I recently read an article from a machine dealer that said that, after years of inactivity, he has been receiving requests for turn key cam machines. These requests have been coming from Asian manufacturers. I believe, but am not sure, that cam machine production stopped completely around the year 2000, and now all single spindle screw machines are CNC. For us here in the United States, the move to CNC machining was necessitated by our changing job market. Our lot sizes became smaller, and the need for versatile set up and ease of programming became as important as, if not more important than, cycle time.
Our Asian counterparts exploded on the global market in the late 1990’s. They began buying a lot of the new CNC technology. Now as their own labor costs have begun to rise, and we around the world have become more competitive, they need to look into cheaper and faster methods to do their large volume production. It appears that they may be looking at old style cam machines.
From my own experience with cam machine, I know that the cycle times are much faster. We produced components with cycle time of three to four seconds, that could never be matched by the CNC machines today. As the global market changes in the future, will we see a return to cam machines?