Heavy fabrication is any metalworking or metal forming process by which large or complicated metal products are fabricated. Metal fabrication processes involve cutting, bending, joining, and assembly of metal products. Indoor heavy fabrication facilities can be several stories tall with thousands of square feet of floor space. Some heavy fabrication operations produce large enough products that they are conducted outdoors.
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Applications of Heavy Fabrication
The processes by which structural building materials, airframes, ship hulls, and other large materials are produced are considered to be heavy fabrication processes. Other fabricated metal products, such as furniture, cabinetry, gratings, hand tools, firearms, electronics, and other smaller products, are considered to be light fabrications. Heavy fabrications form the backbones of many structures and infrastructure utilities like bridges and tunnels. Steel reinforcement of buildings has become common in all kinds of construction projects. The components required in such applications are often very large, and heavy fabrication facilities must be large and open enough to accommodate them.
The industries that most often use heavy fabrication services include:
- Heavy Machinery
- Petrochemical Extraction and Refinement
- Defense Contracting
- Aerospace Manufacturing
Many heavy fabrication companies supplement their manufacturing services with design consultation and post-processing inspection.
Benefits of Using Heavy Fabrication
Heavy fabrication companies must offer their customers a range of fabrication services. Fabrication companies compete with each other to offer customers the highest level of efficiency for the lowest price. Innovation is an expression of competitive competition, and innovations in heavy fabrication have streamlined many manufacturing processes. Robotic welding, for example, has allowed for increased output and more uniform production for many large scale automotive manufacturing operations. Reducing labor intensity and product development saves fabrication companies time and money, and customers often realize the benefits of those savings as well. Metal joining methods like welding and fastening must both be present on a heavy fabrication company’s list of capabilities. Many of the products of heavy fabrication processes end up contributing to the safety of large groups of people. Load bearing elements in bridges, buildings, and other structures must meet strict standards of durability, corrosion resistance, and other safeguards. Heavy fabrication companies have a unique responsibility for ensuring the quality of their products for this reason.