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What is CAM?
CAM is the acronym for Computer Aided Manufacturing. In their book CAD/CAM: Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing the authors Mikell Groover and Emory Zimmers have defined CAD as, “the use of computer systems to plan, manage, and control the operations of a manufacturing plant through their direct or indirect computer interface with the plant’s resources."
In simple terms using the computers to carry out various manufacturing related activities is called as Computer Aided Manufacturing. The use of the computers can be to plan the manufacturing of the product, to carry out actual manufacturing of the product by linking the computers to machines and programming the computers, etc.
In many cases the CAD and CAM are combined together. This means the product to be manufactured is first designed on the computer and it is also manufactured using the computers systems.
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Functions Performed by CAM
The functions performed by the computers systems in CAM applications fall under two broad categories, which have been described below:
1) Computer monitoring and control: In these applications the computer is connected directly to the manufacturing process for the purpose of monitoring or controlling the manufacturing process. Here the computer is fed with the program that directs the working of the machine, which is connected to it. Usually in such cases is no operator required to operate the machines, and they have to merely supervise the machine. At a time one operator can take care of more than one number of machines. These machines are also called as Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines. These days the use of CNC machines has become very common. They can carry out the high quality production at a very fast rate that helps the companies remain competitive in the market.
2) Manufacturing Support Applications: In these applications the computer systems are used to assist in various productions related activities like production planning, scheduling, making forecasts, giving manufacturing instructions and other relevant information that can help manage company’s manufacturing resources more effectively. There is no direct interface between the computers and the manufacturing process in this case.
In present scenario one just can’t think of manufacturing any product without the use of computers in some or the other way. Either for designing of the product or manufacturing of the product, the use of computers has become compulsory. Since most of the companies do designing or drawing as well as manufacturing, the CAD/CAM has become an inseparable combination.
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BooK: CAD/CAM: Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing by Mikell P. Groover and Emory W. Zimmers