CAD, Computer Aided Design, has been around for as long as robotics, nearly 50 years in development and 30 years in common use. CAD allows analysis, flexibility and fast changes. CAM is Computer Aided Manufacturing, this utilises software to aid manufacturing. Commonly used together: CAD CAM.
Industrial robots have a traditionally been programmed manually, that is from point to point by a specialist programmer, movements and functions recorded and played back. Although reliable this is an inflexible method, changes can be made but this can be a complex task. There are a few reasons why this methodology is used, it does not require much processing power and it utilises the repeatability of the robot (which is usually very good) as opposed to the robot's accuracy (which is usually not as good).
As processing power has increased and production requirements have changed CAD CAM manufacturing has become the standard for many processes such as CNC machining. Robotic companies have been slow to employ CAD though, for most robotic systems it is still an expensive option rather than the norm.
The ALLY industrial robot has been designed to fit into CAD CAM manufacturing environments and is designed to make use of CAD information directly without the need for additional software. This makes programming simpler and more precise. Another benefit is that changes made in design can be immediately reflected in production. In today's flexible manufacturing environment this is an important advantage over traditional robotic solutions.