Lean manufacturing and continuous improvement can be applied to factory processes including chemical and waste water management, compressed air, boilers and thermal oxidizers. Batch units do lend themselves to lean manufacturing concepts, not only during the change over, but also in each step of the batch. In chemical manufacturing, the “entity” is already flowing in the form of liquid or slurry and would not become “pieces” until dried and unitized.
Process manufacturing is fundamentally different from discrete manufacturing in the way material flows. Material flows in a continuous stream in process manufacturing, while parts move in batches in discrete manufacturing.
In the commodity chemicals business, both size and integration play a key role in keeping the costs of the company minimum.