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What is a Computer-Aided Design?

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computers to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. The CAD software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications through documentation, and to create a database for manufacturing.CAD output is often in the form of electronic files for print, machining, or other manufacturing operations. The term CADD (for Computer-Aided Design and Drafting) is also used.

Its use in designing electronic systems is known as electronic design automation (EDA). In mechanical design, it is known as mechanical design automation (MDA) or computer-aided drafting (CAD), which includes the process of creating a technical drawing with the use of computer software.

CAD software for mechanical design uses either vector-based graphics to depict the objects of traditional drafting, or may also produce raster graphics showing the overall appearance of designed objects. However, it involves more than just shapes. As in the manual drafting of technical and engineering drawings, the output of CAD must convey information, such as materials, processes, dimensions, and tolerances, according to application-specific conventions.

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What is a Computer-Aided Manufacturing?

Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) also known as Computer-aided Modeling or Computer-aided Machining is the use of software to control machine tools and related ones in the manufacturing of workpieces.

This is not the only definition for CAM, but it is the most common; CAM may also refer to the use of a computer to assist in all operations of a manufacturing plant, including planning, management, transportation, and storage. Its primary purpose is to create a faster production process and components and tooling with more precise dimensions and material consistency, which in some cases, uses only the required amount of raw material (thus minimizing waste), while simultaneously reducing energy consumption.

CAM is now a system used in schools and lower educational purposes. CAM is a subsequent computer-aided process after computer-aided design (CAD) and sometimes computer-aided engineering (CAE), as the model generated in CAD and verified in CAE can be input into CAM software, which then controls the machine tool. CAM is used in many schools alongside Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to create objects.

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What is a Computer-Aided Engineering?

Computer-aided engineering primarily uses Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, which are sometimes called CAE tools. CAE tools are 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 major providers of information to help support design teams in decision making. Computer-aided engineering is used in many fields such as automotive, aviation, space, and shipbuilding industries.

In regard to information networks, CAE systems are individually considered a single node on a total information network and each node may interact with other nodes on the network.

CAE systems can provide support to businesses. This is achieved by the use of reference architectures and their ability to place information views on the business process. The reference architecture is the basis from which information models, especially product and manufacturing models.

The term CAE has also been used by some in the past to describe the use of computer technology within engineering in a broader sense than just engineering analysis. It was in this context that the term was coined by Jason Lemon, founder of SDRC in the late 1970s. This definition is however better known today by the terms CAx and PLM.

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