MS-Metals is building a fully computerised and automated factory for metal solutions in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Construction work has already started, and the factory is expected to be operational by March 2024.
The plant aims to capitalise on the growth of Saudi Arabia’s construction projects market, which registered $10.3bn in contract awards in the first half of 2023 and is on course for an all-time record by the end of the year. As well as the total value of contract awards rising, the increase in the scale and complexity of projects such as Neom has spurred innovation in the manufacturing construction sector.
The total area of the planned MS-Metals plant is 33,400 square metres (sq m). It has 13,500 sq m of production facilities and 12 assembly lines to serve its product range.
Once operational, the factory will supply light gauge steel (LGS) structures for modular and prefabricated buildings, bathroom and kitchen pods and containerised modular units for construction projects in Saudi Arabia and the wider GCC region.
Using a manufacturing method known as computer numerical control, the Tabuk-based factory will use preprogrammed software to automate its machines.
“This facility will mark a milestone in Saudi Arabia,” company representatives told MEED. “It boasts fully computerised production lines, ensuring faster and more efficient production and assembly.”
“MS-Metals has employed a comprehensive automation strategy in its upcoming factory, featuring 12 guided production lines, including the LGS section and the production machines for roofing and side bending, all fully computerised."
The surge in project activity in the kingdom, together with rising demand, has incentivised manufacturers and suppliers to focus on efficient delivery, especially given the challenges posed by the high costs of materials and transportation.
The manufacturer emphasises the potential for contemporary metal solutions, including LGS buildings and modular construction, within Saudi Arabia.
"Saudi Arabia presents a huge opportunity for modern metal solutions,” says MS-Metals. “Since fulfilling the kingdom's ambitious construction plans will require vast resources, proximity to the projects will be instrumental in saving time, costs and resources."
The upcoming factory is strategically situated within 180 kilometres (km) of all the Neom projects and is 480km from the Red Sea Project.
This location enables MS-Metals to ensure a stable and timely supply for ongoing and future projects, the manufacturer says.
“The economic boom in the kingdom has prompted several upcoming projects to be located in close proximity to the Tabuk area, which works to the advantage of MS-Metals. This factory is strategically situated close to key gigaprojects such as Neom, Amaala and the Red Sea Project, creating a highly efficient and cost-effective supply chain for construction materials.”
“One of the primary benefits is the capability to offer same-day deliveries to projects such as Neom, The Line, Trojena, Oxagon, Amaala, the Red Sea Project and Al-Ula.
“Additionally, products such as bathroom and kitchen pods, which are not readily available in Saudi Arabia and are typically imported, will now be manufactured and assembled closer to the projects. This shift will help our clients to reduce costs and decrease their dependence on imports.”
The manufacturer will produce prefabricated modules in its factory and assemble them on site.
MS-Metals emphasises the advantages of this approach, saying: “By using off-site fabrication and advanced assembly techniques, we will offer the fastest production and delivery times for the gigaprojects.
“Our factory will also have the unique capability to construct light gauge warehouses reaching up to 30 metres in width, a feat that is unheard of in the Middle East.”
According to the firm, this factory will also be the only facility in the kingdom with the capacity to construct modular and LGS buildings with up to five storeys.
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