Manufacturing versus Fabrication - What is the difference?

Fabrication and manufacturing are two industrial terms that roughly refer to the process of production or construction. Manufacturing is the process of making products on a large scale using machinery. Fabrication is the process of making a product assembling various standardized parts. The key difference between fabrication and manufacturing is that manufacturing involves building a product from the bottom-up whereas fabrication involves assembling of standardized parts.  

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What Does Manufacturing Mean?

Manufacturing is the process of converting raw materials into a finished product, by means of large-scale industrial operations. The verb manufacture, which is the verb from which manufacturing is derived from, isManufacturing & Fabrication defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the process of making wares by hand or by machinery especially when carried on systematically with division of labor.” Manufacture is defined in the Oxford dictionary as “make (something) on a large scale using machinery.” As evident from these definitions, manufacturing involves large scale production using labor, machines, tools, and/or chemical or biological processing. Some examples of products that go through the process of manufacturing are household appliances, automobiles, and aircraft.

The manufacturing process is the steps the raw materials have to undergo before they are converted into the final product. Manufacturing, in its earliest form, only included a skilled craftsperson and his assistants. But, after the industrial revolution, manufacturing became a large-scale industry.

What Does Fabrication Mean?

The noun fabrication is derived from the verb fabricate, which refers to the process of constructing products Chamferby combining diverse, typically standardized parts. The Oxford Dictionary defines the verb fabricate as “construct or manufacture (an industrial product), especially from prepared components,” whereas Merriam-Webster defines it as “to construct from diverse and usually standardized parts.” Thus, the concept of fabrication always involves the process of assembling. An example of the process of fabrication is the fabrication of a boat by assembling standard components.

Let’s look at an example of fabrication and manufacturing in order to clarify the difference between fabrication and manufacturing. Imagine that a certain company is importing automobile parts for Volkswagen cars and assemble them, creating finished Volkswagen cars. But, the process carried out by this factory is a fabrication because they don’t actually manufacture the cars from the bottom-up. In contrast, the factories that construct the automobile parts from raw materials are engaged in a manufacturing process.

It is also important to note that the term fabrication is used to refer to different processes such as chamfer. A chamfer is a transitional edge between two faces of an object. A form of bevel, it is created at 45° angle to two adjoining right-angled faces. Chamfers may be formed in either inside or outside adjoining faces of an object or room. They are also used to "ease" otherwise sharp edges, both for safety and to prevent damage to them. 

What is the difference between Fabrication and Manufacturing?

Fabrication vs Manufacturing

Fabrication is the process of constructing products by combining diverse, typically standardized parts.Manufacturing is the process of converting raw materials into a finished product, by means of large-scale industrial operations.
Verb
Fabrication is derived from the verb fabricate.Manufacturing is derived from the verb manufacture.
Process
Standard parts are assembled to build the final product.The raw materials are converted into the final product.

Summary – Fabrication vs Manufacturing

Fabrication and manufacturing are two mechanical processes involved in the production of merchandise. Fabrication is the process of constructing products by combining diverse, typically standardized parts. Manufacturing is the process of converting raw materials into a finished product, by means of large-scale industrial operations. This is the main difference between fabrication and manufacturing.

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