Steel fabricators bank on core sector growth
SteelFab to cater to growing demand from construction, oil & gas and industrial sectors

The rise in number of suppliers of sheet metal products taking part in an upcoming trade fair is seen as a clear indication of surging demand from the construction sector.

“Sheet metal products that cater to the construction industry, including electrical cabinets, control panels, lighting fixtures and cladding, have a sizeable presence at SteelFab 2013. We are seeing some exhibitors coming back after two or three editions, a new trend that reflects the growth in demand from the construction and allied industries,” said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director General of Expo Centre Sharjah.

Mr Midfa was speaking ahead of the region’s dedicated show for metal working, metal manufacturing and steel fabrication industry — SteelFab — that will be held at Expo Centre Sharjah from January 14 to 17, 2013.

Construction projects worth billions of dollars are active in the region, with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar being leading markets in the region. According to recent projections, a total of US$ 4.3 trillion will be invested in construction projects across the MENA region by 2020, an increase of 80 per cent compared to current figures.

The flourishing industrial & manufacturing sectors and the oil & gas industry are also fuelling the steel fabrication sector, which will need to look at acquiring new machinery and technology to enhance production to meet rising requirements. Thus, the special sections at the SteelFab such as welding & cutting, machine tools and pipe & tube machinery also assume significance to the regional steel fabrication industry.

A recent report by a local think tank forecast the value of investment in the industrial and manufacturing sector in the UAE to skyrocket from US$ 30 billion in 2010 to US$ 45 billion by the end of 2017. It expected industrial units in the country to expand from 4,960 at the end of 2010 to 7,142 by 2017, a massive spurt that is opening up great opportunities for the steel fabrication industry.

“Foreseeing the growth of the manufacturing sector, we started a special focus on metal-cutting tools from SteelFab 2010. This move has borne fruit as now there are major displays of metal-cutting machines like 5 axis machining centers, milling, drilling, turning centers at SteelFab,” Mr Midfa added.

Another sector driving demand growth for the fabrication industry is the region’s oil and gas industry, which is planning to invest US$ 666 billion to boost its capacities, as oil prices continue to remain bullish.

“The buoyant oil & gas industry is being serviced by the structural fabrication machinery manufacturers, welding & cutting suppliers, and metal-cutting & machine tool manufacturers,” said Mr Midfa.

Demand has been consistent for pipes from several sectors, including oil & gas, ship-building, food and construction & infrastructure. SteelFab’s focus on pipe & tube machinery is aimed at tapping opportunities for this segment, which has seen good growth over the past three editions, Mr Midfa added.

SteelFab 2013 will not only be a premier sourcing point for the metal manufacturing and steel fabrication industry but also a knowledge-sharing platform through the technical seminars to be held alongside the show.

The seminars, to be held on January 15 and 16, will feature sessions consisting of a technical presentation followed by questions and discussions pertaining to technological innovations and the latest product offerings for the industry.

Top executives and experts will take up topics such as new dust collection tech, economical CNC cutting solutions, laser advantage, software applications, new tech for beam/plate processing, overheated cranes, importance of PPE, automation and new welding processes etc during these sessions.

These sessions will be addressed by representatives of industry majors such as Donaldson Filtration Deutschland, Lincoln Electric, Proarc, Coherent, Graco, Fabtrol Systems, Gietart, Primo Automation, Acecad Software, Airblast, Camfil Farr ME, 3M Gulf, Celada, Demag Cranes & Components, Tekla and Lion International, among others.