The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by an increased focus on workplace safety, circular construction and environmental sustainability, and the growing importance of technologies such as robotics, modular construction and the Internet of Things (IoT). 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: Road paving tools. 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, mullion-transom curtain walls are 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 tool, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the construction industry

Road paving tools are a key innovation area in construction

Road paving tools are a range of machines that are used in the application or removal of road surface courses. These machines include asphalt compactors, cold planers and chip spreaders.

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 road paving tools.

Key players in road paving tools – 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 road paving tools

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Deere & Co 965 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 325 Unlock Company Profile
Fayat 168 Unlock Company Profile
Astec Industries 71 Unlock Company Profile
NV Bekaert 15 Unlock Company Profile
ChampionX 12 Unlock Company Profile
Joy MM Delaware 12 Unlock Company Profile
Anglo American 11 Unlock Company Profile
Element Six 10 Unlock Company Profile
ASPHALT ZIPPER 9 Unlock Company Profile
Vermeer 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nidec-Shimpo 8 Unlock Company Profile
Bouygues 8 Unlock Company Profile
Simex 7 Unlock Company Profile
Vermeer Manufacturing Company 6 Unlock Company Profile
INDUS Holding 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Leading companies in the development of road paving tools include Deere, a manufacturer of construction, earthmoving and material handling equipment. Key patents filed by Deere in the space include a milling machine, a transfer device and a method for the transfer of milled-off material, respectively, which enable a high degree of operational safety, prevent milled-off material and dust from exiting, and result in low wear and tear of the components interacting with one another. Caterpillar, a designer and manufacturer of construction equipment, is also a leading company in the development of road paving tools. Key patents by Caterpillar in road paving tool innovations include a method of retrofitting a cold planer to include a system for accurately determining and controlling the real-time speed of movement of a conveyor belt of the cold planer configured for transferring road material from a milling cutter of the cold planer to a haul vehicle.

In terms of application diversity, leading innovators in the development of road paving tools include Vermeer, a manufacturer and distributor of industrial construction equipment, and Joy MM Delaware, a subsidiary of Komatsu that produces mining equipment.

In terms of geographic reach, leading companies in the space include Element Six, a provider of supermaterials for industrial use, and NV Bekaert, a provider of steel wire transformation and coating technologies.

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.