While definitions vary from source to source, industrial land use is generally divided into two broad categories: heavy industrial land use and light industrial land use. Heavy industrial land use is typically associated with large scale production and large product manufacturing. Light industrial land use is generally categorized as smaller operations involved in the production of a small number of items.
An example of heavy industrial land use is, according to science.jrank.org, automotive production. Automotive plants typically require extremely large facilities to house the production equipment. Additionally, they can require hundreds or thousands of employees to work at full capacity.
Mining operations can also be considered an industrial land use. Like an automotive plant, the space requirements for mines, particularly surface mines, can be quite extensive. Mining operations also, in most cases, require the use of large machinery that produce considerable noise. They may also generate harmful air, soil or water pollution. As such, mining operations and other heavy industrial land uses tend to be zoned at a distance from residential areas or in rural areas where zoning is less problematic.
Refineries, which typical process oil into other products, represent another industrial land use. Refineries use a combination of techniques ranging from distillation and hydrocracking to coking and isomerization to convert oil into useful end products. Some well-known end products are diesel and gasoline automotive fuels, as well as fuel additives like ethanol. They can also be used to process oil into kerosene, butane and propane.
Power production plants are almost always considered to be an industrial land use, whether they are nuclear, coal or natural gas, reports science.jrank.org. The potential for environmental damage through air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions is much higher near power production plants. The potential for human catastrophe in the event of an industrial accident also makes it prudent for these facilities to be located at a reasonable distance from residential and commercial areas.
An example of a light industrial concern, according to the Ventura Country Air Quality Assessment Guidelines, is printing plants. While some printing plants can be quite large, in most cases the plants are contained in a single building. Printing is also a highly automated process, with very sophisticated machinery handling the bulk of the work. This can limit the number of necessary employees to much lower levels than in heavy industrial concerns.