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: Natural fiber laminates for aircraft parts.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 262,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the aerospace and defence industry, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Natural fibre laminates for aircraft parts is a key innovation area in advanced materials
Laminates made from natural fibres rather than synthetic materials are increasingly being used. This is because of their higher levels of sustainability, as well as often being biodegradable, renewable and cost-effective. In aircraft, natural fibres are being used for cabin interiors, and as laminates for aircraft parts such as aircraft wings.
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 natural fibre laminates for aircraft parts.
Key players in natural fibre laminates for aircraft parts – 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 natural fibre laminates for aircraft parts
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Boeing||43||Unlock company profile|
|Unifrax I||39||Unlock company profile|
|Continuous Composites||18||Unlock company profile|
|Toray Industries||15||Unlock company profile|
|General Motors||11||Unlock company profile|
|Otsuka Holdings||10||Unlock company profile|
|Fujifilm Holdings||9||Unlock company profile|
|Lamart||9||Unlock company profile|
|Showa Denko||8||Unlock company profile|
|Airbus||7||Unlock company profile|
|Covestro||7||Unlock company profile|
|Toyota Motor||6||Unlock company profile|
|Sekisui Chemical||6||Unlock company profile|
|DuPont de Nemours||6||Unlock company profile|
|Saudi Arabian Oil||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in natural fibre laminates for aircraft parts. Boeing has been investigating various ways to integrate natural fibre laminates for parts of its aircraft. One of these ways is the development of flax-based aircraft interior panels. Some other key patent filers in the area include Unifrax I, Continuous Composites and Toray Industries.
In terms of geographic reach, Toray Industries leads the pack. Unifrax I and Showa Denko stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of application diversity, Continuous Composites held the top position, followed by DuPont de Nemours, General Motors, and Sekisui Chemical.
Natural fibre laminates for aircraft parts are of increasing interest to companies looking to improve both the sustainability of their aircraft, as well as the capabilities and features of the requisite aircraft parts. Subsequently, aerospace and defence companies are filing numerous patents related to the technology. However, they are being matched by companies exploring the features of natural fibre laminates for other uses.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: Advanced Materials in Aerospace and Defense.