CAM and Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Computer 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.

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