The CAM (Computer
Aided Manufacturing) parts have evolved from the technology
of Numerical Controlled (NC) machines.
Early NC machines had their own on-board electronic control systems
for their servo drives and motors, and where programmed by punched
In time, that becomes equivalent to a control stream of ASCII
text data typed into a text editor. Each machine maker developed
their own control code scheme, usually a very cryptic set of letters
for machine actions and numbers for the values of speed, depth,
etc. and position coordinates.
In NC the codes have to also control depth of tool movement and
how fast to move. NC machines include a computer with a screen
and keyboard. These use a "conventional" control language. Modern
CAD/CAM systems automatically generate tool paths from a 3D model,
and can simulate the cutting action on-screen. The display simulation
varies from as rudimentary as well just allow an appreciation
of what will happen, to realistic fully rendered moving images.
The most CAD/CAM systems are modular; That means you can buy whichever
modules do the option you want and they integrates into a unified
Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) means complete
integration of all aspects of manufacturing utilizing computerized
CIM is the use of component data created with CAD in the CAM environment.
In the other words, the part geometry for manufacturing use in
computerized form is used for NC programming. This stage of development
may be termed small-scale integration. The most highly developed
form of CIM is the creation of a database containing all the information
required for flexible manufacturing of components produced by
the plant, in a form in which it can be retrieved and used by
anyone who needs it. Flexible manufacturing means the ability
to make any components in small numbers or well as large, quickly,
at economical cost, thus reducing tool chargeones, work in process
and costly inventory.
CIM also provides for inclusion of quality systems and controls
in the manufacturing process, rather than applying them afterward.
Because the tangible and intangible benefits of CIM are long term,
the usual discounted-cash-flow and return-on-investment methods
cannot justify a CIM installation of a flexible manufacturing
Instead, strategic advantages and intangible benefits must be
used to weigh the desirability of investment in CIM.