Welder and Fabrication - What Metal Fabricators and Welders Do
Our world today runs on industries which generally are run by machines. And almost everything we see around us is made of metals big and small. From the jewelry to the automobiles to large infrastructures, almost everything has metals in it.
It is metals that provide us the strength and durability in everything that we have. Even in our homes and offices, we can see manufactured metals which is a sign that skilled people have artfully created these for us.
But who is making these metals for us? What processes did these metals undergo before they have become useful to us? Now we are starting to realize that welding and fabrication of metals are playing major roles in the creation of useful things we have today.
However, not many people know the difference between welder and fabrication processes which in many cases have been understood and used interchangeably. The thing is, metal fabrication is playing a bigger role in the manufacturing of small to the largest pieces of metals while the welders are fusing some of these metals and turning them into usable items so that these can conform to our needs. You know now the difference or still confusing?
To make it easy to understand, let’s discuss some simple tasks that metal fabricators do as well as what welders also do. But first, let’s discuss what is metal fabrication since a lot of us understood the jobs of the welders already.
We will also tackle the roles of each, the tools that they use, skills required and how big are their roles in running our industries today and helping us cope with our everyday lives.
What is Metal Fabrication
In a more specific definition, metal fabrication is the process of building or creating metal structures or pieces of metals out of raw materials so that the final product can be enhanced and be ready for assembling. Workers use machines for designing, cutting, grinding and gouging metals but most of the tasks that they do are usually done by hands but generally with the help of the machines and even computers.
What Metal Fabricators Do
Metal fabrication takes a lot of metalworking strategies to do. This involves lay-outing and designing metals by skilled professionals to determine how to create particular structures with certain components. They also use various tools and techniques and they build metal works according to the needs of the companies which in turn could also assemble them.
Certain tools can also identify which are used for welding and fabrication. Since metal fabrication generally involves cutting metals, machining, curving or bending, the tools that fabricators use are usually large and heavy and designed for hardcore jobs. These tools can include mechanical saws, lathing tools, CNC machines equipped with laser cutters, large plasma cutters and also computers for automation.
When it comes to skills required between welder and fabrication, the difference can be vast but in principle, the jobs of the welders and fabricators are also related when it concerns the assembling of metal works. Yet with metal fabrication, most of the tools fabricators use are mostly stationary which means these are large machines intended for heavy-duty metal forming work.
More so, most fabricators also have welding skills although they are trained only on specific welding tasks that require specialized training. Even expert welders when they work on metal fabrication, are still trained only to do specific welding tasks.
For example, in an automobile assembly line, a group of welders is tasked to weld windshield panels only while on the other end of the line are welders for the chassis. On the other side of the building are workers who are fabricating the metals that welders assemble.
And that’s how welder and fabrication can also work together in the fabrication of metal frameworks not only in vehicle manufacturing but also in every aspect of our industry.
Metal fabricators are doing larger tasks because they work in a bigger working environment. But even though each of them has specific tasks, they also work as a whole and in coordination and this can include welding labor.
Here is a glimpse of their roles to give you a summary of what fabricators do.
Common Jobs of Metal Fabricators
Designing, lay-outing, and estimating costs including costs for repair works.
Fabricating metal parts, components and innovating tools for specific work.
Fitting, cutting, setting and installing the fabricated components into structures.
Bending, spinning, stamping, stretching, hydro-forming, roll forming, finishing and die-cutting are some of the critical jobs that require special skills.
Supervisors monitor workers to maintain quality control and continuously do the assessment for possible output enhancement.
If we talk about what a welder and fabrication worker do in a metal fabrication setting, some of the workers could also be welders. But for those who are assigned to weld, that’s their only job in the metal fabrication business – to weld and assemble.
Welders can be found anywhere and we can even do welding even in our homes. But then you’ll find a lot of welders working for metal manufacturing companies.
And in spite that some metal fabrication companies today use machines and computers to do welding automation, it is still the professional welders that check the quality of the job that these machines do.
Now that we have stipulated the roles of welders in a metal fabrication system, we also need to know what welders do and what great things they are contributing in helping our industries and our societies become more industrialized.
What is Welding
As we have said, in a fabrication process there could involve some welding jobs as well. But if we discuss welding, this all about fusing metals using machines so that the newly formed structures could be useful in many different ways.
Welders are skilled people too. They use different techniques to weld up metal and can even fuse metals that are made of different substances. They are also adept in using different kinds of welding machines like MIG welding, TIG welding, Flux core arc, gas tungsten and able to identify the right type of gas to suit the metals they are working on.
Some welders who work for welding and fabrication companies also have their own sets of welders at home including plasma cutters which are also part of the metal fabrication processes.
What Welders Do
If metal fabrication involves machining, cutting and bending, sometimes individual welders also do these things using only small tools or fabricated tools. So in terms of skills, welders are also creative, imaginative and skilled using only smaller machines and their hands. They also utilize different tools which can include welding machines, torches, welding clamps, angle grinders and many more and they know how to identify the right consumable electrodes for their work.
If in metal fabrication shops workers use high-voltage transformers which automatically regulate the flow of electricity on a larger scale to maintain the flow of stable frequencies for their machines, welders also do this manually with their small welding machines.
Like the metal fabricators who are obliged to wear protective clothing and accessories, welders also know how to safeguard themselves by wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for welding and some of them are even equipped with innovative gears like auto-darkening welding helmets and goggles.
In terms of skills, a lot of welders have become masters of their crafts through years of experience and some of them also underwent lots of training and even attended vocational schooling for welding with the objective of working for bigger projects and becoming business people.
Welders are generally adept in everything about metals as they are not only skilled in fusing metals but can also repair any broken metals. Some welders also use their skills for art. If metal fabricators can fabricate custom motorcycles and cars, welders can customize based on customers’ requests.
So in some aspects, welders are getting more creative and more dependable because they directly work towards our needs while the metal fabricators also play their major roles in producing metals which our industries need.
Welding and fabrication both involve critical thinking. And today it is your option if you want to pursue vocational education and become a progressive welding artist. A lot of educational institutions today are offering certificates both in welding and metal fabrication and you can learn a lot from it since these schools are giving their students the hands-on for new skills and welding techniques.
So if you need advanced skills for metalworking, you must also be adept in problem-solving, mathematics, blueprint reading and the most important of all is critical thinking.
Probably the biggest difference between a welder and fabrication worker is their working environment. Metal fabrication usually happens in larger settings with lots of machines and workers with varying skills.
Welding, on the other hand, can be done in your homes or work or make it a part of your hobbies which is really satisfying. You don’t really need a formal education with welding but experience, trial and errors, watching professionals do their thing and a lot of practice, these are the best ways to be a master in the art of welding.
But if you want to upgrade your welding skills and learn a lot more than welding, you can either take formal training or work on a metal fabrication industry where you can also use and enhance your welding skills.