Exploring the Essential Welding Techniques Used by Fabricators

The use of welding do fabricators

Introduction to the type of welding do fabricators use

Introduction: Welding is a fundamental process in the world of fabrication. Fabricators rely on various welding techniques to join metals, create structures, and produce a wide range of products. In this article, we’ll delve into the essential welding techniques commonly used by fabricators and their applications.

MIG Welding (Gas Metal Arc Welding - GMAW):

  • Overview: MIG welding, or Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), is one of the most widely used welding techniques in fabrication. It involves the use of a continuous wire electrode that feeds through a welding gun, where it combines with a shielding gas (typically argon or a mixture of gases). The electric arc melts the wire, creating a weld pool that fuses the metal pieces together.
  • Applications: MIG welding is versatile and suitable for a variety of materials, including steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and even some non-ferrous metals. Fabricators use MIG welding for applications such as structural steel fabrication, automotive manufacturing, and general metal fabrication projects.

TIG Welding (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding - GTAW):

  • Overview: TIG welding, or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), is known for its precision and control. It uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce an electric arc that melts the base metal and filler material (if needed). An inert gas, typically argon, shields the weld area from atmospheric contamination.
  • Applications: TIG welding is favored for its ability to produce high-quality welds with minimal spatter. Fabricators use TIG welding for applications where precision and aesthetics are crucial, including aerospace components, stainless steel fabrication, and artistic metalwork.

Stick Welding (Shielded Metal Arc Welding - SMAW):

  • Overview: Stick welding, or Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), is a manual welding process that uses a consumable electrode coated with a flux material. The electrode is struck against the workpiece, creating an arc that melts both the electrode and the base metal. The flux coating provides a shielding gas to protect the weld from impurities.
  • Applications: Stick welding is versatile and can be used with various metals, making it suitable for construction, infrastructure projects, and heavy equipment repair. It is often employed in outdoor and adverse conditions where other welding processes may be less practical.

Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW):

  • Overview: Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) is similar to MIG welding but uses a tubular electrode filled with flux instead of solid wire. The flux creates a protective shield around the weld and helps remove impurities from the metal. FCAW can be used with or without shielding gas, depending on the specific application.
  • Applications: Fabricators use FCAW for a variety of applications, including shipbuilding, structural steel fabrication, and heavy equipment manufacturing. It is particularly suitable for welding thick materials and in outdoor settings.

Submerged Arc Welding (SAW):

  • Overview: Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) is an automated welding process where a granular flux is used to create a protective blanket over the weld. The welding arc is concealed beneath the flux layer, resulting in a highly efficient and low-spatter process.
  • Applications: SAW is commonly used in industrial settings for welding thick sections of steel, such as pressure vessels, pipe manufacturing, and large structural components. Its high deposition rates make it ideal for high-volume production.

Spot Welding:

  • Overview: Spot welding is a fast and efficient welding technique commonly used in the fabrication of sheet metal components. It involves the application of electrical current to create resistance at specific points between two metal sheets, causing them to melt and fuse together. Spot welders typically use copper electrodes to apply pressure and current.
  • Applications: Spot welding is prevalent in automotive manufacturing, where it is used to join sheet metal panels, body components, and assemblies. It is also employed in the production of household appliances, electronics, and various metal enclosures.

Seam Welding:

  • Overview: Seam welding is a continuous welding process that creates a leak-proof, hermetic seal along the length of a joint. It is often used in the fabrication of cylindrical or tubular components. A rotating wheel or electrode travels along the seam, applying pressure and heat to create a continuous weld.
  • Applications: Seam welding is employed in the fabrication of pressure vessels, fuel tanks, and pipes, where a consistent and durable seal is required. It is also used in the automotive industry for welding fuel tanks and exhaust systems.

Resistance Welding:

  • Overview: Resistance welding encompasses several techniques, including spot welding, seam welding, and projection welding. It relies on the resistance generated by the materials to be joined when subjected to electrical current. This resistance generates heat, causing the metals to melt and fuse together.
  • Applications: Resistance welding is used in various fabrication processes, particularly in the automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries. It is known for its ability to produce strong, reliable welds quickly.

Laser Welding:

  • Overview: Laser welding is a precise and high-energy welding process that uses a focused laser beam to melt and join metals. It offers exceptional control and can create narrow, deep welds with minimal heat-affected zones.
  • Applications: Laser welding finds applications in industries requiring high precision, such as medical device manufacturing, microelectronics, and aerospace. It is also used in automotive production for spot welding and tailored blank welding.

Electron Beam Welding (EBW):

  • Overview: Electron Beam Welding (EBW) is a high-energy welding process that uses a focused beam of high-velocity electrons to generate intense heat and melt metals. It is typically conducted in a vacuum chamber to prevent electron scattering.
  • Applications: EBW is used in industries requiring deep, narrow welds with minimal distortion, such as aerospace, nuclear, and defense applications. It is favored for its ability to join thick materials and provide precise control over the welding process.

In conclusion, fabricators have a wide array of welding techniques at their disposal, each with its unique advantages and applications. The choice of welding method depends on factors like the materials being joined, the desired weld quality, production volume, and project specifications. Skilled fabricators are proficient in selecting the appropriate welding technique to ensure that their fabricated components meet the required standards and specifications.

Need a reliable partner?

Red River specializes in the design and manufacturing of pressure vessels. We also fabricate related items such as prefabricated spools and skid packages.

Reach Out to us today and experience the Red River difference. Where American Made and American Values come together, we care more

FAQs about Welding in Fabrication for Pressure Vessels

What type of welding is commonly used in pressure vessel fabrication?

Pressure vessel fabricators often utilize several welding methods, with the most common being submerged arc welding (SAW), shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). The choice depends on factors like material type, thickness, and specific project requirements.

How does submerged arc welding (SAW) contribute to pressure vessel fabrication?

SAW is preferred for pressure vessel fabrication due to its ability to provide deep weld penetration and high deposition rates. The process involves a granular flux that shields the arc, reducing atmospheric contamination and ensuring a robust weld. This makes SAW suitable for thick materials commonly used in pressure vessels.

What role does shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) play in pressure vessel construction?

SMAW, commonly known as stick welding, is employed for pressure vessel fabrication when versatility and accessibility are crucial. It is well-suited for welding thick sections and can be used in various positions. While it may not be as high-speed as other methods, SMAW offers excellent adaptability in challenging welding scenarios.

Why is gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) chosen for certain pressure vessel components?

GTAW, or TIG welding, is favored for its precision and ability to produce high-quality welds with minimal spatter. It is often employed for welding materials like stainless steel and non-ferrous metals used in pressure vessels where the aesthetic and corrosion-resistant properties are critical.

Do pressure vessel fabricators use robotic welding technology?

Yes, many pressure vessel fabricators incorporate robotic welding technology for increased efficiency and precision. Robotic welding systems can handle repetitive tasks with high accuracy, ensuring consistent weld quality. This technology is particularly advantageous for large-scale production of pressure vessels.


In the realm of industrial solutions, Red River emerges as a pioneer, offering a diverse range of custom-engineered products and facilities. Among our specialties is the design and production of Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels, meticulously crafted to meet individual client requirements, ensuring performance under various pressure conditions. Our expertise extends to the domain of prefabrication, where Red River leads with distinction.

The company excels in creating prefabricated facilities, modules, and packages, reinforcing its stance as a forerunner in innovation and quality. This proficiency is further mirrored in their Modular Skids offering, where they provide an array of Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment. Each piece is tailored to client specifications, underlining their commitment to delivering precision and excellence in every project they undertake.

Pressure Vessel line art

Pressure Vessels

Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels designed to fit your needs.

Prefabrication line art


Red River is a leader in prefabricated facilities, modules and packages.

Modular skid line art

Modular Skids

Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment manufactured to your specifications.


Need action? Ready to Get Started?

We are here to make it happen. Request a quote!