The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is 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. In the last three years alone, there have been over 425,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in construction: building panel interlocking. Buy the report here.

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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 stabilizing 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 232,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, self-healing concrete, waterproof floor drains, and construction 3D printing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart glazing, regeneration control hydraulics, and floating breakwaters are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wall surface temperature controls and embossed floor panels, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the construction industry

Building panel interlocking is a key innovation area in construction

Building panel interlocking refers to a construction technique where individual panels or components of a building, such as walls, floors, or roofs, are designed to fit together seamlessly and securely. These panels are manufactured with specialized features that allow them to interlock with adjacent panels, creating a strong and cohesive structure. The interlocking mechanism could involve various methods such as tongue-and-groove joints, dovetail connections, puzzle-like interfaces, or other innovative designs.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of building panel interlocking.

Key players in building panel interlocking – a disruptive innovation in the construction industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to building panel interlocking

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Mohawk Industries 1670 Unlock Company Profile
Valinge Innovation 1404 Unlock Company Profile
Ceraloc Innovation 263 Unlock Company Profile
Pergo AB. 110 Unlock Company Profile
FRITZ EGGER 64 Unlock Company Profile
Gerflor 40 Unlock Company Profile
Swiss Krono 38 Unlock Company Profile
CoMc 37 Unlock Company Profile
Kronoplus Technical 36 Unlock Company Profile
SWISS KRONO Tec 31 Unlock Company Profile
Kaindl Flooring 31 Unlock Company Profile
Armstrong World Industries 28 Unlock Company Profile
BNP Paribas Fortis 22 Unlock Company Profile
Valinge Flooring Technology 21 Unlock Company Profile
Surface Technologies 21 Unlock Company Profile
Barlinek 18 Unlock Company Profile
Xylo Technology 15 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway 15 Unlock Company Profile
Ceraloc Innovation Belgium 14 Unlock Company Profile
Q.E.P. 14 Unlock Company Profile
Valinge Aluminium 13 Unlock Company Profile
Macneil Ip 12 Unlock Company Profile
Hamberger Industriewerke 12 Unlock Company Profile
Valinge Innovation Belgium 12 Unlock Company Profile
SNAPSPORTS 11 Unlock Company Profile
XYLO TECHNOLOGIES 11 Unlock Company Profile
CK Birla Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
Agfa-Gevaert 10 Unlock Company Profile
Promociones Brial 9 Unlock Company Profile
Hanssem 9 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 9 Unlock Company Profile
Floor Iptech 9 Unlock Company Profile
Westlake 9 Unlock Company Profile
Kvadrat 9 Unlock Company Profile
Interglarion 8 Unlock Company Profile
Swisspearl Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Afi Licensing 7 Unlock Company Profile
Milliken 7 Unlock Company Profile
HANOVER PREST-PAVING 7 Unlock Company Profile
4Sight Innovation 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bank of America 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sun&L 5 Unlock Company Profile
Mannington Mills 5 Unlock Company Profile
James Hardie Industries 5 Unlock Company Profile
Tarkett 5 Unlock Company Profile
Tarkett GDL 5 Unlock Company Profile
Calignum Technologies 4 Unlock Company Profile
Roemmler H Resopal Werk 4 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration 3 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

One of the leading patent filers in interlocking building panels is Armstrong World Industries (AWI), a manufacturer and provider of wall and ceiling building materials and solutions. Key innovations by Armstrong World Industries include the development of a plywood laminate with an edge configuration featuring a projection with a thickness greater than that of the plies, providing a secure interlocking mechanism. Further innovations by AWI include a floating floor system with interlocking mechanisms that provide both vertical and horizontal locking for enhanced stability and minimized ledging. Valinge Innovation, a provider of flooring solutions is another prominent patent filer in this space. A significant innovation by the company is the development of a locking system for the mechanical joining of floorboards that provides both vertical and horizontal joints for seamless and secure connections.

In terms of application diversity, Milliken leads the pack, while Afi Licensing and Westlake stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, CoMc Enterprises held the top position, followed by Ceraloc Innovation and Mohawk Industries.

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

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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.