Specialties

  • Wood Product Manufacturing
  • Paper Manufacturing
  • Printing and Related Support Activities
  • Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
  • Chemical Manufacturing
  • Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing
  • Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing

Paper Manufacturing

Paper manufacturing begins with “pulping” which separates the wood fibers. Pulping of paper can be accomplished in three basic methods: mechanical methods, chemical breakdown, or a combination of chemical/mechanical means.

For mechanical methods, steam is often used on the wood prior to grinding it making the wood easier to process. In this case, the process would more technically be called “thermo-mechanical”, rather than just mechanical. For chemical methods, large digester vessels combine wood chips, chemicals and heat to break down the lignin (which binds the cellulose fibers in the wood).

Petroleum Refining

Refining is the process to transform a natural resource in a semi-usable form into a more pure form. For example, while natural petroleum will burn in an unrefined form, it burns poorly and would clog an engine.

Refining oil is accomplished by distillation, or fractionation. Natural gas can also be refined through this method by first cooling or compressing the gas until it becomes liquid. Both gas and hydrocarbon liquid can be refined by extraction with solvent used to dissolve away the substance of interest, or the impurities.

Ethanol Manufacturing

Ethanol fuel can be made from common crops, such as sugar cane and corn. It is an increasingly common alternative to gasoline in some parts of the world. The manufacturing of cellulosic ethanol uses aspects of the paper manufacturing processes as well as petroleum refining processes. Cellulosic technologies are anticipated to make use of dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass.

Traditional issues faced by process manufacturing organizations include siting – or the placement of the production facility in an appropriate location, safety, and environmental concerns. Preventative maintenance is an on-going and significant discipline practiced by refinery and process manufacturing organizations. Great maintenance improves safety, and decreases the risk of an unplanned production problem. Because these are asset intensive operations, sophisticated computer applications assisting with decision-making and corrective action planning have been elevated.


Emerging topics for process manufacturing organizations include concepts of carbon footprint, commodity price volatility, financial hedging and risk management or trading sophistication, global demand, and new talent pool recruitment and training.