IFI researcher Richard Lang was quoted in a press release of Austria Press Agency (APA) on the topic “additive manufacturing”. He contributed with his expertise on regional companies and local economy to the press release:
Vienna (OTS) – The latest report of the European Patent Office shows the enormous innovative power of Austria in 3-D printing. Between 2014 and 2017, patent applications from Austria rose by as much as 1300%. The average growth rate of other countries was 370% in comparison. Additive manufacturing processes (AM) enable the creation of complex structures with the help of the layer construction method, which can be used to realise new product properties. On the basis of a digital 3D model, AM can be used to create parts from a variety of materials such as plastics, metals or ceramics that would not be producible conventionally. AM is therefore also a digital production technology and as such one of the main drivers of the fourth industrial revolution. The resource-saving, flexible and decentralised additive production processes not only pave the way to a safer, smarter and more sustainable world, but also revolutionise entire industries and markets as technological maturity increases.
Record increase in AM patent applications from AustriaPatents describe the rights granted for new, inventive and industrially applicable technologies. They help inventors to secure investment, licensing agreements and market exclusivity, thus making a significant contribution to securing future economic performance. Patent applications can thus provide an early indication of the future development of additive manufacturing and its impact on regional markets. A recently published study by the European Patent Office (EPO) provides a comprehensive picture of current trends and emerging market leaders in AM technologies. In the period 2014 to 2017, the number of AM patent applications internationally increased by 370%. Of all the countries, Austria has recorded the largest increase and, with a far above-average growth rate of 1300%, has secured its position as international leader.
Patent applications as a former indicator of economic performance
“Patent submissions continue to be a very good indicator of a region’s innovative strength,” says Univ.-Prof. Jürgen Stampfl, University Professor for Materials and Additives Manufacturing Technologies at the Vienna University of Technology, describing the situation. “They not only underpin the technological potential and competitiveness in a global economy, but are also a measure of how seriously innovators are interested in the economic implementation of their ideas. In this sense, the figures on the increase in Austrian submissions can be considered as very positive”, Stampfl continued. “I see the very gratifying data of the patent statistics in additive manufacturing as a guarantee for the continuation of the excellent development of the Austrian AM sector. What was conceived today and successfully selected as truly “NEW” after a patenting process will secure Austria’s competitiveness and many jobs in the medium and long term”, confirms also Univ.-Prof. Franz Haas from the Institute of Production Engineering at the TU-Graz.
Basic research from Austria
With their AM basic research at the highest international level, Austrian universities make a major contribution to the success of domestic innovations. For example, the physicist Harald Plank from the Institute for Electron Microscopy and Nanoanalytics at the Graz University of Technology was recently awarded the renowned Houska Research Prize worth 150,000 euros for his work in the field of 3D nanoprinting. “Domestic innovations in the field of future technologies make a significant contribution to the success of Austrian companies,” says Dr. Richard Lang of the Institute for Innovation Management at the JKU Linz. “In combination with digital business models, regional companies can thus open up international markets and thus significantly strengthen local economic areas”.
The innovative power of 3-D printing is accelerating
But even apart from the record increase in Austria, the EPO registered a rapidly growing number of AM patent applications. Between 2015 and 2018, AM patent applications at the EPO grew at an average annual rate of 36%, more than ten times faster than the average of all other patent applications in the same period (3.5%). In 2018 alone, more than 4,000 patent applications for AM-related inventions were filed at the EPO. New industrial applications of AM technologies account for the largest share of patent applications (50%). Other patent applications relate to machinery and processes (38%), material innovations (26%) and digital technologies (11%). Almost 23% of applications relate to two or more of these technologies.
The original APA release (in German) you may find here