A Guide to: Welding and Fabrication Engineering

A huge part of mechanical engineering is fabrication and welding. Fabrication and welding allow for metal structures to be made into a range of shapes and sizes. It can be applied to a variety of industries such as engineering, construction, marine and more.

Fabrication

Fabrication of metal refers to the building of metal structures. This is done via a variety of processes such as cutting, bending, profiling, welding and assembling.

Metals such as steel, aluminium and other ferrous and non-ferrous metals are used in the fabrication process. These metals are often procured by the fabricator in their raw form, then they are cut, bent and formed into the required shapes and size ready for welding.

Welding

The prepared metal from the fabrication process is then welded together using a range of techniques and procedures. Welding processes often include Arc, which is a welding technique that uses a power supply in order to create an electric arc between the electrode on the welding rod and the material itself. The current created excels a huge amount of heat which is enough to melt the base material.

Other common welding processes include:

  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) - also known as manual metal arc (MMA), SMAW is one of the most common arc welding processes. Using a consumable flux-coated electrode that protects the weld area from oxidation and contamination, SMAW produces carbon dioxide gas during the welding process.
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) - an automatic, or semi-automatic, process that uses a continuous wire feed. Since the electrode here in continuous, welding speeds are a lot greater with GMAW when compared to SMAW.
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (TIG) – TIG uses a semi-inert gas mixture in order to provide a welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode, an inert or semi-inert gas mixture and a separate filler material. This welding process often requires high levels of skill from the operator and is especially useful when welding thin materials. Though the process can be slow, it produces high quality welds.
  • Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) – FCAW uses a wire consisting of a steel electrode surrounding a powder fill material. This wire if more expensive than standard solid wires and it can also generate fumes. However, it permits a high welding speed and great metal penetration.

Here at GET, we train apprentices in a range of engineering aspects including welding and fabrication. If you’re currently on the lookout for a welding and fabrication apprenticeship, take a look at our current vacancies page.

For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the GET team by visiting our contact page or by giving us a call on 01452 423461.