From a purely mechanical standpoint, the task of the camshaft is to convert the rotary motion of the crankshaft into an oscillating motion of the cam follower by means of the cam profile. The shape of the cam profile defines the valve lift and is thus a fundamental adjustment parameter in the design of the gas exchange and thus of the combustion process.

With the ongoing development in lightweight construction and low-friction bearings for the shaft, as well as based on the extended functionality, such as for the variable valve train, the camshaft still has substantial potential for increasing engine efficiency. There is a wide selection of various camshaft designs available for different applications and requirements (such as service life, cost, weight, friction, noise, additional functions).

MAHLE has developed assembled camshafts based on precision steel pipes with cam lobes made from steel and powder metal materials, making a significant contribution to optimizing the whole valve train. Due to their modular construction and flexibility, they are increasingly displacing other forms of camshafts. An assembled camshaft is up to 45 percent lighter than a cast or forged camshaft. Input and output elements are made using various production processes and materials, depending on the design.

For the production of cast camshafts, chilled cast iron is predominantly used. For stringent requirements in rolling contact, cast camshafts with inductively hardened cam lobes can also be used. In order to reduce weight, the shafts can be cast as hollow cylinders or profiles.

Casting production takes place in ultramodern, fully automated production facilities. A wide range of standard materials is available, as well as specialty materials for specific customer requirements. Modern machining centers and fully automated CBN grinders guarantee consistently high quality.