SIC 3548

This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing electric and gas welding and soldering equipment and accessories. Also included are establishments primarily engaged in coating welding wire from purchased wire or from wire drawn in the same establishment. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing hand-held soldering irons are classified in SIC 3423: Hand and Edge Tools, Except Machine Tools and Handsaws, and those manufacturing electron beam, ultrasonic, and laser welding equipment are classified in SIC 3699: Electrical Machinery, Equipment, and Supplies, Not Elsewhere Classified.

NAICS Code(s)

333992 (Welding and Soldering Equipment Manufacturing)

335311 (Power, Distribution, and Specialty Transformer Manufacturing)

According to projections from Manufacturing and Distribution USA , 388 establishments operated in this category in 2004, up from a projected 368 the previous year. Industry-wide employment was expected to decline to less than 16,000 workers, and total shipment values were expected to decline to less than $4 billion. At the beginning of the new century, a decline in auto production hit the industry hard. However, by 2002 manufacturers were optimistic about an increase in production. Sales also were improving in non-manufacturing markets, which further buoyed the industry's optimism.

Welding and soldering equipment manufacturers, as a whole, experienced a more than $2 billion increase in shipments between 1987 and 1996. In that year, the industry employed an estimated 19,000 people and paid significantly higher wages than other forms of manufacturing. In 1994 the average compensation for an hourly worker in this sector was $15.28, compared to the entire manufacturing sector's average of $12.09 per hour. There were 246 establishments in 1996, mostly concentrated in the Great Lakes region and supporting the automotive

SIC 3548 Electric and Gas Welding and Soldering Equipment

industry. Michigan claimed the most establishments, followed by Ohio.

Approximately 31 percent of the industry's manufacturers produced arc welding machines and related components or accessories, while another 27 percent made arc welding electrodes. The rest of the industry was split between manufacturing resistance welders, gas welding and cutting equipment, welding apparatus, and miscellaneous welding equipment. The industry was looking forward to computerized and electronic innovations in the 2000s.

Progressive Tool and Industries Co. of Southfield, Michigan, called PICO by the equipment industry, was the clear industry leader, with nearly $1.5 billion in 2001 sales and 5,500 employees. Fort Collins, Colorado-based Forney Industries Inc. was a distant second, with $214 million in sales and just 500 employees. Rounding out the top three was Deloro Stellite Company Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri, with $153 million in sales and 1,200 employees.

At the beginning of the new century, a decline in auto production and shipbuilding hit the industry hard. However, by 2002 manufacturers were optimistic about an increase in production. Sales also were improving in the non-manufacturing sector as the industry sought out non-traditional markets for welding products, further buoying the industry. In addition, both imports and exports were looking forward to modest annual gains.

Further Reading

Baker, Deborah J., ed. Ward's Business Directory of US Private and Public Companies. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale, 2003.

Darnay, Arsen J., ed. Manufacturing and Distribution USA. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2003.

Kosdrosky, Terry. "Fiat Puts PICO Unit Up for Sale." Crain's Detriot Business , 15 July 2002.

"Road to Recovery: Part II." Welding Design and Fabrication , July 2002.

U.S. Census Bureau. 1997 Economic Census-Manufacturing. 15 February 2000. Available from .

US Industry and Trade Outlook. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.

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