CAD/CAM refers to integration of
computer-aided design(CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing(CAM) systems during product development.
Computer-aided design (CAD) refers to the use of computer tools to assist engineers, architects and other design professionals in their design activities. It is the main geometry authoring tool within the
Product Lifecycle Management(PLM) process and involves both software and sometimes special-purpose hardware. Current packages range from 2D vector based drafting systems to 3D parametric surface and solid design modellers. CAD is sometimes translated as "computer-assisted drafting", "computer-aided drafting", or a similar phrase. Related acronyms are CADD, which stands for "computer-aided design and drafting"; CAID, for Computer-aided Industry
Basically CAD is not just a drafting tool, its a very accurate and robust design tool too. Due to the complexity of computations in design methodology, the power of computers is leveraged to compute solutions to complex problems like stress analysis, shear analysis, thermal analysis and fluid flow analysis. The CAD offers very simple, easy to use, less time consuming and clean methods to study and evaluate the design process and arrive at a close-to-perfect design.
CAD and CAM can even be used in food processing. such as controlling the speed of the production line.
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) refers to the use of computer systems for the control of robotics and tools during the product manufacture. Integrating CAM with CAD systems provides quicker and more efficient manufacturing processes. This method is applied in different areas. In
CNCmanufacturing the CAM system is used to simplify the machining and designing process. In most cases the CAM system will work with a CAD design made in a 3D environment. The CNC programmer will just specify the machining operations and the CAM system will create the CNC program. This compatibility of CAD/CAM systems eliminates the need for redefining the work piece configuration to the CAM system. In other words: CAM software usually comes with a machine such as a latheor chisel. The entire system tends to be extremely expensive. (A lathe and computer system with software will cost in excess of $1 million). CAD/CAM systems offer the advantages of increased programming accuracy, geometric conformance to design parameters, ability to make minor and often major changes to part configuration and programming metrics within the same system. CAD/CAM systems utilize either "wireframe" or "solids" for the part feature generation necessary for post-processing intermediate code files derived from cutter toolpaths into usable "nc" code readable by numerical control machines. Wireframe geometry can be either in two or three dimesional planes, while solids are in 3d. CAD/CAM can be used widely across the world at schools and companies who design, innovate and manufacture new and exsiting products.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.