1549. Cost Reduction Advantages of CAD/CAM


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G T Parsons: 1549. Cost Reduction Advantages of CAD/CAM. 1983.



Implementation of computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) capability within a company
accomplishes two essential goals. First, it enables tasks in engineering, manufacturing and quality assurance
to be accomplished in less time, resulting in schedule improvement and reduced costs. Second, it enables a
company to be more cost competitive through incorporation of these cost savings in proposal estimates. For
these reasons, General Dynamics Convair Division committed resources to CAD/CAM beginning in 1976.
This paper provides a general overview of CAD/CAM and the historical background of its use at General Dynamics
Convair Division. Cost-reduction goals and results from a recent program are also included. Finally, highlights
of future plans are given.
Computervision Corporation was selected for our primary CAD system. Initial use was on the Orbiter Mid-Fuselage
program for the Space Shuttle. Numerically controlled (NC) machined parts were designed and fabricated using
CAD/CAM. The successful production of these parts provided impetus to our implementation efforts. The second
use was on the Medium Range Air-to-Surface Missile (MRASM).
MRASM program use included producing avionics and structural drawings, improving avionics design, and assisting
system integration through CAD/CAM. The results achieved on this program are compared with the previous CAD
effort and with generally ‘advertised’ cost reductions.
Initial implementation difficulties are also described in this paper, as are our conclusions and recommendations.
These recommendation involve organization interfaces, design approach, and ways to improve the relationship between
cost estimating and a product program office.


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