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What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

(OP)
Given that a company is producing the same Parts/Assemblies:

What is the difference between a Fabrication Operation/Company & a Manufacturing Operation/Company?

What would be some of the main undertakings in transforming a Fabrication Operation/Company into a Manufacturing Operation/Company?

No, this is not a school question.... This is a question that often comes up in my workplace. I'm interested to see if the general conceptions coincide with mine & my coworkers.

Thanks,

VS

RE: What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

A fabrication company is a type of a manufacturing company. The same way a mining company can be a coal mine or a gold mine.

Fabrications are usually not the end product being made. My company purchases many fabricated parts and then welds the parts together to make a chassis, cab, and loader arms. These parts are then assembled into a skidsteer loader or a compact track loader. The loaders are the end product while the fabricated parts and the weldments are all considered fabricated components.

Bill

RE: What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

(OP)
From my perspective, there is a fundamental difference between the two.

Fabrication involves the use of skilled workers. Drawings/specs are given to those workers who decide themselves how best to make it, on what machines, and how long it should take.

Manufacturing involves relatively less skill. It relies on a much fewer number of skilled workers to setup the operation (jigs/fixtures, Work instructions, standard times.etc) so that a comparatively larger number of unskilled workers can produce parts in the same quantity and quality.

Perhaps my terminology is wrong for the two cases?

RE: What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

I tend to follow along with BillPSU's "definition" in that I consider fabrication processes as a subset of the manufacturing process. Within my industry, the "Manufacturer" is the producer of the product in its final form before being delivered to the customer. Fabricators are involved in making sub-components of the finished product and could be either internal or externally sourced. Not sure I could make a distinction based on skill levels. That strikes me as being highly industry dependent.

Regards,

RE: What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

(OP)
What would be the terms to describe the operational difference?

A starting company with a new product may begin with "Drawings/specs are given to those workers who decide themselves how best to make it, on what machines, and how long it should take" as the effort required to produce the tooling, detailed drawings, instructions.etc is top heavy compared to the production effort. Setup in a cellular fashion. Possibly make-to-order

Once demand grows & production does as well, there is a shift to a "fewer number of skilled workers to setup the operation (jigs/fixtures, Work instructions, standard times.etc) so that a comparatively larger number of unskilled workers can produce parts in the same quantity and quality" and often a gain in efficiency as well. Moving toward more of a choreographed mass production fashion. With pre-set models & options.

Any ideas?

RE: What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

There are no specific distinctions between these two terms. The preference will vary from industry to industry. If the distinction is important to you, then come up with your own specific definitions and make those definitions clear to whomever you communicate with. It is worse than speaking in a foreign language to use words with your definition while your listener has another definition. In this case you both think you are communicating, but are not. At least with using a foreign language you both know that there is a communication problem.

RE: What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

(OP)
Compositepro,
This is what I was afraid of.

RE: What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

Like Kenat fabrication to me means basically sheet metal work but that is probably and English v American thing.

As far as what vonsteimel is asking I would just say that was pre production against production. Certainly in automotive it is normal to produce pre production parts off tooling but that have additional hand work done to them or that are made in a different way to the mass production parts.

RE: What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

(OP)
Pre-production is probably a more relevant term.

Unfortunately when meetings take place on a largely unplanned & sporadic basis with various outsiders, there isn't time to go through definitions & terms. You've just got to fly by the seat of your pants... Finding common terminology as such, can be difficult but useful.

In discussions, more commonly I've heard people say that we're in a "Job Shop" setup. This does not adequately define our technical situation, as its much more than just a modus operandi...

I find that most people think "sheet metal" when they here fabrication.

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