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INTRODUCTION

Welding is used as a fabrication process in every industry large or small and is a principal means of fabricating and repairing metal products. The process is an efficient, economical, and dependable means of joining metals. This is the only process that has been used in space. The process also finds applications in air and underwater.

The true impact of welding on the metalworking industry can be gauged by the total value of the parts produced by welding; the money saved by using welding over other metal fabrication processes like soldering, brazing, etc.; and by the value of products made possible by welding. The welding industry constitutes users of welding techniques as well as companies that provide the equipment, materials, processes, and support services for welding.

Welding finds application in the automobile industry, and in the construction of buildings, bridges and ships, submarines, pressure vessels, offshore structures, storage tanks, oil, gas and water pipelines, girders, press frames, and water turbines. A major contribution that welding has made to society is the manufacture of household products like refrigerators, kitchen cabinets, dishwashers, and other similar products.

The various welding technologies available allow a great deal of flexibility in the design of the components to be welded. Welding and joining technologies are pervasive in commercial and defense manufacturing, and are a significant value-added source in the manufacturing process. The role of welding and joining in the repair and life extension of manufactured products is even more critical since these processes are frequently used to repair structures and components that were not originally welded.

STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The welding industry constitutes the workforce that uses welding technologies to perform welding operations; the welding supply industry that provides the equipment, products, consumables, and services needed by the workforce; and the end users in the larger national and international industrial sector who rely on welding and joining processes to manufacture their products. This report concentrates on the manufacturers and end users of various types of welding equipment and consumables.

Machinery, filler materials, and accessories for the various welding processes are manufactured and supplied by a few large companies whose sales exceed $100 million. Several hundred much smaller companies specialize in items such as welding torches, welders' helmets, hammers, marking equipment, welding screens, special fluxes, etc.

The value of shipments at the manufacturing level fluctuates with the volume of metals consumed in the global industry, and there have been pronounced upward and downward movements in these figures over the years. This report will discuss the sales figures of major manufacturers, their respective positions in the market, competition involved in the field, and the future outlook for these companies.

This report will concentrate on the various types of welding applications of in various industries and the future prospects of these welding technologies in these industries, considering the fact that new technologies and methods are being introduced in the market at a very fast rate.

Manufacturers have requirements in at least three areas: meeting the changing demands of their customers, competing with other manufacturers, and complying with government regulations. This means they continually concentrate on developing a new generation of improved, high value-added products. Joining technologies that have evolved to meet new industrial needs include specific arc-welding techniques for the shipbuilding, aerospace, and oil and gas industries, and advanced resistance welding that has been driven by the automotive and appliance industries. This report will concentrate on the research and development by various manufacturers in developing and improving welding technologies and relevant consumables. The report will also go into the technology life cycle costs of various technologies involved as well as the product life cycle of equipment and consumables involved in the processes.

Materials of the future will be designed to be capable of welding as part of the total integration of welding into the manufacturing cycle. They must be energy-efficient, environmentally benign, and help reprocessing at any point in the life cycle of the component. Welding technologies will be developed along with these new materials so practical fabrication methods are available for all engineering applications. Other areas in need of further research are the joining of dissimilar materials by welding, polymer joining by welding, and joining of coated high strength steels. This report will evaluate foreseeable future developments in the above fields and the research and development programs of various manufacturers and organizations in this regard.

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REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY

For an organization to succeed in a competitive market, product opportunities must be identified from the viewpoint of the organization' s strengths. For this, it is necessary to understand the size and growth rate of any opportunity and the competitive atmosphere in which the organization exists. This report presents the ideal medium to understand the various exciting and growing opportunities in the field of welding and consumables and will help any prospective manufacturer, distributor, or even user to understand and succeed in this growing field.

SCOPE OF REPORT

The report has been prepared in a simple, easy to understand format. A number of tables and charts/figures are included, which illustrate current and future market scenarios. The scope of the report includes a detailed study of global and regional markets for various types of welding equipment and consumables with the reasons given for variations in the growth of the industry in certain regions.

INFORMATION SOURCES

The primary information sources include manufacturers and distributors of welding equipment and consumables around the world, major users of this equipment, research organizations, governmental agencies, and trade associations. The report relates to market projections as projected by experts in the welding industry. The report also includes the developments, trends, and activities in the welding industry as reported in trade magazines. Additional secondary sources such as databases, trade literature, specialized journals, and government statistics have been researched while compiling this report.

ANALYST CREDENTIALS

The analyst is a mechanical engineer with more than 40 years of experience in designing factory layouts and setting up factories. He has set up factories for the production of weighing machines and dynamic balancing machines in India and has experience in designing, producing, and servicing the above equipment. He was Senior Vice President of M/S Schenck Avery, Ltd., an Indo-German joint venture, and has set up heavy fabrication shops for fabricating various structures of weighing and dynamic balancing equipment.

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