Metal Manufacturing is the manufacture of metals into component products and completed products such as pipes and containers. Other major metal markets include surgical instruments, metal roofing, building construction, equipment and tools, weaponry, and automotive and other applications.
Fabrication is an industrial term refering to building metal structures by cutting, bending, and assembling.
Sheet metal and structural steel and sheet metal are the usual starting materials for fabrication, along with the welding wire, flux, and fasteners that will join the cut pieces. The cutting part of fabrication is via sawing, shearing, or chiseling (all with manual and powered resources); torching with handheld torches such as oxy-fuel torches or plasma torches; and via CNC cutters (using a laser, torch, or water jet). The bending is via hammering (manual or powered) or via press brakes and similar tools. The assembling is via welding, binding with adhesives, riveting, threaded fasteners, or more bending in the form of a crimped seam. As with other manufacturing processes, both manual labor and automation are used. Shops that specialize in this type of metal work are called fab shops. The end products of other common types of metalworking, such as machining, metal stamping, forging, and casting, may be similar in shape and function, but those processes are not classified as fabrication.
Fabrication shops and machine shops have overlapping capabilities, but fabrication shops generally concentrate on metal preparation and assembly. By comparison, machine shops also cut metal, but they are more concerned with the machining of parts on machine tools. Firms that encompass both fab work and machining are also common.
Standard raw materials used by metal fabricators are plate metal, formed and expanded metal, tube stock, square stock, sectional metals, welding wire, hardware, castings, and fitting