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 Internet of Things in Construction: Intelligent motor controllers. 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 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, intelligent water body cleaning is a disruptive technology that is in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Intelligent motor controllers, hydraulic actuators, and sensor-integrated door wings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are automatic faucet and excavator monitoring systems, which are now well established in the industry.  

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

Intelligent motor controllers are a key innovation area in Internet of Things

An intelligent motor controller (IMC) is an adaptation of a traditional motor controller and harnesses advanced communication methods to control and regulate the operation of a motor. Technologies such as Modbus improve communication of motor data to the end user and can give real-time coverage of motor performance by monitoring variables such motor load and power consumption.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of intelligent motor controllers.

Key players in intelligent motor controllers – 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 intelligent motor controllers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Wobben Properties 728 Unlock Company Profile
Delta-T 61 Unlock Company Profile
Delta T 33 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 20 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 19 Unlock Company Profile
Melrose Industries 18 Unlock Company Profile
HUNTAIR 18 Unlock Company Profile
Regal Rexnord 17 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 17 Unlock Company Profile
Madison Industries 14 Unlock Company Profile
AB Volvo 13 Unlock Company Profile
Emerson Electric 8 Unlock Company Profile
Midea Holding 8 Unlock Company Profile
AB Electrolux 7 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 7 Unlock Company Profile
Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology 6 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 6 Unlock Company Profile
Deere & Co 6 Unlock Company Profile
Coway 5 Unlock Company Profile
Gd Midea Environment Appliances Manufacturing 5 Unlock Company Profile
Guentner Group Europe 5 Unlock Company Profile
LG 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Wobben Properties is the leading patent filer in intelligent motor controllers. The company is one of the world leaders in wind turbine and electrical component manufacturing. Motor controllers are an integral part of a wind turbine and control large variations in power changes and ensure efficient output. One issue Wobben has sought is to reduce unnecessary loss from a group of turbines when electricity feeds into a national supply system. To solve this problem, Wobben has developed a system to monitor turbine motors and projected power output, which allows the controller to adapt power flow into the national supply grid or elsewhere such as a local grid.

In terms of application diversity, AB Volvo is among the leaders in the pack, along with Komatsu. By means of geographic reach, HUNTAIR holds the top position, followed by Delta-T and Deere. 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.