R/€ = 14.94
R/$ = 10.76
Au 1336.85 $/oz
Pt 1478.50 $/oz
Nov 19, 2004
What's next in the world of weldingBack
SHANGHAI|China State Shipbuilding Corp|Honda|Toyota|Welding|China|South Korea|Crude Steel|Gas Carriers|Metal Inert Gas/metal Active Gas|Steel|Steel Consumption|Transport|Tungsten Inert Gas|Changxiang Island|Shanghai’s Changxiang Island|Chinese Government|Maryland|Laser|Manufacturing Technology
© Reuse this Since the introduction of the coated electrode 100 years ago, several other processes have been invented, for instance SAW (submerged arc welding), TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding, MIG/MAG (metal inert gas/metal active gas) welding, plasma cutting and FCAW (flux cored arc) welding.
What can we expect to come next? Will mechanical joining processes or structural adhesives be a threat to the traditional processes? Welding today is closely allied to the consumption of metals. Steel dominates and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Global consumption has grown at 1,4% a year during the last decade. With the extremely high consumption growth in China during the last five years (26% for 2003), the global consumption of crude steel is expected to exceed a billion tons.
China is by far the largest consumer of steel, with 27% of the world’s production. With more than a billion citizens and an increasing ownership of products such as motor cars, the growth of steel consumption will continue.
Steel consumption in China is also influenced by a growing shipyard industry. The Chinese government is committed to becoming the world leader in shipbuilding, surpassing the current leader, South Korea. Work has begun in China on what is the world’s lar- gest shipbuilding yard. The new yard is being constructed along 8 km of coast on Shanghai’s Changxiang Island. It is scheduled to be fully operational by 2015, and will help China State Shipbuilding Corp to become the world’s top shipbuilder. It will have an annual capacity of 8 mdwt for building supertankers, gas carriers and cruise ships.
Stainless-steel consumption in the world has a steady growth of 5,5% a year. It dropped below 20 Mt three years ago, but exceeded this level in 2003, reaching 21,5 Mt. China contributed to this with its 54,2% growth in 2003. This requires the use of high-quality welding processes, such as TIG and plasma welding. Laser welding is also anticipated.
The change in aluminium consumption is much lower than expected at 2,8% year, on average, for the period 1990 to 2003. This figure will dramatically change when aluminium is more commonly used in cars and in other parts of the transport industry. The number of cars with an aluminium body is increasing. Audi, Jaguar, Honda, Toyota, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and GM are among those offering such cars to reduce environmental impact and improve passenger safety. All structures can be designed to absorb the same energy as steel at only 55% of the weight. Design concepts in aluminium are continuously changing to reduce the manufacturing cost of aluminium bodies. A former MD for Audi claimed that the aluminium car body was about €500 more expensive than steel.
The manufacturing technology for aluminium bodies needs to be further improved, for example mechanical joining with clinching and self-piercing riveting processes. Laser/MIG hybrid welding is another joining process that results in lower heat distortion and a stiffer car body. It will be a considerable time, however, before aluminium exceeds the use of steel. In 2003, some 26,4 Mt of aluminium was produced, about half being used in industrial products and in capital goods compared with steel manufacturing with 855 Mt.
To counter the higher use of aluminium, the steel industry has introduced advanced high-strength steels in the body and other parts of the car. It was developed in a project, known as Ulsab, financed by 33 steel companies. Porsche Engineering produced the conceptual design, ending up with weight savings of 200 kg.
Edited by: Karel Smrcka© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Metals News
Engineering components distributor Bearing Man Group (BMG) has recently completed the installation of a new steel cable carrier system, of undisclosed value, at a straightening mill of one of the largest steel producers in Africa. “This project in Newcastle,...
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 Report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
This Week's Magazine
A structured approach, wherein managers personally engage at each level of the project, is necessary to mitigate delays to the workflow on mega construction projects, says State-owned Eskom Kusile power station projects GM Abram Masango. The 4 800 MW Kusile power...
Construction of transmission lines to evacuate power from a regional hydroelectric project in East Africa, which was hanging on the balance following the withdrawal of financing by key partners, is now back on track. After six months of uncertainty, the African...
Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between South African and Malaysian companies at the Malaysian High Commission in Pretoria on Friday. These MoUs are part of the indirect offsets programme South Africa is providing in return for Malaysia’s...
The South African new vehicle market may well dip to 640 000 units in 2014, says Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) sales and marketing senior VP Calvyn Hamman. This is the first prediction that anticipates a drop in the market. To date economists and industry bodies...
Nissan will re-enter the South African minibus taxi industry in March, when the new NV350 Impendulo goes on sale. The 16-seater has been specifically tailored to meet the terms of government’s Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, which aims to replace South Africa’s...