There is a lot of money in safety – OSHA alone has an annual budget exceeding $550 million. With fines increasing next year, the market is expanding in a variety of sectors involved in worker safety. Here are four FR markets to keep an eye on in 2016 and moving forward as OSHA’s penalties continue increasing.
1. FR Textiles – The FR textile industry continues innovating, and more companies are getting involved. Synthetic blends and treatments are vastly improving FR and arc-flash ratings. This is leading to a growing industry.
2. FR Fluids – In the industrial sector, petrochemical companies produce and manufacture much more than just gasoline. Oil companies like Mobil and Quaker also regularly research FR lubricants and hydraulic fluids. Fire-resistant hydraulic fluids are specially formulated to be more difficult to ignite not propagate a flame.
In addition, OHSA regulations will likely lead to a noticeable increase in the FR fluids used in fire extinguishers and other fire suppression devices. Expect large government and corporate customers to increase wholesale orders for oil and water emulsifiers, water polymer solutions, and anhydrous synthetics.
3. FR Clothing – FR clothing is becoming a big business. What used to be a boring sector with little creativity is breathing new life, fueled by the innovations in FR textiles.
With more varieties of more flexible fabrics to work with (and both state and federal regulations tightening), FR garments are becoming more prolific. They are being made to be longer lasting and more fashionable.
4. FR Cables – Computers are going mobile, and the Internet of Things is placing heavier traffic loads on Wi-Fi signals and cell towers. In addition, solar subsidies from the U.S. government expire in 2016, and the solar industry will begin competing against electric companies in a whole new playing field, with cable and internet companies jockeying for position as well.
At the root of all of this is cables, whether fiber optic or metal, and the fire-resistance of these industrial cables is important. With Google and Apple looking to expand into more large markets, and Verizon and AT&T building a smart-city infrastructure, FR cabling is a growing sector in 2016.
Fire safety will always be important – it’s not just some passing trend like pet rocks, the Macarena, or Justin Beiber. So long as we have a sun, materials, and people, there will be a risk of fire. The more connected we become, the more FR protection we need.