Saudi Aramco Review

ZWEF’s automatic packing line

ZWEF’s automatic packing line

Zulfi Welding Electrodes cashing in on the boom

With mega projects like Sadara spurring industry demand in the kingdom, a leading Saudi Arabian welding electrodes factory hopes to do booming business over the coming year

RIDING high on a buoyant oil and gas industry, Zulfi Welding Electrodes Factory (ZWEF), one of Saudi Arabia’s leading welding electrodes manufacturers, says it has seen its sales soar this year.

“The requirement from the market this year has been impressive and our sales have seen a significant jump, close to 50 per cent, compared to the previous year,” says ZWEF chairman Dr Abdulrahman Al Turaigi.

The growth, points out Dr Al Turaigi, has been spurred by the booming oil and gas industry, and he predicts even better sales prospects for 2013. The oil and gas sector at the fabrication level has been very busy and there has been an increasing demand for welding consumables, he says, pointing out that 2013 looks equally promising for the welding industry following the award of major engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts such as the Sadara chemicals project.

“We expect the coming year to be much better than 2012,” he says. “We have already signed many scheduled orders with staggered deliveries extending up to the end of next year.”

ZWEF manufactures manual metal arc welding electrodes under technical know-how from Oerlikon of Switzerland, one of the leaders and pioneers in the field of welding. It also offers various types of welding electrodes including stainless steel and high tensile alloys for the oil and gas sector.

Major fabricators from the oil and gas, petroleum, pressure vessel fabrication, pipeline construction, infrastructure, and engineering industries use ZWEF’s electrodes on a preferred basis and over the past year the company has supplied shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) consumables to several major projects across the GCC, says Dr Al Turaigi.

“These projects called for the delivery of the electrodes on time while manufacturing them to precise specifications and in strict conformity to standards,” he says. “The challenges we faced included meeting the market demand for varied electrode chemistries, developing specific alloy formulations to meet stringent code requirements, sourcing raw materials globally and the logistics of it all.”

The leading electrodes manufacturer is currently in the process of executing major orders for cladding work from petroleum industry fabricators, where the requirement of high-end nickel alloys, super duplex alloys, super alloys are being met with the Oerlikon range of products.

“Oerlikon products were used for electroslag welding on major cladding projects and its alloys and fluxes outperformed the competition and became the preferred choice by leading high-quality pressure vessel fabricators,” Dr Al Turaigi adds.

Meanwhile, ZWEF has taken strategic initiatives to keep the company ahead of its competitors, says Al Turaigi.

“We have developed new electrodes in the high alloy segment and upgraded our laboratory facilities with the latest equipment,” he says, adding that the company also successfully won specific approvals and certifications from major petroleum companies and certifying agencies.

“We are the only company in the GCC to manufacture a complete range of SMAW electrodes, from mild steel to super alloys, and we are in a position to meet customer needs in new alloy development locally,” Dr Al Turaigi says, adding that users need look no further ZWEF for their “high-end needs”.

He continues: “Our constant quest for quality and persistent approach to high-end alloy development has made us the preferred choice among fabricators. Our turnaround time for development of new or specific alloys for the high-end segment is much shorter compared to other players in the field, due to our in-house research and development (R&D) facility and the availability of qualified metallurgists within the customer’s reach.”

Looking ahead, ZWEF plans to focus on welding automation and providing cutting-edge technologies for the end-users. “We plan to sign deals and finalise collaborations with leaders in their respective fields to address the demand for specialised products in the region, as well as offer a welding consultancy service to fabricators for the ‘Weld Management System’,” says Dr Al Turaigi.

ZWEF was established in 1995 in Zulfi, which is 280 km from the Saudi capital Riyadh. The company employs 200 staff, 125 of whom are skilled and semi-skilled workers in manufacturing with the remaining in sales and distribution. Its manufacturing facility covers an area of 12,000 sq m and ZWEF has sales and distribution offices and warehouses in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah.

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