The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for increased efficiency, precision, and speed in material handling processes across industries, and growing importance of technologies such as vision systems and machine learning algorithms, enabling robots to adapt to various shapes and sizes of objects. In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in technology: automated palletizing. 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 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.

190+ 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 1.5 million patents, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, nanorobotics, autonomous harvesters, and line follower robots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Surgical robots, SLAM path planning, and force feedback robots are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the technology industry

Automated palletizing is a key innovation area in robotics

Automated palletizing involves employing robots or automated machinery to neatly arrange and stack goods onto pallets, optimizing storage and transportation. These systems utilize sensors and specialized software to precisely position and stack products, diminishing reliance on manual labor and enhancing operational efficiency.

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

Key players in automated palletizing – a disruptive innovation in the technology 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 palletizing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nippon Steel 24 Unlock Company Profile
Azenta 27 Unlock Company Profile
Murata Machinery 30 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 72 Unlock Company Profile
Toppan 22 Unlock Company Profile
TE Connectivity 48 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 66 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 24 Unlock Company Profile
Daifuku 92 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 112 Unlock Company Profile
Rakuten Group 65 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 19 Unlock Company Profile
Glory 24 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 33 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 57 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 129 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 58 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 31 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 26 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 31 Unlock Company Profile
Dai Nippon Printing 30 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 23 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 22 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 31 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 336 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 90 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 46 Unlock Company Profile
V-Sync 20 Unlock Company Profile
Mujin 191 Unlock Company Profile
Dexterity 38 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in automated palletizing, Toshiba is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patent describes logistics support device comprising a deriver and an instruction controller. The deriver conducts statistical analysis of environmental data regarding changes inside a storage unit when it is installed in a mobile unit and remains at a location where tasks are carried out on the stored items in a delivery operation. The instruction controller issues guidance based on the outcome of the statistical analysis conducted by the deriver when a storage unit housing items is installed in a mobile unit and the delivery of the items is underway. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Mujin and Panasonic.          

In terms of application diversity, Sony Group held the top position, while Toyota Motor and Rakuten Group stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographical reach, Azenta leads the pack, followed by Daifuku and TE Connectivity.

Automated palletizing in robotics is pivotal in revolutionizing the logistics and manufacturing industries. It enhances operational efficiency by leveraging robots to precisely stack and organize goods on pallets, significantly reducing manual labor, increasing speed, and ensuring accuracy in material handling processes.

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

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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.