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Machine backlash

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One of the biggest issues with any machine tool, camshaft grinders included, is that of axis backlash. Defined as the loss of motion when the machine's axis, either rotational or linear, reverses, it can have a major influence on the precision of the component being made. With camshaft lobes needing to be ground to accuracies of +/- 6 microns or better, the backlash in the machine is therefore of critical importance. The result of loose or worn components in the cross-slides - bolts,...

Variable Duration Camshafts

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Given enough time in engine research and development, only someone who is very blinkered could say they've never come across something a bit, shall we say, unusual. Devices to increase fuel economy substantially tend to be the norm here. Now and again I get a full-size drawing of an engine concept, and invariably the sender is looking for introductions or funding. This month, however, I have a camshaft, and for once its owner/designer has sent me the actual component, which looks...

Cam grinding the CNC way

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If you talk to anyone in the camshaft manufacturing business, it isn't very long before the name of Landis crops up. Old timers might reflect fondly on such machines as the Berco RAC1500 cam grinder - "The best manual cam grinder in the business" or be rather less complementary about the Storm Vulcan machine going back into the 1950s, but the one machine that everyone agrees upon, to the point where it is now assuming the position of an icon in the camshaft manufacturing...

Friction and the camshaft

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Perhaps the most noticeable trend in lubricant technology over the last 30 years or so is the movement towards lower viscosity oils. The relentless drive for greater efficiency and hence higher power has led to developments where in the past claims of an increase of up to 25kW have been made in a Formula One engine just by changing the oil. Whether you believe this to be true or not is immaterial but research over the years has shown that reducing the viscosity of the oil can lead to...

Camshaft duration

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Invariably measured in crankshaft degrees, the duration of any camshaft is generally accepted to be the number of degrees the valve is lifted off its seat to the instant that it shuts again. Ideally it should open instantaneously to its maximum lift and then remain open until it would be closed again equally quickly. This would produce a square shaped valve motion diagram and cause the maximum amount of charge air or exhaust gas to flow. In real life however, the opening and closing are...