How CAD/CAM solutions are changing the way a product should be designed
Manufacturing industry is going through a metamorphosis due to changing economic environment and several global factors which are shaping the way products are being manufactured. With increased focus on higher productivity, efficiency and durability along with demand for greater looks, the manufacturing process for any product entails precision designing. Here computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering analysis (CAD/CAM/CAE) solutions come in to the play. Today CAD/CAM solutions are increasingly being used in the manufacturing industry and have transformed the manufacturing process in terms of designing efficiency, productivity with speed and accuracy. CAD/CAM software are used by CNC Machine shops across the world for its advantages in CNC metalworking. In this article, experts from Autodesk India, Delcam UK, Tata Elxsi and CAD Macro Design and Solutions have outlined the benefits of using CAD/CAM in industrial manufacturing.
CAD/CAM in industrial manufacturingCAD/CAM is a process that involves usage of computer software to both design and manufacture products across various industry sectors. CAD/CAM applications are used to both design a product and program manufacturing processes. CAD is the use of computer technology for design and documentation. 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. This software is most often used for machining of prototypes and finished parts.
Talking about the advantages of using CAD/CAM solutions in manufacturing industry, Harsh Pareek, Head, Technical solutions, Autodesk India says, “Effective use of CAD/CAM technologies help establish a product development methodology that effectively utilises a product platform to create a multitude of configurations to adapt to the customer’s needs. CAD/CAM technologies provide the ability to design, visualise and simulate a product from the earliest concept phase to avoid design errors that may otherwise not appear until the physical prototyping stage.”
In addition, CAD/CAM also facilitates multiple stakeholders to communicate and collaborate throughout the development process, without recreating data to meet their needs. “The Indian manufacturers have immense opportunities where they can benefit by leveraging on innovative CAD/CAM technologies for higher productivity and quality to gain a competitive edge,” Mr Pareek adds.
Mann Mohan Prasad, VP and Head, Systems Integration, Tata Elxsi, throws light on the role of CAD/CAM in manufacturing. He says, “CAD/CAM/CAE is an integral part of the design process and any company which is into designing products must have a CAD/CAM/CAE infrastructure in its research and design wing. To be competitive and stay competitive, companies must have a strong design team which ensures the cutting edge for the products and solutions they take to market and stay ahead of their competition”
K. Manickam, Managing Director, CAD Macro Design and Solutions speaks on the role of CAM in the industry. Speaking of CAM solutions, he says, “It is a universally accepted fact that CAM systems could maximise the utilisation of the production equipment available in the shop floor which includes improved speed, 5-axis, multi-function and operator friendly entry, editing platforms with machines related to turning, wire EDM and milling functions. They have also contributed to better manufacturing automation in NC data creation, verification, optimisation and finally to consolidate the overall documentation. The overall integration of CAM systems and PLM tools has become the trend of the hour as a part of improving the manufacturing automation and take it to the next level.”
Vineeth Seth, Managing Director, South Asia and Middle East, Delcam UK shares interesting points on the current status of the CAD/CAM industry. He opines, “There has been a tremendous amount of improvisation and innovation in the CAD/CAM domain over the past three decades, with most of the major changes coming in the past decade. CAD models are now the basis of every component and assembly design – however small or big they may be. When we look at the various manufacturing processes such as drilling, turning, turn mill, milling, grinding, trimming, laser cutting, amongst others in subtractive manufacturing, and in processes like 3D printing, CAD/CAM plays a vital role in planning and executing machining sequences for such products.”
CAD/CAM software and solutions Software solutions play a major role in the entire process, as several industries are heavily dependent on CAD-CAM solutions in order to design their products. With only a handful of software manufacturers, several OEMs are dependent on these software programs. It becomes imperative that solutions are provided keeping in mind, the end product. There are several solution providers in the market who use software tools to provide the end-user with the solutions that they need. This is true for every industry or end product where design comes into the picture. Therefore solution providers play a very important role when it comes to designing.
Speaking of tools to enhance user experience, Mr Pareek says, “Autodesk delivers advanced Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) solutions to a broad range of users, from designers and engineers to expert CNC programmers, regardless of their CAD tool of choice. HSM Works 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 seamless integration with leading product design software applications offers an intuitive user experience. The HSM software works on a native multi core, 64-bit CAM engine makes easier work of the most demanding tool path calculations and post-processing jobs.”
Speaking on the cloud integrated CAM systems, Mr. Pareek continues, “Autodesk has also made CAM in the cloud a reality with the help of Fusion 360 enabling the next generation design-to-manufacturing workflow. Autodesk Fusion 360 allows the user to take advantage of collaboration tools and shared data storage with unparalleled ease of use and flexibility. The Autodesk 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 workflow and deliver a better manufacturing experience. Autodesk Fusion 360 is one of the latest examples of Autodesk leveraging the cloud to democratise design and innovation.”
Speaking of Delcam’s range of software products, Mr. Seth says, “Delcam is the number one supplier of specialist CAD/CAM software and services to a spectrum of industries including aerospace, automotive, white goods, tool making, packaging, jewellery and woodworking, footwear, healthcare and others. We also test all our software in this advanced manufacturing facility, in order to deliver realistic and meaningful results to our 40,000 plus customers across the globe.”
Tata Elxsi works with the Siemens PLM and offers their entire suite of products covering CAD/CAM/CAE and PLM. “We also work with Autodesk and are the exclusive partner for their industrial design software tools used extensively in concept design and styling in automotive and other industries,” Mr. Prasad says.
Explaining on some of the solutions offered by CAD Macro Mr. K. Manickam says, “During the launch of our CAM tool for Wire EDM machines in 2003, we wanted to become a one-stop-shop for the entire tool room management. With the realisation of this goal, we are today serving more than 350 clients. As a pioneer in the Tools Management CAD/CAM solutions for turning, wire EDM, press tool, milling and overall ERP for die and mould industries, we deem it responsible to provide a wide range of solutions and contribute to better PLM models and improvise on resource planning.”
————-There has been a tremendous amount of improvisation and innovation in the CAD/CAM domain over the past three decades.
Vineeth Seth, Managing Director, South Asia and Middle East, Delcam UK————
———-The overall integration of CAM systems and PLM tools has become the trend of the hour.
K. Manickam, CEO, CAD Macro Design & Solutions Pvt Ltd.
How CAD/CAM solutions are changing the way a product should be designed