Stone Fabrication vs. Metal Fabrication
It is tempting to think that stone fabrication and metal fabrication are the same thing using different materials. However, that is not the case. In addition to working with differing materials, these two professions also work with several differing tools and equipment. Additionally, the end goal is different as well. In this article we will consider each of these kinds of work. As we do, we will highlight how they compare as we look at stone fabrication vs metal fabrication.
What is Fabrication?
In order to better examine the comparison of these two fields, we need to establish exactly what we are looking at. What is fabrication exactly? Well, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary shows the term being defined in the following way:
: construct, manufacture
specifically : to construct from diverse and usually standardized parts
Their plan is to fabricate the house out of synthetic parts.
So in layman's terms the the word simply means to make something. Hence, fabrication comes in many forms. The two forms that we are looking at right now though are stone fabrication and metal fabrication. As you might imagine comparing the fabricating of natural stone with metal would yield an array traits to compare. In the interest of time though, we will look only at a handful here.
Stone Materials Compared With Metal Material
The materials themselves affect how fabricating each one compares with the other. For example, if you walked into a metal fabrication area, you would likely find it to be a "hotter" environment. What we mean by that is metal is shaped and bonded using heat. Torches, welders, and furnaces are all things that one might associate with metal fabrication.
On the other hand, stone is cut, shaped, and bonded without using intense heat. Now that is not to say that you won't see torches in stone fabricating environments, you will. When a stone surface gets a flamed finish, fire is used. Yet, stone is cut using blades and bonded using adhesive. And while, cutting stone using diamond stone blades for natural and engineered materials creates heat, it just isn't like using fire to cut the material like metal fabrication pros do. So there is the first difference between stone fabrication and metal fabrication; the heat factor.
Comparing the goal of stone fabrication vs metal fabrication leads to another difference in these professions. According to one professional that works as both a stone fabricator and a metal fabricator, working with stone usually involves creating something that is unique, one-of-a-kind, and that stands out from everything else made from that material. In contrast, metal fabrication usually involves creating a run of items that are exactly the same from one to the next.
So in addition to the material being different, the manner in which the material is cut and bonded, being different, the purpose associated with the task is also different. So, does that mean these fabrication fields have nothing in common? Certainly not!
Stone Slabs and Metal Plates Are Handled Similarly
When looking at metal fabrication vs stone fabrication some similarities become clear. Even though they have their differences as we have discussed, thre are some commonalities as well. For example, both materials come in large flat surfaces. In the case of stone, they are slabs. In the case of metal, they are plates (or sheets). Interestingly enough, this shape combined with the weight of these these materials means they are handled in similar ways.
Lifting Equipment for Metal and Stone
As we stated above, both metal and stone come in shapes, sizes and weight that is awkward to handle. Thus, most fabrication shops (metal or stone) will make use of machinery and/or equipment that is designed to make handling the material easier. For example, using scissor lifting clamps for stone slabs and metal plates on the end of a forklift boom makes the work much easier. Or, making use of a vacuum lifter in the fabrication shop is anohter way to go about lightening you load.
Ther are many other tools and machines that stone and metal fabrication industries have in common. But you get the idea. Although, looking at metal fab and stone fab side-by-side reveals some contrasts, there are also some parallels that must be recognized.
They Share Potential Hazards
In addition to the common machinery and equipment used by metal fabricators and stone fabricators, there is one other similarity that we will briefly mention in this comparison. It is the fact that both have the potential for respiratory issues if the air in the work environment is not properly filtered. Removing the dust from the air in a fabrication shop is one of the many ways to provide a safe work environment. Construction dust collection systems for stone and for metal fabrication allow workers to "breath easy".
As we have considered in this article, metal fabrication and stone fabrication have some commonalities. And they also have some differences. They differ in that each has a specific purpose and its own work environment. On the other hand, they do use similar tools, equipment and handling techniques. If you are working with either stone or metal and fabrication is your process, you just might find some things in common with those working in a different industry.