The manufacturing industry's productivity has increased by 1.2% in the last 10 years compared with 2.6% over the previous seven years. However, new technology trends are disrupting how engineering companies design and manufacture products. It is important to have Innovation is growing. To ensure products are different, you will be able to compete with your colleagues in a more competitive market. It is important to increase productivity, but efficient and cost-effective ways are key.
In the past product, design and manufacturing were often treated as distinct functions. This led to many late-stage engineering changes that affected product quality, cost, time to market, and even production costs. For product design, designers use CAD software. Manufacturing departments use CAM to create tool paths. Because these standalone applications are used by these departments, data imports, translations, and conversions will be required once the design has been completed and passed to manufacturing. Design and manufacturing will need to go through the entire process again if there are any design changes that are required due to manufacturability concerns.
A fully integrated CAD/CAM solution creates a bridge between design and manufacturing teams. This allows the user to have complete control over the design and manufacturing process. The integrated CAD/CAM environment allows users to benefit from solids-based and fully associative machining. The design changes can be made easily, and the toolpaths will automatically adjust to suit.
Let's take a look at five benefits that integrated CAD/CAM systems offer:
1. Eliminate data translation and CAD errors
Integrated CAD/CAM Systems eliminate costly and unnecessary data translations between CAD applications and CAM apps that work on the same 3D model. Data translation can be a problem with standalone systems. Version issues and version lags are also possible. Sometimes, the CAM system may not expect to see the same version of a CAD file. This can lead to errors.
Integrated CAD/CAM allows for true associative machine or machining model associativity. This means that any design modifications are automatically made in the CAM data. This eliminates the need for CAM system rework.
2. Keep your files organized.
Both CAM and CAD are distinct files that must be maintained. However, it is difficult to keep two programs files up-to-date. The CAM file should be updated when design changes are made. If necessary, the CAM portion must also be reprogrammed.
Integrated CAD/CAM systems organize your data so that you can work in teams and react quicker to design changes. These systems include file management and repositories that allow everyone to work on the most recent design iteration. A master model with associativity makes it easier to do analysis, simulation, or update cutter paths faster, without causing version conflicts.
3. Simple workflow
Standalone CAM systems tend to be process-based, rather than feature-based programming. Selecting the right tool is the first step.
You can create operations such as rough milling a pocket. Once the parameters for speed, feed, and any other cutting parameters, including depth, are entered into the system, the process is created. The process is then repeated with the selected tool, such as to finish the pocket. After the process is completed, you can simulate the program and then post-process it to create the G code needed for the manufacturing operation.
Programmers are accustomed to treating each part of a standalone CAM program as a unique program, even if it shares features with other parts that have been programmed and machined. Every programmer might have a different way of programming this part. Standalone CAM systems encourage this approach. The result is five different programmers with five inconsistent programs.
An integrated CAD/CAM software eliminates data translation. The same interface as the design facilitates a simpler design to manufacturing workflow. This reduces training time and IT resources required to maintain multiple CAD/CAM software packages. It also makes the process more robust.
A simplified workflow allows for shorter training times, fewer IT resources, and a stress-free environment.
4. Automate manufacturing processes
Standalone CAM systems can be disconnected from industry-leading solutions such as SOLIDWORKS. Therefore, integrated CAD/CAM automation cannot be provided. You can take advantage of automation by using the integrated CAD/CAM feature in HCL CAMWorks. To create the most efficient toolpaths, you can use tolerances, product manufacturing information (PMI), and surface finish information (PMI), to automatically create CNC programs.
5. Integration Validation tools
Modules for validating designs are often included in integrated CAD/CAM systems before starting machining operations. Few integrated CAM systems can perform G-code machine simulation directly within the CNC programming environment. This eliminates the need for dry runs to validate programs and reduces setup time. After the program is simulated from the Gcode, it can be run on the machine. These validations or simulations can help avoid costly machine collisions, programming errors, and ultimately reduce scrap and improve overall quality.
In addition to the 5 main benefits, integrated CAD/CAM allows for better collaboration between manufacturing and design departments. This knowledge can be used to ensure that designs are done correctly the first time. It is crucial to address designs for manufacturability requirements in order to meet program schedules, achieve high quality, reduce errors, and control manufacturing costs. It's easier for programmers and designers to work together when they use the same system.