It is well known that various improvements in technologies are given commercial protection via the process of patenting. Various friction formulations used in the industry have been patented over the years by numerous companies and individuals, and these patents, available in the public domain, provide a treasure-trove of information, useful to readers to understand the new materials developed for use in friction products and combinations of materials that provide unique performance benefits under standard test conditions and in field usage. Advances in data mining and data analytics in the recent years have developed means and tools to study the vast amounts of patent literature available. These tools provide the users with answers to questions they are seeking; combing through the data collection to give the users solutions to specific problems they are facing in their application development. Friction formulations that are disclosed in the numerous patents from selected categories of these applications have been analyzed in this study. Friction composites used in passenger vehicle brake pads are broadly classified into semi-metallic, low-steel and non-asbestos organic families. In comparison, composites used in passenger and commercial vehicle linings, industrial friction, off-road vehicles, railway brake blocks and pads, aerospace, wet friction and other unique applications do not have any similar classification norms that are widely known in the industry. The first objective of the study is to understand the trends in the markets for formulation technologies over the past several decades. Many changes have been caused by regulatory influences. Can such data mining and analysis provide us with useful correlations to understand the past trends in the industry? More importantly, can such data provide us predictive tools to understand the medium and long term prospects in the friction material markets? These are some of the questions that we seek answers for in this presentation. The second objective is to understand the key players in the industry, and to understand how the technologies are driving the markets. Patent data is analyzed in terms of geographical spread, to understand which countries and companies are the leaders in developing new technologies and how such data could provide us with useful insights to markets. The third objective is to learn how such data mining and data analysis can help companies develop new products, applications and strategies for their market needs. Specific case situations will be taken and discussed to show how such analytics can be useful to companies to formulate their business strategies.
Dr. Vijay Subramanian, Representative - India, Alroko GmbH & Co KG; Mr. Ralf Raulinat, Managing Director, Alroko GmbH & Co KG; Mr. Jascha Wilms, Regional Sales Manager, Alroko GmbH & Co KG