Aided Design (CAD) is the automation that uses various computer-aided
design tools that guide engineers, architects and other professionals
in their design activities. It is considered to be both software
and special-purpose hardware. Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
is a software process that directly converts the product drawing
into the code format enabling the machine to manufacture the product.
CAM is used in various machines like lathes or milling machines for
product manufacturing purposes.
CAM allows the computer work instructions to be given directly to the manufacturing
machinery. It also uses algorithms for planning and controlling the fabrication
processes. As a part of the design process, these algorithms are also used in
the CAD systems during the manufacturability tests. The mechanism of CAM was
developed by Computer Numerical Machines (CNC) in the early 1950's. The system
was directed by a set of coded instructions in a punched paper tape.
Integration of CAM with a CAD system designs and develops the manufacturing processes
quickly and efficiently. This integrated mechanism is used in key areas such
as the automotive, aviation and furniture industries. CAM is considered to be
a very expensive system, which ranges over $18,000 for the computer system along
with the software.
Design processes and the machining are more simplified with the help of the CAM
system, which is used in CNC manufacturing. A 3D environment is used for a CAM
system to work with the CAD system in most cases. A CAM system can efficiently
control and manage various applications done from a single computer system. This
makes the process much easier and faster; computer reprogramming is relatively
simple and allows for faster implementation of design changes.
A CAM system controls the factors involving the data verification during manufacturing;
panelizing the design to fit in the raw material; and editing and adding manufacturing
information. Mechanical engineering and electronic design automation are the
key areas where the CAM system is used. Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM),
Integrated Computer-Aided Manufacturing (ICAM) and Flexible Manufacturing System
(FMS) are the major manufacturing mechanisms that are involved in the CAM system.