The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by early identification of profound shifts, posing high risk of being disrupted if detected too late, and the growing importance of technologies such as eccentric crankshaft gears mechanism, which is an improvement of the present generation of gear mechanism and has many advantages. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.2 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Automotive: Eccentric crankshaft gears

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 stabilizing 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. 

290+ innovations will shape the automotive industry 

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the automotive industry using innovation intensity models built on over 619,000 patents, there are 290+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

Within the emerging innovation stage, eccentric crankshaft gears, retarder brake system, and closed-circuit liquid cooling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Bio-fuel ICEs, electromagnetic valve actuators, and road friction estimation are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are tyre bead fillers and vehicle turbochargers, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry 

Eccentric crankshaft gears is a key innovation area in automotive 

An eccentric in mechanical engineering is a circular disc (eccentric sheave) solidly attached to a rotating axle with its centre offset from the axles (hence the word eccentric, out of the centre). 

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 automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of eccentric crankshaft gears. 

Key players in eccentric crankshaft gears – a disruptive innovation in the automotive 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 eccentric crankshaft gears

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Sumitomo Heavy Industries 418 Unlock company profile
JTEKT 83 Unlock company profile
Nidec 57 Unlock company profile
Denso 56 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 42 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 39 Unlock company profile
Harmonic Drive Systems 35 Unlock company profile
WEG 32 Unlock company profile
Schaeffler 28 Unlock company profile
SPINEA Sro 25 Unlock company profile
Delta Electronics 22 Unlock company profile
SEW-EURODRIVE 21 Unlock company profile
NTT 21 Unlock company profile
BYD 20 Unlock company profile
MITSUBA 17 Unlock company profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 16 Unlock company profile
Enplas 15 Unlock company profile
Moventas Gears 14 Unlock company profile
BorgWarner 13 Unlock company profile
Seiko Epson 13 Unlock company profile
Five Seasons XVI 11 Unlock company profile
Aisin 11 Unlock company profile
LG Display 10 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 9 Unlock company profile
IMS Gear Holding 9 Unlock company profile
Kia 7 Unlock company profile
Safran 7 Unlock company profile
SRI International 7 Unlock company profile
AB SKF 7 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 7 Unlock company profile
Lakeview Innovation 7 Unlock company profile
General Electric 7 Unlock company profile
IMS Gear 7 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 6 Unlock company profile
Continental 6 Unlock company profile
Musashi Seimitsu Industry 6 Unlock company profile
Stratec 6 Unlock company profile
Timken 6 Unlock company profile
SCHUNK 6 Unlock company profile
U-Shin Deutschland Zugangssysteme 6 Unlock company profile
Kyung Chang Industrial 5 Unlock company profile
Rolls-Royce Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Circular Wave Drive Partners 5 Unlock company profile
ECA Medical Instruments 5 Unlock company profile
Forschungszentrum Julich 5 Unlock company profile
Melrose Industries 5 Unlock company profile
Yanmar Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Leader Harmonious Drive Systems 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Sumitomo Heavy Industries is one of the leading patent filers in eccentric crankshaft gears. It recently launched a product named E CYCLO® High Precision Gearboxes ECY Series. The product acts as a reducer that supports the high-speed shaft. Grease is packed in the sealed structure and it is simple to mount on the device or motor. Also, the diameter of the high-speed hollow shaft is large, which allows for effective use of its space; for passing cables, as a space for the shaft, and so on. Some other key patent filers in the automotive industry include JTEKT, Nidec, Denso, and Nissan.  

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive


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.