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Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering

Image courtesy of 3844328 on Pixabay, published under CC0 1.0

Image courtesy of 3844328 on Pixabay, published under CC0 1.0

Experts define "reverse engineering" as a process of disassembling to fully evaluate an object. By studying some feature carefully, for instance, engineers may design similar products.

Today, reverse engineering assumes importance in many situations. When original parts manufacturers cease conducting business, for example, customers may encounter challenges finding necessary spare and replacement parts and supplies. Faced with an absence of engineering drawings and support services, they sometimes use reverse engineering to help them develop reliable substitute parts or components to keep legacy equipment in operation for the duration of the machinery's useful lifespan.

 

About Reverse Engineering

Companies today rely upon reverse engineering services for a wide variety of reasons. For instance, reverse engineering may enable legacy systems to continue operating within production environments. In the absence of this process, some companies which invested significantly in manufacturing equipment would find themselves unable to remain in business.

Additionally, reverse engineering today often serves as a valuable educational tool. It enables students to learn about the operation of critical tools in an experiential, highly practical way.

 

Reasons to Reverse Engineer Metal Parts

Why might a company choose to reverse engineer a metal part? A number of reasons sometimes underlie this decision. 

For example, one extremely widespread reason for seeking to reverse engineer a metal product involves obtaining a working model to replace a part for which documentation no longer exists. Many legacy systems would cease operating completely in the absence of this service.

Another popular reason to reverse engineer a metal part relates to upgrading legacy systems. Manufacturers may need to create a unique part, or upgrade or modify an existing part, in order to keep legacy systems operational.

Additionally, reverse engineering assists companies desiring to replace lost or worn parts, create additional spare parts, or solve a critical parts shortage. A myriad of motivations cause manufacturing firms to utilize reverse engineering services.
 

Reverse Engineering Process

Depending upon the industry and the particular part requiring evaluation, companies sometimes pursue disparate reverse engineering protocols. Generally, this process will typically include three basis phases:

Measurement

Reverse engineering requires the accurate measurement of key parameters. This process usually involves the collection of technical data.

Modeling

Reverse engineers then construct a working model of a part undergoing reverse engineering. Today, this process may include creating a 3-D model with the assistance of software.

Replication

Completely or partly replicating a part occurs during the final reverse engineering phase.

 

Reverse Engineering of Parts and Components

Reverse engineering may hold importance in creating parts used in manufacturing and productions settings. Anyone engaging in reverse engineering must exercise caution to ensure the process occurs ethically and in a way which honors existing patent and copyright protections, of course. Yet reverse engineering supplies a valuable business tool in many situations:

Equipment Parts

Many manufacturing companies rely on reverse engineering to generate equipment parts which do not remain within the scope of patent or copyright protections.

Replacement Parts

Reverse engineering may offer a valuable tool for a firm seeking replacement parts for a legacy system, particularly in the absence of any supporting documentation or schematic drawings. By evaluating the operation of its production equipment through reverse engineering analysis, for instance, a manufacturer may gain a better understanding of its future inventory needs and the types of spare and replacement parts it should maintain in inventory in order to avoid production delays. It may also develop more sophisticated strategies for expanding future production operations.

Spare Parts

To keep supply chains functioning, a manufacturer may decide to reverse engineer components in order to maintain an optimal inventory of spare parts in stock. Taking this step may help insulate a manufacturer against the discontinuation of certain dated models of spare parts by a supplier, for instance. Some companies wish to maintain legacy systems in operation for as long as possible, reducing the need to invest capital in new, expensive equipment.

Custom Parts

In some industries, reverse engineering offers a particularly useful tool for developing custom parts for customers seeking unique or oversized equipment, for instance. Sometimes a company facing steep production requirements may wish to upgrade a legacy system to boost its production capabilities significantly. Often, reverse engineering supplies useful strategies for facilitating this objective cost-effectively.

Critical Parts

Perhaps the most vital role of reverse engineering involves the creation of mission critical parts to keep a manufacturing firm operational in the face of unwelcome supply line failures, delays or shortages. For instance, if a parts manufacturer has committed to filling a large order for metal parts and faces hefty contractual penalties for failing to deliver orders on schedule, then the firm may choose to reverse engineer critical parts to maintain these items in inventory as a precaution. The reverse engineering of a critical part may help the company overcome supply chain disruptions and prevent expensive cost overruns and missed delivery deadlines during an emergency.


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