Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)--If there's a silver lining to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, it would be that many Americans have learned valuable DIY lessons while working (or just keeping themselves occupied) at home. One sector of the economy that has seen a surge in business as a result is fabricated-metal products, which include everyday items such as cans, hand tools, pipes and fittings, window frames and auto parts. Industrial Info is tracking $1.24 billion worth of projects across the U.S. for the manufacturing of goods from fabricated metals that are set to begin construction in the second quarter.

The three projects with the highest estimated investment values are for the manufacturing of aluminum cans. Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) (Westminster, Colorado) is seeking permits for a proposed beverage can-manufacturing plant in Pittston, Pennsylvania, which has an estimated price of $360 million, and is exploring its options for a plant to produce can ends in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Crown Holdings Incorporated (NYSE:CCK) (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is considering Martinsville, Virginia, as a possible spot for an aluminum can plant.

Aluminum cans have been in high demand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers have shifted away from public spaces and are consuming more of their food and beverages at home. However, can manufacturers have not always been able to keep up with the needs of breweries, soda producers and other end users, some of which have had to expand their horizons to find new suppliers. Executives at Molson Coors Beverage Company (NYSE:TAP) (Chicago, Illinois), for instance, recently said the company is now sourcing cans from four continents.

For more information, see Industrial Info's reports on Ball's Pennsylvania and Kentucky projects, and Crown Holdings' Virginia project.

"We are capacity constrained right now," said John Hayes, the chief executive officer of Ball Corporation, in a recent earnings-related conference call. "If you're a still water company thinking about going into cans, it's very tight. That's one of the reasons why we've been accelerating our investments to free up some capacity to push those things; because right now, the reality is we don't have the cans to supply those people that are looking to go into it."

Many projects are answering the growing demand for fabricated-metal products that are essential, if not always visible, components of residential and commercial construction. Accel International Incorporated (Irving, Texas) is seeking permits for a wire and cable manufacturing plant in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, to service aerospace, medical, telecommunications and other markets with copper and copper-alloy wire, as well as silver-, nickel- and tin-plated products. The company also is considering proposals for a second phase, which would begin construction next year, and a third phase, which would begin construction in early 2024, according to current estimates. For more information, see Industrial Info's project reports for Phase I, Phase II and Phase III.

Other projects to develop everyday necessities include Emerson Electric Company's (NYSE:EMR) (St. Louis, Missouri) proposed automation, valve and control product manufacturing plant in Ash Flat, Arkansas, which would service electrical, plumbing and other industries, and Digger Specialties Incorporated's (Bremen, Illinois) fencing and railing manufacturing plant in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, which will develop aluminum and vinyl products. For more information, see Industrial Info's reports on the Arkansas and Pennsylvania projects.

Executives at Emerson, which provides products and engineering services to industrial, commercial and residential consumers, noted in a recent quarterly earnings-related conference call that demand for the company's products "may settle into a pattern closer to historic cycles" by the end of 2021.

"As macroeconomic uncertainties related to COVID-19 begin to slowly wane, we continue to expect a slow-but-steady improvement in industrial demand over the course of 2021 as more vaccines become available and distribution methods mature," Emerson said in an accompanying press release. "We also expect that residential demand for many of our markets around the world will remain robust through the year."

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