Concepts of Production, Manufacturing and Machining

Mechanical engineers sometime get confused about the real meaning of production, manufacturing and machining and relationship among each other. So let us take a look on their boundary and how they are related. In short, production has a vast area and it encompasses manufacturing; while machining is one type of manufacturing processes. Basically, production is a system (usually closed), manufacturing is a group of processes, machining is a process, and turning, milling, drilling, etc. are operations.

Relation among production, manufacturing and machining
Relation among production, manufacturing and machining is illustrated here in set form. So machining is a subset of manufacturing, which itself is a subset of production.

What is meant by production?

Production is the entire system that converts raw material or scrap to useful product by adding substantial value. This system is usually close loop that starts with market survey & forecasting and ends with feedback collection & its analysis. It utilizes tangible (such as man, machine, material, money) and intangible (such as management planning, forecasted data) resources. The various elements and steps that a production system usually consists of are depicted below. There are various steps which are executed perpetually instead of performing separately, for example maintenance activity, quality checking, etc.

What is meant by manufacturing?

Manufacturing is basically a subset of production. It is an intermediate step in production system that actually converts raw material or scrap to useful product by adding substantial value. Although it directly takes only tangible types of input (such as man, machine, material, money), indirectly it takes help of various decisions regarding planning and sequencing. The manufacturing step consists of various processes, such as Casting, Forming, Joining, Machining, Advanced Machining Processes (AMPs), etc., as depicted below.

There is no such process named “Manufacturing”. The term Manufacturing indicates a cluster of processes that includes Casting, Forming, Joining, Machining, Powder Metallurgy, etc. So neither Manufacturing nor Production itself is a process. However, Machining is one process. Again, Manufacturing, Production and Machining—all three take both tangible and intangible input (either directly or indirectly) because nothing is possible without planning, which is intangible.

What is meant by machining?

Machining is one of the secondary manufacturing processes by which excess material is removed (by shearing) from the preformed blank in the form of small sharp chips using a wedge shaped cutting tool in order to get product having desired shape, size and tolerance. Therefore, machining process is one subset of manufacturing.

Therefore, in conclusion, we may say Machining is a subset of Manufacturing, which itself is a subset of Production.

Production ⊇ Manufacturing ⊇ Machining