Arc welding growth driven by needs in energy industry
New analysis from Frost and Sullivan, World Arc Welding Equipment and Filler Metals Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $11.70 billion in 2010 and estimates this to reach $19.29 billion in 2017.
The energy industry contributed the most to market growth in 2010, as it was the least affected by the downturn. This was due to the continuous demand for filler metals, as end users preferred to invest in these lower-priced products during the slowdown. In addition, this industry has considerable infrastructure requirements as well as repairs and maintenance in pipelines, offshore, liquefied natural gas tanks, wind turbine installations, and the nuclear sector.
There is also substantial demand from automotive and transportation, construction and infrastructure, industrial expansion in emerging economies, and the expected hike in steel consumption in machinery and equipment. Foreign direct investments as well as a rise in emerging technologies—such as energy-saving machines and corrosion-resistant filler metals that save costs—have given a boost to the sales of arc welding equipment and filler metals in these sectors.
“While the Asia Pacific market is likely to benefit the most from the growth in these end-user industries, the EMEA will also experience significant demand from industries in Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East, and Africa,” said Frost and Sullivan research analyst Ruth Shilpa Sudhakar. “Manufacturers are looking to shift base to these economies to reduce their operational and labor costs and increase productivity.”
Mature economies such as Central and Western Europe and North America are expected to witness lower demand, as they are still shaking off the effects of the downturn. Asia is likely to witness the entry of more participants, particularly in the filler metals market.
The rising base material costs are compelling manufacturers to raise the prices of their products, although customers are seeking more advanced technology, quality, and services, at lower prices. A large number of smaller participants from China are able to match this requirement for a wide product range at affordable prices, while the influx of participants from Korea has also helped ease the demand for arc welding equipment and filler metals.
This profusion of companies is fragmenting the market and forcing manufacturers to invest in R+D to develop products that customers require and expand their product portfolio in a bid to retain their market shares. Manufacturers will be under pressure to offer the latest technologies, experimenting with novel base materials to slash the total cost of production and maintenance.
“Manufacturers are increasingly using high-performance alloys in the filler metals market to avoid spatter and corrosion, which are useful advantages in the offshore segment,” said Sudhakar. “A rising number of arc welding equipment is now portable, lightweight, easy-to-use, and energy-efficient or battery operated, and this lessens the pricing pressure on customers.”
Most manufacturers have introduced training programs for distributors and customers to enable the most efficient use of the products. They are also looking to strengthen their ties with distribution networks in emerging economies. In Russia, on the other hand, there is a marked acquisition trend.
Arc welding equipment and filler metals companies are backing up their business expansion strategies with excellent customer support. Value-added services, on-time delivery, and immediate query clarifications from trained personnel will go a long way in establishing customer loyalty and stand out in this fiercely competitive market.
Edited by Sharon Sofinski