What is CAD/CAM?
CAD stands for Computer Aided Designing and CAM stands for Computer Aided Manufacturing. CAD involves creating computer models defined by geometrical parameters. These models typically appear on the monitor as 3 dimensional representations of a part or system of parts, which can be altered by changing its relevant parameters. CAD system helps designers to view the object under wide variety of representations and also helps to test these objects by simulating into real world conditions. On the other hand CAM uses those geometrical data to control the automated machinery. CAM systems are associated with either CNC machines or DNC machines. Hence both being computer-based methods to encode geometrical data, it is possible for the processes of design and manufacture to be highly integrated.
The integration of CAD/CAM system is very simple and all the process which has to manufacture have to be designed at the first place. Hence integration of this system helps the complete process to be important. There are few points which show the importance of CAD/CAM integration.
1) Designing of the product: The very first step of any final product is its design and the applications desired from it and its capability of carrying out various stress and strain analysis. Hence all these processes can be carried out using CAD system and at the end final shape and size of the product is decided.
2) Making the drawings: Once the designing process is finalized, the assembly drawings and parts drawings of the product have to be made. These drawings are used for manufacturing purposes as a reference. These drawings are also made using CAD systems.
3) Production planning and scheduling: Production requires the creation of process plans and production schedules, which explain how the product will be made, what resources will be required, and when and where these resources will be deployed. Production also requires the control and coordination of the necessary physical processes, equipment, materials, and labor. In CAM, computers assist managers, manufacturing engineers, and production workers by automating many production tasks. Computers help to develop process plans, order and track materials, and monitor production schedules. They also help to control the machines, industrial robots, test equipment, and systems which move and store materials in the factory.
4) Manufacturing the product: Last and final stage where the product has to be manufactured. The machine which does the physical manufacturing of the product is known as a CNC machines. The CNC machine is operated using CAD software.
The above CAD/CAM process clearly shows how important CAD and CAM are to each other. Both the applications support and complement each other to design and manufacture the product in better way and in shortest possible time.