Manufacturing and Processing
Manufacturing is the processing of raw materials or parts into finished goods through the use of tools, human labor, machinery, and chemical processing. Large-scale manufacturing allows for the mass production of goods using assembly line processes and advanced technologies as core assets. Efficient manufacturing techniques enable manufacturers to take advantage of economies of scale, producing more units at a lower cost.
Humans have historically sought ways to turn raw materials, such as ore, wood, and foodstuffs into finished products, such as metal goods, furniture, and processed foods. By refining and processing this raw material into something more useful, individuals and businesses have added value. This added value increased the price of finished products, rendering manufacturing a profitable endeavor. People began to specialize in the skills required to manufacture goods, while others provided funds to businesses to purchase tools and materials.
A bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering is usually a minimum requirement for those seeking to enter this field. Undergraduate degrees in mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and process engineering are other acceptable fields of study.
To be a more competitive candidate — especially for teaching, research or leadership positions — a master’s or doctoral degree can be helpful. Obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in addition to an undergraduate engineering degree is a typical career path if an engineer is interested in corporate leadership. A doctoral degree is useful for those who are interested in research jobs.
Food processing generally includes the basic preparation of foods, the alteration of a food product into another form (as in making preserves from fruit), and preservation and packaging techniques.
A number of food-processing innovations have even resulted in new products, such as concentrated fruit juices, freeze-dried coffee, and instant foods. Foods and food supplements have also been processed from such untapped sources as oilseeds (chiefly protein-rich soybeans and cottonseeds); mutant varieties of crops; leaves, grasses, and aquatic plants; and highly nutritious fish, meal and concentrates.
As the population expands and the public increases their focus on diet, health and food safety, the job opportunities will grow and strengthen for food scientists and technologists – especially in quality assurance and food safety. Food scientists produce food, ensure its safety and develop new products; they deal with food until it goes into the stomach of consumers. Because of this, as long as people have to eat, there will be careers in food products and processing.
Materials (glass, paper, plastic, wood)
You use a wide range of different materials daily; these might include:
Metal, plastic, wood, glass, ceramics, synthetic fibers, composites (made from two or more materials combined together). Each material can be used to make a range of different things; for example, wood can be used to make tables, chairs, spoons, pencils, shoes, doors, floors and many more things. An object can be made out of different materials used together; for example, a chair can be made from metal, wood and plastic. Some materials may be more suitable than others for particular uses or for manufacturing specific objects; for example, metal shoes wouldn’t be very comfortable, and a cardboard door wouldn’t be very strong!
Textiles (clothes, footwear, leather)
The Textile, Clothing, Leather and Footwear (TCLF) sector is characterized by geographically dispersed production and rapid market-driven changes, providing employment opportunities to millions of workers worldwide especially for young women. Due to the scale and the profile of workers employed, the sector offers great potential to contribute significantly to economic and social development. Some of the specializations include women’s tailoring, leather production, footwear, men’s tailoring, textile industry, weaving, wool making, linen production, and custom tailoring.
Mining and Extraction
Earnings are high, in part, because of working conditions. For example, jobs might require workers to live in remote areas, be out at sea for weeks at a time, or spend long periods underground. And mining, oil, and gas workers can face potentially hazardous conditions.
Workers in the mining, oil, and gas extraction industry locate and remove a variety of natural resources including coal, stone, and natural gas from the earth. These resources are essential to our economy. They are used in many products around us. For example, oil is processed to make petroleum products, such as plastics, and minerals are used in computers. Stone provides building materials for construction, and coal and natural gas are used to create electricity. Current and projected employment levels in the industry vary by location, type of resource extracted, and other factors.
If you would like to avoid the physical aspect of mining and extraction, you can also consider theoretical research in this field. The study of the assessment, planning, development, and management of the extraction of minerals, oil and natural gas is also a possibility for you to explore.