Types of Manufacturing Industries

  Reviewed by: Michelle Seidel, B.Sc., LL.B., MBA
  Written by: Walter Johnson      Updated November 08, 2018
Photo of specialist male Engineer measurement parts of production machine in factory.

Manufacturing plays a huge role in modern society, as everything from knitting textiles to oil extraction to steel production falls within this sector of business. The concept of manufacturing rests upon the idea of transforming raw materials – either organic or inorganic – into products that are usable by society. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies manufacturing into hundreds of subsections.

Clothing and Textiles

Companies that process raw wool, cotton and flax to make cloth are categorized under the clothing and textiles sector. This also applies to using wool and cloth to make clothes, outerwear, upholstery fabrics and bedding. The output of seamstresses and tailors belongs to the clothing and textile sector. Synthetics such as polyester fall under chemical manufacturing. The material, not the product, is at the center of defining this sector.

Petroleum, Chemicals and Plastics

The process of turning chemicals, coal and crude oil into usable products, along with the making of soaps, resins, paints and pesticides and medicines belong to this sector of manufacturing. But rubber manufacturing is considered a part of plastic work. This sector of industry also includes the use of crude oil to make certain plastics, as well as gasoline and other chemicals.

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Electronics, Computers and Transportation

Though these fields are closely related, they are usually treated as different sectors of manufacturing. Most of the products in this manufacturing sector use electric power, and all require a power source. Within this sector, you'll find all appliances and microprocessors, semi-conductors, chips and all audio-visual equipment. The transportation sector is self-defining, as it contains all automobiles, trains and planes that do not fall under other sectors, such as metalwork or chemical manufacturing.

Food Production

The inclusion of agriculture into manufacturing in modern society shows how agriculture has changed over the years, imitating more of a food production factory than an organic-style farm of just a century ago. As the simplest of all manufacturing industries, in includes all forms of food production – from the farm to the dinner table – including such work as canning and purifying.

Metal Manufacturing

Along with oil and chemical manufacturing, metals belong to heavy industry, while the remaining sectors are generally considered as light industry or consumer-oriented industry. The production of metals includes all forms of iron, aluminum and steel manufacturing, as well as forging, engraving, coating and stamping.

Wood, Leather and Paper

Wood production includes all forms of manufacturing floors or housing, as well as sawing and laminating. Under leather industries, you'll find all tanning and curing, but the creation of leather clothes falls belongs to clothing and textiles. The paper production process is typified by the cleansing of raw wood pulp into paper products of various kinds.

About the Author

Walter Johnson has more than 20 years experience as a professional writer. After serving in the United Stated Marine Corps for several years, he received his doctorate in history from the University of Nebraska. Focused on economic topics, Johnson reads Russian and has published in journals such as “The Salisbury Review,” "The Constantian" and “The Social Justice Review."

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