Various Reasons to Switch to Integrated CAD/CAM

The manufacturing industry's productivity has grown 1.2% in the last 10 years compared with 2.6% over the past 7 years. 

However, new technology trends are changing the way that engineering companies design, produce, and deliver products. greater innovation is essential to differentiate products and allow you and your team to be competitive in an ever-changing marketplace. While productivity is important, it's also crucial to find cost-effective and efficient ways to increase productivity.

Product design and manufacturing were often treated as distinct functions in the past. This led to many late-stage engineering changes that affected product quality, cost, time to market, and even production costs. Designers use CAD software to design products while 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 such as CAMWorks creates a bridge between design and manufacturing teams. This allows the user to have complete control over both the design and manufacturing process. The integrated CAD/CAM environment allows users to benefit from solids-based and fully associative CNC machine 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. Remove CAD and data translation mistakes

Integrated CAD/CAM Systems eliminate costly extra data translations between CAD applications and CAM programs 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 CAD file version is different from what the CAM system expects to see. This can lead to errors.

Integrated CAD/CAM allows for true associative machine or model association. This allows for design modifications to be automatically updated in the CAM data. This eliminates the need to rework the CAM system due to time-consuming design changes.

data translation errors avoid multiples disconnected files to maintain

  1. 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 work in parallel. You can also 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 possible to do analysis, simulation, and update cutter paths faster, without having to worry about version conflicts.

  1. 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 system then selects another tool, such as a pocket finishing tool. All previous steps are then repeated to create another process. 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 used for design and manufacturing allows for a simpler design-to-manufacturing workflow. This allows for a shorter training time and fewer IT resources to maintain multiple CAD/CAM software packages. It also makes the process more robust.

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Simplified workflow for reduced training time, fewer IT resources, and a stress-free work environment

  1. 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.

  1. Integrated validation tools

Modules for validating designs are often included in integrated CAD/CAM systems before beginning 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 five 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, improve quality, reduce errors, and rework, as well as control manufacturing costs. It's easier for programmers and designers to work together when they use the same system.

CAMWorks was the first CAM system to be fully integrated into SOLIDWORKS. CAMWorks is a leader in Automatic Feature Recognition and Interactive Feature Recognition (IFR). CAMWorks allows for true associative machining - automatically adapting to changes to the part model.

CAMWorks is seamlessly integrated with SOLIDWORKS and allows you to:

  • You can use and manage one file for both the CAD and CAM systems
  • You can use the CAMWorks machining tree, commands, and tools at the click of a button along with SOLIDWORKS to generate toolpaths.
  • To ensure that the part you machine is identical to the one you model, use the same SOLIDWORKS geometry for creating toolpaths
  • Reduce the time and effort required to transfer files using standard file formats like IGES or STP