Mechanical Engineering and Mining Patents

Mechanical engineering, mining and processing inventions have been with us since the industrial revolution and create incremental and sometimes revolutionary changes to our standard of living, industrial capability and resource availability. As reported in the 2017 study by IP Australia on Australian patent filings, mechanical engineering was the second most popular industry, following the electrical sector, for patent filings. Small and medium enterprises were the key applicants for mechanical engineering patents.

What’s patentable?

So long as your mechanical apparatus or process invention defines at least one new and inventive feature with functional utility, it will be patentable in any country around the world. Any apparatus having a new combination of features that have not been put together before, or any process that includes a series of steps never done together; and which offer benefits or advantages that have not been possible before, could be patentable.

Examples of granted mechanical engineering patents

Automotive engineering
AU Patent # 2018101440
Automotive electronic switching system

Auto Electrical Imports Pty. Ltd.

Aeronautical systems
AU Patent # 2013257653
An industrial plant and method for the production of an industrial product, in particular an aeronautical component or system

Alenia Aermacchi S.p.A.

Mechanical devices
AU Patent # 2017202623
Mechanical locking system for building panels

Välinge Innovation AB

Mining equipment and systems
AU Patent # 2019100237
A two-wing drill bit for mining

Da Gama Industries Pty Ltd

Commercial food service equipment
AU Patent # 2016208383
Methods and equipment for cutting food products

Urschel Laboratories, Inc.

Heavy engineering vehicles and equipment
AU Patent # 2009341904
Water desalination equipment and cleaning method for water desalination equipment

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Ltd

Logistics, materials handling and packaging
AU Patent # 2018100294
A Type of Logistics Courier Box

Shenzhen Kangaroo community cross-border e-commerce Co., Ltd

Manufacturing machinery and processes
AU Patent # 2013286810
Pallet wrapping machinery

Integrated Packaging Australia Pty Ltd

Machine tools
AU Patent # 2017202130
Wellbore servicing tools, systems and methods utilizing downhole wireless switches

Halliburton Energy Services, Inc

Pumps, turbines and engines
AU Patent # 2017213444
Centrifugal pump

Grundfos Holding A/S

Agricultural equipment
AU Patent # 2014244417
Apparatus for reconfiguring spray equipment, and method

Agricultural Magnetics, Ltd

Recycling processes and equipment
AU Patent # 2016257136
Continuous recycling of wash water with flocculation device and process

Unilever PLC

Dispensing systems and devices
AU Patent # 2018202045
Device for storage, mixing and dispensing of a bone cement, and pertinent method

Heraeus Medical GmbH

Safety products and systems
AU Patent # 2015203185
Safety systems for power equipment

SawStop Holding LLC

Weapons systems
AU Patent # 2015359242
Directed fragmentation weapon

Oy Forcit AB

Clean technology
AU Patent # 2011215148
Local clean zone forming apparatus

Koken Ltd

What are the key regions for mining patents?

Mechanical Engineering and Mining Patents Worldwide

  • USA – The top commodities mined in the US include coal, crushed rock, cement, industrial and construction sand and gravel, copper, gold and iron ore, totalling nearly USD 90 billion. Newmont Company, the second largest gold producer in the world and a considerable player in copper and silver, is based in Colorado.
  • China – Mining majorly contributes to China’s economy, with the country being both the largest producer of certain mining products and the largest consumer of others. The largest fractions of the world’s coal, gold and several rare earth metals originate in China. China produces approximately 440 tons annually and overtook South Africa as the world’s largest gold producer in 2007. Meanwhile, China consumes approximately 49% and 58% of the global demand for thermal coal and iron ore, respectively. Most of the largest mining industry players in the country are government owned, such as China Shenhua Energy Company Limited. China’s largest state-owned mining company is the largest coal venture in the country and is the third largest mining company in the world.
  • Europe – The region is rich in natural mineral deposits such as lignite, gold, coal, and different ores yielding metal substances used in infrastructure, construction, manufacturing and agriculture. Several of the world’s largest mining companies are based in Europe, most notably of which is Switzerland-based Glencore, which is ranked as the 10th largest company in the world according to the Fortune Global 500 list and the largest mining company in the world in terms of revenue ($219.75 billion in 2018).
  • Canada – Canada is one of the top global producers of economically important minerals and metals, such as potash (first), uranium and niobium (second), nickel, gemstones, cobalts, aluminium and platinum group metals (third), among others. Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold mining company, is based in Toronto.
  • Australia – Mining is one of the major industries in Australia, providing a major source of export income and employment. Mined materials are exported with minimal processing within the continent. Australia is the largest exporter of lithium, which is valuable in the production of glass, aluminium products and most notably, batteries, but its primary export earner is coal at more than $61 billion, followed by iron ore at around $60 billion. Australia supplies 25% of iron ores globally and is the second largest supplier following China. In addition, Australia is second to the Asian giant in terms of gold, producing approximately 300 tons of gold annually. BHP, the largest mining company in the world based on a market capitalisation value of $87.86 billion in 2017 and fourth in terms of revenue of $43.34 billion in 2018, has its global headquarters in Melbourne.
  • Russia – Owing to the country’s sheer size, Russia houses vast mineral reserves and is thus counted one of the leading producers of natural mineral resources globally. The country is home to the largest diamond mines in the world, such as the Jubilee Diamond Mine in Yakutia, Republic of Russia, which contains an estimated 153 million carats of recoverable diamonds, including 107.131 million carats of JORC-compliant probable reserves. In addition, Russia is second to the US in natural gas production, and the world’s largest natural gas company, Gazprom, is majority owned by the Russian government.