What’s the difference between manufacturing and fabrication?

metal fabrication

What’s the difference between manufacturing and fabrication?

Manufacturing and fabrication.

Two common terms, that are often used interchangeably to describe the process of production or construction. But they shouldn’t be. There’s a distinct difference between the two. And if your company is looking to bring a new product to market, understanding this difference is crucial.

Here our experts attempt to clear up a little of the confusion.


What is manufacturing?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, manufacturing can be defined as:

the making of products on a large scale using machinery.

Essentially, it’s the process of producing something from start to finish – the steps that your raw materials will have to undergo to create the end product (which can then be sold to customers).

Manufacturing can sometimes be done by hand. But the most effective and efficient way to make a product is by using machinery. As such, most manufacturing is now completed on large-scale factory production lines – using a range of modern machines, tools and processing to do the job.


What is fabrication?

By contrast, metal fabrication is just one part of the overall manufacturing process.

In fact, it’s the first step – in which standardised metal components are brought together using a range of specialist fabrication techniques. These can include cutting, casting, forging, machining and welding, to name a few. Ultimately, the goal is to ‘add value’ to the components and produce a bespoke metal part, which can later be used to assemble and create the desired end-product.

Fabrication techniques are typically completed by skilled craftsmen (i.e. metal fabricators) in a state-of-the-art workshop. Here, advanced equipment and technology – such as CNC (computer numerical control) milling machines, lathes, rollers, chopsaws, guillotines, welders and more – are used to create a series of metal parts, which are consistent, precise and to your exact specification.


machine used for metal fabrication


Which service does your company need?

Fabrication is certainly not a synonym for manufacturing. These are separate things and the terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably. But, nevertheless, they are linked.

Whilst manufacturing refers to the full production process – from the creation of parts through to the final assembly of the product – metal fabrication is a part of that process. And if you’re looking to bring a new product to market, the chances are, you’ll need to hire a metal fabricator.

This is where we come into play, here at Special Metals.

As a UK leading metal fabrication company, we have significant experience in this industry and are extremely skilled at what we do. We’ve worked with countless companies in the past, playing a crucial role in their production line, and we’re always excited by the prospect of a new client.

No job is too big or too small. So, if you would like further information on the metal fabrication process – and how it differs from manufacturing – or have a question about the fabrication services we provide, why not get in touch today?  Either give us a call on 01268 820409 or send an email to sales@specialmetals.co.uk and find out how we could assist with your latest project.


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