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What’s The Difference Between Metal Fabrication And Welding?

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Metal fabrication refers to the processes and techniques required to design, create and assemble a metal structure. While welding — or using heat and pressure to fuse metal-based materials — is an essential component of the metal fabrication process for some projects, using the terms welding and metal fabrication interchangeably is like using the words fireplace and living room interchangeably. Although fireplaces are recognizable features of living rooms, they’re only one part of those rooms!

In this blog, we’ll explore what differentiates welding from other metal fabrication techniques and outline popular production welding methods. 

Welding 101

While many types of metal fabrication focus on cutting, bending and reshaping a metal component, welding joins multiple metal parts. In order to accomplish this task, welders must use special tools, such as abrasives, benders, consumable electrodes, electrode holders, torches, tungsten inert gas consumables, vices and vice grips and welding clamps, as well as safety equipment to protect workers from ultraviolet rays and fumes.

Welding isn’t for amateurs. It requires years of training and experience to master various production welding methods. Thus, not every metal fabricator is a welder — and vice versa.

The Most Effective Production Welding Methods

Different projects require different approaches to welding. Although the various welding methods all seek to permanently fuse metal parts, they require different tools and follow different techniques. The following are three of the most effective production welding methods. 

Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding

Perhaps the most common industrial welding process, MIG welding, also called Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), is known for its speed and adaptability across projects. An arc welding process, MIG welding relies on a welding gun that feeds a continuous solid wire electrode, as well as a shielding gas, into the weld pool to join metal parts.

Resistance Welding

Resistance welding, or spot and seam welding, relies on pressure and localized heat — produced by electric currents —to fuse metal parts. Incredibly cost-effective, this welding technique does not require additional materials to complete the weld.

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding

TIG welding, also known as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), is an arc welding process that relies on non-consumable tungsten electrodes to create welds. Commonly used to weld thin sections of stainless steel, as well as aluminum, magnesium and copper alloys, TIG welding grants the operator more control over the welding process, producing stronger, higher-quality welds. 

Need a metal fabricator who can weld to your project’s specifications and deliver high-reliability metal components? Start a conversation with Mainstay today.