What is CAM software?

While computer-aided engineering (CAE) refers to the use of software to simulate the effects of real-world conditions, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is used later in the product development process, where software is used to automate manufacturing processes.

Specifically, CAM software automates the creation of computerized numeric control (CNC) toolpaths by directly referencing 3D CAD geometry. CAM software generates programming instructions that are used to manufacture products and tools.

Why use CAD/CAM software?

Integral CAD/CAM solutions eliminate the need for data translation when moving from design to production manufacturing. CAD/CAM solutions accelerate time to market, reduce development costs, improve product quality, reduce programming errors, and simplify the manufacturing of complex geometry.

Creo CAM Solutions

CAD CAM software

What is the difference between CAD and CAM?

CAD software is used to design 3D parts and assembly models. This software directly references the 3D CAD model geometry to automate the creation of machining toolpaths. CAD/CAM software improves quality and eliminates errors by ensuring CNC toolpaths are updated when CAD geometry is modified.

Benefits of CAM software


Accelerate Time to Market

CAM software leverages the digital 3D CAD model to automatically generate the code for computerized numerical control (CNC) machines used to produce parts and tools.



Improve Cost and Quality

CAM software reduces manufacturing times and helps avoid human error in programming the CNC machines.


Production of Complex Forms

CAM software simplifies the manufacturing of complex shapes using advanced machining strategies to define complicated tool motions.

Capabilities of computer-aided manufacturing

Tool and Die in Creo
Production Machining in Creo
CAM and Additive Manufacturing in Creo

Tool and Die in Creo

Creo offers easy-to-use tool and die solutions for creation of mold base, core and cavity, progressive dies, and toolpaths for coordinate measuring machines (CMM). All are fully integrated into Creo for a seamless workflow.

Production Machining in Creo

Creo offers easy-to-use production machining solutions for milling, turning, sheet metal, hole-making, and wire EDM processes. All are fully integrated into Creo for a seamless workflow.

CAM and Additive Manufacturing in Creo

With Creo, you can design, optimize, validate, and run a print check all in one environment, reducing overall process time, tedium, and mistakes. When you're ready, simply send the file straight to the 3D printer. You can design for additive manufacturing in polymers and in metal, and then connect directly to your chosen printer with its optimized printer profile and support structures.

How is CAM software used by manufacturers?


Brasseler uses Creo’s Numerical Control and 3D-modeling capabilities to improve the design and manufacturing process.

View Case Study

MAN Energy Solutions

MAN ES leveraged Creo CAM to automate processes and improve throughput.

View Case Study

CAD/CAM frequently asked questions

  • How does CAD/CAM improve manufacturing quality?

    CAD/CAM improves communication and collaboration between engineering and manufacturing.  CAD/CAM leverages 3D digital models to enable the production of parts and tools. CAM software can automatically create detailed manufacturing instructions for numeric control machining centers, avoiding human errors.
  • How does CAM software work?

    CAM software directly references the 3D CAD model geometry to automatically generate instructions for Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) machines. Multiple sequences are required to perform roughing and finishing operations. Roughing sequences use a large cutting tool to rapidly remove large volumes of stock material. Finishing operations use smaller cutting tools to remove the remaining stock material. Advanced machining strategies provide multi-axis tool control to remove material in hard-to-reach areas of the model. When all sequences are defined, the machining instructions are output to a CNC-readable language—generally called G-codes. CNC machines read the G-codes and perform the machining operations to manufacture the part.
  • Does Creo have CAM?

    Creo has a wide variety of CAM capabilities to help you turn your CAD models into physical parts. Creo extensions are available to help you execute a wide variety of manufacturing functions, including milling, hole-making, turning, wire EDM, sheet metal, and computer-aided verification. You can use many of these extensions for creation of tools and dies. Creo also has a variety of tools to help with additive manufacturing processes.
  • Who uses CAM software?

    Manufacturing engineers use CAM software to define machining instructions for the manufacture of parts and tools from 3D digital CAD models. Quality teams also use CAM software to define digital inspection. Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM) are similar to CNC machines but perform inspection routines to verify the accuracy of manufactured components. Using CMM eliminates manual effort to verify part tolerances and accuracy.