We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)?

By Dan Blacharski
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Since the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the manufacturing process has undergone many dramatic changes. One of the most dramatic was the introduction of computer aided manufacturing (CAM), a system of using computer technology to assist in the manufacturing process. This technology began to be developed in the 1950s, and by the 1970s, it was being used by some large manufacturers. By the early 21st century, computer aided manufacturing had become an integral part of the manufacturing process in many industries.

Automation and Use of Robotics

Through the use of CAM, a factory can become highly automated, using systems such as real-time control and robotics. A CAM system usually seeks to control the production process through varying degrees of automation. These processes are carried out by various robotic tools, such as lathes, milling machines and welding machines. Each of the many manufacturing processes in a CAM system is controlled by computers, so a high degree of precision and consistency can be achieved that is not possible with machinery that must be controlled by people.

Greater Precision

In computer aided manufacturing, computer software is used to create detailed, precise instructions for the machinery the manufactures parts. The software and machinery use numerical control (NC) applications that include precise measurements. As a result, the manufacturing process can be repeated over and over to the exact same specifications. Such precision is impossible with handheld or hand-controlled tools. This precision results in a higher quality and uniformity of parts and goods.

Resource Management

Some CAM systems provide additional automation by also keeping track of materials used and automating the ordering process from suppliers or the delivery process from the manufacturer's inventory. This helps ensure that enough materials are always available to keep the manufacturing process on schedule. CAM systems also can automate the process for requesting tool maintenance, repair or replacement.

Computer Aided Design

Computer aided manufacturing is commonly linked to computer aided design (CAD) systems. The resulting integrated CAD/CAM system then takes the computer-generated design and feeds it directly into the manufacturing system. The design is then converted into multiple computer-controlled processes, such as drilling or turning.

Ease of Customization

One advantage of computer aided manufacturing is that it can be used to facilitate customization — the process of creating small batches of products that are custom-designed to suit particular customers or clients. Without CAM and the CAD process that precedes it, customization would be a time-consuming, labor-intensive and costly process. Computer software, however, allows for easy customization and rapid design changes. The automatic controls of the CAM system make it possible to adjust the machinery automatically for each order.

People Still Needed

Many workers have feared that the increased use of robotic tools would eliminate jobs in the manufacturing industry. Although this might be true to some degree, the robotic machines that are commonly used in factories still require human workers. The nature of those workers' jobs often change, however. Repetitive tasks are delegated to machines, and human workers' job descriptions move more toward things such as set-up, quality control, creating the initial designs and machine maintenance.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon157792 — On Mar 04, 2011

This is very helpful. Thanks.

By anon133844 — On Dec 12, 2010

What is the advantage and disadvantage of CAM?

By anon127451 — On Nov 16, 2010

thanks. this was really helpful.

By anon90014 — On Jun 14, 2010

Do you know what sort of products are made using CAM's?

By anon82709 — On May 07, 2010

I'm a former Toyota stamping operations leadman and I can't wait to start learning CNC. It's been a dream of mine to actually have the knowledge that enables a machine to do all the repetitive work.

I did it for 16 years. 90 decibels a day was enough to make me lose some of my hearing.

By anon66860 — On Feb 22, 2010

It would have been nice to have some more real world examples. I mean I know, you briefly mentioned the automotive industry but it would be nice to know in detail about each step through a typical procedure. Anyway, it told me what I needed to know, so cheers!

By anon45353 — On Sep 16, 2009

not a bad piece of info.

By anon38651 — On Jul 27, 2009

i think that this is very helpful to me and i really learned a lot from it. thanks.

By mano — On Feb 03, 2009

What is the general process involved in CAM(computer aided manufacturing)in manufacturing tools?

By anon22651 — On Dec 08, 2008

my mam likes DIY. She's 85. Is this normal?

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.