Metal fabrication is a value added process that involves the construction of machines and structures from various raw materials. A shop will bid on a job, usually based on the engineering drawings, and if awarded the contract will build the product. Shops will then employ a multitude of value added processes including welding, cutting, forming and machining. Metal fabrication jobs usually start with shop drawings including precise measurements then move to the fabrication stage and finally to the installation of the final project. Fabrication shops are employed by contractors, OEMs and VARs. Typical projects include; loose parts, structural frames for buildings and heavy equipment, and hand railings and stairs for buildings.
Fabrication comprises or overlaps with various metalworking specialties:
Fabrication shops and machine shops have overlapping capabilities, but fabrication shops generally concentrate on metal preparation and assembly as described above. 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. The products produced by welders, which are often referred to as weldments, are an example of fabrication.