Fabrication is a broad term. There are many different forms of fabrication that can happen in a Red Deer machine shop include cutting, folding, machining, punching, and stamping. However, fabrication is often confused with manufacturing in general, especially since many of the same industries utilize fabrication and manufacturing.
To keep it simple, we use the following definition when speaking of manufacturing and fabrication:
Manufacturing involves building a product from nothing to finish, while fabrication involves assembling from already pre-produced parts.
This is a broad definition, but you will see it is the easiest way to remember their distinct qualities.
We are going to dig into a form of manufacturing called Plastic Injection Molding.
Injection molding is a manufacturing process involving a part being inserted into a steel mold cavity. This mold cavity is then filled with a plastic resin that forms around the part to create a final product.
Common industries that utilize plastic injection molding include medical injection molding, aerospace/defense, cables/connectors, and some consumer products.
A good example of an producted that was produced via injection molding is a screwdriver. The metal part of the screwdriver is injected into the mold and then the handle of the screwdriver is molded around it creating a finished product.
Now, when comparing this manufacturing process to that of fabrication, you will be able to see the major differences.
A few examples of fabrication include railroad tracks, power plant facilities, salt mines, and industrial fan housings.
As you can notice, these are rather large productions and require many different parts that come together to create on product. Fabrication is the process of making something from semi-finished components.