CAD/CAM simplifying manufacturing process

CAD/CAM is considered to be a utility used for futuristic product development. This article talks about how it is proving to be a helping hand for manufacturing process in particular
 Today technology can offer substantial support to all the activities of design and manufacturing. The implement enabling this miracle is named CAD/CAM with which creativity and imagination can perfectly be harmonised with computers. CAD/CAM involves usage of computer software to both design and manufacture products across various industry sectors.
Role of CAD/CAM in manufacturing processCAD/CAM technologies play an integral and a very vital role in making manufacturing process lean, precise, and efficient. CAD helps designers develop 3D parametric product designs that are ‘manufacturable’.
Vikas Khanvelkar, MD, DesignTech Systems Ltd., says, “Based on the designs, the companies can align, assign and arrange for the necessary tools, machineries, peripherals and equipment required for manufacturing these products. CAM is a manufacturing programming software that helps in manufacturing machineries efficiently.”
Whereas H K Madhu, Technical Director, SIM Technologies Pvt. Ltd., comments, “CAD/CAM allows us to not only innovate and design the products, but it is also the solution to CNC machining products in more efficient, profitable and smarter way than ever before. From the production of rockets to toys, CNC manufacturing rely heavily on the CAD/CAM software that is developed today as a key solution.”
“CAD is the use of computer technology for design and design documentation. CAD/CAM applications are used to design a product and program manufacturing processes, specifically CNC machining,” points out Rajiv Bajaj, Head- Manufacturing, Autodesk India and SAARC. “CAM software uses the models and assemblies created in CAD software to generate tool paths that drive the machines which transform the designs into physical parts. These softwares are often used for machining of prototypes and finished parts.”
According to Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA), the industry’s market size is estimated to be almost ` 2.1 billion, with domestic production meeting only 33 per cent of the demand while imports account for 67 per cent of the total consumption. The Indian manufacturers have opportunities galore in key sectors like automobiles and consumer durables where they can benefit by moving to CNC machines and leveraging on innovative CAD/CAM technologies for higher productivity and quality to gain a competitive edge.
Latest innovations As CAD/CAM is becoming a strong yet smart solution nowadays, it is now interesting to see what latest technological innovations this field has been experiencing in recent time.“Digital prototyping is one of the major innovations that has revolutionised the CAD/CAM industry,” comments  Mr Bajaj. By connecting every phase of the design process through a single digital model, Digital Prototyping solution enables the testing and optimisation of 3D CAD designs, help to drive innovation, achieve higher quality, and hasten the time to market. It can help grow revenue, spur innovation, and deliver quality products faster than ever by:• Creating more innovative concepts and engineering more accurate digital prototypes• Performing simulations on digital prototypes to optimise designs• Streamlining documentation, data management, and collaboration• Developing compelling, realistic visualisations to experience products before they are real• Designing, visualising, and simulating factory layouts.
Mr Khanvelkar also describes the new innovations being observed in the field as follows:• Digital Manufacturing: Digital manufacturing helps companies to create 3D simulations of plant design. This technology best helps companies configure most optimised workflows and manufacturing processes taking into account, assembly line designs, robotics analysis and simulation, ergonomics analysis and many more. This in turn helps design plants that augment manufacturing efficiency, performance and effectiveness thus helping companies reduce wastage of time, money, man efforts, materials and machines.• Direct Digital Manufacturing: Direct digital manufacturing is a new offering in additive manufacturing machines, which help through their patented FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) technology to produce parts/models/products that can be used for end-use applications. Ideal for small batch production such as jigs, fixtures and mould, these machines are easy to operate, compatible with all the leading CAD software and help build parts quicker, easier and accurate in production grade ABS + plastic material. • Prototyping for dental applications: OrthoDesk 3D printers, an offering in polyjet technology, helps eliminate the need of taking physical impressions and thus is a cleaner and efficient process. It is easy to use, and includes specialised dental printing materials. It can also store the models digitally. • PLM: PLM encompasses the entire product life-cycle right from concept design, engineering detailing, simulation and analysis through to manufacturing. It is the nervous system of the R&D departments and helps companies optimise and configure ideal workflows and processes for product development, knowledge and data storage and management.• A pre CAD cum pre CAE Software: This is a new concept in CAD/CAM technology. A software named sT Inspire from Altair engineering is a concept design software that helps generate mathematically proven design and a CAD software for engineering detailing. sT inspire is an intuitive concept design software with topology analysis feature.
New age combination SolidWorks and Mastercam together form a widely used modelling software and CAM solution, so one can program parts directly in SolidWorks, using toolpaths and machining strategies preferred the most by shops around the world. “SolidWorks makes feel easy with the machining tree, which delivers quick access to any point in the machining process,” adds Mr Madhu.
CAD/CAM in factory Now the next question to be answered is ‘how can these technologies be introduced in the factory?’
Well, Mr Madhu answers as: “Introduction of these new technologies in a company, or to arrange for the company to utilise them can give substantial advantages in terms of cost and time required for making a model. In particular, it has been observed that, the introduction of these technologies can lead to take a liking to it and tries to use it at all stages of the production process, possibly fully in house. Also paved way for sustainable production such as a Product-Service System (PSS), have been proposed, particularly in developed countries.”
Commitments A rising graph of use of CAD/CAM in many applications has made current players in industry to offer various solutions. Lets have a look at what commitments do they have in this regard.
Autodesk delivers CAM solutions to a broad range of users, from designers and engineers to CNC programmers, regardless of their CAD tool of choice.
HSMWorks and Inventor HSM software are integrated CAM solutions offerings from Autodesk. Whether it is about producing prototypes or finished parts, these products put the designers in control by delivering:• Integration: Seamless integration with Inventor 3D CAD software and SolidWorks offers an intuitive user experience• Performance: Native multicore, 64-bit CAM engine makes easier work of the most demanding tool path calculations and post-processing jobs• Quality: Efficient tool paths reduce cycle time, reduce machine and tool wear, and produce the high quality finished parts.
Autodesk has also made CAM in the cloud a reality with the help of Fusion 360. “Our Autodesk CAM tools are now completely integrated inside Fusion 360, enabling the next generation design-to-manufacturing workflow,” informs Mr Bajaj. “It allows the user to take advantage of collaboration of tools and shared data storage with unparalleled ease-of-use and flexibility when creating programs for milling machining projects.”
“Our approach to Digital Prototyping is unique in that it is scalable, attainable, and cost-effective, which allows a broader group of manufacturers to realise the benefits with minimal disruption to existing workflows, and provides the most straightforward path to creating and maintaining a single digital model in a multidisciplinary engineering environment,” believes Mr Bajaj.
“DesignTech is engaged in distribution of products in all CAD/CAE/PLM categories and also undertakes implementation of the same. We are also involved in providing product design and engineering services to the customers in India and abroad,” informs Mr Khanvelkar. “DesignTech CAD Academies offer introductory and advanced training on using these tools. We help our customers leverage these technologies for reducing their cycle time of bringing the new products to market.”
On other hand, Autodesk has recently acquired Delcam, one of the world’s leading suppliers of advanced CAM software with a vision to continue expansion into manufacturing and fabrication. Autodesk also plans to accelerate the development of a more comprehensive Digital Prototyping solution and deliver a better manufacturing experience.
“Our SIMTEK is an easy step to choose the right CAD/CAM product,” advises Mr Madhu and adds, “SIM Technologies enjoys today a customer base of more than 1,000 large/medium/small organisations and continues to grow within a variety of industries and engineering markets, which we have served in terms of engineering design service, manufacturing service, CAD/CAM/CAE software solution.”
Bottom lineAccording to Mr Madhu, the true cost of CAD/CAM is how much a CNC business is losing every day by not implementing it into the manufacturing process. This is really the truth of it considering the competitive climate of our current manufacturing economy.
In all, it can be seen that current players’ innovative approach to the product development process helps reduce reliance on physical prototypes and bring more innovative products to market ahead of the competition. ———————CAM is a manufacturing programming software that helps in manufacturing machineries efficiently.
Vikas Khanvelkar, MD,DesignTech Systems Ltd.——————–
——————-From the production of rockets to toys, CNC manufacturing rely heavily on the CAD/CAM software that is developed today as a key solution.
H K Madhu, Technical Director, SIM Technologies Pvt. Ltd.——————
——————Digital prototyping is one of the major innovations that has revolutionised the CAD/CAM industry
Rajiv Bajaj, Head- Manufacturing, Autodesk India

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