Difference Between CAD and CAE

The use of computers for designing purposes is a broad subject that includes CAD, CAM, and CAE. Computer aided design, as it is popularly called makes use of a large number of tools that are designed to help and assist architects, engineers and designers in multifarious activities. Computer aided designing is a revolutionary tool, especially in designing that has helped in saving of both time and money. Not many people are aware of the differences between CAD and CAE which will be discussed in this article.


CAD is basically a process that helps in designing and development of new products. It is because of CAD that we see newer and more attractive models of mobiles, cars, motorcycles, laptops, and all sorts of electronic gadgets. But application of CAD is not limited to electronics as is most widely used in designing and development of machinery and tools. In fact, it is engineering and machine tool industry that makes best use of CAD. In addition, aviation, mechanical, construction, and automobile industries have benefited through CAD enormously.


Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) has evolved as a separate stream that makes use of computers in engineering industry. It includes CAD, CIM (computer integrated manufacturing), CAM, and many other techniques. CAE tools (mainly software) help in assessing the integrity of systems and machine components. Though it is an emerging field, CAE has the potential to streamline all computer aided technologies and be a great aid in information processing to teams that are involved in the process of designing.

Computer aided engineering finds applications in stress analysis of machine assemblies, fluid dynamics, MES, Kinematics, optimization of processes, CAE has the capability to predict authenticity of design through computer simulations which otherwise would take a lot of time and effort on the part of the production team.

In brief:

Difference Between CAD and CAE

• CAD stands for computer Aided designing. It allows one to create 2D and 3D models of a product on computer screen using different software.

• CAE refers to Computer Aided Engineering and it takes CAD to a higher level than just working on 2D and 3D designing. It helps in verification of designs developed through CAD. It also finds applications in engineering industries for stress analysis of machines and assemblies and computational fluid dynamics.