Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is the creation and optimisation of the design of a physical product using a particular computer-based software package as the engineering tool. CAD systems have evolved from graphics editors, with few built-in design functionalities, to sophisticated and complex tools, providing information on the characteristics of a designed product, including simulation of its functions.
Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) allows different engineering applications to access the product design information created and stored in the CAD database. This shared access to the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) files enables thorough engineering analysis of the product design, such as stresses, strains, temperature distribution or dimensional tolerances.
Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) enables the machining of a part by translating the part geometry from the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) database into machining instructions through Computer Numerical Control (CNC) programming. These computer-generated instructions can be used to determine the paths taken by the tools during the machining process, for programming material handling equipment and for part testing and inspection.
Computer-Aided Process Planning
Computer-Aided Process Planning (CAPP) is an approach for efficiently planning and scheduling operations. This is achieved by capturing the entire manufacturing operation as an integrated system in which there is coordination of all the individual process steps. The process plans include capacity planning, production scheduling and inventory control as well as types of tools and machines required, the sequence of machining processes and processing times.