Fabrication projects can generally be categorized into two buckets: Light and Heavy. One of the key distinctions between these two types of fabrication is weld sizes. Heavy fabrications typically have large prep area with full penetration weld. Light fabrication is more structural-single pass weld. All of which is performed by either Robotic or Manual welding practices depending on the client needs. Given the potential breadth of projects, it is no surprise that many industries rely on heavy fabrications including oil & gas, military, construction, mining, and aerospace. Often requiring both light and heavy fabrication along with robotic welding for cost sensitivity.
Not just any manufacturer can create quality heavy fabrications. These projects require specific tools, equipment, and processes as well as personnel with the right skills and expertise to handle such large structures. It is crucial that OEMs partner with a manufacturer like ABS, that has the proven experience, facilities, and know-how to safely and successfully perform heavy fabrication projects.
Heavy Fabrication Techniques
There are many steps involved in transforming raw material into a heavy fabrication product. Below are some of the most common processes. It should be noted that due to the expected load and stress the structures may endure, nearly all heavy fabrications are made of metal, namely, steel, stainless steel, iron, or aluminum.
- Cutting: Heavy fabrication projects start with a large piece of metal that needs to be cut into the desired shape. Cutting big chunks of metal requires special tools and can be performed via several different methods such as laser, saw, gas, waterjet, or plasma cutting.
- Forming: Many heavy structures require some degree of forming, which is often accomplished by rolling or bending. These techniques reshape the heavy fabrication and do not remove any material from the structure. During this step, the structure is bent to the desired shape using a variety of methods such as section, tube, press, or plate bending.
- Drilling and Punching: These steps are necessary to prepare the heavy fabrication for being bolted together during assembly. During punching, a tool called a punch is forced through the metal by the punch press to create a hole in the structure. Drilling utilizes a rapidly rotating drill bit to twist through the metal to create a circular hole in the structure.
- Welding: Welding is a key part in any heavy fabrication project. This step uses heat to melt two or more pieces of metal in order to join them together; when the metal cools, the parts are joined together at the welded joint. To avoid failure and to ensure longevity of the heavy fabrication, it is critical that welding is performed correctly; thus, inspections are a key aspect of any robust welding program. Heavy welds require full penetration/UT welding and, in many cases, operations are performed by robotic cells. In these cases, a robot works within a defined space, referred to as a cell, and is given electronic instructions to perform a given task without direct human involvement. These robots are designed to execute a specific job and are known for their efficiency on the shop floor.
- Blasting or Painting: Once the structure is fabricated and welding is completed, many projects are sand blasted or painted. This step can be customized as necessary to provide the desired aesthetic for the final product. Similar to welding steps, the blasting or painting can be performed via a robotic cell.
ABS’ Heavy Fabrication Capabilities
Established in 1971, ABS Machining has grown to become the recognized global leader in large machining, fabrication, and assembly for OEMs, and is one of the largest and most advanced manufacturing companies in North America. Our fleet of CNC Boring Mills, Vertical Turning Lathes, and Table Type Boring Mills are supported across six state-of-the-art facilities located across North America. Our facilities house over 50 cranes ranging in lift capacity from 5,000 pounds to 160 tons and we are proud to have 80 of the largest machine tools ever manufactured.
ABS Heavy Fabrication is a full-service facility certified to CSA47.1 (AWSD1.1) and ASME Boiler Vessel B31.1 and 31.3 standards. Our welders are certified by CWB/AWS and ASME, and are fully trained on flux-core, gas metal, submerge arc, tig and stick electrode welding techniques. Individual customer requirements are followed and enforced in conjunction with our in-house certified weld inspectors. (CWI Level 2's). Below are some of our fabrication services:
We offer a unique combination of medium to high volume production machining and welding services. Our team is committed to producing an un-paralleled level of quality and throughput, while also focusing on cost. We also offer secondary services such as mechanical assembly, making ABS a true single source solution for the most challenging programs of today and for the future.
Contact us today to see how we can help with your next heavy fabrication project, or give us a call at 1-844-227-6224.
CNC MACHINING · FABRICATION · ASSEMBLY
Precision Machining ↓
ABS offers a unique combination of medium to high volume production machining and welding services.
80 Large Advanced CNC Machine Tools
ABS is one of the largest and most advanced manufacturing companies in North America.
6 Plants with lifting capacity up to 160 Tons
The ABS 5-Axis machining department has been built from the ground up with our customers’ needs in mind.
Centrifugal and Turbo Machined Impellers
Fabrication & Quality Assurance ↓
Heavy Fabrication Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Mig, Tig, Flux Core, Sub Arc
Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
Inconel 625 Hotwire Tig
Quality Assurance & Control
Quality Assurance & Control