• Sunday August 7,2022

Heavy industry

We explain what heavy industry is, where it is located, its characteristics and examples. In addition, differences with the light industry.

Heavy industry plants occupy large spaces and require a lot of energy.
  1. What is heavy industry?

Heavy industry or basic industry is the set of economic activities of primary extraction and transformation of the raw material. It manufactures the necessary inputs for other industries and in many cases it is the first rung of the industrial production chain. This distinguishes it from other industries such as light industry, typical of the secondary sector of the chain.

They are the productive activity that most investment in capital, energy and labor requires, in addition to being generally the one that causes the greatest environmental impact, either directly or indirectly. Its name comes from the fact that its products are usually of large volume or size (such as machinery) and require huge facilities.

According to their areas of dedication, heavy industries can be classified into:

  • Mining or extractive industries, which obtain raw materials directly from the environment, usually from the subsoil.
  • Cement companies, producers of sediments of rock and other minerals, as well as mixtures of them.
  • Iron and steel, which process non-ferrous metals and minerals to create alloys.
  • Chemical industry, responsible for producing and processing chemical substances using controlled techniques.

See also: Production process

  1. Characteristics of heavy industry

Heavy industry is one of the central economic activities of the world economy in the present times, and was fundamental for the technological takeoff of humanity.

Today this activity is carried out through processes with a high degree of mechanization and specialized labor. It consumes huge quotas of energy and leaving its mark on the environment, so it is an activity that has many detractors.

Heavy industries carry out work of a different nature, which allows the raw material to be separated from the elements that naturally surround it, or to transform it by physical or chemical procedures into some kind of useful and transportable substance. For this they can resort to smelting, freezing, washing, supercritical drying, liquefaction, etc.

  1. Heavy industry examples

The metallurgical industry melts metals to manufacture various products.

Some clear examples of heavy industries are:

  • The mining industries, which capture and transport minerals with some desired chemical content (gold, silver, nickel, etc.), or hydrocarbons such as oil, natural gas or coal.
  • The large steel companies, responsible for the smelting of heavy metals and their alloy to form steels, irons and other forms useful in light industry.
  • Cement plants, which grind lime and other materials to form dry mixtures used in the construction sector.
  • The loggers, which cut down huge trees of useful or precious wood, that transport after having them demolished, cut and processed properly.
  • The petrochemical industry, in which oil is refined and subjected to chemical procedures that allow it to obtain numerous derivatives, such as plastics, nylon, gasoline, etc.
  1. Main countries with heavy industry

The main heavy industries of the planet correspond to the most developed nations of the planet, such as the United States, France, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Russia and Germany, together with emerging nations such as Brazil.

However, many nations in the so-called Third World, whose economies depend mostly on the extraction and marketing of raw materials, invest more than anything in their basic industries. Among them are Venezuela, Nigeria, Peru, Chile, among others.

  1. Light industry

The light or light industry differs from the heavy industry in that it is dedicated to the manufacture or production of consumer objects, objects that will be given directly to the consumer. These industries usually belong to the secondary sector of the production chain. In general they are less intensive and ecologically risky than heavy industry.

More in: Light industry


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