What Is the Difference between Welding and Metal Fabrication?


In our last blog we talked about the difference between metal fabrication and metal stamping. Some people assume they are the same, but they are not. Another misunderstanding about the industry is the assumption that metal fabrication and welding are interchangeable. This is also not true, although welding is a very important part of metal fabrication. Here we will talk about what welding is and why good welders are so valuable to a metal fabrication shop.

Metal fabrication is ‘the manufacture of three-dimensional metal parts through different processes such as cutting, bending, and welding’ or, more simply, creating a project out of metal. That part can have a stand-alone function, or it can be a component in a larger object. From this definition, you can see that welding is only one aspect of what we do here at D+M Metal Products.

What Is Welding?

Welding is the process of joining two pieces of metal, glass, or thermoplastics together using fusion. These pieces of material must have similar melting points for the welding to be successful at holding them together.

Tools Necessary for Welding

Welders use a number of tools to ply their trade. These include:

  • A chipping hammer
  • A metal brush
  • A metal file
  • A sheet metal gauge
  • A speed square
  • A soapstone
  • A welding framing jig
  • An angle grinder
  • An oxy-acetylene setup
  • C clamps
  • MIG pliers
  • Welding clamps
  • Welding magnets

Welders work with hot metal, specialty tools, and heavy machinery, so they need to be trained in proper safety guidelines and to use the right safety equipment to prevent injuring themselves or others around them. Welders should have: flame-resistant clothing, an auto-darkening welding helmet, safety goggles, welding gloves, coveralls or a leather apron, heavy work boots, hearing protection, and often a method for fume extraction equipment.

This equipment needs to be used properly which means that the shop should have safety policies defined and communicated to their welders and the welders should be fully trained in how to implement them. Both the provision of equipment and proper training in expectations are necessary for a shop to have a successful safety culture and environment. This is part of the shop’s overall program of quality control.

How Do Metal Fabrication and Welding Overlap?

Welding is a metal forming technique that is necessary in many metal fabrication applications in order to complete work on specific parts or projects. Not all metal fabrication involves welding, but good welders are necessary for any metal fabrication business to operate. The most common types of welding used in metal fabrication shops are MIG and TIG welding, but there are different types of welding, including oxy acetylene and GMAW.

Both welding and metal fabrication use similar processes like assembling and bending. Many welders are able to fabricate, and many fabricators can also weld. Involving welders in the design process and early steps of a project allows them to give input into how the necessary welding can be accomplished and reduce or eliminate any overlooked problems.

At D+M Metal Products we value our team of welders and what they add to our metal fabrication process and output. We are committed to having a safe shop that observes the policies and protocols in our quality control program. We are also happy to invest in our employees when they seek to broaden their skills and abilities, including learning welding techniques. If you would like to become part of our team, please contact us today. We would love to talk with you about our employment opportunities.

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