Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) are relatively new areas of the National Curriculum, especially in relation to aspects of food technology. However, both these areas of study are extremely well exploited in the food industry.
What is CAD, CAM and CAD/CAM?
CAD - a computer aided system for creating, modifying and communicating a plan for a product or components of a product
CAM - broad term used when several manufacturing processes are carried out at one time aided by a computer. These may include process control, planning, monitoring and controlling production.
CAD/CAM - where numerical information is taken directly from CAD drawings and used to control making
What is CAD in food?
CAD stands for 'Computer Aided Design', not 'Computer Aided Drawing'. Therefore, when designing food products all aspects of its design need to be taken into account, with the most suitable (and appropriate) ICT tools being used.
CAD in food can cover:
- using graphic packages to design the physical appearance of the product (if appropriate)
- using DTP for packaging and label design
- using spreadsheets to calculate costing, portion size and ratio of ingredients
- calculating the energy and nutrients provided by a product using nutritional analysis packages
- constructing star profiles/diagrams to indicate the sensory characteristics of a product
- calculating the mould-free shelf-life of a product, thereby investigating microbiological considerations
- exploring the interaction of ingredients, leading to a better understanding of the functional properties of food. For example, the BNF Interactive Food Facts CD-ROM incorporates Balance, a piece of industrial CAD software used in the bakery industry (developed by Campdem and Chorleywood Food Research Association). This allows the user to model the functional properties, shelf-life, physical appearance and nutritional properties of a cake product which they design on-screen. In addition, on a simpler level, the software also allows pupils to review the manufacture of an ice-cream product which they design, perform nutritional analysis and model the design of a product to cost and nutrient specifications/tolerance levels.
CAM in Food
As defined above, CAM is a broad term used when several manufacturing processes are carried out at one time aided by a computer.
These may include:
- process control;
Essentially, CAM in school is about using a computer (or equipment that can be electronically set) to aid the manufacturing process.
- using a word processor/DTP/drawing package to develop a flow chart;
- monitoring and datalogging, eg pH and temperature probes;
- temperature/cooking times using equipment that can be electronically set, eg microwaves/oven timers
measuring, eg electronic scales;
- electronic bread making machines (time (proving and baking), temperature, speed (kneading) are all controlled and monitored).
One of the problems of CAM with food is the lack of affordable equipment. However, if one uses ICT to 'aid' the making process, then the requirements for CAM are being met.
Last reviewed: 27/11/2012
Next review date: 27/11/2015