Metal Fabrication And Welding: The Differences You Should Know

What if you could make products out of anything? Metal fabrication and welding are processes used to form metals into shapes they wouldn’t normally possess. Metal fabricators can use this process to create all kinds of goods, including cars, boats, jewelry, furniture, appliances, electronics, toys, and more. The process consists of heating metals until they become liquid and can be molded into different shapes. Welders can use this process to join pieces of metal together. By doing so, they can create a large variety of designs that would be impossible to create using traditional methods. Welding and fabrication services in Hillston, NSW, are available from several local companies.

 

Welding And Metal Fabrication Processes

In general, welding involves melting and joining metal pieces together. It can also include glass and thermoplastics but is usually associated with metals. Welding is part of the fabrication process because it connects pieces of metal.

Fabrication refers to a group of tasks used to create metal products. It includes the manufacturing process from the layout to the final product. Metal fabricators are in charge of taking product designs and putting them through a variety of intricate processes to make them a reality.

Companies that offer welding services in New South Wales have a lot of skilled workers that can be metal fabricators and welders. Their ability to switch roles relies on the facility they operate in and the particular task. For example, you might work primarily as a welder while cutting, bending, shaping, and finishing projects. Alternatively, you may be a metal fabricator who does some welding to complete the task.

 

Welding Processes

Welding is a process that joins metals together to create a solid piece. Fusion is a technique in welding where it involves heat and pressure. This allows for the metals to fuse. Many tools and techniques are used in welding.

Although welding constitutes only a small portion of the metal fabrication process, it is a highly-skilled job that requires extensive training and practice to master. Most welders take the route of apprentice to an expert over many years because there are so many types of welding techniques and a vast range of materials utilized in metal fabrication. Griffith’s well-known welding company. Topweld General Engineering Pty Ltd, can provide you with top-quality welding services.

Fusion welding and solid-state welding are the two main processes you can find in the metal fabrication industry. Fusion welding involves heating metal parts and adding a filler to fuse them into a joined entity. Solid-state welding is a similar metal-joining concept but doesn’t require any filler. Here are the four main welding processes:

  • Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW): This is one of the most common welding processes in the world. It involves the use of a welding rod that is connected to a welding machine. The welding rod is heated by an electric current, creating a protective shield between the welding rod and the joined metal parts. This prevents the welding rod from reacting with the metal. The welding rod also creates a path for the molten metal to travel.
  • Oxy-acetylene welding (OA): This method of welding uses a mixture of oxygen and acetylene gas to create a flame that melts the metals. This flame heats the metal while a filler rod allows metal fusion. It is commonly used for welding pipes, tubes, and thin metal sheets.
  • Tungsten inert gas welding (TIG): It is called the most refined because of the high-quality welding it provides. The welding rod is shielded by a tungsten electrode which creates a small amount of electricity used to create the welding flame. TIG welding is commonly used for thicker materials such as metal plates, pipes, and beams.
  • Gas metal arc welding (MIG): is another popular welding process. It is similar to TIG welding in that it involves using a welding rod and a shielding gas. However, the welding rod is replaced by a wire fed through a welding gun. The wire creates the welding flame. This is used to weld thin metals.

There are other welding methods aside from the four processes mentioned above. Another method is the welding which is done underwater, called Submerged Arc welding (SAW). Exothermic welding is another process involving extreme heat and aluminum-based charge to join metals together.

 

Fabrication Processes

Metal fabrication is a process that, compared to welding, is much more complex. The materials that are fabricated have definite use and purpose. Here are the main parts of the metal fabrication process:

  • Bidding

Bidding is the first step in the fabrication process. A customer will come to the fabricator with a project description and a budget. The customer will then provide information on the project, such as the materials used, the project size, and the number of pieces needed.

 

  • Planning

This is a critical phase of the fabrication process. Planning sets the stage for the rest of the process. Designers and engineers work with the client to fully understand the project’s concept, purpose, and specification. The planning team can develop the project’s design, material selection, and fabrication techniques.

 

  • Production

Once the contract has been made through bidding, the production team starts working on the project. They will start by preparing the tools and equipment necessary for the project. The production team will then begin to manufacture the parts based on the specifications provided by the client.

 

Raw materials are cut into the desired shape and size during production, then cleaned and inspected. The fabrication process can be broken down into several stages: roughing, finishing, and inspection. This can involve simple equipment like shears, or you might see high-tech procedures like laser cutting and water cutting.

Once the critical components are shaped by cutting, bending, and forming, it’s time for assembly. In most fabrication projects, this involves welding. Here is where the difference between welding and fabrication becomes evident. Although welding is only one phase in the process, it is an essential component of full fabrication work.

 

Welding and Metal Fabrication Tools

Because welding and fabricating metal are specialized and complex jobs, it’s only natural the tools used are specific and complicated. There’s a significant overlap in the fabrication and welding tools. However, there are distinct distinctions between certain tools used in the trade. Welders typically use tools to facilitate joining, whereas fabricators employ instruments that can cut, bend and form metals.

Another thing to note is that welders rely on heat to accomplish their work. This isn’t necessarily the case with fabricators involved in lots of dry bending and cold rolling. Here’s a list of equipment you’ll typically find in welding and fabrication shops:

  • Abrasives
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Angle grinders
  • Arc welders
  • Benders and breaks
  • Chipping hammers
  • Computers and software for CAD
  • Consumable electrodes
  • Lasers and water cutters
  • Acetylene and oxygen tanks
  • Shears
  • Soapstone
  • Vice grips and vice grips
  • Welding clamps

Another kind of tool that’s essential for welding and fabrication workshops is the safety gear. Personal protective apparatus (PPE) is crucial for the safety of the shop, no matter if you’re welding or fabricating. Because of the nature of your work, you’ll be operating with hot, sharp, and sharp metal and other heavy substances. Here’s the list of PPE that is commonly used in welding and fabrication tasks:

  • Eye protection
  • Hearing protection
  • Goggles and face shields
  • Respirators
  • Aprons and leather gloves
  • Safety-toed shoes
  • High-visibility clothing

Each skilled metal fabrication or welding company should pay attention to safety in the workplace. They must also be aware of their customers’ requirements and results. Topweld is among the most reliable welding and metal fabrication services you can trust to finish your project securely.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, welding and metal fabrication are two processes essential to many industries. Both require skills and equipment to complete a job. Although they are similar in some ways, they have their distinct differences. If you’re looking for reliable metal fabrication and welding services in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Topweld is the place to go. They offer a wide range of services which includes structural fabrication, pipe and tube welding, design, installation, repairs, and modifications.

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