Demand for welding & cutting equipment on the rise
Increase in requirement fuelled by Arabia’s flourishing industrial sector


The growth in demand for welding and cutting equipment in the UAE and the essentially the rest of Arabia is driven by the fast-expanding industrial sector, which has made this segment an essential component of the regional steel fabrication, metal working and metal manufacturing industry. According to latest figures, the industrial sector in the UAE grew by 11 per cent in 2011. From US$ 35 billion in 2010, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the UAE’s overall GDP swelled to an all-time high of US$ 39 billion in 2011.

In Qatar, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the industrial sector is expect to post 18 per cent yearly growth between 2011 and 2012, with more than US$ 125 billion expected to be spent on projects between 2011 and 2016.

Manufacturing sector was Saudi Arabia’s fastest growing industry in the first half of 2011, rising by 22.5 per cent, driven by a 38 per cent increase in petroleum refining. Non-refining manufacturing expanded by 14.8 per cent.

This exponential growth in the Arabian industrial sector is fuelling demand for a wide variety of welding and cutting equipment, highlighting the importance of the premier regional trade fair – SteelFab – which showcases not just welding machines but a complete range of welding & cutting equipment and devices. “Every country has its own industrial characteristics. In Arabia, the welding and cutting segment essentially involves not just welding shops but fabrication yards and engineering workshops, fuelling demand for not just welding machines but a diverse and complete range of equipment and a substantial variety of brands. And, regional buyers always have one comprehensive sourcing platform to rely on – SteelFab,” said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah.

Mr Midfa was speaking during the launch of the forthcoming ninth edition of SteelFab, which will be held from January 14 to 17, 2013, at Expo Centre Sharjah, and will have a special focus area on welding and cutting.

“Right from the launch edition, SteelFab was intended to cater to the complete requirements of the steel fabrication industry, where metal forming and welding & cutting section was one of the major elements,” he pointed out.

The welding & cutting segment at SteelFab has grown with the show. From about 1,200 square metres of exhibition space and 48 companies in its first edition in 2004, SteelFab has expanded fast to feature about 16,000 square metres of space and nearly 225 exhibitors and 600 brands for its previous edition in 2012.

While the number of welding & cutting brands/exhibitors in the 2008 edition of SteelFab stood at 143, for the previous edition in 2012, the number grew impressively to 245.

“This clearly indicates that SteelFab has been the platform of choice for welding & cutting equipment manufacturers to reach out to the Middle East and surrounding markets. SteelFab has also been a market-entry vehicle for numerous welding brands,” said Mr. Naveen Fernandes Asst. Group Exhibition Manager, Expo Centre Sharjah.

The steel fabrication sector has also evolved with the UAE economy, which has successfully diversified away from a nation dependent solely on oil income. This change has also reflected in SteelFab’s special focus areas, which now include material handling, machine tools, pipe & tube machinery, live display, and technical seminars & product presentations, apart from welding & cutting.

The number of visitors is also on the rise with every passing edition. SteelFab 2012, which was held at Expo Centre Sharjah from January 9-12, attracted about 7,000 trade visitors, registering nearly 22 per cent growth over its past show.

“Apart from these positive market indicators, the welding & cutting section can also count on the excellent track record of SteelFab, its global prominence, continuous growth, extensive showcase and a reputable organizer,” added Mr. Naveen.

The special section on welding & cutting will showcase machines/power sources - conventional, arc, plasma, tig & mig/mag; welding & cutting - consumables, electrodes, wire & flux; accessories - torches, guns, tips, holders; gas cutting & welding, brazing - equipment, spares, consumables; welding - robots, positioners, rotators, manipulators &tables; weld preparation, heat treatment & weld finishing; stud welding equipment, fasteners, studs & fastening systems; automation, resistance & capacitor discharge; beam welding systems, seam welding lines & special purpose welding systems; cutting systems – cnc plasma, oxyfuel, laser & waterjet; pipe construction, orbital welding, cutting and beveling.

The next edition of SteelFab, which is the region’s most comprehensive trade event for the steel fabrication, metal working and metal manufacturing industry, will be organised by Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.