Manufacturing and production constantly evolve as industries thriving on finding the most efficient and cost-effective way to create products, which will allow them to lower production costs, increase profits and gain an edge over the competition. Manufacturing parts and tools are no different.
Reverse engineering is a process that has gained a strong following in recent years in the tools and parts manufacturing sector due to the unique benefits it offers. One of the benefits of reverse engineering is that it can make parts cheaper. Yet, before we get into ‘how,’ let’s explore the ‘what.’
What is reverse engineering?
Reverse engineering or backwards engineering is the digital deconstruction of an artificial object to reveal its design, architecture, and code. Reverse engineering uses a combination of hardware and software tools like laser scanners or laser trackers to take down measurements and CAD or CAM systems to reconstruct its 3D model. The process of reverse engineering is employed in engineering and manufacturing for various reasons, the primary being to extract design knowledge.
Now that you probably have a better idea of reverse engineering; let’s explore how it can make parts cheaper.
How can reverse engineering make parts cheaper?
Optimizing the manufacturing process:
You can use reverse engineering to improve the lean manufacturing process by identifying the most efficient ways to make parts. Finding the easiest and quickest way to produce high-quality parts that can function well for a long-time will help you cut down on your manufacturing costs. And of course, the lower the manufacturing costs, the cheaper the parts will be.
Reducing R&D costs:
When developing a product, you need to take into account all of its design and manufacturing costs, including the money you poured into research and development (R&D). Companies spend a humongous amount of money on R&D to create products, fixtures, and parts that are better than their competitors’ in terms of durability/strength, innovation, etc. However, what if we were to tell you that you can achieve the same results without splurging on R&D simply using reverse engineering? Well, you can.
Reverse engineering reconstructs the technical documentation of an existing part so you can easily re-design it, saving you the trouble of researching the ins and outs of your past or existing products.
While some might think of this as unethical, you can reverse engineer your competitors’ products to benefit from their innovative design and stay in the race without spending time and money on R&D.
Filling voids in design information:
Many machines even today use parts and punches that have now become obsolete; procuring or making these parts is extremely expensive. However, the alternative is to replace the machine using this part, which is even more costly. Reverse engineering can help you rediscover the design data for obsolete parts that you may have lost or did not document. This allows you to generate accurate design data documentation for production efficiency in CAM so you can make obsolete parts more economically.