The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability and workplace safety, and the growing importance of technologies such as the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and robotics as well as higher quality construction products and materials. In the last three years alone, there have been over 248,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Construction: Acoustic ceiling panels.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

80+ innovations will shape the construction industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the construction industry using innovation intensity models built on over 179,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, mullion-transom curtain walls is a disruptive technology that is in the early stage of application and should be tracked closely. Heat insulated glazing panels, drainage gully grating, and acoustic ceiling panels are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are abrasion-resistant decorative flooring, and road construction milling tools, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the construction industry

Acoustic ceiling panels is a key innovation area in construction

Acoustic ceiling panels insulate rooms from unwanted noise by absorbing sound from both inside and outside the room, creating a more pleasant environment for the occupants. A growing desire for better acoustic performance, particularly in schools and offices, will drive innovation in this space to improve the acoustical properties of ceiling panels.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of acoustic ceiling panels.

Key players in acoustic ceiling panels – a disruptive innovation in the construction industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to acoustic ceiling panels

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Fujifilm Holdings 140 Unlock company profile
Gebr Knauf 62 Unlock company profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 39 Unlock company profile
BASF 32 Unlock company profile
Yamaha 32 Unlock company profile
Shizuka Company 22 Unlock company profile
Liaver 21 Unlock company profile
Hexcel 21 Unlock company profile
Kobe Steel 21 Unlock company profile
Showa Denko 20 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Chemical Group 19 Unlock company profile
James Hardie Industries 14 Unlock company profile
National Gypsum Properties 14 Unlock company profile
Armstrong World Industries 14 Unlock company profile
Kuraray 14 Unlock company profile
Precision Fabrics Group 14 Unlock company profile
Knauf Insulation 14 Unlock company profile
Signify 12 Unlock company profile
CertainTeed Gypsum 11 Unlock company profile
Tenneco 11 Unlock company profile
TotalEnergies 11 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 10 Unlock company profile
JNC 10 Unlock company profile
Boeing 10 Unlock company profile
Endurance RP 9 Unlock company profile
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics 9 Unlock company profile
JNC Fibers 8 Unlock company profile
Louisiana-Pacific 8 Unlock company profile
General Motors 8 Unlock company profile
Albers & Co 8 Unlock company profile
KGIC Merger 8 Unlock company profile
Airbus 7 Unlock company profile
FAIST ChemTec 7 Unlock company profile
General Electric 6 Unlock company profile
FP Innovations 6 Unlock company profile
Kronoplus Technical 6 Unlock company profile
Raytheon Technologies 5 Unlock company profile
Riso Kagaku 5 Unlock company profile
Ube Industries 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

A leading company in the acoustic ceiling panels space is Knauff. The company, which has a significant market share in the global wallboard industry, is increasingly providing wall and ceiling panel products with greater acoustic performance and variation in design. A recent innovation is the use of modified gypsum panels to create a monolithic ceiling with strong acoustical properties, allowing for more variation in design compared to the standard use of gypsum panels which requires a suspended grid to hold individual panels. The modified gypsum panel can be made by perforating standard sheets of drywall and then covering the perforated sides of the sheet with additional laminated sheets or layers. Other leading companies in the acoustic ceiling panel space are Fujifilm, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, BASF and Liaver.

By application diversity, leading companies include CertainTeed Gypsum and Louisiana Pacific. In terms of geographic reach, Saint Gobain Performance Plastics and BASF are among the leading companies.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research reports on Construction.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.