Metal Welding Equipment and Supplies

Published - Oct 2002| Analyst - Victor Cassidy| Code - AVM040A
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. and Canadian markets for metal welding equipment and supplies in 2002 is expected to reach $3.9 billion. Rising at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 3.5%, this market will reach $4.6 billion in 2007.
  • The world market is estimated at $9.9 billion in 2002 and is projected to grow at an AAGR of 5.0% to about $12.7 billion in 2007.
  • The world market is growing faster than North America because welding is used to build infrastructure in industrializing Third World nations.
  • Welding is threatened by alternative joining technologies, such as adhesive bonding, with many users seeing welding as a manufacturing bottleneck.
  • Arc welding accounts for roughly 75% of the market in North America.
  • Laser welding grew 10% to 12% annually prior to 2001 and continues to develop.

INTRODUCTION

STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The goal of this study is to determine the current status of the market for metal welding equipment and supplies and to assess the current market and growth potential over a 5-year period from 2002 to 2007. The study is intended to serve manufacturers of welding equipment and supplies that seek an independent view of their market and its potential.

REASONS FOR DOING THIS STUDY

The metal welding equipment and supplies industry serves mature markets primarily with fully developed technology. Major portions of the welding market are flat or growing with the Gross National Product. Some welding processes such as oxy-fuel welding appear to be declining. In addition, the U.S. welding industry faces a chronic shortage of trained welders; some low-priced competition from overseas; and the continued growth of alternative metal joining technologies, such as adhesive bonding.

Despite this, growth opportunities exist in metal welding equipment and supplies. Some firms are adapting welding technology to serve other uses and thus expanding into new markets. A few are introducing new welding technology or re-introducing improved versions of older technology that had been abandoned. Since infrastructure building requires large amounts of metal welding, some firms have expanded into the most rapidly developing Third World nations. As always, resourceful and creative manufacturers find ways to make a profit.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE STUDY AND FOR WHOM

This study will be valuable to manufacturers of metal welding equipment and supplies, also to parties that serve this industry. Included are:

  • Suppliers to manufacturers of metal welding equipment and supplies.
  • Producers of shielding and fuel gases used in metal welding.
  • Manufacturers of robots and components employed in automated welding systems.
  • Manufacturers of personal protective equipment for welding and other trades.
  • Welding distributors and other retailers, who sell metal welding equipment and supplies.
  • Welding consultants.
  • Parties in closely-allied industries such as metal cutting.
  • People in industries such as automotive and heavy equipment manufacture that make heavy use of metal welding equipment and supplies.

SCOPE AND FORMAT

This study is limited to equipment and supplies used to weld metal. Of the one hundred or so welding technologies in existence, the nine listed below are widely used in industry and account for the great majority of metal welding equipment and supplies. The first five of these nine are arc welding processes.

  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), also called stick welding;
  • Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding, also called Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW);
  • Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW);
  • Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding, also called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW);
  • Plasma Arc Welding (PAW);
  • Oxy-Fuel Gas Welding (OFW), also called Oxyacetylene Welding;
  • Resistance Welding;
  • Electron Beam Welding (EBW); and
  • Laser Welding (both Nd:YAG and C02 types).

Throughout, this study attempts to determine where growth opportunities exist and to assess them. This report was produced in the United States from published information and interviews with North American welding executives. BCC feels confident that its statistics and projections for North America are accurate. Though it provides projections for the world market and discussion of sales prospects outside North America, BCC is less confident in these numbers.

Each of the nine major welding technologies is covered separately. In each case, the report provides a brief account of the technology, applications (where the welding process is used), industry operations (parties in the market, their activity and relative importance), and markets (industries that buy the process). Each account of a welding process includes estimates of market size for the process, estimates of annual growth rates for the market, and projections of market size to 2007 for North America and the world.

The five arc welding processes SMAW, MIG, FCAW, TIG, and PAWaccount for 67% of the welding market in North America and worldwide. Three firmsIllinois Tool Works (the holding company that owns Miller Electric), Lincoln Electric, and Thermadyne share about 58% of the arc welding market. To avoid repeating the same information five times in this study, we provide portraits of these industry leaders in the Industry Overview. All other manufacturers of metal welding equipment and supplies are profiled as we refer to them.

Three additional write-ups, organized very much like those on the welding processes, are provided.

  • The report describes how welding gases are consumed and sold, and their market prospects.
  • The report covers specialty retailers who sell welding equipment and supplies (welding distributors); welding supplies, such as wire, which are consumed as welding proceeds (i.e., welding consumables); and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • The report describes technology for welding automation and how that portion of the industry is organized. Welding robots are also described, from a technological and economic point of view.

METHODOLOGY

The report relates market projections to industry issues as described by welding executives in personal interviews. This unique report includes quotes from corporate executives on important developments, trends and activities in the industry. Other sources of industry statistics include U.S. Census reports, industrial associations, trade magazines, and trade press editors. The report presents industry growth estimates through 2007, projects sales, and explains how these numbers were calculated.

INFORMATION SOURCES

The bulk of this report is drawn from personal interviews with executives of major manufacturers of metal welding equipment and supplies. BCC also communicated with government officials, association executives, and consultants.

BCC did extensive library and Internet research, reviewing technical databases, industry publications, and product literature, and visiting manufacturer's Web sites and those of the American Welding Society and Edison Welding Institute.

This is a market research report, not an update on welding technology. The report describes welding technology in sufficient detail to make sense of markets and products.

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