Understanding Computer-aided Manufacturing and its Benefits

Computer-aided Manufacturing (CAM) is the term used to describe the use of computerized systems to control the operations at a manufacturing plant. These computerized systems assist manufacturers in various operations such as planning, transportation, management, and storage. CAM helps manufacturers improve their time to market capabilities, and create precise dimensions. In this post, you will understand how Computer-aided Manufacturing is transforming the landscape of manufacturing. 

Brief Introduction to Computer-aided Manufacturing

As a process, CAM is used after Computer-aided Design (CAD) or Computer-aided Engineering (CAE). The model designed using CAD is sometimes used as the CAM input. This is why it is referred as CAD-CAM. The functions of this combination software is divided into two main categories:

• Manufacturing Planning: In this process, the computer delivers information for production planning as well as management. This may include:

o Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP)

o Computer Assisted NC Part Programming

o Computerized Machinability Data System 

o Work Standards Development 

o Inventory and Production Planning

• Manufacturing Control: In the process, the computer is used to manage and control the physical operations of the manufacturing plant. These may include:

o Shop Floor Controlling

o Process Monitoring and Controlling

o Inventory Controlling

o Production Delivery Controlling

Applications That Lend Themselves to Computer-aided Manufacturing

Following are few manufacturing applications, which are controlled by CAM:

• Flame and plasma cutting

• Laser cutting

• Hole punching or drilling

• Bending

• Sawing

• Spinning

• Pinning

• Routing and milling

• Gluing

• Picking and placing

Benefits of CAD-CAM in Manufacturing

Today, every manufacturing plant uses at least a type of CAD-CAM system to control their operations. Here are the various advantages they can avail by using these software applications.

• Improves Machining Capabilities: By using a CAD-CAM system, manufacturers can improve their machining capabilities. For example, when a manufacturer takes up a complex 3-axis machining task, they rely on the combination software to create a tool path for machining projects such as molding. The CAM system automates the process, and makes it easier for manufacturers to complete the project in time. 

• Improves Client Accessibility: The CAD-CAM software allows manufacturers to receive CAD files from their customers. After receiving these files, they can set up the machining tool path, and perform simulations, which helps them calculate the machining cycle times. The software allows manufacturers to minimize errors, execute projects easily, and deliver products to the market within a shorter turnaround time. 

• Helps Improve Productivity of CNC Machines: Most CAM-CAD systems provide high–speed machine tool paths, which help manufacturers minimize their cycle times, reduce tool and machine wear. High-speed tool paths enable manufacturers to improve their cutting quality and accuracy. This type of high- speed machining helps improve the productivity of the CNC machine by more than 50%. 

• Helps Reduce Material Wastage: As CAM–CAD software feature simulation features, it helps a manufacturer to visually inspect the process of machining. This allows him to capture tool gouges, and collisions at an early phase. This feature contributes to the overall productivity of a manufacturing set up. This also helps them eliminate mistakes, as well as reduce material wastage. 

These advantages are the key contributors, which account for the rising popularity of computer aided manufacturing systems. You can always approach a manufacturing industry expert to understand which combination system best suits your requirement, and how you can benefit from their features.

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