Heating up the future
Manufacturers agree that the infrared industry will continue to grow. They agree the customer base will continue to grow as well. Schwartz sees industries outside of the asphalt market, such as landscape contractors, becoming infrared operators. And he predicts more contractors in the pavement maintenance industry will continue to add infrared services to become a "one stop shop" for their customers.
Larsen predicts municipalities may start legislating the infrared process for seamless permanent asphalt repair. And if that's the case better specs on infrared application and use may need to be developed.
One major aspect the infrared industry is lacking is research and development data, Allen says. "If you go to any of the big research parts of the asphalt industry you'll find no data on infrared, and that needs to be done," he says. "The parameters for applying infrared to restore asphalt need to be established. Independent R&D entities will need to get involved."
But the absence of this data isn't stopping contractors and customers from realizing the benefits of infrared equipment now. "Now is not the time to be afraid to buy equipment," Schwartz says. After all, it doesn't look like the infrared industry is showing any signs of stopping.