The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is 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: polishing robots. 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

Polishing robots is a key innovation area in construction

Polishing robots are automated systems that use robotic arms equipped with polishing heads to perform polishing operations on different surfaces. These robots have multiple degrees of freedom and are capable of performing complex polishing tasks with high accuracy and efficiency.

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 polishing robots.

Key players in polishing robots – 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 polishing robots

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
TE Connectivity 18 Unlock Company Profile
Applied Materials 9 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 7 Unlock Company Profile
AB SKF 5 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Lxd Robotics 4 Unlock Company Profile
Dula-Werke Dustmann 4 Unlock Company Profile
Gree Electric Appliances 4 Unlock Company Profile
Disco 3 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 2 Unlock Company Profile
KC Tech 2 Unlock Company Profile
Elettromeccanica Bovone 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Aerospace Equipments Manufacturer 1 Unlock Company Profile
Foshan Kingpeng Robot Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Haituo Zhiyong Intelligent Equipment 1 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Chaohu Casting Factory 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Cas Derui Intelligent Tech 1 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha 1 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Wanfeng Technology Development 1 Unlock Company Profile
Qingdao Gaoce Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
EFORT Intelligent Equipment 1 Unlock Company Profile
Utica Leaseco 1 Unlock Company Profile
Ningbo Xusheng Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Stevanato Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
m 1 Unlock Company Profile
Disco 1 Unlock Company Profile
China Aerospace Science and Industry 1 Unlock Company Profile
Jiangxi Avonflow Hvac Tech 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

TE Connectivity is the leading patent filer in polishing robots. The company focuses on designing connectors and sensors for industrial robots. Applied Materials, a leading nano manufacturing technology solutions provider, is also a key player in terms of filings related to polishing robots. According to the company, its patented technology enables real-time polish control of wafer production without compromising throughput.

In terms of application diversity, General Electric leads the pack, while Applied Materials and Disco stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, TE Connectivity held the top position, followed by Applied Materials and General Electric.

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.