This year, Welding Alloys celebrates its half centenary by looking back on 50 years of continuous success. As a pioneer in welding materials and techniques, the company has seen its business grow steadily over the years so that it is now active worldwide with production plants in Germany, France, Turkey, the US, Malaysia, South Africa, Argentina and India.
“We are active predominantly in heavy industries such as steel making, power generation, construction, mining, oil and gas, vessel building and defence,” says Business Development Director Benoit Bouquin. “As many of these industries have moved to low wage countries, we have expanded our operations to follow our customers.”
For example, 70% of production output at the French facility is destined for export markets. The majority of this amount is distributed via the group’s international sales subsidiaries with just 40% sold directly to customers from the company’s three sites in Europe.
“Competition is growing from international suppliers, particularly those in emerging economies were manufacturing costs are lower,” says Mr. Bouquin. “However, we will continue to distinguish ourselves from our competitors through the quality of our products and services rather than through a race to the bottom in terms of price.”
Welding Alloys has built its reputation on quality and innovation and sees this strategy as the best way to assure its continued success in the future. It manufactures the widest range of flux cored and metal cored welding wires in the world, including hardfacing cored wires, cladding cored wires, aluminium welding wires, thermal arc spraying cored wires, joining cored wires, tubular electrodes and flux cored TIG rods.
“We are continuously improving our flux cored and metal cored wires, thus setting the benchmark in the industry for products which are grabbing an ever greater share of the welding market thanks to their technological and economical advantages,” says Mr. Bouquin. “The expertise we have gained through our development activities means that we can also customize our standard products to meet our customers’ individual requirements.”
In addition to welding consumables, Welding Alloys has been pioneering the design and manufacture of automated welding machinery since the late 1970s. With its MultiSurfacer™ and MultiJoiner ™ machine ranges, the company offers sophisticated solutions for demanding cladding, joining and rebuilding applications. The range covers stationery equipment for use in workshops and portable equipment for carrying out on-site welding jobs.
The third area of activity is INTEGRA, the Welding Alloys Group’s wear protection solution provider division. “The knowledge we have gained over 50 years in the industry is invaluable to our customers,” says Mr. Bouquin. “We run regular courses, seminars and training events for our customers around the world to ensure they get the best out of our products and maximize the effectiveness of the solutions.”
At present, Welding Alloys sells directly to customers. In the future it is looking to also target distributors and wholesalers. Increased competition in its traditional markets from low-cost country producers is also putting the onus on Welding Alloys to rethink its sales strategy.
“Our markets in the steel and petrochemical industry are coming under increasing pressure, not least through the over-production of steel by Chinese steelmakers and the effect of low oil prices on the petrochemical market,” says Mr. Bouquin. “By contrast, we are able to exploit new opportunities in the defence sector where new orders for naval vessels are resulting in increased demand for our welding products.”