4.3 - Production Processes
A step in the design process is identifying feasible alternatives. For seed factories, the subset of feasible alternatives for a particular factory would be chosen from among the set of all factory processes. This page lists known and possible future processes. It is currently an early draft, so there are likely a number of missing items. There is a large literature on manufacturing processes. We will not repeat all that information here, but rather supply links for further details. In addition to being a catalog for selecting a starter set and later expansion items, this list can be used for analysis of the Universal Factory concept described in section 3.0. A Universal Factory should be capable of eventually performing any of the listed processes in order to make any possible product.
The list is organized according to the general order of production steps, from extracting raw materials to assembly and construction of finished products. These steps are further divided by types and sub-types.
We used the following Wikipedia articles as sources: List of Manufacturing Processes, Chemical Process, and Unit Operation. We also used the Handbook of Manufacturing Processes (Bralla, 2007). Some additional items were added to those sources.
This is extracting inorganic materials from solid natural sources. It includes:
This is extracting liquids and gases from natural sources. It includes:
This is extracting organic materials from natural sources. It does not include agriculture, which is under materials processes because it is artificial, rather than extracting from nature. Organic Extraction includes:
Plant Extraction, including collecting fruits, nuts, herbs, and other plant products.
Timber Extraction, when collected from natural rather than managed sources.
Materials begin in a "raw" state, as extracted from natural sources or returned for recycling from artificial sources. Materials processes convert raw materials to "finished" materials. These can either be used as is, such as gasoline as a fuel, or converted to finished products by fabrication and assembly. An example of a finished material is dry lumber, which can be cut and assembled into furniture or structures. Materials processing involves some set of physical, chemical, and electromagnetic Unit Operations, which are the basic elements of a process. Operations may be applied in series or in parallel. For example, boiling and reacting two chemicals may happen at the same time in one device.
Fluid flow processes: including storage in Tanks, transport by means of Piping, Valves, Compressors and Pumps, and control by Flow measurement. The various equipment elements are combined into fluid systems.
Heat transfer processes involving heating and cooling by radiation, convection, and conduction. They include Condensation, Liquefaction, Refrigeration,Boiling, and Evaporation, heating and baking in a Furnace, and Melting.
Mechanical processes include moving solids by Conveyors, Pneumatics or Material Handling. It includes modifying solids by Crushing, Pulverization, Milling, and Mulling. It also includes sorting and combining materials by Screening, Sieving, Flotation, Agitation, Mixing, and Fluidization
A reactor is a device where a chemical reaction occurs, which results in different chemical outputs than the than the reactant inputs. In formulating a chemical process, both the type of reactor and what reaction type(s) happen in it must be chosen.
Reactors may be divided into batch and continuous flow types. They may have mixers, catalysts (which are not themselves changed like the reactants) or heating and cooling to create the right reaction conditions. The physical phase (solid, liquid, or gas) of the reactants and outputs may be the same (homogeneous) or different (heterogeneous), and there may be an interface across which heat or mass is transferred. Energy aside from the chemical reactions may be supplied in pressure, kinetic, or potential forms. These conditions affect the physical design of the reactor. The reaction phase types are: Homogeneous - involving liquid-liquid, and gas-gas chemistry, and Heterogeneous - involving gas-liquid, solid-liquid, gas-solid with catalyst, gas-solid without catalyst, solid-solid, and gas-liquid-solid (three phase) chemistry.
The state of the reactants and outputs may differ, yielding the following types of gas-solid reactions: (1) Solid + Gas → Solid + Gas, (2) Solid + Gas → Solid, (3) Solid → Gas + Solid, (4) Solid + Gas → Gas, (5) Solid → Gas, and (6) Gas → Solid + Gas. These various combinations of reactor conditions, plus energy to assist the reaction process, result in the following reactor types:
- Gas-Liquid Reactors - Bubble Columns, including Packed Bed and sectionalized; plate column, external- and internal-loop air-lift reactors, static mixer, and venturi scrubbers
- Liquid-Liquid Reactors - Spray column, packed extraction column, liquid-liquid adaptations of loop reactors, plate extraction column, and static mixers.
- Solid-Liquid Reactors - Fluidized-bed reactor, fixed-bed reactor
- Gas-Solid Catalytic Reactors - Fixed-bed reactors (multi-tubular and staged adiabatic), fluidized-bed reactors (bubbling bed, turbulent bed, fast, and
transport or pneumatic), radial flow reactor, gauze reactor
- Gas-Liquid-Solid Reactors - Fluidized-bed reactor, slurry reactor
Kinetic Energy - Single-stage and multistage Stirred-Tank Reactors, self-inducing reactor, jet-loop reactor, plunging- jet reactor, surface aerator
Potential Energy - Packed column, trickle-bed reactor, film reactors (falling film, agitated film, scraped/wiped film), rotating disk (or rotating packed-bed) reactor
There are a multitude of possible specific chemical reactions, but they can be organized into general and more specific types. The following list is not comprehensive:
Single Replacement (Substitution)
Double Replacement (Metathesis)
More specific reaction types include:
- w:Alkaline fusion
- Electrostatic Separation
- Magnetic Separation
- Electrolysis and Electrorefining
The first three processes, Casting, Forming, and Machining, primarily relate to fabricating metal parts. They can also be used for other sufficiently rigid materials, like plastics, glass, ceramics, and wood. The latter materials, and less rigid ones like fabrics and paper, have more specialized processes, which are listed later.
- Centrifugal Casting
- Continuous Casting|
- Die Casting
- Evaporative-Pattern Casting
- Investment Casting
- Permanent Mold Casting
- Plastic mold
- w:Resin casting
- w:Sand casting
- w:Shell molding
- Slush or slurry
- w:Spray forming
- End tube forming
- Rolling (Thick plate and sheet metal)
- w:Guerin process
- w:Rubber pad forming (Wheelon process)
- w:Magnetic pulse
- w:Explosive forming
- w:Cold sizing
- w:Hot metal gas forming
- w:Curling (metalworking)
- w:Powder metallurgy
- Special purpose
- Honing (w:Sharpening)
- Finishing & w:industrial finishing
- w:Ultrasonic machining
- w:Electrical discharge
- w:Electron beam machining
- w:Electrochemical machining
- w:Laser cutting
Additive fabrication is the opposite of machining. Where machining produces a part by removing material, additive processes add material to make a part. It is also known as 3D Printing or Rapid Prototyping
- w:Selective laser sintering
- w:Fused deposition modeling
- w:Three dimensional printing
- w:Laminated object manufacturing
- w:Laser engineered net shaping
- w:Plastics (see also w:rapid prototyping)
- w:Shrink fitting
- w:Shrink wrapping
Paper & Printing
Assembly & Construction Processes
Assembly generally refers to combining finished parts and materials into complete finished products. Construction generally refers to assembly of non-mobile products such as buildings, and includes any work on the land for the construction site. There is no hard line between these two main types. For example, Modular buildings may be partially assembled in a factory, and then the sections joined at the construction site. Therefore the processes listed below can be used for both smaller, transportable products and larger, stationary, ones.
- Oxyfuel gas
- w:Projection welding
- w:Upset welding
- w:Percussion (manufacturing)
- w:Solid state welding
- w:Electron beam welding
- w:Laser welding
- w:Adhesive bonding (incomplete)
- wood and metal
- (By material fastened)
- Machine (Metal)
- Wood Screws
- (By slot type)
- Phillips (“Plus sign” in Canada)
- Straight (“Minus sign in Canada)
- (By shape)
- Round head
- Flat head
- Box head
- Nut and bolts
- w:Press fitting