CAD and CAM are part of CAx, i.e., Computer-aided technologies. Computer-aided technologies are used in the designing and manufacturing of products using a variety of computer based technologies. Computer-aided technologies can be used in product designing, finite element analyzing, product manufacturing, production planning, product testing, documenting and supporting. Computer-aided technologies can be used for both real and virtual products.
CAD and CAM are widely used by engineering firms and manufacturing units. Both these computer-aided technologies are intricately associated with product lifecycle management. Using CAD and CAM software, engineering firms and manufacturing units make life easy for themselves with a faster production process involving more precision.
CAD software is used in the designing phase of the product lifecycle. Software programmers using CAD software have the ability to view their products in three dimensions. During the designing process, the product can be seen from every angle and also from inside out. The major advantage of CAD is that it can be used for simple (2D vector based drafting system) as well as complex (3D surface and solid modelers) processes. CAD software finds wide use in shipbuilding, industrial and architectural design, aerospace and automotive industries, prosthetics, advertisements and for rendering special effects in movies.
The advantages of using CAD software include simplification and improvement of the user interface, easy enhancement for meeting customer demands and user orienting user options. All this means that the users can have the software designed as per their need and also not need to go through the intricate designing details.
CAM software is used in planning, managing, transporting and storing of products, among other uses. CAD software is used by manufacturing units to save time on production cost while incorporating precise dimensions and consistency of materials at the same time. CAD software is also used to calculate the optimum amount of raw materials required for production and also to reduce waste and consumption of energy.
There is major work going on in the domain of CAM software primarily to make life easy for the users. Work is on to make the software easier to use and also to reduce the complexity associated with the use of CAM software in the manufacturing process. Work is also going on to further integrate CAM software with the product lifecycle management and to extend its enterprise.
While CAD and CAM software programs are widely available for commercial use, it is typically the manufacturing units and engineering firms that use them. To be a CAD CAM professional, an engineering degree is widely recommended. However, advanced training in CAD CAM is also available to non-engineers. But to understand the aspect of CAD CAM, engineering really helps. Since CAD and CAM are associated with the product lifecycle management in manufacturing units, mechanical engineering graduates is one field that finds many takers as employers. For the engineers, it is easier to grasp the intricacies associated with CAD CAM and thus to make a career in this industry. There is a serious dearth of trained people in the domain of CAD CAM. The scope is huge and the opportunities boundless.