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Design & Technology

ICT

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Computer-aided manufacture (CAM)

When a PCB [PCB: Printed Circuit Board ] layout has been designed using CAD, the board can be produced or manufactured using CAM.

Two examples of CAM are:-

  1. A design machined by a computer numeric control (CNC) miller, which removes all the unwanted copper from the board.
  2. A design layout printed on to acetate and transferred to a copper-clad board using the photo transfer method. The unwanted copper is removed using acid.

Advantages and disadvantages of using CAM

Advantages

  • In large-scale production, the results are consistent (always the same).
  • Enables very high accuracy levels in large-scale production.
  • Usually speeds up production of low-volume products.

Disadvantages

  • The software itself is expensive so initial costs are high.
  • Can be slower than traditional methods for one-off or low-volume production.
  • Staff need to be trained how to use the software and machinery, which adds to costs.

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