What is CAD/CAM Design and Development?

Date: 21/11/2018

Did you know that the Apollo moon missions used computers that were less powerful than today’s average smartphone? Computers are considerably more powerful nowadays, of course, and are capable of doing so much more. This includes design and they can be used to help design even the most complex of structures. Not only can they help with design, but they can also help directly with sheet metal fabrication and other types of manufacturing.

There are two main ways in which computers can help us with design and development, and here’s a look at both.

Computer-Aided Design

Whether you are designing sheet metal enclosures or something more complex such as a jet fighter, computers can be extremely helpful. One of the most useful characteristics is being able to make adjustments with ease. In the past, changing designs could mean starting again from scratch but with computers, you can simply adjust what you already have. This can save untold workhours, helping to keep the costs of labour down and speeding up the process.

CAD software will also allow steel fabricators to see the finished design in 3D. It can also be ‘finished’ and presented on screen as it as it would physically appear when actually built in reality. The software produces a digital model that can be used in a variety of ways to ‘test’ the object’s characteristics. The software can test it for stress points, for example, to try and find where weaknesses would be on the physical model.

Computer-Aided Manufacture

The physical tasks of manufacturing can require a great deal of skill. Sheet metal fabrication will require cutting out often complex shapes from sheets of metal. This can be difficult and it can be time-consuming. CAM software and hardware, however, will do much of the physical work involved in sheet metal fabrication for you. The CAM software will drive the physical machinery in order for the process of cutting to be done as needed.

CAM is used in conjunction with CAD, meaning that even complex designs can be created with a great deal of automation. CAM is also very precise meaning that even intricate objects can be created using this technique.

CAD CAM software streamlines much of the design process, helping to reduce costs considerably. This has helped to revolutionize much of the sheet metal fabrication industry in terms of both cost and the quality of what can be produced.

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