When people think of the metalworks industry, they often think of welding, cutting, and shaping slabs of metal into shapes requested by the customer. While the industry itself involves a lot more than the fashioning of metal, that process is precisely what warehouse operations specialists spend their time doing. If you are interested in shaping metal and working with your hands, take a glimpse at what our fabricators do.
The Job: What Does a Warehouse Operations Specialist Do?
In both commercial and industrial settings, warehouse operations specialists are the personnel chiefly responsible for shaping metal into the forms the client requests. They follow schematics, drawings, and blueprints to ensure that the project is precisely to a customer’s specifications. They then measure meticulously and cut the metal before notching, shaping, positioning, aligning, and fitting it properly.
When the metal has been shaped, it can be welded together to retain that shape. MIG and TIG welding processes are the most commonly employed at this stage. When the welding process is complete, a fabricator may also need to grind and de-bur and grind the metal to achieve the correct surface texture. Fabricators may also depart from this general structure to assist with other processes that need to be completed on the factory floor.
Because of the diversity of tasks they complete, warehouse operations specialists must be familiar and competent with an array of tools and equipment, including ironworkers, band saws, shears, plasma and flame cutters, drill presses, ring rollers, press brakes, grinders and even forklifts. They must be able to comprehend and interpret drawings, plans, and work order booklets, and they must be able to communicate with other members of the team. The projects they work on depend on the company for which they work, but can include things like electronic devices, cars, and aircraft, to name a few.
Factories and plants are full of potential hazards. They are also loud and busy. Safety is, therefore, our utmost priority. Gear that protects the eyes, ears, hands, and feet should always be worn when working, and fabricators should act as examples to their coworkers about observing safe practices. Any unsafe practices or conditions should be reported to the supervisor as soon as possible, and fabricators should make any on-the-spot corrections possible to improve safety in the workplace.
Are Welding and Metal Fabrication the Same?
Welding is a process by which a welder applies heat to join metals together. While welding plays an important role in a warehouse operations specialist’s job, it is only a part of what he or she does. As mentioned, fabricators also cut, bend, and finish metal projects. That being said, welding may be the largest component of a fabricator’s work, and there is more than one way to do it. Here we discuss MIG and TIG welding, both of which employ electric arc and a shielding gas but approach the electrode and filler components differently.
Metal inert gas (MIG) welding uses a solid wire for both electrode and filler. This consumable continuous wire is machine-fed to the weld area through a lead to streamline the welding process for the welder. Also known as gas metal arc welding (or GMAW), MIG welding is best used to join large and thick materials because the process is not as precise as TIG welding. This makes it easier to learn and a more expedited process, which can save time and production costs. If a weld of aluminum or mild or stainless steel requires little to no finishing, MIG is a good fit.
Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, on the other hand, is a much more nuanced process. Also called gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), TIG welding utilizes a tungsten rod as an electrode. It is not consumable and does not double as the filler. It must also be hand-fed into the weld pool, requiring the welder to use both hands. The process may feel more cumbersome and is certainly more time consuming and difficult to master.
However, the nature of the TIG process provides greater control over the welding operation, meaning that such welds are stronger and more precise. Available for a variety of applications with metals such as copper, aluminum, titanium, and steel, TIG is better for working with thin or small materials. Projects that require a high level of precision, i.e. industrial structures, production line manufacture, motorsport, and aerospace, should employ the TIG method.
Besides the pleasure of shaping sheets of metal into recognizable structures, the benefits of being a warehouse operations specialist vary by employer. Our fabricators receive competitive hourly wages within the industry standard (between $17 and $25) based on experience and skill levels. We also take excellent care of our employees with comprehensive benefits packages and training initiatives.
What We’re Looking For
The ideal candidate to work as a warehouse operations specialist for Cd’A Metals values integrity and quality as much as we do. Adaptability and proactivity are highly desirable character traits that make our teams efficient and pleasant to work with. Communication skills are also beneficial and part of being physically and cognitively capable of performing the work required. Fabricators should be dexterous with their hands and able to stand on their feet for extended periods of time on the factory floor.
Experience in the metal fabrication industry is invaluable. Those who have worked before as warehouse operations specialists or who have certification in the discipline from a trade school are more likely to have an expedited training process. They should already know how to read schematics and blueprints as well as be trained in welding and metal fabrication. Industry experience with following safety protocols will be given priority.
About Cd’A Metals–Norfolk Iron & Metal
Cd’A Metals, a part of the Norfolk Iron & Metal Group, has a long history of processing and distributing carbon flat-rolled and non-ferrous products across the United States. From our many facilities, we provide only the highest quality products and services, as our customers have come to expect. We also value our employees, knowing we could not do what we do without them. If you are looking to join a great team and bend some metal on the way, Cd’A Metals may be the place.