Many people use the verbs fabrication and welding interchangeably, but this is not quite the case. In the most basic sense, fabrication is the process of creating an item from metal, whereas welding may be a single operation in that process.
As for the similarities, both occupations require cleaning supplies to sanitise the metal. Experts use wire brushes and organic solvents such as acetone or mild alkaline solutions, or citrus degreasers free of butoxyethanol to wipe away any grease, oily deposits and bacteria.
To clean facilities after a hard day's work, welders and manufacturers use ordinary mops and sweepers. For industry-specific cleaning techniques, these trade professionals typically use surface protection films, floor finishes and coatings and electronic cleaners.
In the welding process, fusion occurs. Fusing is the generic manufacturing term for joining metals with similar composition and melting points together. Due to the high melting point of the workpiece, a pool of molten material called a fusion pool is formed.
This molten pool cools to form a stronger joint than the base material and pressure in the form of heat can be used to assist in the production of the weld. Welding also requires a form of shielding to protect the filler metal from contamination or oxidation, which is the loss of electrons and leads to the formation of iron oxide (also known as rust) on the metal.
Because welding is a metal forming technique, it is closely related to sheet metal fabrication and every trade uses similar processes such as assembly and bending to obtain the final product. To clarify, there are different welding methods, including oxyacetylene, TIG and gas shielded metal arc (GMAW) welding.
However, as sheet metal fabrication is an overall process, it involves many different processes, including specialist techniques, which may involve
This trade can be more dangerous than others due to the use of hot metal and heavy machinery, so every welder and sheet metal fabricator should be aware of the safety guidelines for their respective shops. To help prevent injury, each tradesman should have or (at least) provide the following items.
Fume extraction equipment
Protective, flame-retardant trousers
Strong, well-fitting, fire-retardant jackets
Overalls or leather apron
Heavy duty non-slip work boots or steel toed boots
Thick leather work gloves
Respirator or dust mask
To help create a safe working environment, every trade shop should have a strict policy on the storage of equipment (whether hand-held or automatic) and every apprentice must be trained before using the machine on their own. In addition, all tools should be thoroughly and regularly inspected for any damage.
Both occupations are important when it comes to sheet metal fabrication and welding. This trade is useful for every industry, from construction and housing to automotive and transport.