What is CAM in Textiles?
CAM is an acronym that stands for computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). CAM also known as Computer-aided Modeling or Computer-aided Machining is the use of software and computer-controlled machinery to automate a manufacturing process. Once the design is completed, it can be imported as a digital file to the CAM system. Now, CAM is widely used in textile industry.
CAM works with the CAD system. It takes the design and prepares the actual textile pattern. It is mainly used to manage all aspects of the manufacturing process. In this, everything is automated from the initial stage to the sewing of garments together. It makes the manufacturing process very efficient and smooth.
CAM means the use of computer software to control machine in the manufacturing process. CAM is considered as a numerical control programming tool. The 2D or 3D models of components generated in CAD software are used to generate G-code to drive computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools. The output from the CAM software is usually a simple text file of G-code/M-codes.
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is the use of computer software to control machine tools and related machinery in the manufacturing of work pieces. The CAD technology together with CAM technology is called CAD / CAM. The main objective of CAM is to improve productivity and efficiency. The application of CAM ensures that results are consistent with high accuracy in large production scale. The CAM is frequently used to store textile designs for repeat printing orders. Various types of CAM machines have been developed for the textile industry. These machines are based on computer-numerical control (CNC) programming. In textile processing, these machines are used to pick up the fabric from store, spread and cut the fabrics, label and transport the cut fabric pieces for assembly and to move the cut fabric pieces around the factory on an overhead conveyer. These machines are also used for automatic buttonholing and automatic embroidery.
The CAM is frequently used in dobby and jacquard designs and also to control the servo motor for positive control of let-off and take-up mechanisms. In dobby and Jacquard designs, CAM is used to prepare and archive weave designs for both electronically and card controlled dobbies. With the help of CAD / CAM, achieving good quality with high accuracy in shorter span of time has become possible. It eases the modification of pattern changing.
iTextile project is a good example of CAD / CAM designing in textile industry, which is based on intelligent searching system for the development of smart woven fabric database as shown in below Fig.
The establishment of professional woven fabric database platform, including detailed specification from commercial CAD software for weave diagram design (loom draft, denting plan and draft plan).
The digital scanning engine using FabricEye for this database, can collect and analyze the dual-side images of fabrics for the purpose of create image-indexing for each weave pattern style.
The quick searching engine for this database, it is a specific searching engine for fabric materials, which can do searching in three kinds of ways: image, color and key word.
The rendering engine for 3D fabric simulation is used to demonstrate and visualize the fabric design based on 3D rendering and simulation technology, and also provides the on-line interactive design and evaluate the fabric design directly. All these intelligent searching systems are connected to CAM, which help to convert fabric database into a product.
Features of CAM in Textile Industry:
The phases of the CAM processes are outlined later:
1. A CAM system employs computer for two basic purposes:
- Computer monitoring and control
- Manufacturing supporting applications.
2. Typical areas of concern:
- High-speed machining including streamlining of tool paths
- Multi-function machining
- 5 Axis machining
- Feature recognition and machining
- Automation of machining process
- Ease of use.
Over the time, the historical shortcomings of CAM are being attenuated by providing niche and high-end solutions. This occurred primarily in three areas:
- Ease of use – very easy for the new user to learn and implement the available features
- Manufacturing complexity
- Integration with Product Life cycle Management (PLM) and the extended enterprise.
3. CAM Tools:
- CAD Tool: Geometric information of model
- Manufacturing Tool: Fundamental of manufacturing processes
- Networking Tool: Communication between various machines and computers
4. CAM software:
- Dassault Systems
- Siemens PLM Software
- Vero Software
- CNC Software
5. Benefits of CAM in Textile Industry:
- Fast speed for creating products.
- Great accuracy and consistency as each product produced are exactly the same.
- Efficiency is very high
- No gap in the design and manufacturing process.
- Decrease the turnaround time by minimizing errors.
Advancements in CAM:
- Cloud computing
- Quantum computing
The standardization of the process is advanced with the use of XML technology. XML increases the portability of designs across all software platforms. XML translates the design elements into text with tags via a standard and transparent system. As a result, all designs can be exported from one package to another without requiring further processing. This reduces the time and resources required for the conversion process.
2. Cloud Computing:
Cloud computing provides a platform where multiple designers and engineers work on a project at once. Cloud-based solutions also allow for the sharing and distribution of documents so that all team members can stay informed at all times. Other future cloud solutions with promising benefits include access via phones and tablets.
3. Quantum Computing:
Quantum computing is another promising future advancement. It refers to the theoretical computing based on advanced physics and is still in the research and development stage. Quantum computing process is very different from traditional binary digital computing. Quantum reduces the need for excess interface, which results in faster operations and hence significantly speeds up the design process.
The traditional input and output methods may soon change the way CAM professionals operate on a daily basis. This technology referred to as virtual reality (VR) is gaining popularity across many industries. VR allows for enhanced interactions with drawings, and the designer is allowed to see their models in 3D before they are physically created. This increases the accuracy of the design and helps in finding the mistakes before the product gets manufactured.
Computerized Production by Using CAD/CAM in Textile Industry:
Computer Aided Designing (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) were first introduced in 1970, and since then, CAD is used by designers to create product design, and the designs are transferred to CAM machines to manufacture the final product. These computer-aided tools or systems have replaced old mechanical shaping and patterning devices on machines.
This replacement has made possible quick response to changing demands, and this has made possible developing new designs through CAD and converting them on machine through CAM. In early days, these systems were expensive, where only the major companies could afford them, but later their prices fell, which made even small- and medium-sized companies to invest in this new technology. These new computerized technologies have enabled companies to work globally and made everything online, where a person sitting in his office in one corner of the world can view production in another corner. In this way, designs produced in one part of the world can be transferred to another part electronically to low-cost producers .
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.