What is CAD? What is CAE? What is Cam ? What are these softwares and how do they differ from each other?
The first step is to know the meaning of the first two letters in common in each acronym - the “CA” is the abbreviation of the term Computer-Aided (computer-assisted), which means that the three systems were created to help the user achieve your goal as quickly as possible, using the power of computers for processing. In CAD, the last abbreviation comes from the term Design (design, plant), for CAE - Engineering (engineering) and CAM - Manufacturing (manufacture). Each program has a focus of action and a purpose, this article will cover the three systems in more detail and show the application of each one.
CAD (Computer-Aided Design)
A CAD program is a computerized technology focused on product design and documentation of the design phase, during the engineering process. CAD can facilitate the manufacturing process by transferring detailed diagrams of the materials used in the products, processes, tolerances and designs. This can be used for both 2D and 3D production, allowing rotation at any angle for all views, as well as for the inside-out view.
Computer-Aided Design defines the use of computer systems to assist in the creation, modification and optimization of projects, and modern CAD programs can offer significant improvements, such as:
1. Increase in Engineer productivity
2. Increase in quality in projects
3. Improvement in communications through documentation
4. Creation of Database for Manufacturing
CAD designs are generally exported in the form of files for printing, machining, or other manufacturing operations.
Most CAD programs for mechanical drawings use both vector graphics for objects and can produce raster graphics, showing the general appearance of the drawn objects.
However, engineering software requires more than just shapes. As in manual drawing or technical engineering drawings, the most modern programs must transmit information, such as - materials, processes, dimensions and tolerances, according to the specific conventions for each application.
CAD has been an important industrial tool, widely used in several applications, including the automotive, shipbuilding and aerospace industries, in architecture, prosthesis projects, and many others. It is also widely used for the production of computer animations, for special effects in films, advertising and technical manuals, often called DCC (creation of digital content). It has also been an important driving force for research in computational geometry, computer graphics, and discrete geometry.
Modern CAD programs: applications:
In addition to being one of the many tools used by engineers and designers, with diverse applications also in various professions, CAD is a part of the entire Digital Product Development (DPD) activity, within the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) process. They are used in an integrated way with other tools, which can be integrated modules or stand-alone products, such as:
1. Computer Assisted Engineering (CAE)
2. Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
4. Document Management and Review Control using Product Data Management (PDM)
CAD proves to be useful for engineers basically through four main properties:
4. High Level Restrictions
The construction history can be used to refer to the model specifications. Parameters and restrictions can be used to determine the size, shape and other properties of the different modeling elements.
Who uses Computer Aided Design:
A short list of professionals who are likely to use CAD in their work:
- Civil Engineers
- Electrical Engineers
- Mechanical Engineers
- Production Engineers
- Structural Engineers
- Acoustic Engineers
- Facilities Management
This list goes a long way. Computer-Aided Design is used in many industries - from aerospace, automotive, textiles, electronics and more. It allows companies to explore modeled ideas before physical prototyping is implemented.
CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering)
It is the widespread use of computer programs to assist in engineering analysis tasks. Engineering programs include finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), multibody dynamics (MDB) and optimization.
Engineering software developed to support these activities is considered a CAE tool and is being used, for example, to analyze the robustness and performance of components and assemblies. The term encompasses simulation, validation and optimization of products and manufacturing tools. In the future, CAE systems will be the main providers of information to assist project teams in decision making.
CAE - network of nodes
With regard to information networks, CAE systems are considered individually as a single node in a large information network and each node can interact with another in the same network. These nodes play a role in the finite element method, which uses an existing model geometry to build a network of nodes across the entire model, which is then used to determine how the model will work, based on the input parameter. that the real part would experience, in the real world. The following parameters are normally used in mechanical engineering for CAE simulations:
3. Interactions between components
4. Applied Forces
Most of the parameters used for the simulation are based on the environment and the interactions that the model may experience during operation. They are then inserted into the CAE software as a way of verifying whether the party could theoretically control the design constraints.
CAE systems can provide support to companies. This is possible through the use of reference architectures and their ability to put information points of view on the business process. Reference architecture is the basis of the information model, especially the product and manufacturing models.
CAE areas covered:
1. Stress analysis in component assembly using FEA
2. Thermal and Fluid Flow Analysis using CFD
3. Multibody Dynamics (MBD) and Kinematics
4. Analysis tools for process simulation in Manufacturing Processes
5. Optimization of the process documentation
6. Product development optimization
7. Intelligent non-conformity check
8. Security analysis in assemblies
In general, there are three phases to any computer-aided engineering task:
1. Pre-treatment: define the model and environmental factors to be applied.
2. Problem solving analysis
3. Post-processing of results
Main software for engineering: Abaqus, Ansys, MSC Adams Car, and many others. Simple models of CAD programs can be exported to engineering programs for analysis of the virtual prototype.
CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing)
Computer-aided manufacturing consists of using software to control machine tools and equipment related to the manufacturing process. It is not technically considered an engineering software program system, but rather geared towards machines in manufacturing. CAM can also refer to the use of a computer to assist in all operations of a manufacturing plant, including planning, management, transportation and storage. Its main objective is to create a faster production process and components and tools with more precise dimensions and material consistency. CAM is a computer-assisted process subsequent to CAD and sometimes after computer-aided engineering (CAE) - as a model generated in CAD, verified in CAE and generating input for the CAM software, which controls machine tools.
CAM used in CNC
Computer-Aided Manufacturing is the software code behind the machines that manufacture the products. Machines controlled by numerical computers are devices that use the CAM code to manufacture products. CNC machines include:
- Milling machines
- Record labels
- EDM or electrical discharge manufacturing
Everything that would need to be done by an operator with conventional machines is programmable with CNC machines. CAM provides step-by-step instructions that machines will follow to complete product manufacture. Before the software, the operator had to manually enter the code before implementing the program and this manual entry can be laborious, based on the complexity of the final product. CAM makes it easier with intelligent software to develop code based on the platform (Graphical User Interface - GUI). This made the manufacturing code easy to produce, with just over a click on the desired process, generating the code for the CNC machine.
How CAD, CAE and CAM work together
A CAD program is necessary both in manufacturing - CAM, and in engineering software - CAE, as both systems require a model in order to perform any analysis or manufacturing. CAE requires the geometric model to determine the integrated nodal network to be used for the analysis. CAM requires part geometry to determine machine routes and cuts. Both require CAD, but it can be used as a stand-alone system for engineering virtual models. CAD is the backbone of any CAM or CAE and is necessary for them to function properly. Today's software is a powerful tool for engineers and technicians to make their daily jobs easier and more efficient. Used correctly, they provide the best possible benefit to the individuals and companies that implement them.
Have you used any of these software platforms? If so, did they really make your life easier at work?