Industrial innovation: automation among power industry companies has fallen in the last year

Analysis of patent filings shows a shrinking level of industrial automation related applications in the industry over the past year.

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Research and innovation in industrial automation in the power industry operations and technologies sector has declined in the last year. The most recent figures show that the number of industrial automation related patent applications in the industry stood at 583 in the three months ending January, down from 795 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to industrial automation followed a similar pattern to filings, shrinking from 548 in the three months ending January 2021 to 334 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, which tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas and linked to key companies across various industries.

Industrial automation is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from. The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Honeywell International was the top industrial automation innovator in the power industry operations and technologies sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the US, filed 315 industrial automation-related patents in the three months ending January. That was up from 279 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the Germany-based Siemens with 158 industrial automation patent applications, Switzerland-based ABB (85 applications), and the US-based 3M (70 applications).

Korea Electric Power has recently ramped up research and development in industrial automation. It saw growth of 90.3% in related patent applications in the three months ending January compared to the same period in 2021, the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked, with more than 10 quarterly patents in the power industry operations and technologies sector.


GlobalData has compiled a list of top MNCs based on revenue. Any top companies that did not have a subsidiary were removed from the list. The latest company annual reports (2019 and 2020, where available) and websites were analysed for a total of 2,188 companies.

For a subsidiary to be included, the parent company had to have a majority ownership/control in the subsidiary. Affiliates, associates, joint operations and joint ventures were included as long as the ownership criteria was met. Subsidiary information was captured at a country level. Country names were standardised. In total, 216,898 subsidiaries were captured.