Manufacturing is the process of converting raw materials into more useful and valuable articles with the help of tools and machines. A large number of factors affect the location of industries at a particular place. Among the important geographical factors are the availability of raw materials, energy resources, labour, market, transport, water, climate and cheap land. Other factors like sut capital, insurance, industrial policy of the concerned government, political stability and industrial inertia are also important. Some of the major industries of the world are described as under:
Textile industries provide us clothing, the second most important need of man after food. Cotton, woolen, silk, jute and synthetics are the important textile industries.
Cotton Textile Industry
Cotton textile is the most important of all the textile industries in the world because it caters to the clothing needs of the common man. It uses cotton as the main raw material for manufacturing cloth, which is a pure raw material i.e. it does not lose weight during the process of cloth manufacturing. Thus it does not heavily depend in raw material although cotton as a raw material plays an important role in its location. The factors which play a major role in its location are market, power supply and means of transportation. Of all these factors, market is the most important factor. China, U.S.A., India and Russia are the leading producers of cotton textile. U.K., Japan and Germany have developed this industry by importing cotton because these countries do not produce cotton.
Woollen Textile Industry
Wool is obtained from the hair of sheep and goat. This industry also does not depend much upon availability of raw material but is a market oriented industry. This is evident from the fact that most of the world’s wool is produced by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa whereas most of the woollen industry is concentrated in areas of cold climate in Europe and North America. Europe accounts for nearly two thirds of the world’s woollen mill capacity and production. Russia, China, Japan, U.S.A. and U.K. are important producers.
Silk Textile Industry
Unlike the cotton and woollen textiles, the silk industry is primarily raw material oriented. Silk is a luxury item and only rich people can afford to buy it. In the recent decades, the world production of silk has shown somewhat declining trends particularly due to two reasons viz. i) high cost of production and maintenance and ii) development of synthetic textiles which are cheaper and easier to maintain. Japan, China, U.S.A., France, Germany, Italy, U.K. and India are important producers.
Jute Textile Industry
Jute is a strong, rough and the cheapest breed which is used to manufacture a large variety of products like gunny bags, hessians, ropes, carpets etc. Almost all the world’s production comes from India and Bangladesh.
Synthetic Textile Industry
This industry gained prominence in the early decades of 20th century. Synthetic breeds are mainly of two types vi z. i) Cellulosic breeds derives from natural cellulose, e.g. rayon and ii) bruce synthetic which are produced from coal or petroleum molecules, e.g. nylon, acrilon and polyester. The U.S.A., Japan, Germany, Russia and U.K. are the main producers.
Iron and Steel Industry
Iron and Steel industry is called the basic industry as it provides base to all other industries. It provides solid foundation to modern civilization. It mainly depends upon the utilization of coal, iron ore and manganese as the basic raw materials which are heavy and weight losing raw materials. Therefore , this industry is highly oriented towards raw materials China, Japan, U.S.A., Russia and India are the main producers. Japanese steel industry depends on imported iron ore and scrap.