The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation, with activity being 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: embossed floor panels. 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

Embossed floor panels is a key innovation area in construction

Embossed floor panels are a type of flooring that have a decorative surface with a surface structure that is synchronized to the decoration of the visible face of the decorative paper using an embossing element. These panels can be made using various methods, such as milling machines, printing operations, or coating processes. They allow for an inexpensive flooring option that has a high-quality appearance, by creating a continuous image of the decor at the transition from one laid panel to the adjacent laid panel.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of embossed floor panels.

Key players in embossed floor panels – 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 embossed floor panels

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Mohawk Industries 281 Unlock Company Profile
Valinge Innovation 125 Unlock Company Profile
Xylo Technology 72 Unlock Company Profile
Surface Technologies 30 Unlock Company Profile
Kaindl Flooring 27 Unlock Company Profile
Ceraloc Innovation 24 Unlock Company Profile
Kronoplus Technical 22 Unlock Company Profile
XYLO TECHNOLOGIES 20 Unlock Company Profile
Pergo AB. 19 Unlock Company Profile
Q.E.P. 16 Unlock Company Profile
Floor Iptech 12 Unlock Company Profile
FRITZ EGGER 11 Unlock Company Profile
Interglarion 8 Unlock Company Profile
Hulsta-Werke Huls 7 Unlock Company Profile
Ceraloc Innovation Belgium 6 Unlock Company Profile
Agfa-Gevaert 5 Unlock Company Profile
CK Birla Group 4 Unlock Company Profile
SWISS KRONO Tec 4 Unlock Company Profile
Valinge Aluminium 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Kaindl, a manufacturer and provider of flooring products, is a leading patent filer in embossed floor panels. A key innovation by the company is the development of panels with a decorative surface that can be used as flooring. The invention aims to provide panels that give a continuous image of the decor at the transition from one laid panel to the adjacent laid panel. This is achieved by adapting the decor surfaces of the panels on at least one end to be optically adapted to each other. Another innovation by Kaindl includes a method for printing a visible surface of a covering panel with a decorative design. The method allows for contactless printing onto the panel and takes into consideration the different spacing of the visible surface and the coupling means that serve to connect two panels of this type.

In terms of application diversity, CK Birla Group leads the pack, while Hulsta-Werke Huls and Ceraloc Innovation Belgium stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Xylo Technology held the top position, followed by Surface Technologies 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.