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 27,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in construction: robotic sprayers. 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 240,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, autonomous worksite machines, robotic sprayers, and self-cleaning toilets are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Robotic excavators, smart toilet, 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

Robotic sprayers is a key innovation area in robotics

Robotic sprayers are automated systems designed to perform painting or spraying tasks without human intervention. These systems typically include robotic arms or platforms that can move along specific trajectories to cover large areas accurately and efficiently. Robotic sprayers are equipped with paint guns or spray nozzles and can be programmed to follow predefined patterns and parameters, such as spray intensity, speed, and coverage. They are used in various industries for applications such as automotive painting, industrial coatings, agriculture, and architectural painting.

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 robotic sprayers.

Key players in robotic sprayers – 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 robotic sprayers

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Durr 359 Unlock Company Profile
EXEL Industries 91 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 79 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 60 Unlock Company Profile
Q-Bot 45 Unlock Company Profile
Canvas Construction 42 Unlock Company Profile
Yaskawa Electric 42 Unlock Company Profile
Petronas Chemicals Group 36 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 30 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 29 Unlock Company Profile
Kabushiki Kaisha Yaskawa Denki Seisakusho 29 Unlock Company Profile
Taikisha 28 Unlock Company Profile
Eisenmann 26 Unlock Company Profile
Country Garden 20 Unlock Company Profile
Vln Advanced Technologies 18 Unlock Company Profile
Musashi Engineering 17 Unlock Company Profile
Mazda Motor 17 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 17 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway 16 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 16 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 15 Unlock Company Profile
JohnsByrne 15 Unlock Company Profile
IHI 13 Unlock Company Profile
FANUC Robotics America 11 Unlock Company Profile
marco Systemanalyse und Entwicklung 11 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 10 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 9 Unlock Company Profile
Ecovacs Robotics 9 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 9 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 9 Unlock Company Profile
Sames Kremlin 9 Unlock Company Profile
Vinci 8 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 8 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 8 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 7 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 7 Unlock Company Profile
CITIC Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Emesta 7 Unlock Company Profile
Petroleo Brasileiro 7 Unlock Company Profile
Excel Industries 7 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 7 Unlock Company Profile
BAE Systems 6 Unlock Company Profile
ABB Switzerland 6 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
Venjakob Maschinenbau 6 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 6 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 6 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 5 Unlock Company Profile
Akebono Brake Industry 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Durr is one of the leading patent filers in robotic sprayers. According to the company, its EcoRP E043i is a third generation of robots with a range of innovative features. For example, the 7th axis is directly integrated in the painting robot’s kinematic system and therefore improves its maneuverability. Exel Industries, a company based in France, is another key patent filer in this area, being engaged in the design and manufacture of precision spraying equipment for liquid paints, glues and other substances. Canvas Construction, a construction robotics company that recently launched its innovative Level 4 Targeted Spray system, is also a key patent filer in this space.

In terms of application diversity, Musashi Engineering leads the pack, while Vinci and SZ DJI Technology stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Canvas Construction held the top position, followed by Vln Advanced Technologies and Petronas Chemicals Group.

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.