African Fusion talks to ESAB South Africa’s MD, Chris Eibl, about using premium products to reduce the cost per kg of deposited weld metal.

ESAB South Africa has made massive strides in regaining lost market share and we are well on our way to getting back to where we were prior to the dissolution of ESAB Africa Welding and Cutting,” begins Eibl.

ESAB South Africa WeldCloud group“We are striving to regain our market leading position in cutting-edge welding and cutting technology and more and more customers are moving over to ESAB because of our ability to offer complete welding and cutting solutions,” he adds, citing a new relationship with Air Liquide as a national distributor for the entire ESAB product range.

“The ESAB brand is back to where we want it to be. In the last six months we have experienced 25% growth compared to the same period in 2017, and that in a declining economy, which we think is remarkable,” Eibl tells African Fusion.

How has this been achieved? “Many of our competitors have introduced cheaper products to try to retain market share, but we have taken the opposite approach. Low cost products tend to increase costs in the long term, so we have chosen to offer real value to clients instead. Our strategy is to target the total cost of ownership of welding and cutting operations, which directly affects fabrication profitability. Some believe that a lower R/kg for consumables will do this, but this is seldom the case. At the end of the day, a customer needs to be successful in all aspects of fabrication, by reducing all of the input costs at the same time,” Eibl argues.

By way of a demonstration, ESAB ran a comparison between its premium AristoRod ASC (Advanced Surface Characteristic) welding wire and a lower-cost alterative. “Even at double the price of the cheaper wire, we still managed to achieve a 10% reduction in the total cost of the fabrication,” Eibl reports.

How? “Through improved efficiency of the whole welding process. There is less downtime associated with our premium quality copper-free ASC wire: less stopping to clean liners and feed rollers clogged with copper; and significantly less spatter, which saves on clean up time, grinding discs and labour. In short, the arc-on time is higher when using AristoRod ASC wire, leading to much lower total costs,” he explains.

“So a fabrication shop with 20 bays can reduce to 18, simply by switching to this premium quality wire, and as a bonus, the fume generation will be reduced to a third of what it was. This makes the process more environmentally friendly, and has the added benefit of reducing the risk of non-welding personnel suffering from arc-eye, which is often caused by reflected light off welding fume,” he says. “So as well as reducing total fabrication costs, the use of ESAB’s AristoRod ASC results in better health and safety and a more welder-friendly work- place.” Read more…

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Crown Publications, one of South Africa’s largest business-to-business publishing houses, came into existence in 1986. Since then, the company has grown from producing a single magazine, Electricity SA (renamed Electricity+Control), to publishing six monthly magazines, three quarterlies, and a number of engineering handbooks.