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DIFFERENT TYPES OF CAMS AND THEIR USES

by Radhe Gupta
crow cams

A cam is a system that moves a follower by making direct contact with it. A cam drives a follower. When the cam moves, the follower will usually translate or oscillate. A typical example of a cam is the camshaft used in automobiles. They operate in unison with the piston motion.

There are very few companies, like Crow Cams, that design and produce cam lobes in-house. Almost all the other cam manufacturing companies use profiles or designs that are reverse-engineered rather than an original design.

How are they built?

Cams are built using grinding machines controlled through CNC, and they are interchangeably called Crow Cs in most engineering departments. These computers regulate the movement of the machine’s camshafts and determine an optimum feed rate to maintain the excellent finish, surface fish, and control. 

Each camshaft that is produced is inspected using the CNC equipment. The CNC equipment inspects each base circle and lobe separately. Since this process involves a high inspection and scrutiny level, it is deemed the world’s best inspection system for cams. Adcole is usually used to test tape heads of Mastercams. These grinders have state-of-the-art cam grinder technology. This mechanism is used by very few companies worldwide, and in Australia, Crow Cams happen to be one of them. 

CNC also provides a cross-hatching pattern on the steel camshafts that is crucial for smooth lifter movement. This process is called lapping. After cross-hatching, crust finish is done to ensure that cams have a long life. As many cams are made of cast iron, thoroughly contouring them with phosphate improves their durability.

The cams’ specifications are included with each Cam assembly set separately; one can be assured that they will receive all of their cam sets in mint condition.  

Cams have dominated Australia’s supercharged Top Door slammer division, shattering many world ET and speed records along the way. John Zappia set several world ET records and won eight Australian Top door slammer championships using multiple camshafts with advanced technology. The same technology that drives these champions is open to all competitors, from off-road to top petrol. Hence they are heavily used in races ranging from burnout racing to motorboat races. Let’s have a quick look at the cams and races where they are used.

Performance Cams

Cams are also used for improving performance. This improvement is achieved by increasing the time and the duration of the valve’s openings, increasing the engine’s horsepower, thereby accelerating the car much more quickly. These cams, however, result in the car rumbling, which is negligible based on the make, model, and personal preferences regarding the car.

Burnout Cams

Crow Cams, amongst other companies, has been developing effective and highly efficient camshaft and valve train packages for top champions such as Peter and Debbie Gray, Jake Myers and Gary, and a few renounced champions since the beginning of Burnout competitions.

Motorboat Racing

Cams also have individual or custom grinds specifically produced to accommodate different types of power units and hull designs commonly found in today’s high-performance vessels, such as motorboats and yachts. 

Circuit Racing

CIRCUIT RACING is a popular type of racing where cams are extensively used at all levels, such as the Commodore Cup Saloon Car Series, a beginner and control series. As well as in race cars that participate in twenty-four-hour or day-long races such as Holden Monaro race cars, or just in modest saloon cars such as V6 and OHC cars

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