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: Dredging equipment.

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 stages 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

Dredging equipment is a key innovation area in construction

Dredging equipment is used to excavate sediment from the floor of a body of water, such as rivers, lakes, and the ocean. The excavating process involves the breaking up, transporting, and disposing of sediment.

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 dredging equipment.

Key players in dredging equipment – 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 dredging equipment

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hitachi 3034 Unlock company profile
Komatsu 1969 Unlock company profile
Caterpillar 1831 Unlock company profile
Sumitomo Heavy Industries 1014 Unlock company profile
AB Volvo 852 Unlock company profile
Esco Technologies 613 Unlock company profile
Kobe Steel 573 Unlock company profile
Doosan Infracore 569 Unlock company profile
KYB 443 Unlock company profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 420 Unlock company profile
Kubota 248 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 168 Unlock company profile
Metalogenia Research & Technologies 151 Unlock company profile
Yanmar Holdings 133 Unlock company profile
CR 122 Unlock company profile
Combi Wear Parts 112 Unlock company profile
Black Cat Blades 104 Unlock company profile
Deere & Co 95 Unlock company profile
Eaton 86 Unlock company profile
Doosan 77 Unlock company profile
Liebherr-International 68 Unlock company profile
Sandvik 54 Unlock company profile
J C Bamford Excavators 49 Unlock company profile
Parker Hannifin 45 Unlock company profile
Nabtesco 39 Unlock company profile
Weir Group 32 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings 30 Unlock company profile
Ihc Holland Ie 29 Unlock company profile
Sany Group 25 Unlock company profile
Shandong Heavy Industry Group 24 Unlock company profile
Linde Hydraulics 23 Unlock company profile
Danfoss 22 Unlock company profile
Dana 21 Unlock company profile
CNH Industrial 21 Unlock company profile
SIMCO Mining Products and Services 21 Unlock company profile
Trinity Industries 17 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 16 Unlock company profile
SSAB 15 Unlock company profile
Cutting Edges Equipment Parts 15 Unlock company profile
HUSCO International 15 Unlock company profile
Harnischfeger Technologies 15 Unlock company profile
XCMG Construction Machinery 14 Unlock company profile
Parker Hannifin 14 Unlock company profile
NOK 13 Unlock company profile
Atlas Copco 13 Unlock company profile
Siemens 13 Unlock company profile
Sunward Intelligent Equipment 12 Unlock company profile
Carl Bennet 10 Unlock company profile
SungBo Industrial 9 Unlock company profile
Digga Australia 9 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hitachi is the leading filer in dredging equipment. The company is one of the world leaders in construction and transportation machinery. Dredging machinery have mostly been adapted from mining excavators. Working underwater can cause erosion and stress on the excavator and therefore it needs to be adapted to withstand extra stress. Furthermore, excavators mostly work on pontoons and can be adapted in other ways, new designs such as the fast-fill system for re-fuelling enable more efficient use. The most common excavators used in dredging activities are the EX1200-6, EX1900-6 and the EX3600-6. Notable patents generally concern the hydraulic system and the hydraulic arm used by the excavator.

In terms of application diversity, Linde Hydraulics is among the leaders in the pack, along with Dana. By means of geographic reach, SSAB held the top position, followed by Atlas Copco and Black Cat Blades.

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.