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What is CAD/CAM?
CAD stands for Computer Aided Designing and CAM stands for Computer Aided Manufacturing. The combined CAD/CAM is the technology concerned with the use of computers to perform product designing and manufacturing operations. In the earlier days the CAD and CAM were considered to be two distinct technologies independent of each other, however, now there has been greater integration of CAD and CAM.
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All the products that have to be then manufactured, have to be designed first and they are sent for manufacturing. Let us see the important processes involved in CAD/CAM integration:
1) Designing of the product: First of all the product has to be designed by considering the applications desired from it and carrying out various stress and strain analysis. All these processes are carried out in the computers using appropriate CAD software. At the end of the designing process the product of appropriate shape and size is found designed.
2) Making the drawings: After designing the product, the assembly drawings and parts drawings of the product have to be made. These drawings are used for the reference purposes and more importantly for manufacturing the product on production shop floor. The drawings are also made by using CAD software.
3) Production planning and scheduling: The production planning and scheduling of the designed product can be carried out in the computers, which helps properly managing the manufacturing resources. There are some special product planning and scheduling software that can be used for this application. This is the CAM part of the product cycle.
4) Manufacturing the product: The manufacturing of the product can be carried by using the computers. The machines that are operated by the computers are called Computer Numerically Controlled or CNC machines. Nowadays the use of CNC machines has become very wide spread. In CNC machines the programming instructions for the manufacturing of the product that has been designed using the CAD software are fed. This program can also be fed directly from the CAD software into the computer of CNC machine. The program gives the appropriate instructions to the computer to carry out the manufacturing of the product as per the required dimensions.
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.
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Book: CAD/CAM: Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing by Mikell P. Groover and Emory W. Zimmers
What is CAD/CAM?
This is the series of articles that describe what is CAD, what is CAM and what is CAD/CAM. It also describes some of the popular CAD software. The article describes how CAD/CAM integration has become imminent these days.