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This paper assignment is written to produce logical discussion on the future speculations of the future of CAD/CAM technology. In the first parts of the report we have tried to define brief history and the present scenario of the technology. Later parts focus on the speculations of the future which is the core of the assignments. We also tried to bring out some discussions based on our own understanding regarding the future of this technology. INTRODUCTION In todays fierce global market, competition is to the highest degree than ever before and is seen to increase day by day. Manufacturing in any market like automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding or general consumer products is bound to beat this competition in order to sustain a profitable business. Almost every manufacturing industry faces global competition due to emerging countries which are developing better manufacturing capabilities rapidly and also due to reduction of global trade barriers. Increased competition is also resulting in shorter product life cycles and great advancement in technology which makes products obsolete far more quickly than before. Hence manufacturers are forced to be fast in developing new products and bringing them to the market in the shortest possible time. Thus the competitiveness and flexibility of any manufacturing company depends majorly on reducing design and engineering times. This is proved to be one of the challenging difficulties encountered by todays manufacturing companies. Fortunately computers have come to the rescue of these manufacturing companies. Since the invention of computers, more precisely after the invention of mainframe computers various technologies have been developed and are still being developed to help manufacturing companies by reduce time and improve quality in designing, analysis and manufacture of products. A broad stream of computer technology came into existence which is commonly referred as computer aided technologies (CAx). These group of technologies as the name suggests use the aid of computers to simplify manufacturing difficulties encountered on a day to day basis. Some of the common technologies which lie under computer aided technologies are; computer-aided design (CAD), computer aided design and drafting (CADD), computer aided process planning

(CAPP), computer aided quality assurance (CAQ), computer integrated manufacturing (CIM), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), enterprise resource planning (ERP), product lifecycle management (PLM) and many more, the list keeps increasing day by day with developers developing new technologies to cope up with the new challenges. COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN (CAD) Computer aided Design is considered to be the most widely used computer aided technology in any manufacturing industry. Major evolution of CAD took place in late 1970s when the use of computers in industries began to expand in manufacturing firms. Although CAD systems were initially used in automotive industries the peak revolution occurred in the 1990 where a CAD package was used to design the Boeing 777. The whole aircraft was designed and preassembled with the use CAD software package. (Raja and Fernandes (Eds), 2008). According to Boeing the first 777 which was rolled out of the hanger in 1994 had a tolerance in alignment in the range of hundredths of an inch, which clearly showed the precision achieved as the tolerance during that time in aircraft alignment was commonly considered to be around half an inch. This precision and the ease of modifying designs astonished the design and development engineers and the revolution of CAD continued with a great pace. Until recent years CAD software was majorly vector based which basically when used to draw a line on the screen for example, the computer interprets and stores the data as a vector i.e. start point, end point and direction. These CAD packages were based mainly on 2 co-ordinates X and Y, which gave the capability of 2D space [1]. With the advancement in the software technology developers introduced the Z co-ordinates using 3D programs. CAD programmes now store a list of all the vectors in the internal memory of a computer and drawings or features are edited or deleted the computer updates the list of vectors. With powerful computer processors and massive memory storage capabilities present even in a basic PC of today the updating of the vectors take place in a flash enabling real time feel to the user. Along with the basic information of the vectors like start point end point and direction other information like colour of the line, whether it is dotted etc are also stored, these properties are called attributes. CAD has evolved from just a computer program capable of generating engineering drawing to a design process which takes into account the whole product life cycle, which includes design conception, manufacture, in service operation, maintenance and disposal. This approach of design is also called as concurrent engineering. (Mc Mohan and Browne, 1998). This approach is aimed to break the barriers of communication between various departments involved in the manufacture of a product enabling more responsive and faster development of products with higher quality. Any commercial CAD package of today is capable of executing one or more of the following tasks; Design and Assembly modelling: generation of parts in 2D and 3D, creating views of a 3D model in different views; assembly of designed parts into one component.

Analysis: parts designed in CAD can be analysed for mechanical properties and its behaviour under normal operating conditions. Analysis is done with the help of finite element analysis. Image Rendering: displaying the modelled objects on a output device like a monitor using computer graphics. This is one of the most elementary and important task every CAD package is capable of executing. Image rendering is not only displaying lines and curves in 2D space but also 3D models which look realistic. Todays computer processing capabilities enable animation of modelled objects as well. End users however choose a CAD package with one or more of the above mentioned tasks which usually come as add-ons depending on the requirements. More add-ons means more storage space required as well as greater processing power, therefore complex CAD package are built to run on main-frame computers or UNIX work stations. Many CAD packages also have a built in CAM (Computer aided Manufacturing) software, which enables CAD packages to develop tool paths required to machine a particular model in real time. COMPUTER AIDED MANUFACTURING (CAM) After the development of CAD systems, developers went a step further by introducing the concept of using computers for manufacture of the modelled objects using CAD. Until 1970s CAM software was basically known to be manual programming; where instructions were programmed manually using computers and didnt really have a link with the CAD systems. By 1980s integration of CAD and CAM started to take place as a unified package which included software and hardware components. Further down the line in 1990s which became the PC era, in this era designers started to use 3D modelling instead of 2D drawings throughout the world [2]. The integration between CAD and CAM developed further with a great pace and today as we call it CAD/CAM systems or environment is characterized by the following: Highly compatible data types enabling interoperability between software products. All the software applications have very good visual graphics which gives better understanding of the modelled parts or the process of manufacture through image rendering and animation. 3D modelling and designing is accepted worldwide and preferred by all designers. Most software packages now have some amount of knowledge embedded for making better designs and suggest best suitable machining techniques for a particular product. A virtual environment where the whole product life from design to manufacture can be animated and analysed.

Global data sharing through internet. FUTURE TRENDS OF CAD CAD has undoubtedly achieved great success when we look at the current manufacturing environment. Almost every designer uses CAD to accomplish all the design work in a company, however there is a great room for improvement in CAD systems. Depending on the current state of technology and the changing market trends the following speculations on the future of CAD can be made. According to me todays CAD packages can be considered to be dumb, the description is a bit harsh but if we look at the research and development going on by the CAD software developers around the everyone in the future will regard todays packages in the same way. In the future the CAD packages will be able to think! The core feature of CAD is to provide means of representing the final form of design, however in the design process the designer needs some kind of information or advice based of knowledge for decision making. For example CAD system can be used to develop a finite element model for the purpose of design analysis, but however CAD systems are not capable of advising what element to be used for certain conditions; CAD systems allow manufacturing instructions to be derived from the design geometry but do not give sufficient advise if a certain shape can be economically forged or casted. (Mc Mohan and Browne, 1998). Apart from inducing knowledge into CAD packages there is a lot of research work done to develop integration of CAD with other computational processes used in a business environment. Everything from the product itself to the production plant, the process of design and application of the product can be modelled in the future; this approach is aimed at complete automation of the manufacturing process. Several companies now have their plants located in different geographical distances; i.e. a company might have the design department in one country and the production or assembly department in another country, integration in such a case will require high speed communication and common data base. This will eventually help the suppliers and vendors also to be pulled into the integrated business. Based on the above discussions we have briefed some of the most likely developments in the area of CAD/CAM that can be take place in the near future. Designing with Artificial Intelligence (AI): human intelligence used in the design process is studied from many years; with the ever growing processing speeds it is now possible to design computers which can be programmed to use human logic in their operations. That manufacturing knowledge in most of the companies will not be locked in the minds of few individuals but the future CAD/CAM packages will have the capability to capture this knowledge and apply it in design and manufacturing processes. These types of AIs are also know as expert systems or knowledge-based systems. [3]

Environmental concern is an issue worldwide; CAD/CAM will develop software packages to deal with this issue. When a product to be manufactured is in the design process, there is an environmental impact caused by the product which is the collective result of raw material mining, processing of those materials, transportation to the factory, amount of energy consumed in transforming these materials into products and even disposal after the use of the product; future CAD/CAM packages will be able to calculate this impact and even suggest ways to reduce this impact by altering the manufacturing methods or even using alternative materials. Imagine reduction in the environmental impact by even 10% will substantial difference with items are produced in millions and even billions. Great developments in 3D are taking place and in future working with 3D models will be accepted worldwide. There is a very possible chance of developing a common platform or operating systems where all the software packages will operate with a common data type. We can see this happening in 2010 itself where SolidWorks will be capable of getting native Catia files [4]. It is not far that people will start doing basic things in 3D like designing stuff in 3D, print stuff in 3D, scan stuff in 3D, 3D models will be shared on the internet, and even sell 3D printed models. Advanced user interfaces will evolve to make the designing experience much easier and intuitive. Touch screens and voice controls will take over the traditional mouse and keypad way of interface [5]. This advancement in user interface will increase the flexibility; the user will be able to focus only on the process of developing an idea rather than operating the software. In future designers will have the flexibility of even sketching their ideas on digital notebooks with an input device just like a pen [6]. Virtual Reality (VR) environments will be developed giving the user an experience of walking through a tool path or walking through a architectural design. They will also be able to touch and feel the objects in the VR environment. Engineering and design has the possibility to hit the social media. Just like gaming applications on a social networking site there is a possibility of having a CAD application where designers can design models which can be accessed everyone else and suggestion or alterations could be made by friends or professionals sitting on the other end of the world. Price of these software packages is still considered to be very high and unaffordable by certain small scale companies, which is why they do not upgrade their software and keep using the software which is over a decade old in some cases. The developers of these software packages have realised the necessity of sales of their packages in order to keep the cash flow coming in which is indirectly dependant on the affordability of these packages by organisations of various sizes and individuals as well. Hence in the future the packages will cost much lesser. Internet has definitely revolutionised many businesses, information sharing and data sharing rates are increasing at very rapid pace. Internet has already helped CAD in many

ways, in the future a concept called as CAD Data Management Transparency is going to revolutionise the present state. Storing our data and design files in a remote cloud (internet based IT service provider) which is accessible from anywhere in the world is already known to us; in future the whole concept of data management will depend on the web capabilities, which means we do not have to store any data on our PC storage devices anymore [7]. In future designers can design from anywhere at any time, store them and access them for further alterations, mobile phone could also have the capability to view and modify 3D designs in future. CAD is seen to move slowly but steadily from just a design software to engineering package. As soon as u design a model in a future CAD package, it will automatically do the design analysis, cost analysis and best manufacturing methods through simulation to give a real-time experience to the users. DISCUSSIONS (Annapurna) From the above speculated future trends CAD/CAM packages are on the way of evolving into a unified business application. It is very likely to have the whole factory process automated; and the aid of worldwide web and data sharing techniques difficulties can be resolved with the help of designers located at remote locations in early design stages. The microprocessor and computer graphics of today will help these packages to go portable i.e. a day will come when even a pocket sized mobile phone will be able to handle CAD and CAM files. Unified platforms and operating systems will prove to a boon to both software developer and the end users; however development of industry specific CAD packages will also provide designers the ease of use and faster product developing capabilities. The cloud will be a common data base, with even the software applications installed on it; which means companies dont really need to have computer with software packages installed on them. Everyone working on a particular project can use their favourite versions of software. DISCUSSIONS (Santosh) The area of improvement according to me is the user interface, touch screen with multi-touch capabilities, voice controls and VR environments will make the designing experience enjoyable and intuitive. Lot of research is being carried out in the field of human brain waves, in the future there might be a possibility of using brain waves as input to model something in virtual space. I was always fascinated by Indian Vedic scriptures which talk about material manifestation (materialising objects with just thought), I can understand a way of doing it through improved CAD/CAM systems. In the future as we are using touch screens and voice commands as inputs to software programs there will be a technology developed to reading human brainwaves and interpreting them to model and manufacture products. To put it in simple word suppose you imagine a part in your brain, this thought of

imagination will serve as the input for the CAD system where the design model is created; from there the process of manufacturing remains same as it is seen today, the designed model will undergo analysis and CAM software will generate machine instructions to manufacture that part. This process looks radical at this point of a time but this is a definite possibility in future. CONCLUSIONS CAD/CAM plays a very important role in todays manufacturing and designing environment. Future systems will be much more intelligent and easier to use. We all spend some amount of time in our life in virtual environments like social networking websites and it is seen that the amount of time we are spending on these virtual environments is increasing. So until the day we start living completely in virtual world without the need of real material objects (most unlikely to happen) the evolution of CAD/CAM will continue. As discussed above CAD is moving from a design tool to a engineering tool, this will one day help a common man with absolutely no engineering background to design and produce complex engineered product. This can be considered as the ultimate goal of CAD/CAM packages as it displays great intelligence with ease of use. REFERENCES [1] (accessed 05 03 2010) [2] (accessed 06 03 2010) [3] 05 03 2010) [4] 07 03 2010) [5] 08 03 2010) [6] 08 03 2010) [7] 09 03 2010) [8] Mc Mohan, Browne (1998), CAD CAM principle, practise and manufacturing management, Harlow, Addison Wesley. [9] Raja, Fernandes (Eds) (2008), reverse engineering, an industrial perspective, Cardiff, springer