Force Analysis: Contact-Force/Cam-Follower | Cam-Stress/Cam

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Force Analysis: Contact-Force/Cam-Follower | Cam-Stress/Cam

Contact-Force and Contact-Stress Analysis

Why do we compare Cam-Follower with Contact-Force and the Cam with Contact-Stress?

Cam-Follower: Payload Signature

Typical Load Signature of a Cam-Follower

Typical Load Signature of a Cam-Follower

First: review whether the contact-force is active against the cam for the complete machine cycle or only part of the machine cycle. (The payload signature in the image to the left does not become less than 0N, thus the contact-force is always active).

Conjugate-Cam (Form Closed Cam)

For a standard Dwell-Rise-Dwell-Return type motion, one of the cam-follower bearings is active during the acceleration phase of the 'Rise', and the deceleration phase of the 'Return',

The other bearing is active for the other two phases of the Rise and Return.

Groove-Cam (Form Closed Cam)

The cam-follower bearing is active for almost the complete machine cycle.

In addition, it must reverse its rolling direction when it moves from one cam-flank to the other cam-flank, between acceleration and deceleration. Thus, it will scuff while it gets up to the rolling speed in the opposite direction.

There is zero contact force while the roller transfers between flanks within the backlash zone.

Plate Cam ( Force-Closed Cam

The cam-follower bearing is active for the complete machine cycle because the contact-force does not become less than 0N

See Contact Force and Life Analysis


Payload: 'pseudo-continuous rotation' and 'pseudo-continuous load'; similar to a 'normal' bearing.

Loaded Elements (inner-race and rolling elements); similar to a 'normal' bearing, outer-race has larger section to limit distortion

Material Properties: tight tolerance and quality control; identical to a 'normal' bearing

Geometric Properties: radius of outer-ring, inner-ring and the balls/rollers are known.

Logically, the largest stress is between the elements with the smallest radius - the balls/rollers and the inner-ring.

The loading of a cam-follower is similar to that of a 'normal' bearing.

Thus, we will use the Basic Static Load Rating, Basic Dynamic Load Rating and Fatigue Limiting Load to calculate the life of the cam-follower bearing.

Cam Payload: Pulsatile 'Signature'

CAM-STRESS: Mean-Stress = (Max+Min)/2; Stress Amplitude = (Max-Min)/2; Max Stress = 2*Mean, Minimum Stress = 0 MPa

CAM-STRESS: Mean-Stress = (Max+Min)/2; Stress Amplitude = (Max-Min)/2; Max Stress = 2*Mean, Minimum Stress = 0 MPa

Each point along the cam surface (and just below) is stressed one time as the roller moves across it, in each machine cycle.

Thus, the stress that each point along the cam experiences is zero at all other machine angles.

The stress is said to be 'pulsatile' (like heart-beat pulses) with a 'period' of 2.π* or 360º.

The image shows the Payload 'pulse' at a single point on a cam.

Every single-point on the Cam experiences a stress pulse similar to that in the image, one time per rotation. The amplitude of the stress pulse changes continually.



Payload: pulsatile, each point on the cam is loaded once per cam rotation.

Loaded Element: the cam

Material: Decided by design engineer, material supplier quality control, heat treatment

Geometric Properties: Radius continuously changing

Material: surface finish, heat treatment, hardness

Lubrication: Oil or Grease

We cannot use the Basic Life Equation to find the life of a Cam.

We must compare the 'working contact-stress' with the 'permissible contact-stress' of the cam material.