Welding is a fabrication process, wherein metals or thermoplastics are joined together with the help of coalescence. Filler metals melt with joining materials and are consumed during the welding process. Flux is used to produce a gas shield around the weld and prevent oxidation of metals. Together, flux and filler metals are known as welding consumables. Welding consumables are used in various end-use industries such as manufacturing, automobile, marine, building & construction, and offshore. Welding is the only joining method used in space and underwater applications.
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Stick electrodes, solid wires, flux-cored wires, SAW wires & fluxes, and rods are the major types of welding consumables available in the market. Stick electrodes dominated the welding consumables market in EMEA, with more than 40% share in 2013. Stick electrodes are designed for usage in mild- and low-alloy steel welding applications. They are widely used in power generation and petrochemical industries. Solid wire consists of a single strand of wire insulated with non-conductive material. Solid wires can be used to change the tracking on printed circuit assemblies. These wires are convenient for making temporary connections between circuitry modules and test equipment. Flux-cored wires are used for welding medium and high-tensile steels in all positions. These can be employed for welding general and structural steel work. SAW wires & fluxes are designed for submerged-arc welding applications. They are used in applications in structural steels, shipbuilding steels, and pipeline steels. Flux-cored wire is expected to be the fastest growing segment in the welding consumables market during the forecast period from 2013 to 2020.
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Welding consumables are primarily used in automobiles & transportation, building & construction, and marine industries. Welding consumables are used in the automobile & transportation industry to manufacture critical components and subsystems. The building and construction application accounted for more than 18% share of the welding consumables market in EMEA in 2013. Welding consumables are used to join pipes in refineries and power plants. Welding consumables are also extensively used in the marine industry to manufacture major components of ships.
Welding is a well-known process across regions. The quality of welding work is highly dependent on the welding process, skill of the worker and consumable used. In terms of volume, Europe dominated the welding consumables market with over 70% share in the EMEA region in 2013. The Middle East was the second-largest market for welding consumables in EMEA in 2013. Growth in the building and construction industry is anticipated to be the key driver of the welding consumables market in the Middle East. Large quantity of steel, welding equipment and consumables would be required for construction projects and refineries due to expansion of economic infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and other GCC states. Construction of new power plants and repair and maintenance activities in Africa are estimated to boost the demand for welding consumables in the near future. Additionally, new projects in mining and metals, and oil and gas industries would further augment demand for welding consumables.
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Three major companies - Lincoln Electric, Elektriska Svetsnings-Aktiebolaget (ESAB), Voestalpine AG and Illinois Tool Works, Inc. (ITW) — dominate the welding consumables market in EMEA. These companies have a strong global distribution network, with presence in welding consumables as well as welding equipment markets. Additionally, various small and medium players operate in Europe and Africa. Arcsel LLC is a specialized manufacturer of welding consumables (electrodes and wire) for arc welding in Eastern Europe. Vorarc Welding CC is the largest manufacturer of submerged-arc welding wires in Africa. It is the only manufacturer of submerged arc fluxes in the continent.
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