Process as used in the terms operation control and process industry, refers to the methods of changing or refining raw materials to create end products. The raw materials, which either pass through or remain in a liquid, gaseous, or slurry (a mix of solids and liquids) state during the process, are transferred, measured, mixed, heated or cooled, filtered, stored, or handled in some other way to produce the end product.

Process industries include the chemical industry, the oil and gas industry, the food and beverage industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the utilities & water treatment industry, and the power industry.

Process control refers to the methods that are used to control process variables when manufacturing a product. For example, factors such as the proportion of one ingredient to another, the temperature of the materials, how well the ingredients are mixed, and the pressure under which the materials are held can significantly impact the quality of an end product. Manufacturers control the production process for three reasons:

  • Reduce variability
  • Increase efficiency
  • Ensure safety