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Welding Equipment

The Difference Between Metal Fabrication vs. Welding

Though often used interchangeably, welding and fabrication are distinct processes.

Fabrication involves the full fabrication of metal items, with welding being a subset of this process. Consider fabrication to be the complete manufacturing of metal things, with welding being only one piece of the puzzle. Metal components can be made without welding, but any welding requires fabrication.


Metal Fabrication

Metal fabrication is the entire process of creating metal items or machinery from raw materials. This includes a variety of techniques like as cutting, burning, welding, machining, forming, and assembly.

The Fabrication Process

The steps involved in metal fabrication generally include:

Design and Planning: Creating the design and planning how to cut, bend, and assemble the metal pieces.

Cutting: Shaping metal sheets into desired forms using techniques like shearing, sawing, laser cutting, or plasma cutting.

Bending and Forming: Bending and shaping metal with presses, rollers, or specialized machinery to achieve the desired angles and shapes.

Welding or Joining: Combining components using welding, riveting, bolting, or other methods to create the final structure.

Finishing: Applying finishing touches such as grinding, sanding, painting, or coating to improve appearance and protection.

Metal fabrication spans three main categories:

  • Industrial-for equipment parts used by manufacturers
  • structural-for building and skyscraper components
  • commercial-for products like appliances



The process of joining metal-based components is referred to as welding. This procedure, known as fusion, includes the use of heat and pressure, as well as specialized tools and methods.

Types of Welding

Various welding processes exist, each with its techniques and applications:

Arc Welding: This category includes several common manual, semi-automatic and automatic processes. These include metal inert gas (MIG) welding, stick welding, tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding also known as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), gas welding, metal active gas (MAG) welding, flux cored arc welding (FCAW), gas metal arc welding (GMAW), submerged arc welding (SAW), shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) and plasma arc welding.

These techniques join metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, and more, widely applied in industries such as oil, aerospace, and automotive.

  • Friction Welding: The process of joining materials using mechanical friction rather than filler metals or shielding gas. It is useful for ‘non-weldable’ materials such as lightweight aluminum alloys and wood.
  • Electron Beam Welding (EBW): A vacuum-based fusion method that is suited for thick sections in industries such as aerospace and nuclear power..
  • Laser Welding: This technique uses laser heat to weld thermoplastics or metal parts, making it ideal for high-volume applications such as the automotive sector.
  • Resistance Welding: A quick process used in the automobile sector that is classified as resistance spot welding or resistance seam welding.

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