In manufacturing, one of the most difficult functions to automate is metal fabrication. Some 1.4 million skilled people are employed in that profession today. That accounts for 12 percent of all U.S. manufacturing workers! But what is metal fabrication – and what can it mean for your career prospects if you’re interested in a welding path?
What is metal fabrication, exactly? These days, it involves the construction of metal structures via mechanized and/or manual processes, usually in accordance with blueprint designs. Those processes may involve the use of high-tech robotics, lasers and sensors, and can involve any number of actions: casting, drawing, forging, molding, welding, milling, bonding, bolting, grinding, riveting, and a lot more.
“Metal remains crucial to our survival, though thousands of years have passed since it first enabled humans to be more efficient,” writes Jason Greenman on Fab2order.com. “For years, metal fabrication has been crucial to developing a variety of infrastructure in some of the most important aspects of our communities: transportation, buildings, electronics, machinery.”
Today, metal fabrication remains an important element of the manufacturing industry. In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce calls it the third-largest segment when measured by employment. In 2013 alone, shipments of fabricated metals totaled $345.1 billion or 5.9 percent of all manufacturing shipments.
What is metal fabrication, and when did it begin?
The history of metallurgy dates back as early as 7000 BC when a few Neolithic communities in present-day Turkey begin hammering copper into crude knives and sickles. Today, the metals most used in industry include aluminum, brass, copper, gold, iron, nickel, silver, magnesium, tin, titanium and various grades of steel.
In the U.S., metal fabricators work in industries that produce everything from architectural and structural materials to boilers, tanks, shipping containers, hardware elements, cutlery and hand tools.
Metal fabrication is a key component of welding career training
Lincoln Tech helps meet demand for welders and sheet metal specialists through the Welding Technology curriculum offered at campuses in Nashville, TN, Grand Prairie, TX, East Windsor, CT, and Denver, CO. Lincoln students prepare for careers in construction, fabrication, plant maintenance and other fields through hands-on work with industry-standard tools including superheated gasses.
Interested in cutting, welding and soldering your way to a challenging, in-demand welding and metal fabrication career? Explore training options today and start building the skills you need to fabricate an exciting new future!