The global market for solid welding wires was adversely affected by the 2009 global financial crisis, but it recovered in 2010 and now boasts 9% compound annual growth rates (CAGR) from 2010 to 2017. Important factors driving this growth will include the wider adoption of alloyed solid wires in emerging geographic markets; increasing automation and MIG applications; greater product awareness; and welding operators’ rising preference for solid wires in pipelines industries.

A report by Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Global Solid Wires Market, concluded that the market earned revenues of $3,083.3 million in 2010 and estimated this will reach $5,631.4 million in 2017. The highest demand for solid wires is expected to come from the energy and construction industries by 2017. Other end-users covered in this research report include aerospace and defense, automotive and transportation, heavy machinery, and ship building, as well as process and other industries.

Frost & Sullivan is a business-to-business research and consulting group. Analysis of the Global Solid Wires Market is part of its Industrial Automation & Process Control Growth Partnership Service program, which also researches other aspects of the global welding and welding consumables industries.

In 2011, the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) region accounted for most of the revenues in the global solid-wires market. Frost & Sullivan attributed this to the higher cost of solid wires across the region, along with the increased adoption of high-performance alloys in solid wires. Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa represent the other growth hotspots for solid wires from the region.

"The Asia-Pacific region is however anticipated to offer the highest growth potential, propelled by large-scale developmental activity in China and India," noted Frost & Sullivan research analyst Ruth Shilpa Sudhakar. "Government investments in energy and construction, coupled with private and foreign direct investments, will combine to propel demand for solid wires."

A challenge for the future will be the increasing substitution of solid wires by flux-cored wires, particularly in developed regions.

"Flux-cored wires are more productive, do not spatter, have in-built shielding flux and provide higher quality welds than solid wires," explained Sudhakar. "Moreover, prices of solid wires and the currently more expensive flux cored wires are set to even out over the long-term due to the rising price of steel that is used in the former."

In addition, the large number of MIG applications is expected to increase the consumption of solid wires. At the same time, the lower adoption rates of automated welding processes in MIG applications across Asia-Pacific is set to limit revenue generation.

"The other limiting factor for the overall market is that solid wires cannot be used for external welding purposes and outdoor workshop applications due to wind interference, without the help of an external shielding flux," she added.

Customizing welding solutions, increasing training and awareness programs among customers, employees and distributors, widening product portfolios and broadening the scope of applications will all support continued market expansion. An expanded global footprint through entry into untapped high potential markets such as Africa will also sustain the growth momentum.

"Manufacturers are also expected to develop high-performance alloys that provide customers with better mechanical properties such as creep resistance, fatigue and temperature resistance," Sudhakar concluded. "This will support enhanced weld quality, while reducing repair and maintenance costs in the long run."