With every new year comes new possibilities. From local fabrication shops to the global metal industry, here are a few trends to watch in 2018:
New Priorities In Commercial Ductwork
Set forth by the Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVACR) Industry Alliance, the 2018 regulatory policy agenda built and extended upon last year’s successes. The agenda was discussed in Dec. 2017 and presented to the federal administration in Jan. 2018.
According to Contracting Business, “The Industry Consensus Agenda covered six legislative and regulatory policies priorities that enhance growth and opportunity within the HVACR industry.”
The six priorities are as follows:
- Utilizing Industry Consensus standards
- Tax reform and incentives
- Energy policy and Conservation Act reform
- Refrigerants and ratifying the Kigali Amendment
- Energy efficient, quality HVAC and refrigeration installations
- Workforce development
“Alliance priorities that have been acted upon by Congress and the...Administration include tax reform, tax incentives, depreciation schedules for commercial equipment, and workforce development programs.”
The Alliance will continue to meet regularly with leaders of the federal administration, members of Congress, and regulatory agencies to ensure remaining policy priorities are met in 2018.
The Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) contributes to this annual agenda with the help of the following groups:
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America
- Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute
- Air Movement & Control Association International
- Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International
- Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Institute of Canada
- National Air Filtration Association
- North American Technician Excellence
- Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors – National Association
- Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of aluminum, according to a Feb. 2018 article by MetalMiner. While what happens in China’s internal aluminum industry affects the global outcome, the country isn’t immune to worldwide prices.
Global consumers “are free to import metal if domestic prices rise too far,” according to the article.
“Likewise, if domestic prices [in China] collapsed, downstream producers of semi-finished products [around the world] become...more competitive, allowing them to export semi-finished products and, via the demand for primary metal that those exporters generate, encourage [Chinese]...prices to rise.”
Many Asian companies are accused of exporting primary products yet claiming that they’re semi-finished to avoid a high export tariff.
“In December...South Korean imports from China grew 47.8 percent year on year to 13,278 tons. With the U.S. market is becoming gradually closed to Chinese exporters and the E.U. increasingly hostile to imports, it [wouldn’t] be surprising if...primary producers...offload metal abroad.”
The question remains, can global aluminum prices regain lost ground in the remainder of 2018?
3D Tech Comes To Sheet Metal Fabrication Shops
The 3D market is set to boom in 2018 with printers showing capability to create holograms, medical equipment, prescriptions, and more.
Many engineers and sheet metal fabricators are floored by this technological breakthrough, as it has the potential to speed up the work rate in shops and cut production time in half.
Zecotek Photonics Inc. of Richmond, Canada, is in the process of “developing its own compact, high-speed 3D printer, which will use high-performance metal alloys and offers technical and commercial advantages over competing technologies.”
In popular metal sectors, growth is exciting investors.
According to a Feb. 2017 press release by USA News Group, “In the aerospace industry, 3D printing is expected to grow from $714.5 million in 2017 to $3.057 billion by 2022. In the automotive market, 3D printing will be worth $1.56 billion by 2020.”
Printing custom parts and materials for other industries has become a huge benefit to 3D tech.
For more information about sheet metal industry trends, check out Kaempf & Harris’ Sheet Metal Tools And Trends To Expect In The New Year. You can also download our Guide To Commercial Ductwork Standards with 2018 updates: