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 Robotics in construction: welding 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, 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

Welding robots is a key innovation area in robotics

Welding robots are automated machines that perform welding operations on workpieces using various welding techniques, such as arc welding, laser welding, and spot welding. These robots are operated using computer software and can be programmed to perform various welding tasks without the need for human intervention.

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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of welding robots.

Key players in welding 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 welding robots

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Fanuc 148 Unlock Company Profile
Seurat Technologies 129 Unlock Company Profile
Lincoln Electric 72 Unlock Company Profile
China Baowu Steel Group 38 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 27 Unlock Company Profile
Yaskawa Electric 25 Unlock Company Profile
Yaskawa Electric 25 Unlock Company Profile
Illinois Tool Works 25 Unlock Company Profile
Kobe Steel 24 Unlock Company Profile
China General Nuclear Power 22 Unlock Company Profile
Midea Group 16 Unlock Company Profile
3M 14 Unlock Company Profile
Salvagnini Italia. 13 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 11 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 11 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 10 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bombardier 7 Unlock Company Profile
Fronius International 7 Unlock Company Profile
Nikon 7 Unlock Company Profile
DMG Mori 6 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 6 Unlock Company Profile
Jenoptik 6 Unlock Company Profile
Centro Ricerche Fiat 6 Unlock Company Profile
Kabushiki Kaisha Yaskawa Denki Seisakusho 6 Unlock Company Profile
Curtiss-Wright 6 Unlock Company Profile
China General Nuclear Power 6 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 5 Unlock Company Profile
Holland L P 5 Unlock Company Profile
TE Connectivity 5 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 5 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 4 Unlock Company Profile
Sintokogio 4 Unlock Company Profile
Melrose Industries 4 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 4 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 4 Unlock Company Profile
BYD 4 Unlock Company Profile
SLM Solutions Group 4 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 3 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi Zosen 3 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 3 Unlock Company Profile
KraussMaffei Technologies 3 Unlock Company Profile
Shenyang Fortune Precision Equipment 3 Unlock Company Profile
Applied Materials 3 Unlock Company Profile
C.R.F. Societa' Consortile Per Azioni 3 Unlock Company Profile
GE Additive 2 Unlock Company Profile
Holland 2 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 2 Unlock Company Profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Fanuc is the leading patent filer in the area of welding robots. The company claims the Fanuc Robot i series is a series of highly reliable intelligent robots with the sophisticated advanced controller R-30iB with intelligence and networking for versatile applications. Its Remote Laser Welding Robot System has a 3D laser scanner that is mounted on the tip of the robot arm, delivering high-speed and high-quality laser welding.  Some other prominent patent filers in the space include Seurat Technologies and Lincoln Global.

In terms of application diversity, DMG Mori leads the pack, while GE Additive and Porsche Automobil stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Seurat Technologies held the top position, followed by 3M and Salvagnini Italia.

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.