Autodesk Inc. formed a partnership with the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) to develop Computer Aided Manufacturing/Machining (CAM) standards and credentials, aiming to improve education and training programs for CAM programmers, designers, and engineers. The standards would be the first CAM programming standards to be recognized across the manufacturing sector, according to Autodesk and NIMS in their announcement, and would augment the industry’s projected need for up to 100,000 workers with such skills in the coming decade.

Their partnership will support CAM training programs by developing standards for educating and training CAM programmers.

Once the skills standards are established, NIMS will conduct a validation process, staging reviews by industrial professionals, before publicizing the standards.

“Partnering with NIMS in the development of industry-recognized CAM standards and credentials is the next step in our commitment to preparing the future generation of skilled CAM programmers, designers, and engineers," stated George Abraham, Autodesk’s director of Industry and Learning Strategy.

To develop the new standards, Autodesk and NIMS recruited experts to a Technical Work Group, which convened earlier this month at AutoDesk headquarters in San Francisco.

Among the participating experts were representatives from Google, NASA, DMG/Mori Seiki USA, Haas Automation, Delcam, and Parker Hannifin/Sandia National Laboratory.

Autodesk is a family of 3D design and control programs for architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and other industries. Its CAD capabilities extend into CAM technologies via the HSMWorks and Delcam platforms. 

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) develops competency-based skills standards and credentials for manufacturing industries.

The advantages of CAM programming standards would not be limited to those seeking skills training. For manufacturers, the partners noted, having CAM programming skills in-house helps to optimize production programs and processes, decrease cycle times, reduce scrap parts and materials, and improve finished-part quality.

Also, skilled CAM programmers, designers, and engineers are better able to plan production, manage operations, and control processes on more sophisticated and expensive CNC machines.

"Companies in technologically advanced industries are becoming much more reliant on the use of information technology and automation through CAM software to develop high-value added products and materials,” observed NIMS executive director James Wall. “In the next decade, nearly a million jobs will require the technical skills needed to operate CAM software."