The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in leaf spring assembly is driven by materials innovation, weight reduction, design optimization, and improved manufacturing processes, and growing importance of technologies such as damping technologies and variable rate spring technology. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in automotive: leaf spring assembly. Buy the report here.
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.
300+ 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 one million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, integrated multi-motor drivetrains, electric power steering (EPS), and post-collision handling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Variable compression engines, V2V distance monitoring, and turbocharger shaft bearings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and plasma-jet ignition, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry
Leaf spring assembly is a key innovation area in automotive
Leaf spring assembly refers to a type of suspension system commonly used in heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles, where the suspension is supported by long, flat springs that are attached to the axles and the frame.
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 automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of leaf spring assembly.
Key players in leaf spring assembly – a disruptive innovation in the automotive 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 leaf spring assembly
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Firestone Tire & Rubber is one of the leading patent filers in leaf spring assembly. The company’s innovative variable rate leaf springs allow the spring rate to change in response to different loads, providing a balance between comfort and load-carrying capacity. The integration of sensors and smart technologies enables monitoring and adjusting leaf spring performance in real-time based on driving conditions, improving ride comfort and handling. Some other key patent filers in this space include Zeppelin-Stiftung and Porsche Automobil.
In terms of application diversity, ThyssenKrupp leads the pack, while Kia and Hyundai Motor stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, ThyssenKrupp held the top position, followed by NHK Spring and SAF-HOLLAND.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.