The process industries

The term “manufacturing” is derived from the Latin term manufactura, which can be translated as “making by hand” while the term “process” can be translated as “to further or advance.” As an analogue to the denomination “manufacturing industries,” the term “process industries” could thus refer to production systems that utilize some sort of process technology in the manufacturing process involving material transformation. One could therefore advocate that this group of industries should be defined by traits based more on how products are manufactured and less on the characteristics of its product properties or how products are developed, sold or used.

However, it must initially be recognized that this class of industries is not homogeneous, but consists of a number of industry sectors more or less similar in individual characteristics and the selected grouping of industries belonging to the process industries also rely to a large extent on Wittgenstein’s concept of “family resemblance”. This is an important basis, since all companies and industry sectors do not share all characterizing attributes, and it must thus be acknowledged that companies or industrial sectors may be positioned differently regarding selected characteristics.

An intensional definition gives the meaning of a term by specifying the properties required to come to the definition and defines the necessary and sufficient conditions for belonging to the set. The selected intensional definition of the process industries is as follows:

“The process industries are a part of all manufacturing industries, using raw-materials (ingredients) to manufacture non-assembled products in an indirect transformational production process often dependent on time. The material flow in production plants is often of a divergent v-type, and the unit processes are connected in a more or less continuous flow pattern.”

(Thomas Lager 2017)

An extensional definition is a complement to an intensional definition to the extent that it lists all items that fall under the definition. The listed number of items can also be considered ostensive definitions, in that they illustrate the term by conveying the meaning by pointing out examples.

As an extensional definition of the process industries, a number of industrial sectors and industries have been selected from all manufacturing industries presented in the statistical classification of economic activities in the European community (NACE, 2006). The following industrial sectors are thus suggested for inclusion in the cluster of process industries, and the associated NACE codes are presented in parenthesis:

  • Mining & metal industries (05; 06; 07; 24)
  • Mineral & material industries (minerals, cement, glass, ceramics) (08; 23)
  • Steel industries (24.1; 24.2; 24.3)
  • Forest industries (pulp & paper) (17)
  • Food & beverage industries (10; 11)
  • Chemical & petrochemical industries (chemicals, rubber, coatings, ind. gases) (20; 22)
  • Pharmaceutical industries (incl. biotech industries and generic pharmaceuticals) (21)
  • Utilities (electricity & gas, water, sewerage, waste collection & recycling) (35; 36; 37; 38)

(Thomas Lager, 2000)