Oct 5, 2016 -- Spare parts are needed in almost every industry, but there are instances when business owners do not find the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or in many cases the parts they are looking for have become obsolete. While the part may be available from the aftermarket suppliers, the price is often too high, or the delivery time is often unacceptable.
The best way is then to seek assistance from reverse engineering service providers, who support companies looking for recovering design information for obsolete spare parts. Companies simply need to provide the original part, which is then scanned to generate a CAD model along with manufacturing drawings, so that the same part can be manufactured with ease.
There are few important points that makes up the reverse engineering process to recover design information of obsolete spare parts, which include:
3D Scanning and Measurement of the Part
The process of reverse engineering begins with first scanning the sample part through laser scanning and manual measurements. At this stage, all the measurement data is obtained from the customer to model the part accurately using CAD tools.
3D CAD Modeling
Once the measurement data is collected, a CAD technician or an engineer begins developing a 3D CAD model of the object using tools like SOLIDWORKS or Inventor. There are even advanced tools available which directly convert the scanned data to CAD model, which is then refined to meet the tolerance requirements.
The 3D CAD model is then validated with the actual physical part and any possible deviations in the geometry is rectified. The model is also tested using simulation tools to realize the behavior and failure characteristics as well as manufacturing feasibility. Improvements in the design such as changing the material and geometry are performed at this stage to further improve the performance of the part.
Development of Manufacturing Drawings
The finalized design is then used to generate manufacturing drawings, considering the manufacturing capabilities. It includes all the instructions required to manufacture the part and is meant to provide clear design communication to fabricators.
Not all reverse engineering companies provide manufacturing support. The final 3D model and manufacturing drawings are sent to the customer to take care of the manufacturing phase. However, there are also service providers who offer full-scale production or the customer might prefer to outsource the part manufacturing. This however requires first article inspection, to ensure that the part to be manufactured on a mass scale by the external manufacturer will possess the required quality. The first article inspection usually involves the quality department team that performs a check on the accuracy of the physical part with the technical specifications and drawings. Once it is approved, the design is then finalized for full-scale production.
About the Author:
Kashyap Vyas is an Engineer at Hi-Tech and holds a Master’s degree in Thermal Engineering with several research papers to his credit. He covers CAD and CAE topics for the engineering industry. His contributions are primarily focused on encouraging manufacturers and suppliers to adopt virtual product development tools to build efficient products with reduced time-to-market.