The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increasing demand for miniaturised components in various industries such as biomedical, electronics, and microfluidics, the ability to create intricate designs with high precision and resolution, and growing importance of technologies such as high-resolution digital light processing (DLP) and laser-based systems that can selectively solidify liquid photopolymer resins layer by layer to build the desired microstructures. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Technology Innovation: Microstereolithography. Buy the report here.

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.

300+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, microphone beamforming, live betting games, and quantum dots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Circuit design testing, communication, smart contracts, and surround sound systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are vehicle platooning and PCI power management, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Microstereolithography is a key innovation area in technology

Microstereolithography is a type of 3D printing that employs a light-based process to solidify layers of liquid photopolymer material. This technique is utilised for manufacturing intricate components that exhibit precise details and smooth surface finishes. Microstereolithography is a valuable tool for research, prototyping, and manufacturing applications where miniaturisation and precision are critical factors.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of microstereolithography.

Key players in microstereolithography – a disruptive innovation in the technology 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 microstereolithography

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ASML 86 Unlock Company Profile
Applied Materials 43 Unlock Company Profile
Kinpo Electronics 31 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 30 Unlock Company Profile
XYZprinting 23 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 22 Unlock Company Profile
Eulitha 21 Unlock Company Profile
Nikon 19 Unlock Company Profile
BICO Group 19 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 18 Unlock Company Profile
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast-Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek 13 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 13 Unlock Company Profile
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 12 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsui Chemicals 12 Unlock Company Profile
Micronic Laser Systems 12 Unlock Company Profile
EssilorLuxottica 11 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 11 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 10 Unlock Company Profile
XYZ-Printing 10 Unlock Company Profile
Ushio 10 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
3D Systems 9 Unlock Company Profile
3M 9 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 8 Unlock Company Profile
3DFortify 7 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 7 Unlock Company Profile
Tokyo Electron 7 Unlock Company Profile
Jabil 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shimadzu 5 Unlock Company Profile
Rebus Biosystems 5 Unlock Company Profile
US Federal Government 5 Unlock Company Profile
Screen 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

ASML is a leading patent filer in the microstereolithography space. One of the company’s patents describes a substrate holder for a lithographic apparatus that includes a main body with a thin-film stack on its surface. This thin-film stack contains an electronic or electric component such as an electrode, sensor, heater, transistor, or logic device, and has a top isolation layer. The thin-film stack or apertures within it feature multiple burls that serve as supports for a substrate. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Applied Materials and Kinpo Electronics.

By geographic reach, Mitsui Chemicals leads the pack, followed by General Motors and Shimadzu. In terms of application diversity, Rebus Biosystems holds the top position, followed by General Electric (GE) and XYZprinting.

Microstereolithography can produce intricate and highly detailed three-dimensional structures at a microscale level. The technology allows for the fabrication of complex parts with fine features and smooth surfaces, enabling advancements in various industries such as biomedical, electronics, and microfluidics. Microstereolithography offers precise control over the manufacturing process, resulting in high-resolution objects that are difficult to achieve with other manufacturing methods.   To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Technology.

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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.