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Plant vs. Machinery: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 26, 2023
In an industrial context, 'plant' refers to a facility with machinery and equipment for manufacturing, whereas 'machinery' specifically denotes mechanical devices or equipment used in the plant.

Key Differences

A plant in industrial terms often means the entire physical facility including buildings, machinery, and equipment. Machinery, however, specifically refers to individual devices or systems used for particular industrial tasks.
Plants typically encompass the infrastructure and organization for industrial production. In contrast, machinery is a component of a plant, consisting of mechanical devices like engines or tools.
The term plant can imply a broader range of functions, including administrative offices and storage areas. Machinery is more narrowly defined as the working parts of a plant's production process.
In financial and business contexts, plants are considered fixed assets that include land and buildings. Machinery, on the other hand, often pertains to assets within the plant that are directly involved in production.
Plants can include diverse types of manufacturing and processing facilities. Machinery is specific to the tasks at hand, such as assembly line robots or milling machines.

Comparison Chart

Scope of Definition

Entire manufacturing facility
Specific mechanical devices

Components Included

Includes buildings, equipment, and infrastructure
Individual pieces like engines and tools


Encompasses the full production environment
Involved in the manufacturing process

Business Classification

Broader fixed asset category
Subset of assets

Variety of Forms

Varies from factories to processing units
Varies based on specific industrial tasks

Plant and Machinery Definitions


A plant is a facility where industrial or manufacturing processes occur.
The new automotive plant will create hundreds of jobs.


Machinery encompasses mechanical devices or tools used in industrial processes.
Regular maintenance of the machinery is essential for smooth operations.


Plant can refer to a building equipped with machinery for industrial production.
The steel plant has been operational for over fifty years.


In an industrial context, machinery includes all mechanical components involved in production.
The breakdown of machinery can lead to significant production delays.


In business, a plant includes the entire premises of a manufacturing operation.
The company is expanding its plant to increase production capacity.


Machinery often pertains to complex mechanical systems within a manufacturing setup.
Advanced machinery has automated many aspects of the manufacturing process.


A plant can also imply the organizational aspect of manufacturing.
The management implemented new protocols throughout the plant.


Machinery refers to machines collectively, especially those used in production or manufacturing.
The factory invested in new machinery to improve efficiency.


Plant often encompasses both the physical structure and the equipment for industrial activities.
The chemical plant was upgraded with the latest safety equipment.


Machinery can also refer to the working parts of a complex device or system.
The engineer inspected the machinery of the wind turbine for faults.


Any of various photosynthetic, eukaryotic, multicellular organisms of the kingdom Plantae characteristically containing chloroplasts, having cell walls made of cellulose, producing embryos, and lacking the power of locomotion. Plants include trees, bushes, herbs, ferns, mosses, and certain green algae.


Machines or machine parts considered as a group.


A plant having no permanent woody stem; an herb.


The working parts of a particular machine.


Do plants vary in type?

Yes, plants can range from factories to processing plants.

Is a plant considered a fixed asset?

Yes, in business terms, a plant is typically a fixed asset.

What is an industrial plant?

An industrial plant is a facility where manufacturing or production processes take place.

Is machinery a subset of plant assets?

Yes, machinery is a component of the broader category of plant assets.

Is machinery maintenance important?

Regular maintenance is crucial for machinery to function properly.

Are plants always large structures?

Plants vary in size, from small workshops to large factories.

Can machinery be mobile?

Some machinery can be mobile, especially in construction.

Can a plant produce multiple products?

Some plants are versatile enough to produce a range of products.

Can a plant include administrative offices?

Yes, a plant can include offices as well as manufacturing areas.

Are plants specific to certain industries?

Plants are tailored to the needs of the specific industry they serve.

Does machinery include tools?

Yes, machinery can include various tools and devices.

Can a plant be part of a larger industrial complex?

Yes, a plant can be part of a bigger industrial estate or complex.

Is machinery always automated?

Not always, some machinery requires manual operation or supervision.

Can machinery be leased?

Yes, leasing machinery is a common practice in many industries.

What is machinery in an industrial context?

Machinery refers to mechanical devices used in production or manufacturing.

Are plants subject to environmental impact assessments?

Yes, especially in industries with significant environmental impacts.

Do advancements in technology affect machinery?

Yes, technological advancements often lead to more advanced machinery.

Do plants have safety regulations?

Yes, plants must adhere to specific safety and environmental regulations.

Does machinery depreciate over time?

Yes, like all assets, machinery depreciates in value over time.

Is training required to operate machinery?

Proper training is often necessary to operate complex machinery safely.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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