The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation, with activity being 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 Robotics in construction: automated slurry-blast 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 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, polishing robots, robotic excavators, and autonomous worksite machines are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Welding robots, automated slurry-blast tools, and adaptive road milling rollers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the construction industry

Automated slurry-blast tools is a key innovation area in robotics

Automated slurry-blast tools are devices used for leveling and filling gaps in tiles and slabs. They consist of different mechanisms such as gap filling pretreatment, gap filling, and gap filling post-treatment. These tools automate the entire gap filling process to improve efficiency and quality.

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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of automated slurry-blast tools.

Key players in automated slurry-blast tools – 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 automated slurry-blast tools

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Gebr Knauf 65 Unlock Company Profile
Canvas Construction 39 Unlock Company Profile
Raimondi 35 Unlock Company Profile
Davinci Italia USA Group 32 Unlock Company Profile
Sun Capital Partners 23 Unlock Company Profile
Graco 23 Unlock Company Profile
Valinge Innovation 19 Unlock Company Profile
Henkel 17 Unlock Company Profile
Country Garden 16 Unlock Company Profile
Progress Profiles 12 Unlock Company Profile
Saint-Gobain Adfors Canada 12 Unlock Company Profile
Phaanix 9 Unlock Company Profile
Simpson Manufacturing 7 Unlock Company Profile
Valinge Innovation Belgium 7 Unlock Company Profile
Exceptional Ip 7 Unlock Company Profile
State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council 7 Unlock Company Profile
Illinois Tool Works 6 Unlock Company Profile
Ceraloc Innovation Belgium 4 Unlock Company Profile
Henry 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hangzhou Great Star Industrial 3 Unlock Company Profile
PPG Industries 2 Unlock Company Profile
Mr. Liu Hui 2 Unlock Company Profile
ALLWAY TOOLS 2 Unlock Company Profile
Sika 2 Unlock Company Profile
Homax Products 2 Unlock Company Profile
Axia NetMedia 2 Unlock Company Profile
Structus Building Technologies 2 Unlock Company Profile
Kyoritsu 2 Unlock Company Profile
Huzhou Zhongchen Construction 1 Unlock Company Profile
China Railway First Bureau Group Macau Branch 1 Unlock Company Profile
China Railway First Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
KTL INTERNATIONAL 1 Unlock Company Profile
Simple Man Products 1 Unlock Company Profile
Tianyuan Construction Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Jiangxi Youse Construction (Group) 1 Unlock Company Profile
Fujian Minnan Construction Engineering 1 Unlock Company Profile
Interface 1 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 1 Unlock Company Profile
Renesas Electronics 1 Unlock Company Profile
Metallurgical Corporation of China 1 Unlock Company Profile
Baoye Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

One of the leading companies in the development of automated slurry-blast tools include China State Construction Engineering’s (CSCEC) subsidiary, China Construction Science and Technology Group, a provider of construction engineering services. Key CSCEC innovations include the development of a gap filling device that automates the entire gap filling process. The device repairs floor tiles on both sides of a gap using a flattening knife before filling the gap with a suitable material. It then uses a gap filling post-treatment mechanism to repair any excess gap filling material. Further innovators in the space include Guangdong Bozhilin Robot (Bozhilin), a research subsidiary of the real estate developer Country Garden. Significant Bozhilin developments include the development of a scraping device used to strickle slurry for automated gap filling. The scraper mounting frame is attached to a wall surface, and features a scraping plate that can swing to scrape slurry to improve production efficiency.

In terms of application diversity, Canvas Construction leads the pack, while Saint-Gobain Adfors Canada and Graco stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Canvas Construction held the top position, followed by Davinci Italia USA Group and Valinge Innovation.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics 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.