The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in slotted gear clutches is driven by factors such as industrial machinery applications, innovation in transmission systems, and competitive advantage for manufacturers, and growing importance of technologies such as variable torque transfer mechanisms and advanced friction materials. 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: slotted gear clutches. 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 the 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

Slotted gear clutches is a key innovation area in automotive

A slotted gear clutch is a type of mechanical device used to transmit torque from one shaft to another. The clutch consists of two or more mating gears with slots cut into their faces. These slots allow the gears to slide axially relative to each other, engaging and disengaging them depending on the torque requirements.

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 slotted gear clutches.

Key players in slotted gear clutches – 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 slotted gear clutches

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Volvo 22 Unlock Company Profile
GKN Driveline Bruneck 9 Unlock Company Profile
LKQ 9 Unlock Company Profile
American Axle & Manufacturing 24 Unlock Company Profile
Dana 56 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 17 Unlock Company Profile
Dover 28 Unlock Company Profile
Melrose Industries 50 Unlock Company Profile
QinetiQ Group 10 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 62 Unlock Company Profile
Musashi Seimitsu Industry 19 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 41 Unlock Company Profile
Atlas Copco 12 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 18 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 11 Unlock Company Profile
Aisin 17 Unlock Company Profile
Cummins 34 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 34 Unlock Company Profile
Techtronic Industries 9 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 54 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 24 Unlock Company Profile
MTD Products 13 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 32 Unlock Company Profile
JTEKT 49 Unlock Company Profile
BorgWarner 33 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 11 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 16 Unlock Company Profile
Dewertokin 9 Unlock Company Profile
Stella Vermogensverwaltungs 10 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 53 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota Motor is one of the leading patent filers in slotted gear clutches. The company’s slotted gear clutch is a type of clutch that uses slots to improve performance. The slots allow for better lubrication and cooling, which can help to extend the life of the clutch. They also help to reduce noise and vibration. Other key patent filers in this space include Dana, Porsche Automobil, and Zeppelin-Stiftung.

In terms of application diversity, Stella Vermogensverwaltungs leads the pack, while MTD Products and Atlas Copco stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, MTD Products held the top position, followed by Atlas Copco and QinetiQ Group.

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.