Core sector growth to propel regional steel fabrication industry
Four day Steelfab 2012 begins at Expo Centre Sharjah
Strong crude prices, higher oil production and recovering economic growth will encourage GCC countries to go ahead with their nearly US$ 2 trillion worth of infrastructure projects, thus boosting core sectors that fuel the regional steel fabrication and metal working industry.
This optimism was clearly visible as the eighth edition of the region?s premier steel fabrication show ? SteelFab 2012 ? got off to a rousing start at Expo Centre Sharjah on January 9, 2012 (Monday).
The four-day show, which features 216 direct exhibitors and more than 600 brands from 26 countries, was opened by Shaikh Salim Abdul Rahman al Qassimi, Director of the Ruler?s office, Sharjah and will run until January 12 (Thursday).
?Strong crude prices have prompted regional oil-producers to plough back a big chunk of their crude revenues into their oil and gas projects, including capacity expansion and development of production, exploration, refining, gas liquefaction and petrochemicals, and this offers good opportunities to the steel fabrication sector,? said Mr Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
?The manufacturing sector, which is one of the largest contributors to the UAE GDP, the construction and aviation sectors and other major road, tourism and housing projects are also offering excellent growth prospects for the industry,? he added.
Another regional event that is keenly awaited by the metal working industry is the 2022 soccer world cup in Qatar, which will see the world?s largest liquefied natural gas exporter spend some US$ 100 billion over the next few years, according to some estimates, as it rushes to prepare for soccer?s biggest tournament, the first to be held in the Arab World.
Projects in the pipeline include a metro and rail network, airport, a deep-water port, the Qatar-Bahrain causeway, new roads and expansions, and several stadiums, apart from tens of thousands of new hotel rooms.
Aiming to ride this infrastructure wave, the eighth edition of SteelFab, the largest exhibition of its kind in the Middle East and Africa, is showcasing a complete range of machinery & equipment in metal forming, welding & cutting, surface preparation & finishing, grinding & cutting, machining & other allied engineering disciplines at over 16,000 square metres of exhibition space.
?SteelFab is known in the region for introducing new machinery and equipment to industry. SteelFab 2012 too has brought together an impressive line-up of new products and equipment from brand-new exhibitors and manufacturers from across the world, be it from South Korea in the East to Holland in the West,? said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah.
?The exhibit profile of SteelFab is so extensive that one can build a complete steel fabrication workshop from scratch,? he added.
The labour-intensive manufacturing in the Middle East has seen a gradual shift to automation in process, with material handling being at the forefront of this change. SteelFab 2012 has introduced a new focus area ? material handling in steel fabrication to provide the technology & tools to accelerate this shift.
?Increasing production activity is spurring the need for the right material handling equipment, which will reduce worker injuries and prevent fatal accidents and at the same time enhance cost-savings if plants go for automation,? said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa.
The special focus on material handling is featuring a full range of equipment from overhead cranes, conveyor systems, rotators, positioners, column & boom, robots, magnetic lifting and vacuum lifting etc.
Material handling equipment orders are projected to grow 11-12 per cent in 2011/2012 on the back of improved consumer and investor confidence, healthy corporate profits and expanding industrial and construction sectors, according to the latest forecast released by Material Handling Industry of America, the international trade association that has represents the material handling and logistics industry.
SteelFab will feature two more special focus areas ? ? Machine Tools and Pipe & Tube Machinery. ?We have persisted with a special focus on metal-cutting machines for the last three editions, considering the needs of the manufacturing sectors. This has been justified by the increasing participation from the metal-cutting sector and SteelFab 2012 will see live metal-cutting machinery displays from several participants.? Pipe & Tube Machinery will display machinery and tools used in bending and cutting pipes and tubes.
SteelFab 2012 has seen strong support and participation from its foreign partners. The German Pavilion is being held for the second time under the aegis of VDMA, (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau – German Engineering Federation), and has good participation.
SteelFab also has the support of UCIMU – Sistemi per Produrre (the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and ancillary products).
SteelFab 2012 has also lined up a series of technical seminars on January 10 and 11, which will tackle key topics ranging from welding and cutting to materials handling and dust collection.
SteelFab 2012 is organised by Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is open only to trade visitors from 10 am to 7pm.