An industrial market forecast group is predicting annual increases of 6.4% in U.S. demand for welding equipment and consumable products over the next three years, bringing the total market value to $7.1 billion by 2015. The Freedonia Group Inc. stated the increases in demand will be driven by continued recovery in the major domestic manufacturing industries and construction markets, as well as by the rising number of applications for welding.

The resulting report, Welding Equipment & Consumables is available for sale by Freedonia.

Most of the demand identified for welding equipment is for arc- and arc-resistance welding systems, the report finds. Together, they represent 70% of the total market. These techniques will remain the dominant choices for industrial welding applications due to the progress of integration with advanced automation techniques, which has improved weld-deposit rates and overcome the limitations presented by a widespread shortage of skilled welders.

The study indicated that the welding consumables segment would benefit from two factors: overall economic recovery and the prevalence of arc welding in manufacturing. Both factors will help drive the consumables segment to a 6.3% annual growth rate through 2015.

Electrodes and filler metal represent 73% of the total demand for welding consumables. Solid wire electrodes and filler metals are the largest product categories by dollar value. Flux- and metal-cored electrodes are the fastest growing product segment, however.

The remaining 27% of consumables demand is accounted for by oxyfuel and shielding gases: Oxygen and acetylene are the biggest factors in the metal joining and metal cutting categories; argon is the most common shielding gas, followed by CO2.

Manufacturing industries accounted for 63% of the demand for welding products in 2010, and within that category fabricated metal products and transportation are the largest segments. The Freedonia forecast sees rebounds in those market segments pacing broader growth in demand for welding products, to a market capitalization of $4.4 billion by 2015. A rebound in construction projects will bring that market segment’s demand to $750 million in 2015.