Manufacturing is an important industry in the United States, making up a little over ten percent of the national GDP. Modern manufacturing uses computer software and hardware to create almost all the physical products we use.
Have you ever asked yourself the question: what is computer-aided manufacturing? Read on to learn what you need to know on the subject.
What Is Computer-Aided Manufacturing?
Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) is the combination of software and machinery to turn raw materials into products. Cars, computers, planes, and many other industrial products are all made with CAM software and technology.
The first CAM program was created by Pierre Bezier in the late 1960s. Bezier, an engineer, used mathematical and computing techniques to revolutionize design and manufacturing. His program, the UNISERF CAD/CAM system is the basis for many computer-assisted design programs in modern vehicle manufacturing.
Initially, CAM software was not widely used in design and manufacturing. It required skilled machinists to operate and had a very narrow scope of usage. Today, thanks to improvements in computer hardware, companies like GGS use CAM in almost every part of product production.
Why Is CAM Important?
Manufacturing was once done almost entirely by hand.
Vehicle manufacturing, for example, required several groups of workers to assemble just one car. Each worker needed specific knowledge of the parts they were assembling.
One group of workers was responsible for putting the car doors in. A few groups are responsible for the engine. Another group is responsible for windshields, and so on. The production process was heavily reliant on expensive human labor and expertise.
Computer-Assisted Manufacturing eliminates the need for specialized labor and lowers labor costs. Machines are given specific instructions that allow them to do all of the work it used to take several groups of people to do. This means machines accomplish tasks much more efficiently than humans can without the cost of specialized labor.
The CAM Process
Computer-Aided Manufacturing is not a standalone process. Machines do the physical work of putting parts together but they must be instructed to do so. This is where Computer Assisted Design (CAD) comes in.
CAD is the usage of computer programs for the design process of a product. Designers use CAD to create 3D models of the product’s design. The designs are then modified, improved, or scrapped entirely before the product goes into the production process.
When the design process is finished the designs are turned into programmed instructions These instructions are then fed into the machines, beginning the production process. CAM software executes the instructions and soon after products are assembled together.
The Big Picture
So, what is Computer-Aided Manufacturing? CAM is an instrumental part of manufacturing. CAM cuts labor costs, reduces waste, and increases productivity. To maximize the use of CAM/CAD technology, skilled machinists and engineers are a must.
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