Manufacturing is a core industrial activity and it refers to the process of converting raw materials into finished products that can be sold in the marketplace. The range of raw materials that are used in the manufacturing process is wide and varied and covers metallic and non-metallic resources. Manufacturing covers an assortment of industries such as: food production, chemicals, ceramics, computer software, electronics, plumbing, automobiles, aerospace, woods, and plastics, etc.
The process of manufacturing includes all aspects of the process, from gathering and transporting the raw materials to transforming and assembling them, to packaging and shipping them. We should also remember that manufacturing also includes the analyzing and the testing of these various products. Manufacturing may include manual labor, automation, robotics and computers etc.
The raw materials undergo diverse transformations or processes to become the desired final product. There are many types of physical processes that these materials can go through to reach a final standard. Some of these procedures include: fabrication, welding, casting, material removal, deburring, machining, additives, cutting, molding, forging, assembly, coating, thermal treatments, packaging and a host of others. However, some manufacturing processes involve specific materials technology such as polymer chemistry, metallurgy, and elastomers, etc. Electronic products like microelectronics, vapor deposition systems, audio and video systems, and sensors all undergo a specialized process.
The product design is an integral element in the development process and includes things such as: sketching, CAD's, conceptual design, concurrent engineering, DFX protocols, and packaging, etc. In today's technology driven world, most material handling and storage procedures are automated with the latest electronic controls, robotics and IT integrated manufacturing. Stringent quality control procedures are incorporated into the operational process to meet the client's requirements. These quality controls are supported by accurate manufacturing information systems via data management, maintenance, storage, retrieval and inventory tracking.
Manufacturing came into the forefront during the Industrial Revolution in Britain a couple of centuries ago and the process has evolved greatly ever since and spread to North America, Europe and Asia. Most countries around the world manufacture products that are sold or traded with other countries. The products that are manufactured often depend on the types of raw materials that the countries possess.