Today, the benefits of computerized manufacturing are being realized by many levels of industry. Processes have increased quality and quantity due to the integration of the computer. But one problem still persists, writing the program. This was typically performed by a programmer possessing a specialized background of computer science. Even so, much troubleshooting was needed to generate an acceptable program. It was not really cost effective to generate a program for a prototype or minimum part run. Until the CAD/CAM was introduced. CAD/CAM increases the productivity of the CNC Machine tool.
CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) utilizes the computing aspects of the personal computer. Designing the component on the computer resembles the attributes of CAD. After this is accomplished, this information can be processed into machine language. This code is down loaded into the machine tool computer via cable or floppy disk. The machine tool the executes these instructions giving us a finished product.
The CAD/CAM work station is also capable of operating the machine tool directly, bypassing the machine tool computer. This is called DNC of Direct Numerical Control. In more sophisticated applications, the work station may control as many as ten machine tool.
Tool selection is important. Natural machining experiences enhance the technicians ability to design meaningful part programs. Without these skills, serious errors may occur. A fundamental understanding of the manufacturing process must be obtained. The ability to view the program execution is another advantage of the CAD/CAM. Graphical representation of the machine tool motion allows the operator to view the operation without physically running the machine. This aspect not only saves costly mistakes, but allows the machine tool to continue running production and avoids down time. This allows maximum utilization of the machine tool.
Due to the efficiency of the CAD/CAM, many employers are combining the programming and manufacturing departments. Skilled technicians with knowledge of the CAD/CAM/CNC process will meet these requirements that this new industry demands.
CAD/CAM will control any type of computer controlled equipment.
This increases the opportunities for competent CAD/CAM technicians.
Mills, lathes, grinding, punches, high pressure water, and laser
are a few areas of manufacturing that are benefiting from CAD/CAM.