The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in regreasable conveyor bearings is driven by factors such as growing industrialization, rising automation in industries, focus on cost efficiency, global supply chain expansion, and economic growth in emerging markets, and growing importance of technologies such as smart conveyor systems, automated lubrication systems, automated belt tracking, and tensioning systems. 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: regreasable conveyor bearings. Buy the report here.

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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

Regreasable conveyor bearings is a key innovation area in automotive

Regreasable conveyor bearings are bearings used in conveyor systems that can be greased to reduce friction and increase their lifespan. These bearings are typically designed to withstand heavy loads and continuous operation.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of regreasable conveyor bearings.

Key players in regreasable conveyor bearings – 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 regreasable conveyor bearings

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Liebherr-International 13 Unlock Company Profile
NTT 138 Unlock Company Profile
Rheinmetall 20 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 66 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 119 Unlock Company Profile
Miba 17 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 170 Unlock Company Profile
Nordex 16 Unlock Company Profile
THK 18 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 63 Unlock Company Profile
SKF 646 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 48 Unlock Company Profile
Vestas Wind Systems 44 Unlock Company Profile
ThyssenKrupp 147 Unlock Company Profile
NTN 92 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 23 Unlock Company Profile
Daido Metal 139 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 76 Unlock Company Profile
Tenneco 18 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 18 Unlock Company Profile
Icahn Enterprises 17 Unlock Company Profile
The Timken 30 Unlock Company Profile
Mahle 173 Unlock Company Profile
Taiho Kogyo 31 Unlock Company Profile
Traton 14 Unlock Company Profile
JTEKT 91 Unlock Company Profile
EOLOTEC 25 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 21 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 24 Unlock Company Profile
Driven Brands 23 Unlock Company Profile
Hilite Germany 15 Unlock Company Profile
Wobben Properties 36 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 22 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

SKF is one of the  leading patent filers in regreasable conveyor bearings.  The company’s regreasable conveyor bearings  can be regreased without having to be removed from the conveyor. This can save time and money, as it eliminates the need to replace the bearing. Other key patent filers in this space include Mahle, Siemens, and ThyssenKrupp.

In terms of application diversity, Nordex leads the pack, while Vestas Wind Systems and Porsche Automobil  stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Wobben Properties held the top position, followed by Tenneco  and Mahle .

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

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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.