CAD/CAM software is used by engineers at all stages of production. These tools can help create a fully comprehensive product. They’re utilised from designing a prototype all the way through to the finished product. Whilst many people use the two terms interchangeably, they actually have separate applications and meanings.
While you can find completely integrated software, it is crucial you understand the differences between the two in order to enhance your methods effectively. It will allow you to utilise the tools and abilities available in the most efficient way possible.
Find out more in our ultimate guide below, our Epal Engineering team are experienced in working with engineers across this software and can streamline the design process with you.
CAD vs CAM
Whilst they may seem like similar terms, each has its own place in precision engineering and the definition to go with it.
- CAD stands for computer-aided design. It is the use of computer software to design 2D and 3D models of products.
- CAM, also known as computer-aided manufacturing, uses software to control machinery involved in the manufacturing process.
Precision engineering uses each of these techniques, depending on the scope of the project and the desired outcome. Each CAD/CAM software has a variety of different features that can be implemented at each stage of the process. When used seamlessly together, they can provide an effortless pathway to the end result.
The origins of computer-aided software
The capabilities of modern computer-aided tools come from a long history of innovation and experimentation. We are at the point now where this software is able to create a framework for managing and carrying out a variety of projects. They are intended to help engineers and other users stay organised and improve productivity. Originally, they were developed because the industry wanted to bring order to large software development projects. Businesses thought it would also help reduce the number of mistakes being made.
As technological software began to gain traction in the 70s, CAD/CAM software was predominately used by those in heavy industrial businesses. But, by the 1980s systems had begun to appear across many others like automobiles and aerospace. Today, CAD and CAM are both utilised for the majority of product development designs – no matter what angle they’re taking.
Used by architects and construction managers as well as engineers, CAD has replaced manual drafting. It allows these people to create designs in 2D or 3D so that they can visualize the construction more clearly. But, what are some of the key features?
CAD provides a tangible preview of the results through a digital visualisation of the final product and its components. This means anyone involved can see where things need to be implemented or altered. 3D designs are one possibility that gives you a more detailed overview than paper drafts. However, 2D prototypes allow for the same results and are accessible to anyone.
CAD allows businesses to improve communication between teams as well as people’s understanding of a brief. Providing a central, online location for all documentation allows for people to easily re-read or compare earlier versions. Nowadays, designs can be stored in the cloud or other sharable areas that allow everyone involved in the project to view the entire design history. No copies need to be made and people can view the hard version whenever they are.
CAD/CAM software allows for modifications to be made during any point of the design or manufacturing process. This means more accurate representations can be made while also reducing errors. It is also possible to produce multiple drafts using the same basic design which gives multiple people the opportunity to make changes if required.
Computer-aided technology means designers are more able to consider internal elements of a product, helping to create a more comprehensive design. These elements can be considered on the main design or on adjacent projects without becoming detached from the final result. Everything remains cohesive and the result is far more considered.
Computer-aided manufacturing distinguishes itself from CAD software as it is a tool most commonly used by manufacturers as opposed to design engineers. It is seen as a step that follows on from or works in tandem with CAD during product development – since its main purpose is to create efficiency in the production process.
It may be used to create a manufacturing plan for things such as:
- Tooling design
- CAD model preparation
- Machine control programming
One of the key benefits of this tool is that it drastically increases precision during fabrication and in material consistency. Here are some key features of CAM.
Reduces manual processes
The main aim of CAM is to allow machines to create products directly from computer designs and software. This is instead of engineers having to set up machines and processes manually. Automatic processes usually reduce the risk of errors and free up time for engineers to carry out more important tasks.
It is also getting harder to find skilled craftsmen that have the capability of carrying out these processes. Although at EPAL, we have capable experts, there are often reasons for prioritising computer-aided manufacturing. Such as carrying out tasks that run for longer or take a lot of time to set up initially.
CAM is highly reliable and runs without the risk of human error. It allows identical processes to be carried out with precision. This is more cost-effective and means you can be confident all products will be created to industry standards and of consistently high quality.
Using CAD/CAM software in precision engineering
Skilled, knowledgeable software engineers are hard to come by and without one, it can be difficult to achieve desired results. However, the combination of these two computer-aided tools can create highly accurate and detailed projects, efficiently.
Automated and aided software like CAD/CAM systems not only help manufacturers in the creation of a product or component but also at other points in the project, such as planning, transportations, management and storage. It can considerably reduce the time it takes to carry out such operations and improve manufacturing quality. As a result, they are able to boost a company’s position in highly competitive markets.
CAD/CAM software also reduces the waste of raw materials – speed and accuracy ensure that time and resources are not wasted. Refinement ensures the end result is the right one, the first time and every time. It’s what’s seen our Epal Engineering customers come back time and again as we deliver high-quality results, unrivalled in the precision engineering industry.
With over 30 years of experience, our team never sacrifices quality. We offer a complete service, assisting you with the initial design all the way through to the finalised product, ensuring that at every step your expectations are met. If you are using CAD/CAM software, it’s crucial you work with a precision engineering firm that understands how to keep functionality at the heart of your design, not just aesthetics.
We are also able to offer excellent prices to our customers – we pride ourselves on being different from other firms across the country. We have experience working with multiple industries from Nanotechnology and Aerospace to Defence and Electronics. With this much under our belt – it’s likely we have completed something similar before!
Whatever you need, speak to our dedicated team and we’ll be able to help. We can effortlessly handle orders of all shapes and sizes.
Our experts are ready to assist you with your next project. Contact the Epal team today by either emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us directly on 1903 744352. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your individual requirements and how we can assist you through every step of the process.
Get it right the first time, every time with Epal Engineering.