Welders are trained experts who merge pieces of metal or thermoplastic together for building, construction, and sculpting purposes. The process of merging materials together can be done in several different ways, but will invariably involve the application of heat. The sources of heat that can be used depend on the welder, the project at hand, and the materials that are being coalesced. Typically, however, heat is applied through an open gas flame, arc discharge, electromagnetic radiation, and friction, just to name a few.
If we stop to think about the various constructions that require welding, it quickly becomes clear how many different working environments welders can choose from. From ground-level environments, such as factories, construction sites, aviation or automobile manufacturers and repair shops, to underwater tasks, such as repairing or building ships and pipelines. There are many different work environments that welders can choose from.
Steamfitters hone a completely different craft than welders, however, welding is still a huge part of their skill set. The focus of a steamfitter's work is on pipes (explaining why steamfitters are also referred to as pipefitters). Working with piping systems requires a great level of specialized expertise. In order to properly execute the task at hand, steamfitters will need to consult a variety of blueprints, layout plans, and technical provisions before launching the project. From there, the steamfitter will decide which tools and materials are best suited for the pipe assembly or repair, and will then begin to map out the estimated progress of the project.
A steamfitter's job is very technical, and requires a variety of different skills, including but not limited to, precise measuring, welding, soldering, cementing, and being able to handle a wide range of power tools and machinery. Most employers will require applicants to have completed a steamfitter apprenticeship or certification program before being hired.
Sheet metal is made from various types of metal, including steel, aluminum, silver, copper and gold. Although not immediately obvious, sheet metal is widely used, and can be seen in everything from art pieces to roof tops. Much like steamfitters, sheet metal workers also need to be able to read and interpret intricate blueprints and design plans in order to successfully carry any given project. incorporate welding into their trade.
A sheet metal worker apprenticeship program will most likely introduce students to the various ways sheet metal workers handle the material, both of terms of the ways metal is formed (i.e. bending, rolling, ironing) and the energy source used to form it (i.e. laser cutting, drilling, shearing).