People often use the terms metal fabrication and welding interchangeably, although they are closely connected in some ways, there is a difference between the two.
What is metal fabrication?
Metal fabrication includes bending, shaping, drilling, and altering raw material such as sheet metal and plates to form structural pieces. Fabrication can be performed through the tradition hands-on method or by modern computerization. Either way, a fabricator must understand the blueprint, which is the first part of the process.
After analyzing the design, the pieces are then cut to the proper size using techniques that could include a circular saw, flame or plasma cutting.
If structural items need to be fastened together, holes are drilled or punched into the steel for bolts to be introduced later on. Depending on the shape of the pattern, other functions might be utilized such as the roller or section bending machine to make curves in the steel or press breaking, which exerts compression on the full diameter of the pieces of steel.
After the shapes are created, they generally are coated with a special paint that prevents erosion and is fire-resistant. Now the parts are ready to be welded, shipped and assembled on construction sites.
What is welding?
Welders play a primary role in fabrication shops. Simply put, welding is the method of joining two pieces of metal, applying extreme heat to soften and employing pressure to meld them together.
After inspecting the engineered blueprint, the welder will then use a gas torch for fusing the joints of the sheet material; this is complex and demands their undivided attention. The work of an unskilled artisan could result in the metal warping due to the high degree of heat.
Overall, a fabricator and welder works in combination with each other to produce products, which requires knowledge in technology and science.