Machining & Materials Handling

There are several types of material operations, both machining and non-machining. These operations represent a process by which a material (usually metal) is brought about to a desired result.

Differences between Machining and Non-Machining Operations ➜

Machining Techniques ➜

Different Types of Machining ➜

The History of Machining ➜

Machining of Materials at Botau ➜

Machining vs. Non-Machining Operations

Machining is the collective term for all forms of material processing in which a new desired shape is created through the removal of material. This is done by means of various machine tools (think of drills, lathes, milling machines and planers) or tools that remove parts of the material. The waste of this material is called chips (a type of shavings). These types of material operations are mainly performed when making parts of machines.

All other types of material processing in which this type of waste is not created are also called “non-machining or chipless” operations. In these operations, no material is removed during machining. Most of these machining operations are carried out on steel working machines. What cannot be done is finished by hand.

Material processing Techniques

Metal is one of the most widely used construction materials today and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Think for example of aviation, shipbuilding, agriculture and construction. Nowadays there are many techniques available to process these materials. We have listed the best known ones below, divided into machining and non-machining operations.

Example techniques for machining operations

Examples of different types of techniques used in machining operations, both fine and coarse material operations, are:

  • Drilling
  • Broaching
  • Turning
  • Milling
  • Engraving
  • Honing
  • Boring
  • Planing
  • Sanding
  • Grinding
  • Stitches
  • Tapping
  • Files
  • Spark machining
  • Sawing

Example techniques of chipless or ‘non-machining’ operations

Examples of chipless operations, material operations where no material is removed, are:

  • Bending
  • Cutting
  • Laser processing
  • Welding
  • Reshaping
  • Pressing
  • Punching
  • Forging
  • Cutting
  • Soldering
  • Rolling

Different types of material processing


Metalworking is one of the most common material processing operations where individual parts or large-scale structures can be created for such things as machinery, ships and the construction industry. It encompasses a wide range of skills and processes and is nowadays often done using the CNC (computer numerical control). This allows product parts to be easily made in larger runs but also allows work to be done with greater precision.

Machining plastics

There are different types of editable plastics such as plexiglass, PVC, polycarbonate and polyethylene. It is also possible to machine plastic with CNC technology, allowing for high precision cutting. The most common machining processes are sawing, lasering, cutting and milling.


One of the oldest forms of material processing is woodworking. Think for example of the machining of furniture, doors and interior design, but in the past this technique was also used for housing and shipbuilding.

Glass and other material processing

In addition to the above material treatments, there are many other different types of material to be processed with today’s modern techniques. For example, think about glass and ceramic machining or machining composite materials such as carbon fiber plastic or fiberglass plastic.

The History of Materials Processing

The history of material processing goes back many thousands of years before Christ. For example, the lathe, a tool we still use today, was originally used in ancient Egypt. Material machining was an important part of early civilization. This mainly involved the manufacture of materials that could be used in the household from stone, wood or metal. Materials such as gold, silver, tin, bronze and brass were used for these machining processes and as tools they mainly used casting and hammering. Over the centuries, more specific types of machine tools emerged to meet specific needs and thus more complex operations.

During the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the first “self-powered” machines were finally created. At this time, the word ‘machinist’ meant repairing or building machines. At the time, this was still done by hand and involved the use of materials such as files, drills and saws.

Since the advent of new technologies, different types of material machining are possible such as electrochemical machining, water jet cutting and many more. Much of modern machining today is done with computer numerical control (CNC) and Waterjet cutting, so is Botau Engineering & Construction. Here computers control the movement of the different types of cutting machines. This is currently the most efficient and sustainable technique.

Material processing at Botau Engineering & Construction

Depending on your needs and wishes, our skilled technicians can carry out various material processes for you, such as welding, cutting, waterjet cutting, sawing and shearing. We process and treat all kinds of materials into manufactured and semi-manufactured products – from small-scale to large-scale orders.

Botau is active in a wide range of sectors and industries:

  • Aircraft
  • Steel and metal
  • Food processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture and horticulture
  • Construction and construction supply
  • Shipbuilding
  • Offshore
  • Chemicals
Tell us more about the possibilities of material processing

Recent Material Handling Projects

Check out some photos from our recent material processing projects below. Both metal and plastic.

Want to find out what material processing could mean for your business? We are happy to discuss the possibilities with you.

Bert den Boer
Director Engineering
+31182 634047
+31 638531339

Material Processing