Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical, physical, electrical or mechanical steps to aid in the manufacturing of an item or items, usually carried out on a very large-scale. Industrial processes are the key components of heavy industry.

1. General processes


These may be applied on their own, or as part of a larger process.

  • Liquefaction of gases – for ease of transportation
  • Supercritical drying, freeze-drying – removal of excess liquid
  • Scrubbing – removal of pollution from exhaust gases



2. Chemical processes

  • Haber process – chemically binding gaseous nitrogen from the atmosphere to make ammonia
  • Smelting – chemically enhancing metals
  • Disinfection – chemical treatment to kill bacteria and viruses
  • Pyroprocessing – using heat to chemically combine materials, such as in cement.



3. Heat processes


  • Flash smelting – a refinement on smelting, for sulfur-containing ores (produces copper, nickel and lead)

4. Electrolysis

The availability of electricity and its effect on materials gave rise to several processes for plating or separating metals.


  • Gilding, Electroplating, Anodization, Electrowinning – depositing a material on an electrode
  • Electropolishing – the reverse of electroplating
  • Electrofocusing – similar to electroplating, but separating molecules
  • Electrolytic process – the generic process of using electrolysis
  • Electrophoretic deposition – electrolytic deposition of colloidal particles in a liquid medium
  • Electrotyping – using electroplating to produce printing plates
  • Metallizing, Plating, Spin coating – the generic term for giving non-metals a metallic coating

5. Cutting


  • Shearing
  • Sawing
  • Plasma cutting
  • Water-jet cutting
  • Oxyacetylene cutting
  • Electrical discharge machining (EDM)
  • Machining – the mechanical cutting and shaping of metal which involves the loss of the material
  • Laser cutting

6. Physical processes


There are several physical processes for reshaping a material by cutting, folding, joining or polishing, developed on a large scale from workshop techniques.

  • Forging – the shaping of metal by use of heat and hammer
  • Casting – shaping of a liquid material by pouring it into moulds and letting it solidify
  • Progressive stamping – the production of components from a strip or roll
  • Stamping
  • Hydroforming – a tube of metal is expanded into a mould under pressure
  • Sandblasting – cleaning of a surface using sand or other particles
  • Soldering, Brazing, Welding – a process for joining metals
  • Tumble polishing – for polishing
  • Precipitation hardening – heat treatment used to strengthen malleable materials
  • Work hardening – adding strength to metals, alloys, etc.
  • Case hardening, Differential hardening, Shot peening – creating a wear resistant surface
  • Die cutting – A “forme” or “die” is pressed onto a flat material in order to cut, score, punch and otherwise shape the material

7. Moulding

The physical shaping of materials by forming their liquid form using a mould.


  • Casting, Sand casting – the shaping of molten metal or plastics using a mould
  • Sintering, Powder metallurgy – the making of objects from metal or ceramic powder
  • Blow moulding as in plastic containers or in the Glass Container Industry – making hollow objects by blowing them into a mould.
  • Compression molding

8. Separation

Many materials exist in an impure form, purification, or separation provides a usable product.

  • Comminution – reduces the size of physical particles (it exists between crushing and grinding)
  • Froth flotation, flotation process – separating minerals through floatation
  • Liquid–liquid extraction – dissolving one substance in another
  • Frasch process – for extracting molten sulfur from the ground

9. Distillation

  • Fractional distillation, Steam distillation, Vacuum distillation – separating materials by their boiling point
  • Batch distillation
  • Continuous distillation
  • Fractionating column
  • Spinning cone


10. Additive

  • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
  • Stereolithography (SLA)
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS)
  • Photolithography