Forced and Form Closed Cam Types

An important requirement of a design is to make sure the cam and cam-follower are in contact.

There are two different designs that make sure there is contact between the cam and the cam-follower.


Note: This topic shows cam types with cylindrical cam-follower, only.


hmtoggle_folder1        Force-Closed Cams

An EXTERNAL FORCE makes sure the cam-follower is in contact with the cam profile.

Examples of 'external forces' are: Gravity, Springs (tension, compression, or torsion), Air and Hydraulic-Cylinders.

The cam designs illustrated below use a spring.

Reciprocating Cam-Follower [Translating Cam-Follower]

2D-Cams

3D-Cams

Cam - Linear Cam Slide, Translating or Reciporcating Cam Follower Output, Spring or Force Closed

Cam Rotary Plate or Flat Cam, Translating or Reciprocating Arm Cam Follower Output

Cam - Rotary or Flat Internal Cam, Reciprocating or Translating Cam Follower Output.

Cam - Rotary Barrel Cam, Reciprocating or Translating Follower Output.

Sliding / Translating Cam

Rotating Cam Drive

'Shear' or 'Slice' Cam

Roller on External Cam

Roller on Internal Cam

Cylinder Cam

Oscillating Cam Follower - also called Swinging Arm Cam-Follower.

2D-Cams

3D-Cams

Cam - Linear Cam Slide, Swinging or Oscillating Cam Follower Output, Spring or Force Closed

Cam - Rotary Flat or Plate Cam, Swinging or Oscillating Cam Follower Output, Spring or Force Closed

Internal Rotary Flat or Plate Cam, Oscillating or Swinging Arm Cam Follower Output, Spring Force Closed

Cam - Rotary Barrel Cam, Oscillating or Reciprocating Follower Output.

Translating Cam Drive

Rotating Cam Drive

'Shear' or 'Slice' Cam

Disc with Roller on External Cam

Disc with Roller on Internal Cam

Barrel or Cylinder Cam Globoidal

Force-Closed Cams: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages:

Only one cam to manufacture
Less manufacturing precision to give an operating cam
Less expensive to manufacture
Zero backlash (play) [when the follower does not lift off the cam].
Reduced Scuffing: The surface of the cam and the cam-follower bearing will be identical at low speeds. At high speeds, or where the radius of the cam varies rapidly, there may be some scuffing. This reduces or eliminates scuffing wear on the cam-profile.

In the case of a machine jam, you can:

Configure the mechanism so that the 'fall' of the cam moves the tool into the assembly area, and the cam-follower remains on the cam due to only the spring force. If there is a jam, the cam-follower will lift off the cam profile.
Alternatively, it is possible to use an air-cylinder to actively lift the cam-follower off the cam-profile.

Disadvantages:

Cam-Lift: You must calculate the spring [or cylinder] parameters (Free-Length and Spring-Rate) to make sure the cam-follower does not lift off the cam-profile at all operating speeds.
Cam-Force: The contact-force on the cam-profile is more with a spring than with a Form Closed Cam. This may reduce the operating life of the cam.
Machine Stiffness: The increase to contact-force will also increase other forces on the machine frame, especially when the pressure angle is high. You may need a stronger and more rigid machine frame.
Residual Energy after Stop/E-stop: At stand-still, the torque on the cam from the spring will tend to turn the cam.
Cam-Shaft Speed Fluctuation The increase to contact-force will also increase the torque fluctuation on the cam-shaft. At slow speed, the torque fluctuation due to a spring may be very high, again, if the pressure angle is high.

The speed of the cam-shaft may fluctuate because the spring resists the rotation during the 'rise', and assists the rotation during the 'return' segment (or vise versa, if arranged in the opposite sense). If the speed fluctuation is excessive [>10%] - the machine may damage itself - see Torque, Overrun, and Power.


hmtoggle_folder1        Form-Closed Cams

Note: Form Closed Cams are also called Body Closed Cams, or sometime, Positive Drive Cams.

An Internal Force makes sure the cam-follower is in contact with the cam. One or two cam-followers act against different cam-profiles.

There are three different design types.

tog_minus        1: Groove (or Track Cams) Cams

There is one cam-follower in a cam groove. The two faces of the groove are called the cam-flanks. It is the most common Form-Closed Cam.

The disadvantage is Backlash between the cam-follower and the cam.

Reciprocating and Oscillating Cam-Followers - 2D Cams

2D-Cams

Linear Rib Cam, Reciporcating or Translating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Linear Rib Cam, Reciporcating or Translating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Rotary Rib Cam, Reciporcating or Translating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Rotary 'Complimentary' Cam, Reciporcating or Translating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Translating Cam Drive

Rotating Cam Drive

Translating Reciprocating Cam (Slot Cam)

Translating Reciprocating Cam-Follower

Translating Reciprocating Cam (Slot Cam)

Swinging Oscillating Cam-Follower

Rotating Groove Cam

Reciprocating Translating Cam Follower

Rotating Groove Cam

Swinging Oscillating Cam Follower

Reciprocating and Oscillating Cam Follower - 3D Cams

3D-Cams

Rotary Barrel Rib Cam, Oscillating or Swinging Arm Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Rotary Globoidal Rib Cam (for or Body Closed), Oscillating or Swinging Arm Cam Follower Output

Rotary Barrel Rib Cam, Oscillating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Cam Driving a Coupler of a Four-Bar Mechanism

Rotating Cam Drive

Multi-turn Barrel (Cylindrical) Cam

Rotating Cylinder

Reciprocating Cam-Follower

Rotating Barrel or Cylinder Cam

Oscillating Cam-Follower

Rotating Barrel or Cylinder Cam

Swinging Oscillating Cam-Follower

Rotating Globoidal Cam

Groove Cams: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages:

It is the easiest Form-Closed Cam to design and manufacture.
There is one set-up for the machine tool.
It is not as sensitive to machining or manufacturing accuracy as the Conjugate Cam Type.
A slightly oversized machine cutter will give a small clearance between the cam-follower and cam-profile.

Disadvantages:

There must be backlash - even if small - between the cam-follower and cam-profile.
If there is a machine crash, then the machine must stop to prevent more damage.
As the follower starts to decelerate after it accelerates, the cam-follower will move from one cam flank to the other.

There are three damaging consequences when the cam-follower moves from one flank to the other flank:

oScuffing: The cam-follower roller must change its rolling direction. The roller and the cam-profile will scuff, until the roller begins to roll again. A roller with a large diameter skids more than a smaller roller - it has a larger friction moment, but its inertia increases as the square of its radius.
oImpact Dynamics: There is impact between the cam-follower and cam-profile, which gives a 'shock' load to the cam-follower, output-transmission components and payload. The impact can significantly increase the cam contact-force and other forces in the machine components of the output transmission.
oOver-run: The input-transmission and motor may 'overrun' as the load 'disappears' while the backlash is being traversed. There is a tendency to overrun even without backlash, because the torque reduces to zero as the acceleration reaches the 'crossover' point. Backlash exacerbates the overrun, sometimes significantly, if the Motion-Law gives a rapid torque reversal - for example the Modified Trapezoid Motion-Law.

See Also: Positive Action from Cam to Follower


tog_minus        2: Oscillating Conjugate Cams

The design is very similar to 'indexing Cams', but these cams 'oscillate' and do not 'Index'. See below for 'Indexing Cams'.

There are usually two cam followers acting on two separate cams. The motion of the two cam-followers are identical.

It is possible, with precision, to reduce backlash and ideally pre-load the cam-follower against the cam. If this is possible, the rollers will roll and almost eliminate skidding between the cam-follower and cam. It is possible to increase the cam-follower's diameter when you are certain that the roller will not lose contact with the cam. The roller must accelerate as the diameter of the cam increases, however.

Reciprocating Cam-Follower - Translating Cam-Follower

2D-Cams

Linear Rib Cam, Reciporcating or Translating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Rotary Rib Cam, Reciporcating or Translating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Rotary Internal Conjugate Cam, Reciporcating or Translating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Rotary 'Complimentary' Cam, Reciporcating or Translating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Translating Cam Drive

Rotating Cam Drive

'Shear' or 'Slice' with Rib Cam.

Rib Cam

Internal Groove Cam

External Complementary Cam (Conjugate)

Oscillating Cam-Follower - Swinging-Arm Cam-Follower

2D-Cams


Cam - Linear Rib Cam Slide, Swinging or Oscillating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Cam - Rotary Rib Cam Slide, Swinging or Oscillating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Cam - Internal Conjugate Groove, Swinging or Oscillating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Cam - Rotary Conjugate or Cognate Cam, Swinging or Oscillating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

 

Translating Cam Drive

Rotating Cam Drive


Rib Cam.

Rib Cam

Internal Conjugate Cam

External Conjugate Cams

 

3D-Cams

2D-Cam

 

Rotary Barrel Rib Cam, Oscillating or Swinging Arm Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Rotary Globoidal Rib Cam, Oscillating or Swinging Arm Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Rotary Barrel Rib Cam, Reciporcating or Translating Cam Follower Output, Form or Body Closed

Cam Driving a Coupler of a Four-Bar Mechanism

Cam driving the Connecting link of an inverted Slider Crank

Rotating Cam Drive

External Rib Globoidal Cam

External Rib Globoidal Cam

External Rib Barrel Cam

Conjugate-Cam Coupler Follower.

Cam Inverted Slider-Crank

Conjugate Cams: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages:

When the cam-followers are rollers [most common] are pre-loaded against the cam-flanks, the backlash can be removed and they roll. This means:

Impact does not occur at the cam-flank when backlash is crossed when, or shortly after, acceleration becomes negative after positive, and vice versa - the crossover
Scuffing wear is eliminated after acceleration crossover from positive to negative, or vice versa, as the roller bearing starts to roll again.

Disadvantages:

More expensive to manufacture as the conjugate cams and machine require greater precision.
Usually, the cam-followers will not lift off the cam in the event of a machine jam. Thus, damage may occur to other machine components until the cam shaft can stop.

It is possible to design the conjugate rollers such that one of them will lift off the cam in the event of a machine jam. Or it is possible to include a couple that disengages the cam or cam-follower in the event of a machine jam.

See Also: Positive Action from Cam to Follower


tog_minus        3: Indexing Conjugate Cams

Indexing: a motion that repeats and progresses in one direction. The motion 'index-period' followed by a 'dwell-period', to give an intermittent, or progressive, motion.

Indexing cam assemblies nearly always have rotary cam and output shafts.

The output-shaft has several rollers [also called 'cam-followers'] that are equally spaced around a 'turret'. The rollers engage with cam in sequence. Each roller is replaced by another at the end of each index cycle. Each roller returns to its original position after a number of motion repetitions.

An Indexer is a pre-assembled, precision cam-box. The cam and the 'roller turret' are inside the cam-box and not visible to the end-user. The input and output shafts are available, outside the cam-box, to connect to the drive-motor and machine.

2D-Cams

3D-Cams

Rotary Parallel Indexing Cam, Form or Body Closed

Rotary Linear Indexing Cam, Form or Body Closed

Rotary Barrel Indexing Cam, Form or Body Closed

Rotary Globoidal Indexing Cam, Form or Body Closed

Parallel Flat Cam
Rotary Input/Output

Barrel Cylinder Cam

Rotary Input/ Linear Output

Barrel Cylinder Cam Form

Rotary Input/Output

Globoidal Cam

Rotary Input/Output

Indexing Terminology:

Number-of-Stops

Number of times the input shaft rotates to rotate the output shaft by 360º

- or -

The number of times the output shaft moves [indexes] to move one rotation.

Index Period

The rotation, in degrees, of the input shaft to complete the INDEX motion segment.

'To Index' is to move from one position to a new position.

Dwell Period

The rotation, in degrees, of the input shaft to complete the DWELL motion segment.

'To Dwell' is to stay in a fixed position.

Index Period + Dwell Period = 360

* It is possible that the output shaft has two index and dwell periods in one rotation of the cam-shaft.

Indexer Type

Type 1 = The input shaft rotates one time to move (index) the output shaft one time

Type 2 = The input shaft rotates one time to move (index) the output shaft two times.

Type 3 = The input shaft rotates one time to move (index) the output shaft three times.


Cam-Follower Shapes

The cam-follower is in continuous contact with the cam-profile. The contact and the shape of the cam is influenced by the shape of the cam-follower

The cam-follower can have a number of different shapes, each with advantages and disadvantages.

The cam-follower is rigidly attached to the follower arm. The follower arm may be a swinging-arm-follower or a translating-arm-follower.

hmtoggle_folder1        Cam-Followers: - Swinging-Arm-Followers

Cam with Circular or Round Cam-Follower

Cylindrical & Barrel (Crowned) Cam-Follower

The most common cam-follower shape.

Advantages:

commercially available bearings, that are pre-assembled and optimised to used with cam mechanisms
the steels are commercial with few inclusions, that are through hardened to approximately 63HRC.
they roll, thus there is less scuffing wear than cam-followers that slide
oil lubrication can establish hydrodynamic lubrication to reduce wear.

Crowned-Rollers [also called a Barrel- Roller] can tolerate misalignment to remove 'edge' effects on contact-stress. However, the nominal contact-stress of 'crowned' rollers is greater. Generally, use a crowned-roller if you cannot guarantee alignment between the cam-follower and cam.

Cam with Oscillating Flat-faced Cam-Follower

Flat-Faced Cam-Follower

To add a 'Flat-Faced Cam-Follower', see Tutorial 6A2.

Advantages:

lower contact-stress than roller.
no moving parts.
cam and cam-follower can 'polish' to give a better Film Thickness Ratio (ratio of file thickness to average surface roughness]

Disadvantages:

undercutting is more likely; negative radius of curvature is not possible.
possible negative entrainment velocity to give pure lubrication.

Cam with Ovoid-Cam-Follower

Ovoid, Lozenge, or Multi-contour Cam-Follower

This example cam-follower is made from four(4) arcs. Use a Tangent constraint between each arc.

Disadvantage:

These shapes are not commercially available.

Cam with Knife-Edged Cam-Follower

Knife-Edged Cam-Follower

A knife-edge is practically impossible!

If a machine has cam-follower with a 'knife-edge', the contact-stress will be extremely high. Thus, the cam-follower will not be a 'knife-edge' for very many cam-rotations.  However, they are found in copy-milling machines.

In MechDesigner, you must use a 'small radius' to represent a knife-edge cam-follower. The minimum radius is 0.05mm.

Please contact us, if you need a knife-edge with a smaller radius. We will try to persuade you that you do not need it to be smaller than 0.05mm!

Tutorial and Reference Help Files for MechDesigner and MotionDesigner 13.2 + © Machine, Mechanism, Motion and Cam Design Software by PSMotion Ltd