Long chains of unit reaction processes can have significant disadvantages for energy and material waste due to the separation, isolation, and purification steps usually encountered after each step. These separations are amongst the most energy-intensive aspects of a process. In addition, there are almost always material losses due to transfer from a reactor to another process step. By designing processes to be integrated to the highest feasible degree there can be significant advantages not only for energy and material efficiencies, but also for the time that is required to transfer from one step to another and the reduced worker exposure that can be obtained.
Integrating not only individual processes, but numerous processes can also be valuable to accomplish goals such as utilization of waste heat/material from one process as a feedstock for another.