Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)

Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) is the branch of engineering in which manufacturing of work piece is done with help of the computer software to control the machine and assist its tool.  It help in every operations of manufacture plant, also assist in planning, manage, transport and storage. CAM provide fast production process speed. CAM increase precision component production rate. CAM increase tool life and less material removal rate. CAM reduce power consumption for manufacturing component.

In past, CAM is used by-

large industry in automotive, aerospace and other sectors. In 1960, At Renault Pierre Beziers develop UNISURF, CAD/CAM application in car body design and tooling. In start, there are shortage of skilled CNC machinists in the industry. Fallows create first CAD software, due to some limitations it was again engaged back in developing stage.

CAM software create output code for low level and high level machine and each machine tool control work on standard G-Code, maximize the flexibility of machine. Sometimes on CNC machine, CAM software or tools are manually edited and then machine is run for operation.

Future improvements in CAM software packages are:

  • CAM require research in optimizing tool paths for mass production.
  • CAM need research improvement in selecting tool, machining processes and paths for operation by itself.
  • Large quantity production components which are manufacturing through casting and other manufacturing methods still need of machining operations.
  • Small and highly optimizing G-Code for operation
  • Minimize CNC machine rotor vibrations.
  • Increase tool life and less material removal.
  • Less wear to cutting tool.

G-Code is simple language, for which a skill machinist could operate for prototype or small production batch. But for large production and high precision parts, a talented CNC operator create hand-code program and then run CAM software for verification and optimization.

CAM is reflected as Numerical Control (NC) programming tool. In CAM, the 2D or 3D models of component is provided by any CAD’s softwares available in market. CAM provide advantage to skilled manufacturing engineers, NC programmers and Machinists by gaining new skills in CAM’s technologies. CAM provide visualization of tool path, optimizing and simulation for tool performance and life.  CAM reduce machine vibration by controlling its speed.

CAM software vendors dominant various problem in developing the software:

  • Easy to use CAM software.
  • Overcoming the manufacturing complexity and simple the process.
  • CAM integrated with PLM and exchange with enterprise.

Presently the CAM software and CNC machines turn out to be more complicated, which require need for highly skill machinist or machine operator. Operator should have advance tactic of computer programming for CNC Code generation.

An operative CAD data exchange system is needed for-

  • PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) for incorporation of CAD with other Computer-Aided Technologies.
  • Mostly CAD operator export the file in IGES or STL or Parasolid formats, which is widely accept by various software and CAM software.
  • CAM software generate output in simple text file of G-Codes and M-codes and with help of USB device it is transfer to CNC machine. CAM also provide Direct Numerical Control (DNC) program for long G-Codes and M-Codes text file.

CAM software vendor now attention their package for various ranges:

  • High speed machining
  • Multi-function machining
  • 5-Axis Machining
  • Automation of machining process
  • Easy to use
  • Less energy consumption

Presently the evolution status of CAM software system with the help of Low-Cost Vendors and High-End Vendors. Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) is one of the emerging technologies in Computer-Aided Technologies. CAM, now used in educational and schools institute for providing education.

CAM provide user ability to select process for operation, tools form the library and check the result for optimization of tool paths and tool axis. Build the confidence in user and speed learning process of user. CAM is so complex it need input from the user, without input it cannot work. Today CAM system integrated with CAD software, for easy flow of work. Otherwise a different tool department is required to manage the data, documents and resources.

CAM is used over various industries and areas :

  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Manufacturing operations
  • Surface creation
  • EDM and WEDM
  • Laser cutting
  • Plasma cutting
  • Clay modelling for car body

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