What Is Welding And Fabrication?
You may think Fabrication and Welding are the same things. You may even hear the two words used interchangeably.
Fabrication and Welding are two essential processes in metalworking. But if you are in the industry, you’ll know there is a difference between the two.
To put it simply, Fabrication is the whole cycle in which a component or structure goes through. Welding is part of that cycle. Although, you can produce the final product without the need for Welding altogether.
Welding and Fabrication use different processes. As a result, they need different skill sets, but they can share many of the same activities.
Welding is the art of fusing metal using heat or pressure. You can find out more about Welding on our blog post, “What Is Welding?”
There are a lot of different welding techniques used today. The four common ones we use at Varlowe are:
- MIG (Metal Inert Gas) or GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
- TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) or GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding)
- Stick Welding or SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding)
- Electrofusion Welding
Fabricators share a few of the same techniques as Welders. They usually have their own set of methods to get the job done. These can be:
- Roll forming
The fabrication process usually starts with cutting metal down to size. Metals can be cut and shaped using various tools, for example:
- Plasma Torch
Tools such as lathes and presses help shape and remove parts of the metal. These can be manual machines or using CNC. Also, tubing and pipe benders help shape pipework fabrications.
Welding tools are very different in comparison. For example, they can use:
- Welding Clamps
More safety equipment for Welding is needed—items such as heat resistant gloves, helmets, masks and safety glasses, to name but a few.
Welding helmets are required to have auto-darkening glass to protect the eyes. Also, they need to have built-in respirators to protect against welding fumes.
Both trades will use the same cleaning supplies to prepare the metal for work. Wire brushes, sandpaper and solvents such as acetone help wipe away any greasy deposits.
Different Skill Sets
Most fabricators can perform basic welds. Anything more complex requires specialist welding engineers to complete the task. It requires a high level of skill to create a solid and neat join.
Fabrication uses portable electrical and manual hand tools to get the required results. Equipment such as folders, rollers and shearing tools to manipulate the metal.
Although Welding uses stationary tools, it is largely all done by hand.
Welding & Fabrication Safety Precautions
Both manufacturing forms need the same degree of safety precautions. They both work with hot metal and heavy machinery, each carrying its guidelines.
Each tradesperson should own or have provided the following:
- Protective Trousers
- Flame-Resistant Jacket
- Steel Toe Boots
- An Auto-Darkening Helmet
- Safety Goggles
- Hearing Protection
You should also have a safe workshop to work in. to prevent injury, the workshop should have these in place at all times-
- Highlighted Walkways
- Fume Extraction
- Adequate Lighting
- Welding Screens
- First Aid Stations
To sum up
Fabrication and Welding are crucial professions. Both trades provides for almost every industry. From construction to transportation, you will find something that has been fabricated in some shape or form.
If you wish to speak to a memeber of the team, please call us on 01902 861042.