In a vehicle or machine a cam is rotational device that provides a mathematical movement. In a machine it may guide the head of a cutter like the depth of a cutter on a lathe. In vehicles a cam opens and closes both intake and exhaust valves. It is basically just a pattern.
Cams most of the time have non linear shape or pattern. However, in a car the low point on the cam would be when the valves are closed. On a machine it may be when a cutter is not cutting.
Leave it to an engineer like myself. I think of many amazing old machines and some new that are guided by cams and don't need a computer to control them.
I hope this didn't add more confusion but I guess I am a gear head and cams in my mind are beautiful things.
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