The Six Types of Manufacturing Process

5 min read
Manufacturing Process

When you think of manufacturing processes, what comes to your mind? Endless assembly lines and big machinery?

Back in the early 1900s, this might have been true. But now there are many different types of manufacturing. Some of them might even surprise you. The industry is far more diverse now than it was during the industrial revolution.

For example, all of these exist within the manufacturing industry:

  • Food manufacturing
  • Textile product mills
  • Apparel manufacturing
  • Wood product manufacturing
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Computer and electronics product manufacturing

These five sub-sectors of the manufacturing industry use different processes to make their products. In this article, we'll explore the six types of processes. Let’s start by understanding the manufacturing process before we delve into the different types of processes.

What is a manufacturing process?

It is a series of steps involving complex activities, people and their expertise, machines and their efficiencies to convert raw materials into a final product. If you ask the most skilled engineers about the different manufacturing processes, they may initially stutter. So we thought it might be a good idea to curate a guide to help you understand all the six types of manufacturing processes.

In the manufacturing industry, the most common sub-sectors include food, textile, electronics, wood, and chemical manufacturing. They all have their own set of processes and steps to generate the final products. Key factors determining the right manufacturing process for a business are consumer demand, technique, available resources, and turnaround time. Each of these manufacturing processes has its own advantages and disadvantages. The factors mentioned earlier are taken into close consideration by the manufacturers to determine the right approach for your business.

Six types of manufacturing processes

When it comes to the manufacturing process and choosing the right one for your products, it’s often a battle between quality versus quantity.

  1. Repetitive Manufacturing
  2. Discrete Manufacturing
  3. Job Shop Manufacturing
  4. Process (Continuous) Manufacturing
  5. Process (Batch) Manufacturing
  6. 3D Printing

Repetitive Manufacturing

This manufacturing process is one of the most traditional concepts out there. When you talk about the manufacturing process to a lame man, they would probably visualize one product being produced after the other. It is all about repeated production based on a production rate. This dedicated process is functional 24/7, throughout the year catering to the demand of the customers in the market. The operation speed of repetitive manufacturing can be increased or decreased by the manufacturer. This process is most commonly used in the automotive industry. One of the key benefits of this process is that it reduces the costs of producing products or components. Also, scheduling is easier in the process, and there is a visibility of performance that can be closely monitored.

Manufacturing Type: Repetitive Manufacturing

Discrete Manufacturing

Like repetitive manufacturing processes, discrete manufacturing also uses assembly or production lines with various setups and changeover frequencies. This type of manufacturing process involves parts, components, and sub-assemblies to produce finished products. They come in individual units, and the finished products are often an assembly of multiple components. For instance, the manufacturing of artisan furniture or smartphones or even airplanes is done through this process.

Job Shop Manufacturing

The job shop manufacturing process focuses on one-off manufacturing jobs and has less dependency on assembly lines than previously mentioned processes. Apart from that, the job shop manufacturing process involves limited automation. They produce smaller batches of custom products that are often made to replenish stocks once they are over. Customized product design, being easily adaptable to change, effective use of resources, and the option to prioritize certain operations are some of the key benefits of using this process. Selling customized products like eyeglasses or stock frames are examples of businesses that use job shop manufacturing.

Process Manufacturing (Continuous)

Process manufacturing, also known as continuous manufacturing, helps produce identical goods over and over again. Similar to the repetitive manufacturing process, this too involves 24/7 production. Some of the key benefits of using this process are reduced manufacturing costs in the long run, shorter production cycles, fewer chances of error, good quality production, and efficiency in the overall process. Businesses that use this consistent, constant, and uninterrupted manufacturing process are chemicals, drugs, and glass.

Process Manufacturing (Batch)

Finally, batch manufacturing or process manufacturing is the fifth type of manufacturing process. Similar to discrete and job shop processes, batch processing is done to meet a larger requirement of the consumers. Each requirement is considered a batch, and once the production is completed, they get the equipment cleaned and ready for the next round. Some of the key benefits of using the batch manufacturing process are cost efficiency is higher while producing a whole batch of products at a given time, efficient utilization of resources, more flexibility, lower wastage, and lower running costs. This process also has certain disadvantages that must not be overlooked. For instance, Increased storage costs, the need for meticulous quality control and assurances, a batch with errors can cause higher costs and loss of time. This process is used with Flatpack furniture, Electrical goods, Clothing, Pharmaceuticals, and Fast food.

3D Printing

The 3D printing industry is booming, and it’s taking the world by storm. Many in the industry now recognize 3D printing as a sixth manufacturing process with widespread use. 3D printing, first developed in the 1980s, means products are produced using various composites and materials like plastics and metals, rather than using physical labor or automation. Many companies have already released 3D-printed items on the market, including everything from clothes to food products.

3D printing can be expensive, and there are many other costs that come with it, like time spent on the design or development of the product and high-capacity printers, which can cost $50k-$500k each!

The good news? According to the Federation of  American Scientists, “the price of 3D printing technology has fallen by about 80% over recent years.” So while this may still seem prohibitively expensive now, you won’t have to wait long before prices drop significantly more.

Another benefit is it also offers the potential to reduce financial capital, raw materials, and waste and lets companies create and test products before committing to them on a larger scale. This growing manufacturing process is already being used for products such as:

No matter what manufacturing process your business might undertake, customers are only worried about the quality of the final product. Hence, in today’s competitive environment, it’s imperative to give utmost priority to the quality of the products and their assurance methods. As a business, choose the right process that fits your customer needs and use the latest technology to stay a step ahead of your competitors. With Brahmin Solutions MRP, you can closely watch the manufacturing process. From the bill of materials to production planning features, the solution helps you stay on top of your game and maintain the competitive edge for your business. Besides that, Brahmin Solutions also has important features like made-to-order and made-to-stock functionalities. This is your platform to scale up your business for better returns and bring efficiencies to the overall manufacturing process.

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