Research and innovation in industrial automation in the power industry operations and technologies sector has rebounded in the last quarter.

The most recent figures show that the number of industrial automation patent applications in the industry stood at 307 in the three months ending October – down from 396 over the same period last year.

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Figures for patent grants related to industrial automation followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 313 in the three months ending October last year to 243 this year.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track 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 Inc was the top industrial automation innovator in the power industry operations and technologies sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 177 industrial automation related patents in the three months ending October. That was up from 141 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the Germany based Siemens AG with 87 industrial automation patent applications, Switzerland based ABB Ltd (60 applications), and the United States based 3M Co (58 applications).

3M Co has recently ramped up R&D in industrial automation. It saw growth of 27.6% in related patent applications in the three months ending October compared to the same period last year - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the power industry operations and technologies sector.