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.