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: vacuum insulated glazing (VIG). 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

Vacuum insulated glazing (VIG) is a key innovation area in construction

Vacuum insulated glazing (VIG) is an innovative type of insulated glass panel that incorporates two glass panes separated by a vacuum-filled space to achieve outstanding thermal insulation. In contrast to conventional double-glazed windows using air or inert gas, VIG's vacuum technology eliminates heat transfer through the panel, providing up to five times superior insulation. This advanced design enhances thermal performance, resulting in significant energy savings and increased indoor comfort. With its sleek profile, VIG is well-suited for various architectural applications. Additionally, VIG prevents moisture buildup, reduces condensation risks, and offers improved soundproofing compared to traditional double-glazed windows.

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 vacuum insulated glazing (VIG).

Key players in vacuum insulated glazing (VIG) – 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 vacuum insulated glazing (VIG)

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Panasonic 693 Unlock Company Profile
KGIC Merger 606 Unlock Company Profile
AGC 296 Unlock Company Profile
VKR 188 Unlock Company Profile
AGC Glass Europe 171 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Sheet Glass 152 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 143 Unlock Company Profile
Luoyang Landglass Technology 128 Unlock Company Profile
LG 116 Unlock Company Profile
Cardinal Glass Industries 93 Unlock Company Profile
Corning 91 Unlock Company Profile
Guardian Europe 49 Unlock Company Profile
View 43 Unlock Company Profile
Dover 38 Unlock Company Profile
3M 37 Unlock Company Profile
Resonac 31 Unlock Company Profile
Prince International 30 Unlock Company Profile
Eversealed Windows 24 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 23 Unlock Company Profile
Grenzebach Maschinenbau 17 Unlock Company Profile
Infinite Edge Technologies 17 Unlock Company Profile
Research Frontiers 15 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 15 Unlock Company Profile
Technoform Glass Insulation 13 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 11 Unlock Company Profile
SAES Getters 10 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 10 Unlock Company Profile
LISEC Austria 9 Unlock Company Profile
Eagon Windows & Doors 9 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 9 Unlock Company Profile
GED Integrated Solutions 8 Unlock Company Profile
Huntsman 7 Unlock Company Profile
Qingdao Hengda Glass Technology 6 Unlock Company Profile
Nat Univ Pusan Ind Univ Coop Found 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mechem Lab 6 Unlock Company Profile
3G Capital 6 Unlock Company Profile
Changsha Xingna Aerogel 5 Unlock Company Profile
Tangent Solutions India 5 Unlock Company Profile
V-glass 5 Unlock Company Profile
Forel 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hall Labs 4 Unlock Company Profile
Glas Troesch 4 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Meiwo Door & Window Technology 3 Unlock Company Profile
Changshu Sedy Inlay Glass Products 3 Unlock Company Profile
Bsh Electrical Appliances Jiangsu 3 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 3 Unlock Company Profile
SOF Equipment 3 Unlock Company Profile
Guardian Industries UK 3 Unlock Company Profile
Yas 3 Unlock Company Profile
GTE 3 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies that have filed patents for vacuum insulated glazing, Panasonic Holdings is the leading patent filer, followed by KGIC Merger and AGC.

AGC, a global glass solutions leader, is at the forefront of advancing vacuum insulating glazing, with substantial investments to boost its production capacity, particularly for Fineo VIG units. This expansion allows AGC to meet rising demand and offer VIG solutions for retrofitting existing windows, enhancing energy efficiency without major renovations. The company is committed to propelling VIG into mainstream adoption for energy-efficient buildings, emphasizing innovation, versatility, and sustainability. As VIG gains recognition, AGC is well-positioned to play a leading role in shaping the future of this transformative technology. Established in 1907, AGC's rich history and global presence solidify its status as a key player in the glass industry, dedicated to innovation and customer satisfaction.

In terms of application diversity, BASF leads the pack, while Huntsman and SAES Getters stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Research Frontiers held the top position, followed by Prince International and View.

Huntsman is a leading manufacturer of specialized organic chemical products, offering a diverse range that includes amines, maleic anhydride, MDI, epoxy-based polymers, and more. Catering to various industries such as adhesives, aerospace, automotive, and medical, Huntsman operates globally with a network of units in North America, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, headquartered in Woodlands, Texas, the US.

In the realm of vacuum insulating glazing, Huntsman is a pioneer, propelling innovation, sustainability, and broader applications for this transformative technology. The company's expertise in polyurethane chemistry, manufacturing optimization, and application research is instrumental in shaping the future of VIG for energy-efficient, sustainable, and resilient buildings. As VIG technology advances, Huntsman's role is anticipated to become even more significant, contributing to a greener built environment. Additionally, Huntsman has made strides in vacuum insulating glazing development, introducing functionalized polyacrylate polymer compositions for treating clay in cementitious and aggregate compositions, along with a urethane resin composition designed for building insulation without the need for a foam stabilizer, exhibiting quasi-incombustibility.

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.