Welding & Fabrication and How Each Method Helps Your Projects
What is Welding and Fabrication? .. There are many ways to explain the terminology. Welding is the act of bonding two objects together, here at Re:Build Optimation we weld many different types of metals, and we occasionally weld plastics. There are a variety of methods in welding, such as MIG, TIG, STICK,…etc, where each has its reason for use based on material type and desired bond..
Welding can bond metals, glasses, or even thermoplastics with similar melting points and compositions. Welded joints are then referred to as weldments.
Fabrication is a term that describes the assembly of metal pieces into a desired shape or design. In this blog, we’ll go over how welding and fabrication contributes to the supply chain and what it does for various industries.
Re:Build Optimation carries out fabrication at its industrial shops in Rochester, NY, where we house facilities for metal and sheet metal forming and fabrication as well as a UL-listed electrical fabrication and panel shop. If you’re looking to weld stainless steel for sanitary process piping in chemical, F&B, and pharmaceutical industries, our 100,000-square-foot office and shop space is something Re:Build Optimation can offer you. We also do structural steel skids and frames from small to large. This space provides a haven for all aspects of the structural and stainless-steel fabrication process, such as handling, grinding, welding, and storage.
Introduction: Importance of Design Prior To Welding/Fabrication
You’re never ready to start a project without a blueprint and clear layout design. For both welding and fabrication, you need to ensure a proper map and structure for the process. Some questions can be asked to identify the best design solution, such as:
- What is the schedule, quantity, and budget of the project?
- What’s the long-term goal for this project?
- What is the objective of the design, and how will it benefit the overall process?
Designing prior to welding and fabrication is guaranteed to save you time, money, and effort when implementing.
At Re:Build Optimation, we have highly skilled journey workers such as Welders, Standard/Code Experts, Sheet Metal Workers, Riggers, Pipe Fitters, Optical Alignment Specialist, Millwrights, Instrumentation Mechanics, Field Machinists, Electricians, Control Electricians, and Construction Managers to ensure that any Welding and Fabrication projects are carried out in a timely and qualified manner.
Purpose: Welding and the Process
Welding plays a big part in fabrication. Unlike brazing or soldering, where joints are heated to accept solder, welding melts material/s, filler rod, or wire to its melting point to form a new shape. With welding, bonded joints are usually more durable with flawless seams with the correct melting points. It’s a more efficient and versatile system that is proven to ensure quality and long-lasting results for products in rigorous plants that exist in industries such as food & beverage, automotive, pharmaceuticals, and chemical.
Although there are over 20 types of welding from Arc, Gas tungsten, resistance, metal, submerged, flux, electron-beam, electro slag, forge, plasma, atomic hydrogen welding, etc., the 3 most common and main types of welding include:
- MIG Welding – Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
- TIG Welding – Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
- Stick Welding – Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
MIG welding is an arc welding type that utilizes an electric arc and a shielded continuous wire called electrodes and is mainly used to create exhausts in auto industries or building constructions. MIG is applicable for all types of metals and alloys, i.e., aluminum, stainless steel, and other thick metals.
However, the success of applications is often affected by the electrode composition, type, and purity of shielding gas, as well as the current, voltage, and metal types.
MIG is well known for its high productivity, efficient cost, and strength for thick metals, as well as easily automated, unlike other types of welding.
TIG welding uses an electric arc, like MIG, but the electrode is made of tungsten, which is a strong metal material that will not dissolve or burn off. A long tungsten rod is required with a slower feed into the weld puddle. Using a fusion process, TIG welding can be done with or without filler metals. Usually, TIG welding uses argon or helium as an external gas supply. The tungsten electrode electricity works with inert gas to create a weld, melting one part into another. TIG requires a higher skill level than MIG as the process isn’t easily automated, considered less cost-efficient, but produces superior weldments. Commonly, TIG is used for most metal types and thinner gauge sheet metal.
Stick welding is portable. Unlike the others, it’s used to construct, maintain, and repair various pipelines on land and underwater as well as for industrial fabrication. Stick welding is very widely used, using a fixed length electrode and electric power source to weld. The outside of the covered electrode is a mineral coating and metal powders wrapping the solid metal rod that work as filler metal for the needed weld, usually. Stick welding requires more manual skill, unlike MIG.
Like the name, this welding uses a stick or a consumable and protected electrode. The stick heats and combines metals by softening, with an arc between the parent and base materials. AC/DC (current) can be controlled and used to accommodate this welding process. With the least amount of gas and water required, this portable welding process is ideal for outdoor applications and chemical and pharmaceutical plants. Stick welding is common with oil and metals but should not be associated with reactive metals like titanium and zirconium as the shielding doesn’t prevent oxygen contamination.
In workshops that handle both carbon and stainless steel, activities such as handling stainless on a steel workbench, grinding steel in an adjacent bay, or lifting the stainless with steel lifting hardware can all introduce contamination.
Re:Build Optimation has taken steps to avoid these common pitfalls. Adjacent to stainless steel welding is a citric passivation area. With these areas dedicated to stainless steel and extra attention paid to the process, we reduce the contamination risk and can now provide our clients with a higher quality product.
Fabrication V.S Manufacturing
Fabrication can be mistaken for manufacturing and vice versa. However, there is a significant difference between the two. Where manufacturing is the creation of each moving part from raw materials, fabrication is the act of combining different parts to form a finished product.
Within the value supply chain, the ladder goes down from manufacturing, fabrication, to assembly.
When it comes to fabrication, there are several main techniques/methods used to construct and combine different individual processes.
Cutting is the first step to fabrication in a larger scale process but is not always necessary. With our machinery, and highly-skilled professionals, Re:Build Optimation uses power tools to include various cutting processes and techniques. Some techniques include cutoff saw, bandsaw, laser cutting, waterjet cutting, and plasma arc cutting.
When forming, metals are bent, deformed, and/or distorted to create structural parts and components out of metal sheets, tubing, or bar stock for a later stage of assembly. During forming, pressure is applied to change shape without removing any mass of the material. Sheetmetal can be bent on a press brake, rolled, or shaped to create the desired form.
Punching is also a pressing method that requires a machine or device to ‘punch’ or create holes in metals. The punching method is called CNC punching. CNC punching can be used to create holes or cut shapes in different sizes carried out by a computer-controlled punch press machine. Smaller sizes don’t usually require a machine and can be done with hand power. Industrial CNC programmed presses are used to create more complex heavy and light metal works.
Shearing is used to cut or slice smaller cuts from differently shaped materials. Two blades are mounted; one above and one below the metal to be cut. and set out at an angle precisely controlled by a squaring arm to slice through the sheet metals with extreme precision. There are many ways to apply the shearing method depending on the type of work and expected result. The most common and effective shears are alligator shear, power shear, bench shear, guillotine, notchers, and throatless shear.
Metal Stamping is a cold-forming process very similar to punching, but with a more precise pressure compared to sharpness as it creates an indent rather than cutting a hole through. The turret presses through the metal to result in a ‘stamping’ effect with the desired shapes/structure using dies and stamping pressures. Stamping can be done with mechanical and hydraulic means for up to 6mm (¼ inch) metals. Stamping can punch, cut, and shape stock to result in many configurations.
Metal fabrication is very widely used and significantly essential in our daily lives. Everything around us is fabricated in one way or another. Fabrication is key to a successful project implementation in various industries.
Re:Build Optimization has always focused on safety on top of productivity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food manufacturing has one of the highest injury and illness rates compared to all industries. Repetitive motion, manual handling, slips and trips, and being hit by moving objects (Health and Safety Executive, 2011) are among the most common sources.
To prevent this, Re:Build Optimation has contributed to the protection of workers from moving parts and machinery through machine guarding in the food industry. Machine guards can be made of different materials such as stainless-steel bar stock, angle iron or tubing, carbon steel bar stock, angle iron or tubing, polycarbonate, interlock switches, , welded wire mesh…etc.
Machine guarding prevents injuries to ensure workplace safety. Rotating/moving parts, pinch points, sharp cutting blades, pistons movements, breakage prevention, conveyor hazards,….etc. are all areas where guarding should be done to promote safety.Peanut Butter Plant Expansion – Turnkey
Once Again Nut Butter (OANB) is a recognized leader in the manufacture of high-quality organic nut butters. To increase capacity, reduce cost, and improve the quality of production of their peanut butter operation in a multiple-phase expansion over 20 years, Re:Build Optimation was invited to strategize and execute: First phase of new 40,000 square foot building, 3,500-pound-per-hour roaster, complementary blanchers, milling, and bulk filling equipment with the flexibility to easily expand capacity and change the product mix.
The biggest challenge was coordination. Imagine responding to changes in a multiphase plant improvement while protecting supplies from cross contamination from peanut dusts which can cause severe allergic reactions. A must-have was isolating peanut processing from the almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds that the company uses to make other nut butters, eventually having separate manufacturing for each nut butter.
Re:Build Optimation provided a turnkey solution from preliminary engineering – layouts, the process flow, sizing equipment for the size of the building, extra equipment such as chutes and hoppers, etc – with roughly 400 purchased and fabricated items.
Re:Build Optimation skilled tradesmen fabricated ducts, chutes, mezzanines, platforms, hoppers, storage racks and shelving, and various process equipment to complement the large purchased equipment. Journey worker millwrights and electricians installed both the purchased and fabricated equipment and utilities. Controls for all the equipment, including startup and debug with continued maintenance, as well as controls support during product trials and ongoing maintenance, was provided. PLCs and HMIs are provided for monitoring of the process equipment.
Since project completion, OANB has quadrupled its peanut butter manufacturing capability, benefits from reduced costs via scale-up, reduced operator labor content, and is better positioned for future challenges.
Re:Build Optimation provided an “expandable” facility that can add a packaging line and again double the production capacity. OANB could put in another roaster and expand capacity even further. They were able to isolate the peanut butter manufacturer from the existing building that manufactures almond butter, cashew butter, and sesame seed (tahini) butter to meet customer requests for a peanut-free manufacturing facility.
Chemical Industry – Factory and Process Rebuild
Re:Build Optimation’s client experienced an explosion (which we were not responsible for, or were we connected to), destroying a building and the process within. Re:Build Optimation had a total of six months to assess, plan, design, and rebuild.
With new building design, new process equipment and new utilities were released. For quality and efficiency, Re:Build Optimation was chosen to do both the mechanical and electrical work, including utilities, switchgear, motor control centers, and all the process equipment procurement and installation. Several areas of the building were classified C1D1, which dictated that special components be used.
The goal was to replace the equipment in kind, although some had to be redesigned due to age and advances in technology. Skids were designed and built for the process equipment to expedite installation and reduce downtime. A large pipe rack was designed and built in Re:Build Optimation’s shop in sections and painted. The sections were moved to the site, hoisted onto the roof, and welded together.
This made for a very efficient process and saved installation time in the field. Block walls were reinforced per code, and the roof of the building was supported by building steel. The team went from a pile of rubble to commissioning work in six months.
Production Expansion and Solvent Recovery – Skid Systems
American Aerogel is a company developing and manufacturing proprietary aerogel insulation products. Due to high demand, American Aerogel’s 24/7 operation required new equipment with process improvements to increase production and improve efficiencies.
Re:Build Optimation early on assessed the existing production equipment, processes, and available space to increase the capability to remove and recover solvents from their products. Drawings were then developed with the layout of the new and relocated production equipment and associated services. In addition to installing new equipment, mechanics made modifications to existing services to increase capacity. Services included electricity, steam, compressed air and nitrogen supplies, condensate return, and process vapor recovery. The turnkey process included assembly and installation of all instrumentation/control cabinets. Re:Build Optimation lead debug and startup of all installed systems.
After the project was completed, production capacity increased significantly. The addition of instrumentation and improved access to process information improving productivity and product quality.
From process engineering to controls, from fabrication to installation and integration, Re:Build Optimation is your sole source supplier for your project.
Re:Build Optimation develops the right solution for you. We don’t promote bias, one type of technology, and will help you make the best choice for your plant and specific situation.
Here at Re:Build Optimation, we are committed to building lasting client relationships by providing consistently superior services – this includes the full access of team advantage of highly skilled journeymen at your service.
CONCEPT TO COMPLETION
You have an idea, a new process, a pilot plant, a prototype. We help you get to the next level through full-scale production.
Explore what you can get by working with Optimation for welding and fabricating – contact us for more info.
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