The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability, productivity 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 Internet of Things in construction: controlled concrete pumping. 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, robotic excavators, self-cleaning toilets, and smart waterproofing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Sensor-integrated doors, eco-friendly HVACs, and automated slurry-blast tools are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is work vehicle cruise control, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the construction industry

Controlled concrete pumping is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Controlled concrete pumping is a precise method of delivering concrete to specific locations using a concrete pump and a remote-control system. This technique offers superior accuracy and control over concrete placement, making it beneficial for various applications. The process integrates advanced systems and technologies to monitor and regulate concrete pump operations, utilizing sensors and transducers to gather real-time data on the machine's position, attitude, and operational parameters. This data is then processed and compared to reference information, providing clear feedback to the operator. Additional technologies, such as rapid movement slewing gear, articulated arm vibration damping, and optimization for articulated arm control, are also employed. This method proves particularly valuable for pouring concrete in confined spaces or at elevated locations, where traditional methods face accessibility challenges.

Controlled concrete pumping reduces material waste and enhances product quality through its precision. With advantages in efficiency, safety, and waste reduction, it is gaining popularity in construction projects. As the construction industry increasingly prioritizes sustainability and efficiency, controlled concrete pumping is set to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of concrete construction.

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 130 companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of controlled concrete pumping.

Key players in controlled concrete pumping – 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 controlled concrete pumping

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Sany Group 530 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Shuppan Hanbai 273 Unlock Company Profile
XCMG Construction Machinery 153 Unlock Company Profile
Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology 130 Unlock Company Profile
R&Q Insurance 82 Unlock Company Profile
Liebherr-International 59 Unlock Company Profile
Sany Heavy Industry 48 Unlock Company Profile
Eaton 43 Unlock Company Profile
FBR 35 Unlock Company Profile
Country Garden 22 Unlock Company Profile
State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council 21 Unlock Company Profile
Sika 21 Unlock Company Profile
Somero Enterprises 21 Unlock Company Profile
Safetylink 17 Unlock Company Profile
PERI 15 Unlock Company Profile
Crown Castle 14 Unlock Company Profile
PureSafety Group 14 Unlock Company Profile
China State Construction Engineering 14 Unlock Company Profile
TTControl 13 Unlock Company Profile
DXC Technology 11 Unlock Company Profile
Midori Anzen 11 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Construction Group 10 Unlock Company Profile
Makita 9 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 9 Unlock Company Profile
3M 8 Unlock Company Profile
Encofrados J. Alsina 8 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 8 Unlock Company Profile
Inno-Tech 7 Unlock Company Profile
Husqvarna 7 Unlock Company Profile
Vestas Wind Systems 7 Unlock Company Profile
CRH 7 Unlock Company Profile
Mobbot 7 Unlock Company Profile
News 6 Unlock Company Profile
CIFAS 6 Unlock Company Profile
MAX 6 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 6 Unlock Company Profile
Ken Robotech 6 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Shunde Huayan Electronic Technology 5 Unlock Company Profile
Schindler 5 Unlock Company Profile
Safeway 5 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 5 Unlock Company Profile
Metallurgical Corporation of China 5 Unlock Company Profile
China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Atlantia 5 Unlock Company Profile
Mooser Schwingungstechnik 5 Unlock Company Profile
Midea Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Uniline Safety Systems 5 Unlock Company Profile
Schnell Group 4 Unlock Company Profile
XSPlatforms 4 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Sany Group is one of the leading patent filers in controlled concrete pumping, followed by Nippon Shuppan Hanbai and XCMG Construction Machinery.

Sany Group is a prominent global manufacturer specializing in construction and mining machinery. Their extensive product portfolio encompasses concrete machinery, road construction machinery, crawler cranes, excavators, pile driving machinery, truck cranes, and more. With industrial parks in various Chinese cities and manufacturing facilities in the US, Brazil, India, and Germany, Sany operates globally, providing services such as financing, insurance, spare parts, and technical support. The company has played a pivotal role in the evolution of controlled concrete pumping technology, contributing innovative solutions that enhance efficiency, precision, and safety in concrete placement. Sany's ongoing commitment to innovation is anticipated to lead advancements in controlled concrete pumping, influencing the future of concrete construction.

Sany Group has pioneered an extruder apparatus tailored for 3D printing structural components using building material strands. This cutting-edge apparatus comprises an extruder nozzle featuring a discharge opening for expelling the building material strand. Additionally, it incorporates at least one inner element strategically positioned within the extruder nozzle. This inner element plays a crucial role in defining the inner edge of the building material's flow cross-section, intricately determining the inner edge of the strand cross-section as it exits the extruder apparatus. Sany's innovative approach in this technology showcases their commitment to advancing construction methods through precision and control in material extrusion for 3D-printed structural parts.

In terms of application diversity, FBR leads the pack, while Eaton and DXC Technology stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Somero Enterprises held the top position, followed by FBR and Crown Castle.

FBR, formerly known as Fastbrick Robotics, specializes in the design, development, construction, and operation of mobile dynamically stabilized robots. The company is renowned for its Hadrian X robotic block laying system, designed to construct block structures and walls, and the Fastbrick Wall System, incorporating Hadrian-optimized blocks and adhesive. FBR employs dynamic stabilization technology (DST) alongside proprietary software, enabling robots to operate outdoors amidst unstable conditions, including wind, vibrations, machine motion alterations, and thermal variations. Focused on partnering with international customers, FBR offers Wall as a Service (WaaS) in the construction sector. With its headquarters in Perth, Western Australia, Australia, FBR stands out as a leading provider in controlled concrete pumping solutions, marked by innovative equipment, safety emphasis, and a dedication to sustainable practices. The company's impactful contributions have elevated the efficiency, precision, and safety of concrete placement, positioning FBR as a key player in the evolving landscape of concrete pumping technology.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in 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.