The 5 types of manufacturing processes

Five types of manufacturing processes explained for manufacturing businesses. Everything you need to know about manufacturing techniques and processes.

Manufacturing process to cut leather fabric pieces on cutting board with cutting tools.
Published: 11.12.2018

When you think of the different types of manufacturing does your mind wander to images of endless assembly lines in factories? Or maybe Greasy and oily overalls being worn by dirtier mechanics tolling away on some complex machine?

You’d be mostly right. However, these jobs are just the tip of the iceberg for the different manufacturing types of businesses that exist.

A lot of us, even experts working in the field, either have misconceptions or a difficult time categorizing ourselves in this industry.

Food manufacturing, textile product mills, apparel manufacturing, wood product manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, and computer and electronics product manufacturing.

These are just a few sub-sectors that exist within the manufacturing industry — all implementing their own manufacturing process and using various manufacturing ERP software.

These processes are made easier to follow and understand with the use of cloud-based manufacturing software, which allows its users to have more free time crafting their products.

But, before we give you the five types of manufacturing processes, let’s first take a look into what is a manufacturing process.

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What is a manufacturing process? 

Man overseeing woodwork cutting manufacturing process.

A manufacturing process is a way a business will establish how it will produce its products for its customers. When a company begins manufacturing a product the process will be determined by factors such as consumer demand of products, the manufacturing technique of how a final product is completed (is it assembled by various components, involve raw material or chemicals?), and the available resources at the company’s disposal.

Each process is different, and all have their advantages when completing a certain task. For example, manufacturing in batches can be done in bulk, in a continuous stream of products, or in smaller batches to meet customer demand and minimize waste.

If you are a manufacturer you should be aware of the five manufacturing processes to figure out which is most beneficial to be implemented by your company.

PRO TIP: Depending on your type of business, one manufacturing process will be best for you. We’ve put together an essential guide for modern manufacturers and investigated what is manufacturing which will help you decide.

Five types of manufacturing processes

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

1. Repetitive manufacturing

A manufacturer would use repetitive manufacturing for repeated production that commits to a production rate.

Repetitive processing is comprised of dedicated production lines that produce the same or a paraphernalia of items, 24/7, all year round.

With its requirements for setup being minimal or having little changeover, the operation speeds can be increased or decreased to meet customer demands or requirements.

2. Discrete manufacturing

Like repetitive manufacturing, discrete manufacturing also utilizes an assembly or production line. However, this process is extremely diverse, with a variety of setups and changeover frequencies. This is due to factors based on whether the products in production are similar or discordant in design.

If the items are vastly different this will require altering the setup and a tear-down, which means production will require more time.

3. Job shop manufacturing

Job shop manufacturing, unlike repetitive or discrete manufacturing, makes use of production areas rather than assembly lines. This is because this process will produce smaller batches of custom products, which can be either made-to-order (MTO) or made-to-stock (MTS).

These workstations are organized to make one version of a custom product or even a couple of dozen. If customer demand requires it, the operation can become a discrete manufacturing line with selected labor operations being, potentially, replaced by automated equipment.

Of course, this depends on the type of manufacturing business.

PRO TIP: A lot of job shop manufacturers take advantage of job shop manufacturing software, which helps you manage your production and switch up your workflow process if needs be.

4. Process manufacturing (continuous)

Process manufacturing (also called continuous manufacturing) is similar to repetitive manufacturing as it too also runs 24/7. However, the difference is that this manufacturing process productions raw materials that are gases, liquids, powders, or slurries. But, in areas like mining, the products can be granule materials.

Product designs are similar unless the disciplines to create a final product or a production process are more diverse.

5. Process manufacturing (batch)

Process manufacturing (also called batch manufacturing) shares similarities with discrete and job shop processes. Depending on consumer demand, one batch could be enough to meet that demand. Once a batch is completed, the equipment is cleaned, ready to produce the next batch when needed. Batch processes are continuous in nature.

Continuous batch processes are achievable when the ingredients or raw materials cannot be made to a strict standard. Just like Process manufacturing (continuous) the product ingredients are similar, and the production process is more diverse.

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Bonus sixth manufacturing process

Technological advancements mean that there is now technically a sixth manufacturing process, which has a legitimate reason to be credited. And no, it’s not a para-manufacturing concept.

3D printing, first conceived in the 1980s, means that products can be produced from various composites and materials, instead of the traditional methods of physical labor or automation.

There’s been an 875% growth in the last five years and although it’s still in its infancy, 3D printing promises to be a potential avenue as a manufacturing technique in the future. With the possibility of even being able to make food!

We hope that you were able to find this blog useful in better understanding the manufacturing industry as a whole and the types of manufacturing processes out there, ready to be incorporated by a manufacturer such as yourself.

Once you’ve contemplated the types of manufacturing processes and decided which is most beneficial to your company for keeping up with customer demand and minimizing waste, you can go ahead and incorporate Katana into your business. Our Smart Manufacturing Software will see that your manufacturing output is at its most efficient.

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