Home  »  CAMufacturing Solutions continues to push boundaries and revolutionize manufacturing processes

CAMufacturing Solutions continues to push boundaries and revolutionize manufacturing processes

There is Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and there is Additive Manufacturing (AM) – or 3D Printing. Putting the “AM in CAM”, local software development company CAMufacturing Solutions has remained at the forefront of innovation in the manufacturing industry in the Windsor-Essex region and globally; spearheaded by its founders, Bob Hedrick and Dr. Jill Urbanic, CAMufacturing has played a pivotal role in redefining traditional manufacturing processes . Their most recent feat? In collaboration with Conestoga College, CAMufacturing helped them produce a 100 mm thin-walled hollow metal cube using their Wire Arc AM (WAAM) with their APlus® software.

Bob and Jill’s vision for CAMufacturing was born out of a realization of a significant gap in the AM landscape. “Before starting CAMufacturing Solutions, we realized that there was no process planning software for bead-based additive manufacturing (3D printing) with these features: (i) directly link the build solution to the CAD model design, (ii) allow you to visualize your build solution to see what it looks like, and (iii) allow you to quickly test different manufacturing strategies,” explains Dr. Urbanic “We published some research on this prior to starting the company and realized that there was a significant gap that needed to be filled to propel additive manufacturing (AM) research and development forward. Our goal was, and is, to put the “AM into CAM”.”

“When Conestoga College, whom we have been working with for a couple of years now, approached us for ideas for a capstone project, we jumped at the opportunity.”

The company’s philosophy centers on challenging conventional manufacturing methods and embracing collaboration as a cornerstone of success. CAMufacturing empowers its customers to thrive in a competitive environment by integrating additive manufacturing with machining processes. Collaborative efforts with industrial and academic partners have driven innovation forward.

Their recent partnership with Conestoga College, showcased through the creation of a hollow steel cube using a robotic WAAM cell, exemplifies CAMufacturing’s commitment to pushing boundaries. This project not only challenges traditional manufacturing methods by eliminating the need for support materials but also supports the company’s values of innovation and problem-solving.

“When Conestoga College, whom we have been working with for a couple of years now, approached us for ideas for a capstone project, we jumped at the opportunity. They picked up the challenge and had two very capable students make this concept of ours come true. Our role was simple. We provided them with APlus and some basic training on how to use it. We also met with the students to brainstorm strategies and let them run. They have an awesome Welding and Robotics program with some great professors. It made our job for this project an enjoyable one,” said Duncan Lam, General Manager at CAMufacturing Solutions.

“We knew that additive manufacturing is not the opposite of machining or subtractive manufacturing, and new tools needed to be developed.” 

CAMufacturing’s flagship software, APlus, is crucial in enabling manufacturers to create complex parts efficiently. Developed to address the unique challenges of additive manufacturing, APlus facilitates the design and programming process for intricate components. Its machine-agnostic approach and integration with Mastercam ensures accessibility and affordability for a wide range of manufacturers.

“We realized that no software solutions existed that were analogous to machining CAD/CAM,” explains Bob Hedrick. “We knew that additive manufacturing is not the opposite of machining or subtractive manufacturing, and new tools needed to be developed.”

When engaged in contract work for Mastercam as a side project, Bob Hedrick independently developed a framework leveraging insights from the fundamental research that Dr. Urbanic had conducted. This framework and the developed modules have undergone many evolutions and currently support laser, wire arc, electron beam, hot wire metal systems, and selected plastic systems. APlus provides tools for manufacturers to build components with rotary, radial, multi-axis and variable height slices.

In the hollow steel cube project context, Duncan emphasizes the company’s role in facilitating the project and overcoming technical challenges. CAMufacturing and its partners navigated obstacles through effective communication and collaboration to achieve remarkable results.

“One of the biggest challenges we had was to ensure that all the different software packages communicated with each other properly,” explains Duncan Lam. “Since this was a robotic WAAM process, we needed to ensure the software spits out code that is copacetic with the robotic software that makes the robot move. But there is nothing you cannot solve with effective communication. The two students on the project, Jackson Macor and Scott McElhone, did a wonderful job extracting and processing information from the different software packages”.

Looking ahead, CAMufacturing envisions significant advancements in additive manufacturing technology.

The team at CAMufacturing enjoys providing academic researchers, such as Conestoga College, with challenges as different and exciting projects promote the technology and develop highly trained personnel. When problems arise, unbiased assessments of ‘things gone wrong’ and solution approaches are initiated. CAMufacturing personnel have provided programming and training support. Several projects, such as the upside-down dome with no supports (commonly, in 3D manufacturing, a support structure has to be built along with the item) and a large hollow box, showcase how leveraging new ways of thinking can generate remarkable results. “The same approach has been (and is) taken with our industrial partners,” explained Bob Hedrick and Dr. Urbanic. “For example, we have had several successful projects with respect to variable height slicing.”

Looking ahead, CAMufacturing envisions significant advancements in additive manufacturing technology. With upcoming features such as AI-supported elements and heat modelling simulations, the company is poised to continue shaping the future of manufacturing. Furthermore, initiatives focused on training and education underscore CAMufacturing’s commitment to preparing the next generation of the workforce for the challenges and opportunities of additive manufacturing.

“We are constantly doing things to make our software more intuitive and beneficial for our users,” explains Duncan Lam. “We are also more than just about additive manufacturing. We have other software products supporting non-traditional manufacturing processes pushing boundaries. We want to ensure the new generation is ready for additive manufacturing.”


Image module

Layan Barakat is a proud University of Windsor graduate with a B.A in Communication, Media, and Film Studies and a St.Clair College Converged Journalism graduate. Throughout her academic and professional career, Layan has gained experience in various fields, including marketing advertising, print journalism, broadcast journalism, event planning, and public relations. Her work has been featured in local and national publications, including The DRIVE magazine, Women of Windsor magazine, and various online magazines as a correspondent for Toronto Fashion Week. Notably, her marketing strategies have reached an impressive global audience of approximately 1.5 million viewers with her online presence. Layan is currently the Marketing Administrative Coordinator at the University of Windsor EPICentre, helping young startups find resources to help take their ideas to the next level.

WEtech Alliance has served as a catalyst for technology and innovation in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, Ontario regions since 2011. We’re a non-profit organization that provides entrepreneurs and companies with business services, training, I.P. and commercialization support, mentorship and strategic connections to help bring new ideas to market, scale to the next level and build a dynamic culture and a community of innovation.

This website uses cookies to save your preferences, and track popular pages. Cookies ensure we do not require visitors to register, login, or share any identity information.