What does a fabricator do?
A fabricator is an individual trained to work with different materials and heavy-duty equipment and machinery. Professional fabricators install metalworking machines and adjust machine settings to cut, shape, and align components and metal parts. A fabricator’s work also includes:
To succeed in this profession, you need to act as a craftsman, builder, and mechanic. You will also serve as a quality control personnel at the same time.
As a fabricator, your work is to manufacture assorted products or components using tools and raw materials. That means working mainly with metal, but the details of the entire process will vary depending on your employer. In a small plant, you'll be responsible for each step of the manufacturing process. On the other hand, in a large factory, you might need to specialize in one aspect of product creation. You'll perform different tasks at each phase of the production process, including:
• Understanding the requirements of the product designers and choosing and checking the raw materials you require for the task.
• Cutting out the necessary pieces once you get the materials and shaping them.
• Welding to join the cut-out pieces into a rough shape of your product or component.
• Finishing the pieces, smoothing out the welds, and checking them to ensure they match the product designer's requirements.View Jobs
What is the average salary of a fabricator?
According to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a fabricator is $34,970. This pay is equivalent to $16.81 per hour. The wages of a fabricator vary by geographical region, industry, and education level, as well as professional skills and the complexity of machinery operated. Most fabricators usually work full time, but some work in shifts, which might mean that you need to work on weekends and in the evenings. This job can involve fewer or longer hours that lead to opportunities for higher incomes if you are able to take on some more challenging schedules. For instance, if training or managerial roles are part of your job description, expect the pay to increase.
What industries hire fabricators?
Fabricators are needed in almost every sector that deals with machinery, heavy equipment, or metal products. You'll find job opportunities in the private and public sectors, and in small workshops and big factories. Some of the businesses that hire fabricators include:
- Agricultural equipment companies
- Construction firms
- Aerospace companies
- Automotive manufacturers
- Electrical and electronic companies
Working as a fabricator
Working as a professional fabricator involves taking products from their initial designs to finished parts ready to be assembled. You need to combine good technical skills with attention to detail and coordination to achieve this goal. Creating products and components that meet a designer's specifications is the final result of the process. This career is suitable for self-motivated individuals and team players with an aptitude for mechanics, machining, and computers.
What are the responsibilities of a fabricator?
Fabricators manufacture various products using different raw materials, relevant tools, and their own hands. Their main responsibilities include:
- Reading, understanding, and interpreting blueprints and different assembly instructions
- Sitting in product design meetings
- Checking and verifying the dimensions and measurements of every piece according to the product specifications
- Marking areas to cut on the raw material and using tools to cut, hammer, bend, or grind the pieces
- Ensuring that every part or component is properly aligned, fitted, and bolted in according to the product schematics
- Checking the pieces to ensure that all the needed parts for product assembly are present
- Adhering to the assembly safety standards and ensuring you meet quality control standards.
- Maintaining the production schedule
- Testing the functionality of the final products
- Stress testing, troubleshooting, and repairing products to reduce recalls or future problems
- Detailing and reporting product malfunctions
What type of equipment do fabricators use?
Metal fabrication machines carry out stamping, welding, and metal bending tasks. They assist with speeding up the production process to save you time and money, and help fabricators perform their tasks more accurately. The following machines are essential to modern metal manufacturing tasks:
- Press brakes – Fabricators use these tools to bend metal pieces into the right shape.
- CNC machine – Computer numerical control machines process metal pieces by following coded instructions from a computer. They help with cutting, turret punching, metal stamping, and other processes.
- Swing-beam shears – Fabricators use these tools to cut metal and create metal sheets.
- Plate rolls – This equipment rolls metal sheets into conical or round shapes.
- Turret punch – This machine shapes metal pieces by punching technique and is perfect for mass production.
- Hydraulic press brakes – These tools provide fabricators with versatility and accuracy when bending complex or simple metal parts.
What is the work environment of a fabricator?
The work environments of fabricators vary from small plants to big factories. However, most fabricators usually work in manufacturing establishments, and working conditions differ based on industry and plant. As a professional fabricator, your capacity to keep up in a fast-moving workplace and maintain attention to your surroundings will help keep you and your coworkers safe. Most of the physically difficult jobs like moving heavy metal parts into position or tightening big bolts have been made easier by utilizing power tools or automation. However, many assembly tasks may still involve extended periods of working on ladders, sitting, or standing.
Who are your colleagues as a fabricator?
As a fabricator, you'll need to coordinate with other organization departments throughout the production process to achieve your goals. You'll work with different people, including:
- Product designers
- Machine operators
- Production managers and production supervisors
- Quality control professionals like quality inspectors
What is the work schedule of a fabricator?
Work schedules for professional fabricators normally vary based on industry or workplace. Most fabricator jobs have standard work schedules that match traditional office hours. Nevertheless, you may work as part of an established shift system if you're in a busy environment or when your company has looming deadlines. In this case, you may have to work on weekends or in the evenings. Also, if your job description includes repairs, your working hours will be unpredictable due to emergency or short-notice jobs. In simple terms, there are different working schedules for fabricators, allowing you to choose the schedule that suits you best.
What is the career outlook for a fabricator?
Researchers predict the employment of fabricators will decline by 5% between 2020 and 2030. Regardless of the projected decline, approximately 174,200 openings for fabricators are projected to exist every year during this decade. These openings may result from the need to fill positions left by people who transfer to other careers or exit from active employment due to sicknesses, injuries, or retirement. If you have many years of experience as a fabricator and would like new challenges, you can transition from a fabrication career in different ways, including:
- Product Design – Fabrication experience is a starting point for a product design career if you are able to use your skills to create products instead of manufacturing and assembling them.
- Metalworking career – Fabrication skills overlap with welding skills, making it easy to move into any metalworking profession.
- Management – A fabricator also has the opportunity to move into management, where you run a workshop or supervise a team of assemblers or fabricators.
What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a fabricator?
Spherion enjoys many connections with different businesses since it's among the best staffing companies. Whether you prefer working with big plants or small workshops, Spherion has different options for you. Spherion helps you find positions that use your skills and offer the flexibility you need. You have the chance to sign up for training opportunities to go beyond what you learned in school, plus a contact person who is always ready to answer any concerns or questions you have.
At Spherion, you'll find a wide range of fabricator jobs in cities across the country as well as fabricator positions close to home. Finding a fabricator position through Spherion offers you other important benefits, including:
- Permanent and temporary contracts
- Flexible payment schedules, depending on your job
- A wide range of job opportunities in your region
- Qualified and skilled contact people to offer assistance or advice when you need it
- Access to a wide range of training and career development opportunities
- Flexible working schedules
What education do you need as a fabricator?
The education and job qualifications needed to enter an occupation in fabrication vary by employer and industry. For most jobs, a high school diploma is usually enough. However, you need training and experience for advanced assembly tasks. You have the opportunity to train as a professional fabricator in different ways. Depending on your employment and education background, you can consider:
- Completing an apprenticeship either in fabrication or any other related field, which combines experience in a typical work environment and fabrication training in a classroom
- Completing on-the-job training if you have experience in another engineering-related field such as product assembly or welding
- Taking a course like Diploma in Welding Technology and Fabrication
Skills & competencies
Fabricators need a wide range of skills and knowledge. Apart from the technical skills, fabricators depend on organizational skills to be effective in their job. If you love the challenge of supervising and coordinating a team of workers and working in a busy environment, this role will perfectly suit you. Fabricators are involved in all stages of the manufacturing process, including attending product design meetings and coordinating with other company departments. That means you'll also need a general technical background and interpersonal skills.
Knowledge of the production process
Apart from technical skills and being conversant with specific software applications and tools, your general knowledge of the production processes will also help you know what the designers expect from you and the best tools to accomplish it. It'll also help you know the raw materials you need for specific products and their properties. Although employers categorize most fabricators as team assemblers, some specialize in producing a single product or doing similar tasks during the manufacturing process.
Fabricators manufacture, weld, and assemble metal components and structures. Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions about becoming a fabricator.