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Indian welding market: roaring to shine

Welding, the only method that can be used in space as well as underwater, will be fuelled by strong growth over the medium and long term
Being the most economical and effective method of joining metals, welding plays a vital role in improving the life of manufactured products. Welding is the only method that can be used in space as well as underwater. The global market of welding industry is expected to grow at a considerable rate throughout the estimated period.
With the increased application of robotics in welding industries, the robot welding segment is predicted to witness double digit growth in the near future. Welding is used in more and more industries, from the tallest skyscraper to the automotive industry. Typically, welding involves human judgment, more so than in any other machine operation.
The Indian welding industry is dominated by the use of manual welding equipment. However, this situation is expected to change as several industries have started demanding automated equipment to support higher productivity.

 
The downward manufacturing growth in almost all the industries and absolutely no push from the government on infrastructure sector is the major roadblock – Milan P.  Supanekar, Owner, Welding Technologies India
Fragmented marketThe Rs. 1,000-crore welding equipment market in India is very fragmented and dominated by low priced local manufacturers of welding transformers and welding rectifiers. Organised sector’s market share of around 45-50 per cent is shared by Esab, Ador, AdorFontech, Memco, Warpp, SigmaWeld, Panasonic, Kemppi, Lincoln, Miller etc. “The competition is expected to become more and more fierce in these segment with international brands putting up their manufacturing facilities in India, and simultaneously Indian major place importing welding inverters from China,” emphasises Nimesh Chinoy, Marketing Director (SigmaWeld), Electronic Devices.
Driving growthIndia is considered as one of the most potential markets for welding products. The welding equipment market is solely proportional to the growth of the fabrication industries, which consist of automobile, construction equipment, transport, power and other core industrial sectors. “While there are ample scopes for the technology improvement segment including automation of welding, other sectors are really struggling to sustain its growth parameter due to present economic and Forex situation in India,” says Subhrajyoti Mukhopadhyay, Managing Director, Automation India Welding Technology Pvt. Ltd.
Negative growthWelding equipment market has been stagnating for last 2 years. In the current financial year, there is no indication of any positive trigger for industry growth. Mr Chinoy adds, “Market is likely to show negative growth of 10-20 per cent. All the growth drivers like decline in GDP, negative growth in manufacturing sector — especially in automobile industry, heavy engineering, ship building and transportation, power sector and infra projects — are the areas of concern and don’t indicate any sign of improvement or positive trigger in coming months.”

 

We are in the market place to render our services to the customers in selecting the right solution of welding in terms of quality and productivity – Subhrajyoti Mukhopadhyay, MD, Automation India Welding TechnologyMajor roadblocksOne of the major roadblocks for the local market in India is the substantial import of welding equipment. Another challenge faced by Indian welding equipment manufacturers is the unorganised sector that currently occupies close to 50-55 per cent of the market.
Mr Mukhopadhyay shares his concern, “Availabilities of good quality solid state devices with economical prices are the most dangerous constrain being faced by welding machine manufacturing industries, which are solely dependent on imports. With the present Forex situation, these imported parts are also becoming much dearer, whereas the end products are not being able to recover the higher input cost due to stiff competition in the market place.”
According to Mr Chinoy, “Policy paralysis over the past 5 years is the major areas of concern and has adversely impacted the demand for welding equipment.”
Whereas Milan P.  Supanekar, Owner, Welding Technologies India, feels, “The downward manufacturing growth in almost all the industries and absolutely no push from the government on infrastructure sector is the major roadblock.”

 

Policy paralysis over the past 5 years is the major areas of concern and has adversely impacted the demand for welding equipment- Nimesh Chinoy, Marketing Director (SigmaWeld), Electronic Devices
Competitiveness within the marketAlmost all the international brands of welding machines are available in India today. The acknowledged global players are present here either with their own offices or through local importer. “The welding machine technology in India still remains at the era of 1990 only,” explains Mr Mukhopadhyay. “Due to the poor unreliable quality, the cheap imported machines from China and other Asian countries have started contaminating the technological advantages which a customer can accrue by using latest technology machines.”
“Indigenous manufacturers like us having in-house facilities for R&D, and product enhancement facilities have an advantage and are expected to grow much faster,” emphasises Mr Chinoy. “The increasing competition in the market has shown European companies trying to compete for the Indian welding equipment market at lower prices through Chinese imports or putting up manufacturing set-up in India.”
Mr Supanekar says, “It’s a very fierce competition. There are many big and small players including imports from China. However, everyone has his own market segment based on product quality, pricing and features.”
Adopting latest technologyThe buyer and the suppliers should adopt the latest technology in upgrading their process parameters to be able to become globally competitive in cost and quality. “Automation of welding plays a major role in this upgradation,” emphasises Mr Mukhopadhyay. “We are in the market place to render our services to the customers in selecting the right solution of welding in terms of quality and productivity.”
Electronic Devices is too working toward developing new products such as AC/DC GTAW welding inverters and AC/DC SAW 1,500 Amps welding inverters to complete the range of ARC, TIG, MIG, FCAW, and SAW welding equipment. Mr Chinoy adds, “We have expanded our range of welding automation products such as robotic MIG, GTAW automation (AVC, weaving units, cold wire feeders, complete welding SPM solutions), column boom manipulators etc. integrated with our Sigmaweld welding inverters.”
As the market potential for welding equipment is shrinking at the moment, Welding Technologies India is also bringing some different solutions in monitoring of welding parameters and welding quality. According to Mr Supanekar, “This is the first time in India, we are getting this kind of software solution.”
Welding operation is most critical operation of any manufacturing process, and quality of welding has direct impact on quality of final product. However, enough welding quality monitoring systems are not available in India. “Seeing the requirement of right automated tool providing monitoring and data analysis of welding processes, WTI is happy to introduce real-time welding process monitoring and management system (WMMS) first time in India,’ adds Mr Supanekar.
Robust expansion of the shipbuilding, construction and energy, particularly wind power sector will underline strong growth of the Indian welding market over the medium and long term. The financial meltdown has, of course, affected most user industries for welding equipment, but energy, construction and shipbuilding sectors have been recession proof and generating moderate demand.

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