Welding and Fabrication are extremely common processes in mechanical engineering. They allow metal structures to be made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes for many different applications, and, because they’re frequently grouped together as services offered, they are often seen as being interchangeable verbs. However, although the two are closely linked, they definitely aren’t the same thing.
Welding is a metal forming technique that uses fusion to join together two pieces of metal with similar melting points. Although there are several different methods - including gas metal arc, oxy acetylene, MIG and TIG - welding typically includes Arc, in which an electric arc is created between an electrode on the welding rod and the work material. The current produces enormous heat which then melts the base material. TIG welding is the method most commonly used in fabrication shops.
Fabrication is an evolutionary process, creating a product out of metal using blueprint readings, layout, cutting and preparing materials for assembly. It’s an over-arching process, making use of many techniques, of which welding is the most important. Raw materials, such as aluminium and steel, are used during the fabrication processes. They are usually procured by the fabricator in raw form, before being cut, bent and formed to the required sizes in preparation for welding.
Others process often used in fabrication include die cutting, hydroforming, roll forming, spinning, shrinking, stretching, stamping and finishing.
Large fabrication shops are a value add for their customers as they obviate the need to find many different suppliers for different services. They can handle the entire process beginning with detailed drawings, moving through the fabrication process, and finishing with installation. Typical projects include structural frames for buildings, loose parts, stairs and hand rails for buildings, and heavy equipment.
Steelmor is a leading stockist and manufacturer of stainless steel products in South Africa. We offer a full range of welding and fabrication services and would welcome the opportunity to chat to you about your unique requirements. Contact us today.