Innovation is at the heart of Punch Powertrain’s strategy; it powers transformation and enables the company to deliver its mission and vision. Punch Powertrain is the number one patent applicant for Automotive Tier-1 in Belgium and has a dedicated innovation team working on large scale innovation projects on a daily basis. Innovation shapes inventions, which in turn determine Punch Powertrain’s added value and differentiation. Therefore, it is vitally important to nurture innovation and to safe harbour inventions in the form of patents.
Innovation as key driver to differentiate
Punch Powertrain is currently transitioning their product portfolio to hybrid and full EV. The objective is to provide cost-efficient solutions and sustainable innovations with a lower ecological footprint and lower CO2 emissions at an affordable cost. “In order to achieve this mission, innovation is deeply rooted in our DNA, processes, and daily lives of Punch Powertrain’s employees across the different departments. This culture of invention and innovation is what results in Punch Powertrain being granted most patents as Automotive Tier-1 Supplier in Belgium between 2016 and 2021 and one of the top patent filers in Belgium”, states Pascal Van Troost, Global IP Leader at Punch Powertrain.
Dedicated innovation department and partnerships
To power innovation, Punch Powertrain has a strong Technology & Innovation team, working on more than 10 large-scale projects at any given time. Up until now, the company has been granted over 250 patents, stemming from the dedicated team, daily R&D activities or collaboration within the supply chain. Moreover, 35% of Punch Powertrain’s staff are employed in the R&D department, illustrating dedication of resources towards achieving the company’s clear innovation strategy and road map.
Adding on internal efforts, Punch Powertrain forges partnerships across company boarders. An example of such a collaboration is the Next generation e-drive; ModuIED. This European research project was co-created with nine leading vehicle electrification experts. The various innovations, include improved thermal management and regenerative breaking, a compact and modular design, and a virtual sizing tool. The ModulED also boasts an efficient design with significant cost reduction and reduced rare-earth content.
IP Training across organization
“Our team of technical engineers with training in IP law combined with years of experience, are constantly assessing product developments, and (potential) breaches. Since IP is integrated in all layers of the organisation, we arrange a dedicated training for all staff members. People employed within the R&D department get additional specific training, where they learn how to read patents, how to conduct research and how to describe new inventions”, says van Troost.
Inventor incentives and remuneration
Innovation is a primarily human achievement that stems from experience, knowledge, and research. “To retain prime employees, we have a programme to nurture, embrace, and recognise innovation through remuneration and reward schemes such as an annual inventor’s dinner, where we celebrate the past years’ inventions”. Employees who create patentable developments are also compensated with a certificate and a bonus for patent applications.
As our organisation grows, we become recognised for our innovation. The name Punch Powertrain has become a label for quality and innovative approaches and products throughout the markets in which we operate.