Regardless of what type of CNC plasma cutter you own or use in your shop, whether you are using a standard or high definition plasma cutting system or systems, it makes no difference if you do not have the right plasma cutting software. The software that you use for your plasma cutting is the most important piece of technology that you can have in your shop for the simple reason that without the right technology, your CNC plasma cutting software will not know what to do. In addition to doing the design work, the CNC plasma cutting software will also control the CNC plasma cutting table and the machinery. In this way, the software is both the map and the explorer.
There are three basic types of CNC plasma cutting software, each with its own specific uses and capabilities. These three basic types include computer-assisted design software, or CAD, computer assisted manufacturing software, or CAM, and computer numerical control, or CNC operating software. The type that you use for your business purposes depend upon your unique business needs, the complexity of the projects you are working on, and obviously, which software is going to provide you and your business with the greatest value. The best way of ensuring that you get the best software, you should use the software that came with your CNC plasma cutting table.
First, computer assisted design software can be very complex. CAD software involves the user designing the parts that they need cut on the software, which is then “read” by the CNC plasma cutting software to precisely cut the prescribed design from the CAD software. Many beginning users may attempt to use CAD software without the appropriate and sufficient training, but operating the software without first being educated on its functionality and how to use it may increase the likelihood that the equipment malfunctions or is damaged. Users must also be aware that operating the software without completely understanding it also increases the risk of personal injury. In addition to plasma cutter operators, CAD software is used by engineers, designers, and programmers.
Second, with computer assisted manufacturing software, the software takes the design and translates into a different code. Similar to CAD software, CAM software may also be very complex and should not be operated by an untrained individual. CAM software involves the user inputting information about the parts to be designed, such as the width of each piece and the number of pieces required. The software analyzes these parts and organizes them automatically based on the size of each piece, and how many of each piece is needed.
Third, CNC operating software is different from the other two types of software in that it is technically not a piece of computer software. Computer numerical control software is the software that is embedded in the control of the plasma cutter itself. It works in conjunction with CAM software, however, in that the CAM software sends numerical code to the CNC plasma cutting software, which then interprets the data and drives the machine based on these electrical signals.
Regardless of what plasma cutting technology you are using, whether standard or high definition plasma cutters, the most important piece of equipment that you will have for your particular operation is the software that you use. However, regardless of the software you choose, to ensure maximum safety for you, your employees, and your equipment, make sure that all software users are sufficiently trained on the software.