16. ICT, CAD, CAM & CNC- GCSE AQA Graphics

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Components of an ICT system

  • A computer system- has hardware and software.
    • Hardware- machinery which supports the software
    • Software- programs on the computer, like Microsoft Office
  • Hardware:
    • Input devices-
      • allows data to be entered into a computer, like a scanner, digital camera, keyboard or graphics tablet.
    • Output devices-
      • allows information to be downloaded in the form of a 'hard' copy-like a printer, vinyl cutter machine or laser cutter.
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CAD- computer-aided design

  • Advantages:
    • Fast to use once one is familiar with the layout and there are shortcuts available.
    • Easy to include variations and designs can be altered without erasing and redrawing.
    • Standard components- easily combined to make new designs, designs can be seen in 3D.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Initial expense is very high for hardware and software
    • Staff need training, and it is hard to use if unfamiliar with it.

CAM- computer-aided manufacture

  • Advantages:
    • Components are made exactly the same, time and time again.
    • Machines can work non-stop, stopping only for maintenance
    • Flexible production-machines produce a range of products
  • Disadvantages:
    • Repairs-expensive, specialise engineers needed, could stop all production.
    • If design is flawed, the components made with will be flawed.
    • Without regular checking, mistakes could be in large numbers
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CNC- computer numerically controlled

  • Advantages:
    • The same advantages as CAM
    • Can be continually updated by downloading new software updates, which control the device settings that power the tooling
    • Uses modern design software
    • No need to make a prototype or model, which saves time and money
  • Disadvantages:
    • It is more expensive than manually operated machines-initial costs are high.
    • If it breaks, production is halted and outside expertise may have to be sought.
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