Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)

Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) commonly refers to the use of numerical control (NC) computer software applications to create detailed instructions (G-code) that drive computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools for manufacturing parts. Manufacturers in a variety of industries depend on the capabilities of CAM to produce high-quality parts.

A broader definition of CAM can include the use of computer applications to define a manufacturing plan for tooling design, computer-aided design (CAD) model preparation, NC programming, coordinate measuring machine (CMM) inspection programming, machine tool simulation, and postprocessing. The plan is then transferred to the shop floor using direct numerical control (DNC) or PLM-driven shop floor connectivity solutions. In production, the complete plan is used for CNC machining, tool management, and CMM quality inspection.

Benefits of CAM

The benefits of CAM include a properly defined manufacturing plan that delivers expected results in production.
  • CAM systems can maximize utilization of a full range of production equipment, including high speed, 5-axis, multi-function and turning machines, electrical discharge machining (EDM) and CMM inspection equipment.

  • CAM systems can aid in creating, verifying, and optimizing NC programs for optimum machining productivity, as well as automate the creation of shop documentation.

  • Advanced CAM systems with product lifecycle management (PLM) integration can provide manufacturing planning and production personnel with data and process management to ensure use of correct data and standard resources.

  • CAM and PLM systems can be integrated with DNC systems for delivery and management of files to CNC machines on the shop floor.