From batteries to automobile parts and paper cups, manufacturing is an essential industry that helps the world go round. Defined as a method of transforming raw materials into a finished product, manufacturing has evolved from its most primitive forms to a variety of modern methods. Below are the most common types of manufacturing processes found in the world today.
One of the most popular manufacturing processes is casting. This process involves pouring liquid metal into a mold. There are a variety of casting methods used in manufacturing including the following:
- Centrifugal Casting. This is used to create cylinder, tubular, or ring shapes.
- Die Casting. This is used to create products requiring a high level of precision.
- Investment Casting. This is used to create complicated and intricate components.
While the process is similar to casting, molding is mostly used to create plastic products. There are a number of different molding methods. The most popular processes are injection molding, reaction injection molding, and low-pressure overmolding.
Injection molding is most often used to manufacture products with complex and sophisticated geometries. The unlimited design freedom afforded by reaction injection molding allows manufacturers to create virtually any product they can think of. Low-pressure overmolding allows for the creation of encapsulated products, such as electronic components.
Forming is to manufacturing what ceramics and sculptures are to art. Forming is a manufacturing process that manipulates and removes material to create a final product. The different types of forming include
- Forging (both hot and cold): A process that uses a hammer or forging machine.
- Bending: A process that uses a die and punch.
- Stamping: A process that uses punches, dies, and stamping tools.
- Machining: A process that uses machinery to cut away raw material.
Joining is exactly what it sounds like: a manufacturing process that joins two or more parts together. Welding, soldering, brazing, and adhesive bonding are all different types of joining manufacturing methods. Mechanical assembly is another method that uses nuts, bolts, and rivets to join parts together. It also allows for said parts to be disassembled.
Plating allows manufacturers to coat the surface of a part or product with special powders or chemicals, such as zinc. In turn, this coating protects the product from corrosion and wear. It can also make a product more conductive or magnetic.
Last on our list of the most common types of manufacturing processes is additive manufacturing. 3D printing is a great example of the additive process. Plants that use this process layer materials such as plastic and metal to create products, which can be as small as trinkets and as large as houses.