Last Updated on Apr 17, 2022
Fabrication welding and welding are often confused as the same activities. However, there are notable differences between each option that makes them useful in specific contexts.
Welding is a necessary process in diverse industries, including production and maintenance in automotive solutions or shipbuilding. Fabrication is a term utilized in the welding field to refer to the complete process that a component or structure goes through from the beginning after being completed.
Welding and fabrication are different processes. For today’s article, we’ll tell you the differences between each one as well as the specific context where each one is utilized in the modern-day.
Fabrication welding: definition
“Welding” and “fabrication” are often utilized as interchangeable terms within the metalworking world. However, there are clear distinctions between each option. Hence, the best way to define fabrication welding is by explaining the differences between each one.
- “Fabrication” refers to the whole metal fabrication process. Therefore, it involves welding at diverse points of the process.
- “Welding,” as mentioned, is part of the production process.
With that being said, fabrication welding does not only imply the whole fabrication process (i.e., fusing two pieces of metal together). There is a lot more to the process that there is to understand. It also implies some of the following processes:
- Carving the metal object accurately, so it fits the required size and form
- Laser cutting if the metal has a complicated design
Hence, fabric welding is all about designing metal structures. It implies several processes, including welding and other methods, like cutting, binding or slicing. Fabrication welding also requires a determined skill level and a set of abilities.
Thanks to fabrication welding, it is possible to build certain everyday items, like architectural metals, car parts, pies, among many others. It is also possible to build custom projects and parts.
Fabrication welding processes
Besides the main definition, there are other main fabrication welding processes that are precise to specific types of items. These types include:
- Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding
- Metal inert gas (MIG) welding
Before we dive into the different processes, it is also important to differentiate between the three categories of fabrication welding, which are the following.
- Industrial fabrication: This process is implemented in the manufacturing of pieces meant to be part of other pieces of equipment, especially those utilized by manufacturers.
- Structural fabrication: It refers to the creation of metal parts and pieces utilized in the different types of buildings.
- Commercial fabrication: It pertains to appliances and other goods and products meant to be massively commercialized.
Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding
As the name suggests, this type of fabrication welding utilizes non-consumable tungsten electrodes. It is also known as a derived form of arc welding.
The non-consumable tungsten electrode must be cloaked in an explosive gas shielding atmosphere. Argon is one of the most common options utilized for this process. Sometimes, parent metal cuts or distinct filler rods may be required to provide the excess weld metal.
If the tungsten electrode gets too hot, it may break. Therefore, it is necessary to use a direct current so the structure where you’re working remains positive while the electrode remains negative.
Metal inert gas (MIG) welding
Instead of non-consumable tungsten electrodes, MIG welding uses consumable electrodes. Thanks to MIG welding, it is possible to braid the electrode, shaping it as a copper-coated wire. Argon is also utilized during this process. It complies with the same function as in TIG welding, which is protecting the weld from the atmosphere.
Similar to TIG welding, it’s also worth noting that MIG welding uses a direct current. However, things are different as the electrode must remain positive to produce heat and melt it while the workpiece remains negative.
Brazing is the third type of process found in fabrication welding. It is used whenever MIG or TIG cannot be implemented. It utilizes oxy-fuel torches to weld gas. It can also be used for brazing the parts.
There are three main types of fabrication welding. If you are not sure of what the most appropriate method for sheet metal fabrication is, you can always seek assistance from a professional.
Understanding the fabrication welding performed
Welding is an organized, sequential process. Hence, it is no different when it comes to fabrication welding. As with other processes, it all begins with planning the final result. Each process relies on the other, so it is necessary to learn why each phase is necessary.
First, the organization bids on a steel fabrication job. However, before that, they must evaluate whether it is possible for them to complete such a task financially. Many companies out there have trained employees that may complete the process from beginning to end. However, others must outsource certain services, especially when it comes to welding.
As for the reliability and quality of the offer, it all depends on the details provided by the client. It goes without saying that the metal manufacturing niche is quite competitive.
The next phase is planning, and it has the utmost importance in the fabrication welding process. While none of the manual work is being completed at this point, it is important to take into account the planning process as it will determine whether the process will be successful or if there will be problems during the progress.
There are different aspects of the planning process that make it quite essential. For instance, it may help the team anticipate possible failures, and it also gives room for the engineers and designers to collaborate with the client to polish what’s left of the design. This way, it will be possible to comply with the requisites of the project.
Like in other fields, teamwork is quite essential in this phase. People with different fields of expertise and backgrounds will be necessary. It is also worth noting that welders are often part of the design phase so they can give realistic opinions about the job at hand.
This is where all the manual work happens. Hence, it implies collecting the raw materials, selecting and slicing the metals, and so on. Specialized gear and equipment are utilized, as well as diverse processes that vary based on the project at hand. However, it is important to note that welders and fabricators are some of the essential roles during the whole process.
This article has explored the basic aspects of “fabrication welding.” It is important to understand that each company is different, and each fabrication welding project is different. Hence, the process is not static and can differ from one organization to another.
Many people confuse welding and fabrication and use them as interchangeable terms within the business. However, learning and understanding the differences between each option can help you determine when something is truly necessary.
It is also worth noting that fabrication welding implies teamwork from beginning to end. Hence, collaboration and good communication will be essential factors through each step of the process. We can say that “fabrication welding” refers more to the in-house process of planning and completing a determined project rather than a specific type of welding or process being completed. After all, it involves several methods in order to be successfully completed.