Research and innovation in industrial automation in the packaging sector has declined in the last quarter – but remains higher than it was a year ago.

The most recent figures show that the number of industrial automation related patent applications in the industry stood at 22 in the three months ending April – up from 19 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to industrial automation followed a different pattern to filings – shrinking from 26 in the three months ending April 2021 to 16 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Industrial automation is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

AptarGroup Inc was the top industrial automation innovator in the packaging sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 11 industrial automation related patents in the three months ending April. That was up from three over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the Japan based Toyo Seikan Group Holdings Ltd with four industrial automation patent applications, the United States based Sealed Air Corp (2 applications), and the United States based O-I Glass Inc (2 applications).

AptarGroup Inc has recently ramped up R&D in industrial automation. It saw growth of 72.7% in related patent applications in the three months ending April compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the packaging sector.