Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) is a software automation process that directly converts the product drawing or the object into the code format, enabling the machine to manufacture the product. CAM is used in various machines like lathes or milling machines for product manufacturing purposes.
A CAM system allows the work instructions to communicate directly to the manufacturing machines. In the early 1950s, the technology has evolved from Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines which performs a set of coded instructions in a punched paper tape. A CAM controlled computer system can control the entire process performed by the robotic milling machines, lathes, welding machines and other various tools. It moves the product to various machines within the system by allowing each step to get completed during the manufacturing process.
CAM systems allow a much easier, faster computer reprogramming and a quicker implementation of the design changes. The CAM system, which integrates the CAD system, manages tasks involving ordering, scheduling and the replacement of tools. This kind of integration mechanism provides faster and more efficient manufacturing processes. The key areas that are managed by the CAM system are automotive, aviation and furniture industries.
A CAM system is very expensive as the entire system ranges more than $18,000 along with the software. A 3D environment is best suited in the working and integrating of the CAM system with the CAD system. In a CNC manufacturing process, a CAM system is used to simplify the machining and the designing processes. These systems are mostly used in major areas such as the mechanical engineering and electronic design automation.
The various manufacturing mechanisms that are handled within the system during the product manufacturing are Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), Integrated Computer-Aided Manufacturing (ICAM), Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS), Direct Numerical Control (DNC) and Manufacturing Process Management (MPM). A CAM system controls different factors that involve data verification during manufacturing, panelizing the design to fit in the raw material, and editing and adding manufacturing information.