: aircraft composite laminates. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 206,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the aerospace and defense industry, there are 110 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Aircraft composite laminates is a key innovation area in advanced materials
Aircraft composite laminates refer to the use of composite materials, such as fiber-reinforced polymers, in the construction of various components and structures in aircraft. These laminates are formed by combining different layers or plies of composite materials, typically consisting of fibers embedded in a polymer matrix, and then subjecting them to heat and pressure to create a strong and lightweight composite structure. The use of composite laminates in aircraft offers several advantages over traditional materials, including improved strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and design flexibility.
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 110 companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of aircraft composite laminates.
Key players in aircraft composite laminates – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defense industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to aircraft composite laminates
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Airbus is one of the leading patent filers in aircraft composite laminates. Some of the patents filed by the company are related to rectangular or square-celled composite core structures for panels suitable for use in aircraft. The composite core structure comprises a plurality of cells sandwiched between the first and second body sides, with each cell having a void formed by cell walls made of multiple layers of laminated composite materials.
Airbus Atlantic, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus, is a leading player in the design, manufacturing, and integration of high-performance composite aerostructures. It uses cutting-edge composite technologies to manufacture a wide variety of thermoset and thermoplastic aircraft fuselage parts and aerospace equipment, ranging from nose fuselage section, center wing box, and aft fuselage panels to radomes, air inlets, wing flaps, keel beams, seat shells, and cockpit and cabin furnishings.
In terms of application diversity, Diehl Aircabin, Northrop Grumman, and Elbit Systems are some of the leading innovators. By means of geographic reach, some of the leading patent filers include Elbit Systems, Daher Group, and Advanced Composite Structures.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Advanced Materials (AdMs) in Defense.