Together, the Cam Mechanical System has a:
'Simple' Input Motion
Usually, the cam has a 'simple' motion. It is said to be the input motion.
'Complex' Output Motion
Usually, the follower* has a more 'complex' motion. It is said to be the output-motion.
The mechanical components from the motor [power source] to the cam are said to be the input-transmission.
The mechanical components from the follower to the payload** are said to be the output-transmission.
* Follower : also called the Cam-Follower
** Payload : Other names for the 'payload' are 'load', 'tooling', and 'end-effector'.
You cannot design a cam in isolation of other components in the mechanical system. The design and selection of the mechanical components influence the cam-system's performance. This applies particularly to the input and output-transmissions, which usually consist of a variety of conventional machine elements [such as shafts, gears, couplings, sliders, and linkages], that are connected together in series. The inertia, rigidity and backlash of the transmission component are of particular importance.
Equally important is the motion you design for the payload. A poor motion will needlessly incite vibrations in any mechanical system. A good motion will give you a machine that lasts longer, jams less frequently, and has the same capital cost as a machine with poor motion-design.
Motion-Design for a single axis is fairly straightforward. Motion-Design for multi-axis machines, with many interacting mechanisms and complex material-to-machine interactions, requires experience, skill and a good understanding of the motion-design requirements as a whole.
Cam Mechanism : from the 'Power-Source' to the 'Payload'