Computer-aided manufacturing or computer-aided modeling (CAM) refers to the use of software to control automated machines and manufacture products. A computer-generated code is used to control the machinery to create a faster production process with more precise dimensions. CAM can also help with product planning, development, and management.
In this article we review what Computer Aided Manufacturing does, its advantages and disadvantages, and what industries need individuals experienced with CAM processes.
Manufacturing Processes Automated by CAM
There are three components required to make computer-aided manufacturing possible:
- There is software that tells the machine how to make the product by creating toolpaths.
- Machinery that can start with raw materials and end with a finished product.
- A language machines can understand.
There are a variety of processes that exist because of CAM systems. These processes are completed using computer numerical control (CNC). The machines follow G codes and M codes with CAM systems automating the following processes:
- Plasma, laser, and waterjet cutting
- Electrical discharge machines
- CNC routers
- 3D printing
Many applications take advantage of the development of CAM systems to make manufacturing easier and more efficient.
The creation of CAM was a turning point in the industry. It revolutionized the shift from traditional fixed automation systems to flexible automation systems. The manufacturing process is now much faster and easier. Below are some of the advantages of the system:
- They are fast and accurate.
- They reduce waste production.
- They reduce labor costs.
- They increase manufacturing control.
While this technology has many benefits, it is not without its limitations. Below are some of the disadvantages of the system:
- There is a high cost of installation and maintenance.
- They require skilled employees to use.
- A technology failure can harm assembly lines.
- Product models can create expensive waste.
Most of the deterrents result from technical errors that can be made up for with alternative options or relying on manufacturers to create the products.
Applications in Industries
There are many industries that computer-aided manufacturing has transformed. The popularity of IT, electronics, and computer-based automation across a variety of fields have recognized its benefits.
Some industries that use this technology include:
- Computer and smartphone hardware manufacturing
Most modern-day mass manufacturing centers rely on computer-aided manufacturing to maintain the highest level of productivity. The main processes are automated, leaving small tasks for people to complete before the job is done.