Bringing a good product back to life through reverse engineering is a common aspect of manufacturing and an important source of revenue for many businesses. However, detailed information on old product designs can often be hard to find. Time is money, as the saying goes, and small manufacturers cannot afford to waste either.
Many companies have approached reverse engineering an older project by trial and error. While this works in many cases, it can also be costly and time consuming. It may be relatively simple to recreate the physical attributes of a product using this method, but it is difficult to predict how the product will perform without the expensive process of creating and testing sample versions.
To cut back on waste and increase efficiency, manufacturers are looking to virtual testing to predict the performance of the finished product. With a computer simulation, engineers can predict the performance of a design and factor for many variables including different materials, applications and environments.
Using 3D CAD Modeling for Reverse Engineering
A manufacturer should use 3D CAD modeling technology before making working prototypes of a product by creating a digital version using a FARO arm or 3D scanner. Both of these types of digital scanning can be expensive, requiring costly purchases or leases and trained personnel. Many companies outsource these types of scans to avoid going over budget.
Scans can be very good at duplicating the geometry of a product but they fall short in replicating internal components. Another process to consider is converting conventional drawings to 3D CAD models. This can easily be done by contracting with a professional outsource supplier as well.
Once you have the 3D CAD model, you can subject the part to virtual functionality tests such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) or Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), or similar simulations. With FEA and CFD simulations, a company can test the product in a variety of settings and applications before producing samples or prototypes.
Reverse engineering a reliable old product into the designs of a great new product is an important function of manufacturing. Streamlining that process through outsourcing and virtual testing is a cost effective way to tackle the process. Whether you are producing a new product for your company or for a valued client, virtual testing will give you the edge in expertise while allowing you to protect the bottom line for you and your client.