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 the 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 a 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'