3d scanner

Common uses for Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is the process of taking a finished product and breaking it down in order to replicate a part. The term is often heard in computer programming to decompile code to understand the algorithms. In the mechanical and industrial applications, the uses can be a bit more varied.

The uses of reverse engineering are broad, some examples include:

  • Replacing legacy parts
  • Product improvements
  • Problem-solving

Legacy Part Replacement

We’ve all had it happen. We have a machine that we love and still works great, but it’s old. Whether it’s a car or a trusted lathe, eventually apart is going to break, warp, etc. and replacement of the piece is difficult or costly to find because it is out of production.

When a part breaks, replacing the entire machine often doesn’t make sense, we want to replace the broken piece. If the machinery is functional and effective otherwise, we definitely want to get it back in working order and quickly. If the piece is out of production, reverse engineering can help keep the machine working in a timely and cost-effective manner.

A part can be scanned in using 3D-scanners. The special software takes the data to form a CAD model that engineers can then manually work with to edit the data to ensure the perfect reproduction of the part.

A number of manufacturing techniques from machining to 3D printing can be then be used to make the part depending on the materials needed for the final product. While the initial cost is more costly than, once the model has been created, it can be saved for production later and reducing overall costs: both in time and money.

Parts Improvement

Sometimes a part from the manufacturer may have a flaw that does not work for the particular demands of the process. It might be a weld that keeps cracking, a joint that needs reinforcing, or multiple pieces that would be stronger if joined. Using reverse engineering, a similar part can be designed and created that will fit the machinery; and have the improvements that are wanted to reduce downtime. Since the scan and model are saved, continual improvement can happen quicker and cheaper. You may even be able to create an interoperable part of your own.

Forensics and Problem-solving

In manufacturing and industrial process, problems can arise and incidents occur. Through reverse engineering, we are able to piece together all the working pieces of a process and learn how everything works together. Once, we’ve been able to figure out how it all fits together; we can examine all the pieces and determine the problematic parts.

With so many possible uses and varied applications of reverse engineering, it’s important to check with the experts at Engineered Mechanical Systems. You can read our article on the limits of reverse engineering and check out the rest of our website: http://www.engineeredmechanicalsystems.com/