An industrial building can be any structure that serves to manufacture, process, assemble or distribute goods or materials. These facilities are specially designed to accommodate a business and its operations, such as product manufacturing, merchandise storage or shipping. The industrial nature of a location is largely linked to the size of the company and the conditions under which production, processing and distribution occur.
A factory is a building or a group of buildings designed to produce goods or process materials. Industrial facilities are highly regulated. A range of regulations will dictate the structure and layout of the space, according to the company's operations. As a result, both environmental requirements and health and safety standards will need to be met. Many industries have also implemented food safety and product handling regulations, to ensure the quality of all products manufactured.
A warehouse is an industrial building designed for storing and distributing consumer goods and materials. These complexes are generally considerable in size and are located on the outskirts of towns, to streamline shipments to the areas they serve. Warehouses can be managed by industrial companies, import-export businesses, wholesalers, carriers, customs services, etc. Many tasks can be performed on-site, including receiving orders, warehousing, preparing orders, shipping, maintaining an inventory, and more. The same complex may include different spaces, each adapted to the specific needs of a product. For example, it may include cold rooms for fresh products, giant freezers for frozen products, enclosed spaces to store hazardous materials, etc.
Although they are similar to warehouses, distribution centres differ in their usage. Goods that enter a distribution centre are not meant to stay there for long. The goal is to receive products from factories and then ship them to merchants.
Most distribution centres serve as a stopover between factory and retail. On the other hand, some centres also provide direct deliveries to the homes of individual buyers. Combining the two services requires more employees and more sophisticated logistics, but this tactic saves time, money and space. Larger companies, like Walmart and Costco, usually have their own distribution centres. Smaller-volume manufacturers will instead rely on the services of an independent centre to get their goods onto store shelves.
Power plants, as the name suggests, are industrial sites designed to generate electricity. In these facilities, a primary mechanical energy (force exerted by wind, rivers, tides, etc.), chemical energy (fossil fuels, biomass, etc.), nuclear energy or solar energy is transformed into electrical energy. The electricity is then carried to private or industrial consumers, through a network of electric wires.
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