Chemical manufacturing is accomplished on a value-added and supply chain basis, with basic chemical substances being purified and separated from raw natural resources and other feedstocks like crude oil, natural gas, ores, biomass, agricultural yields, water and waste streams. The starting chemical substances can then represent inputs for other chemical manufacturing processes that result in the production of functional materials and products like lubricants, printing inks, pesticides, fertilizers plastics other processed petrochemicals, explosives, pharmaceuticals, vitamins, soaps, soda, salts, alcohols, finishes, coatings, paints, detergents, caustics, solvents, and a plethora of economically-vital chemicals.
With a complex supply chain and various processes and production stages involved in between, chemical manufacturing also represents an extremely valuable market to capital equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Chemical production facilities (or manufacturing facilities, factories or plants) are large consumers of thermal heat exchangers, boilers, pressure vessels, pumps, blowers, heating elements, piping, valves, process control systems, sensors, mixing and stirring equipment, chemical feed systems, structural and building materials, power equipment (transformers, wiring, turbines, engines, motors), and other specialty engineered and fabricated machinery and components. Rising demand for chemical products in developing economies such as China, India and Latin America have contributed to rapid development in regional chemical manufacturing industries, particularly as the countries enjoy selective advantages in raw material availability and low labor costs. However, in a global chemicals market with annual total value-added sales estimated above four trillion U.S. dollars annually, chemical producers and their equipment, materials and product suppliers can find businesses in any part of the world.