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: titanium alloy 3D printingBuy the report here.

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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.

Titanium 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. Titanium alloys are one such material, with 3D printing of titanium alloys involving the use of melted powdered titanium alloy, which is layered into the desired shape before being solidified, enabling the development of more complex structural designs than would be possible 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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of titanium alloy 3D printing.

Key players in titanium 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 titanium alloy 3D printing

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
COSCO Shipping 13 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Steel 1 Unlock Company Profile
Proterial 5 Unlock Company Profile
KKR 7 Unlock Company Profile
OC Oerlikon 8 Unlock Company Profile
Questek Innovations 1 Unlock Company Profile
UT-Battelle 2 Unlock Company Profile
Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore 2 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Electronics 4 Unlock Company Profile
ArcelorMittal 14 Unlock Company Profile
VSMPO-AVISMA 10 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 2 Unlock Company Profile
Arendals Fossekompani 6 Unlock Company Profile
Ilika 3 Unlock Company Profile
Sojitz 5 Unlock Company Profile
Carpenter Technology 15 Unlock Company Profile
Sciaky Electric Welding Machines 13 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 4 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 7 Unlock Company Profile
EOS 4 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 5 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 26 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 2 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 3 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 7 Unlock Company Profile
OSAKA Titanium Technologies 1 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 1 Unlock Company Profile
3D Systems 2 Unlock Company Profile
FALCON TECHNOLOGIES 1 Unlock Company Profile
ECK INDUSTRIES 2 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon 2 Unlock Company Profile
Howmet Aerospace 38 Unlock Company Profile
PURIS 4 Unlock Company Profile
XiAn Bright Laser Technologies 1 Unlock Company Profile
Global Advanced Metals Usa 9 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National Research Scientific 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Polytechnic 1 Unlock Company Profile
Verkko Biomedical 3 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Xinghang MechanicalElectrical Equipment 1 Unlock Company Profile
Luoyang Sunrui Titanium Precision Casting 1 Unlock Company Profile
6K 13 Unlock Company Profile
Just HuaJian Medical Device (TianJin) 2 Unlock Company Profile
Taniobis 7 Unlock Company Profile
Formosa Plastics Group 4 Unlock Company Profile
China Kepei Education Group 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading patent filer in titanium alloy 3D printing is Howmet Aerospace, which has filed numerous patents relating to the various processes and product designs enabled by the use of 3D printed titanium alloys including specialized tools and aircraft sub-components. Some other key patent filers in this domain include Boeing, RTX (formerly Raytheon Technologies), and Safran.

In terms of application diversity, Howmet Aerospace leads the pack, while Airbus and RTX stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Boeing held the top position, followed by Howmet Aerospace 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