Living on Another Planet

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COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN (CAD) AND COMPUTER-AIDED MANUFACTURING (CAM) Photo by: higyou Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) are a pair of often interdependent industrial computer applications that have greatly influenced the chain of processes between the initial design and the final realization of a product. Many would add to this duo a third technology, computer-aided engineering (CAE). Ongoing refinements in CAD/CAM systems continue to save manufacturers tens of millions of dollars in time and resources over non-computerized methods. As a consequence, CAD and CAM technologies are responsible for massive gains in both productivity and quality, particularly since the 1980s. For some purposes CAD and CAM…show more content…
The development of CAD and CAM and particularly the linkage between the two overcame these problems by enabling the design and manufacture of a part to be undertaken using the same system of encoding geometrical data. This eliminated the need for a tape encoding specialist and greatly shortened the time between design and manufacture. CAD/CAM thus greatly expanded the scope of production processes with which automated machinery could be economically used. Just as important, CAD/CAM gave the designer much more direct control over the production process, creating the possibility of completely integrated design and manufacturing processes. The rapid growth in the use of CAD/CAM technologies after the early 1970s was made possible by the development of mass-produced silicon chips and the microprocessor, resulting in more affordable computers. As the price of computers declined and their processing power improved, the use of CAD/CAM broadened from large firms using large-scale mass production techniques (the automobile industry, for instance) to firms of all sizes. The scope of operations to which CAD/CAM was applied broadened as well. In addition to parts-shaping by traditional machine tool processes such as stamping, drilling, milling, and grinding, CAD/CAM has come to be used by firms involved in producing consumer electronics, electronic
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