Fabrication welding and welding may seem like the same activities. However, there are differences between the two. Fabrication welding is a complete cycle in which a component or structure goes through.
It involves planning, manufacturing, and installing large structures, like ventilation ducts. In the creation process, welding is just one phase which involves connecting objects with a steep-temperature torch or force that heats together the materials.
After this, to maximize strength, a layer of heavier filler material is put smoothly over the surface. Here, we will look at all the details that explain ‘what is fabrication welding.’
What is fabrication welding?
If you’re engaged in the metalworking business, you frequently hear the words fabrication and welding. Often, these words are used interchangeably.
However, there is a clear distinction between welding and fabrication.
The best way to distinguish between fabrication and welding is that fabrication is the entire metal fabrication process, while welding is a particular aspect of the manufacturing process. You may claim that fabrication can involve welding.
However, welding will still remain part of fabrication. You can produce pieces of metal without welding but you certainly produce the final product while you are fabricating.
Unlike the common form of welding, fabrication welding is not just about bringing together two pieces of metal. It entails a lot more.
When a metal object is wide in size, it must be carved accurately to a precise size and form. When you require twisting a specific sheet in a particular way, it does not need a welder but a machine for bending.
Additionally, only an accomplished practitioner can do this sort of twisting and shaping. Laser cutting is used for the very complex design of metals.
The welding trade and the fabrication process require a different set of skills. Both metal makers and welders are highly skilled artisans who frequently share activities in the metal making industry.
To sum it up, fabrication welding is the process of designing metal structures. This is achieved through a number of methods, including welding, cutting, assembly, slicing, and binding.
During the production process, ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, steel, etc. are used. The manufacturer also procures these materials in their pure form, then they are sliced, rounded, and molded in the sizes and shapes needed for welding.
The different fabrication welding processes
The following are three main fabrication welding processes.
Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding
A form of arc welding, TIG welding utilizes an un-consumable tungsten electrode, wrapped in an explosive gas shielding atmosphere like argon. If required, the excess weld metal can be provisioned via off parent metal cuts or a different filler rod.
A direct current is utilized, the work element staying electrically positive and the electrode remaining electrically negative and to prevent the tungsten electrode from getting too hot and breaking.
Metal inert gas (MIG) Welding
A welding process that utilizes a consumable electrode, MIG welding allows the electrode to be braided in the shape of a copper-coated wire. Argon is used to protect weld against the atmosphere, which is the same gas as used in TIG welding.
Like with TIG welding, a direct current is utilized. However, the workpiece stays electrically negative and the electrode remains electrically positive in order to produce extra heat to melt the electrode.
The third and final fabrication welding process is brazing.
In certain special cases, we need to use oxy-fuel torches to weld gas or braze the parts. This method is now only utilized where MIG or TIG is not acceptable.
A professional welding or fabrication service can assist you in choosing the most suitable welding method for your sheet metal fabrications.
Any of the welded sheet metal parts that you find online represent just a tiny portion of the large variety of components that can be welded in aluminum alloys, mild steel, brass, stainless steel, zintec, and galvanized steel.
How is fabrication welding performed?
Fabricating any piece or element needs a process that follows a sequential and rational continuum from beginning to end. The cycle of fabrication welding starts with the outcome in mind.
Whatever materials are being produced and fused into a project have a well thought out goal designed and accounted for. Every manufacturing job involves several steps and each relies on the other for success.
The following are the key phases of the cycle of fabrication welding.
Organizations that bid on steel fabrication jobs must determine their capacity with the capital they have to undertake the task. Many manufacturing companies have a complete in-house capacity to conduct all aspects of the scope of work while other companies may have to contract out specialized services like welding.
The deals are only as good and as reliable as the details given to the main contractor by the customer. Different metal manufacturing companies participating in competitive bidding appears to be a confrontational and futile mechanism for obtaining the best-priced job with the greatest-quality performance.
This is a crucial phase in the fabrication welding process. While no hands-on metal slicing, shaping, and fabrication are going on yet, the time and energy that a project puts into preparation will help or hurt its progress.
Failure to prepare is often equated to planning to fail and this applies perfectly to the cycle of fabrication welding.
In addition to the above, preparation paves the way for further steps. Engineers and designers collaborate with their customers to fully comprehend the design, function, and requirements.
The design team will create the right mix of techniques and materials to finish the project by completely revealing what is needed to construct the project.
Planning is all about working together. Successful project managers ensure everybody participating in the production process has to provide feedback from them.
They require job-oriented professionals such as welders to apply their expertise and know-how based on experience. Therefore, welders will be part of the design phase if welding is a part of the project.
For the outside world, manufacturing is where the real work happens. If the customer grants a contract to the manufacturing company via a building agreement or the competitive bid method, and then designs are drawn up, the development process takes over.
It is here that items are made.
Raw materials emerge from normal stocks or unique sources during processing and begin to turn into a valuable product. Metals are picked and sliced to sizes of the components in a standard manufacturing process.
It may require basic equipment such as shears, or high-tech techniques like water cutting or laser cutting may be utilized.
It is time for assembly after the metal supplier or fabricating team has the essential components formed by slicing, twisting, and shaping. That requires welding in most production ventures.
It is here where the distinction between fabrication and welding is clear. Although it is just one step in the fabrication cycle, welding is an integral part of the overall fabrication job.
Metal manufacturing enterprises depend on several skilled individuals to carry projects through the process of bidding, planning, and development. Welders and fabricators are two of the key positions of many metal production ventures.
However, many other professional players make a significant contribution to positive outcomes. Some of those experts in metal fabrication are:
- Machine setters
- Managers and Supervisors
Tools for fabrication welding
Since the manufacture and welding of metals are complicated and sophisticated jobs, it is only natural that their tools are equally sophisticated and complicated. Welding and manufacturing tools are largely similar.
However, there are specific distinctions between some of the trade tools. Welders usually use equipment that allows joining, while manufacturers use metal cutting, bending, and forming equipment.
Another distinction is that welders are reliant on heat to perform their work. For producers who perform a lot of dry bending and cold rolling, this is not always so.
Below is a list of tools that are commonly used in the fabrication welding process:
- welding clamps
- Vice grips and vices
- Adjustable wrenches
- Angle grinders
- Arc welders
- Acetylene and oxygen tanks
- Breaks and benders
- Water and laser cutters
- Chipping hammers
- Consumable electrodes
- CAD software
In addition to the items listed above, fabrication welding may involve the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed for the manufacturing industry. Some examples of this PPE are high-visibility clothing, eye protection, leather gloves and aprons, goggles and face shields, and hearing protection.
In this article, we discussed ‘what is fabrication welding’ by looking at the different stud welding processes, how fabrication welding is performed, and the tools for fabrication welding. With this information, you can decide whether using fabrication welding processes for your application is a good idea or not and also which fabrication welding process you should use for your application.