Demand in the US for welding equipment and consumables is forecast to increase 6.4% annually to $7.1 billion in 2015 (Table 1). Gains will be driven by continued recovery from the economic recession experienced between late 2007 and 2009 in major manufacturing and construction markets. Growth will also be fueled by the increasing number of applications in which various types of welding can be used. These and other trends are presented in a new study from The Freedonia Group.
The welding equipment segment is dominated by arc and resistance welding systems, which accounted for a combined 70% of equipment demand in 2010. These will remain the dominant welding techniques, in part due to their successful integration with modern automation techniques that improve weld deposit rates and alleviate the shortage of skilled welders.
Welding consumables will benefit from both economic recovery and the ubiquity of arc welding processes increasing 6.3% annually. Welding electrodes and filler metal accounted for 73% of all consumables in 2010, with oxyfuel and shielding gases accounting for the rest. Solid wire electrodes are the largest product category for electrodes and filler metal in dollar terms. However, emergent consumable products such as flux- and metal-cored electrodes are the most rapidly growing product segment. Among the gases, oxygen and acetylene are dominant in metal joining and cutting. Argon is by far the most commonly used shielding gas, followed by carbon dioxide.
Manufacturing comprises the largest market for welding products, accounting for 63% of all consumption in 2010. Within the manufacturing sector, fabricated metal products and transportation equipment are the largest consumers, and recovery in these industries will help drive gains in welding product demand in manufacturing applications to $4.4 billion in 2015. Consumption of welding products by the construction industry will grow the fastest of any end-use industry. Based on recovery from a severe slowdown in 2008 and 2009, revitalized construction activity will drive demand to $750 million in 2015, or nearly 11% of the welding product market total. HP