The UKIRT Wide Field Camera (WFCAM) on Mauna Kea and the VISTA IR mosaic camera at ESO, Paranal, with respectively 4 Rockwell 2kx2k and 16 Raytheon 2kx2k IR arrays on 4m-class telescopes, represent an enormous leap in deep IR survey capability. With combined nightly data-rates of typically 1TB, automated pipeline processing and data management requirements are paramount. Pipeline processing of IR data is far more technically challenging than for optical data. IR detectors are inherently more unstable, while the sky emission is over 100 times brighter than most objects of interest, and varies in a complex spatial and temporal manner. In this presentation we describe the pipeline architecture being developed to deal with the IR imaging data from WFCAM and VISTA, and discuss the primary issues involved in an end-to-end system capable of: robustly removing instrument and night sky signatures; monitoring data quality and system integrity; providing astrometric and photometric calibration; and generating photon noise-limited images and astronomical catalogues. Accompanying papers by Emerson etal and Hambly etal provide an overview of the project and a detailed description of the science archive aspects.