In November 2021, President of the United States Joe Biden signed the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This wide-ranging bill will provide $1 trillion in funding for a wide range of infrastructure projects from improving the country's roads and bridges to public transit, water infrastructure, high-speed internet access and addressing the climate crisis. What does this mean for the industrial coatings industry? It means demand will be picking up.
Some of the highlights of the bill include more than 43,500 bridges in the U.S. that are deemed in poor condition; hundreds of thousands of miles of roads; a significant impact on pipelines; water towers; and energy with regard to wind turbines and power plants.
"All of these things, for the most part, have some metal aspect to them, either as a small component or the main component. And most of these things are going to be outside in the elements. Therefore, they need to be protected. That protection is typically done by an industrial coating," says Bob Ober, Commercial Marketing Manager, North America, BASF.
The expected growth rate for protective coatings in North America for infrastructure is about two-and-a-half times what it's been the over the past four years.
"That is part and parcel due to the passing of this infrastructure bill. So, improvement of infrastructure coatings, improvement of pipeline coatings, are all going to grow significantly higher than what they've done over the past four plus years," Ober says.
One of the highlights of the infrastructure bill is $40 billion in dedicated funding for bridges. Of that funding, $12.5 billion is earmarked for the Bridge Investment Program. This program is described as "a competitive program to replace, rehabilitate, preserve, or protect some of the nation's most important and economically significant bridges."
Ober says that bridge preservation and protection is going to benefit the industrial coatings industry.
"Part of that $12.5 billion within the Bridge Investment Program is going to be a direct benefit to protective coatings. Now, not all of that is our technology, but some of it is. The infrastructure bill has opened investment opportunities that will help BASF customers for protective coatings," he says.
Ober adds that the growth rate for construction equipment is expected to be even higher due to the combination of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the new infrastructure bill.
"There was not a lot of acquisition of high-cost, large equipment because of everything that we went through during the pandemic. And now that there's been this upturn, and development due to the infrastructure bill putting investment into construction applications," Ober says. "Companies are needing to buy the new equipment, and that new equipment requires coatings. So, that's going to help industrial coatings as well."
BASF offers a wide variety of product solutions for industrial coatings for enhancing metal components, including ACRONAL® PRO 770 NA and JONCRYL® PRO 1522.
For more information on these solutions, click here.