Secondary Industries

Secondary industries manufacture (make) new products from raw materials or from products of other secondary industries.

In the past, people manufactured things in the their own homes but during the Industrial revolution in the 1700s, machines were developed to make products more quickly and cheaply. Companies built factories for their machines and paid people to work in them.

Mule spinning machine at Quarry Bank Mill

Secondary industries can be divided into:
  • Heavy industries, such as ship-building and steelworks, that: use large machines, use heavy raw materials and employ lots of workers.
  • Light industries, such as clothes-making and food-processing, that: use light raw materials, produce light goods and employ few workers in comparison.
Port Talbot Steel Works, south Wales

When a company builds a new factory, it has to choose the location carefully if it wants to be successful and make a profit:
  • Are the: raw materials, labour (workers) and customers nearby?
  • Is there an energy supply to power the machinery?
  • Are there good transport links?
  • Is the land: attractive, flat and cheap to build on?

A company with factories in different countries is called a multinational company. Many motor companies are multinationals, with factories in different laces making different parts of cars. These are then put together at an assembly plant. Multinationals have some advantages over companies that are based in one country. More workers and customers are available to them and they can sell goods more easily in countries where they own a factory. They can also make each part of their product where it is cheapest to do so.

Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK, Sunderland

In recent years, there has been a growth in high-tech industries that manufacture products like electronic equipment and computers.

As they use few raw materials and make products that are easy to transport, they are not tied to locating in a particular place so are a type of footloose industry.

They may be grouped together on science parks where they can provide materials and services for each other. Universities may also be nearby to help think up new ideas and provide high-skilled workers.

Cambridge Science Park