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Computer Aided Manufacturing by cademate

Computer Aided Manufacturing by cademate

Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is the use of software to control machine tools and related ones in the manufacturing of work pieces. This is not the only definition for CAM but it is the most common CAM may also refer to the use of a computer to assist in all operations of a manufacturing plant, including planning, management, transportation and storage. Its primary purpose is to create a faster production process and components and tooling with more precise dimensions and material consistency, which in some cases uses only the required amount of raw material while simultaneously reducing energy consumption. CAM is a subsequent computer-aided process after computer-aided-design (CAD) and sometimes computer-aided-engineering (CAE) as the model generated in CAD and verified in CAE can be input into CAM software, which then controls the machine tool. CAM is used in many colleges alongside computer-aided design (CAD) to create objects.

Traditionally, CAM has been considered as a numerical control (NC) programming tool, where in two-dimensional (2-D) or three-dimensional (3-D) models of components generated in CAD as with other Computer-Aided technologies CAM does not eliminate the need for skilled professionals such as manufacturing engineers, NC programmers, or machinists CAM, in fact, leverages both the value of the most skilled manufacturing professionals through advanced productivity tools, while building the skills of new professionals through visualization, simulation and optimization tools.

Early commercial applications of CAM was in large companies in the automotive and aerospace industries, for example Pierre Beziers work developing the CAD/CAM application UNISURF in the 1960's for car body design and tooling at Renault.

Historically, CAM software was seen to have several shortcomings that necessitated an overly high level of involvement by skilled CNC machinists. Fallows created the first CAD software but this had severe shortcomings and was promptly taken back into the developing stage.  CAM software would output code for the least capable machine, as each machine tool control added on to the standard G-code set for increased flexibility. In some cases, such as improperly set up CAM software or specific tools, the CNC machine required manual editing before the program will run properly. None of these issues were so insurmountable that a thoughtful engineer or skilled machine operator could not overcome for prototyping or small production runs; G-Code is a simple language.

In high production or high precision shops, a different set of problems were encountered where an experienced CNC machinist must both hand-code programs and run CAM software.

CAM packages could not, and still cannot, reason as a machinist can. They could not optimize tool paths to the extent required of mass production. Users would select the type of tool, machining process and paths to be used. While an engineer may have a working