The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by modernization imperatives, industrial automation, platform digitization, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), alternative propulsion solutions, materials science and additive manufacturing. 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 3D printing in defense: Ni-Co alloy 3D printingBuy the report here.

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Data Insights 3D printing in defence: Ni-Co alloy 3D Printing

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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.

Ni-Co alloy 3D printing is a key innovation area in 3D printing

3D printing techniques have been adapted in recent years to facilitate the manufacture of increasingly complex components using unique materials including rare metals. Nickel-cobalt alloys are one such material, with 3D printing of Ni-Co alloys involving the material being layered and melted into the desired shape using lasers, enabling the development of resilient and corrosion-resistant components on demand in a much faster process than is achievable using conventional manufacturing techniques.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of Ni-Co alloy 3D printing.

Key players in Ni-Co alloy 3D printing – 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 Ni-Co alloy 3D printing

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Ecole Polytechnique 2 Unlock Company Profile
Rolls-Royce 22 Unlock Company Profile
Embraer 7 Unlock Company Profile
Proterial 19 Unlock Company Profile
KKR 19 Unlock Company Profile
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions 1 Unlock Company Profile
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 1 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 42 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 2 Unlock Company Profile
Alstom 5 Unlock Company Profile
Bharat Forge 1 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 53 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Defence 3 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens Energy 1 Unlock Company Profile
Eramet 6 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 7 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi 3 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 43 Unlock Company Profile
EOS 5 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 29 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 32 Unlock Company Profile
Desktop Metal 3 Unlock Company Profile
Ansaldo Energia 3 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National Research Scientific 2 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading innovator in terms of total patent filings within this domain is RTX (formerly Raytheon Technologies), which has filed several patents under the name of its aerospace-focused subsidiary Pratt & Whitney focused on the use of additive manufacturing processes to produce subcomponents suing Ni-Co alloys. Some other key patent filers in this domain include Embraer, Rolls-Royce and Safran.

In terms of application diversity, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions leads the pack, while Rolls-Royce and Embraer stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Embraer held the top position, followed by Boeing and Safran.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on 3D Printing in Aerospace and Defense.

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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.