3D CAD modeling has recently been popularized in the manufacturing industry with PMI annotated CAD modeling. But there are several components and parts used in the industry that were designed pre computer era and hence their designs have been distorted overtime. Also since these parts have been operational for long time, they need re-engineering for replacement.
In absence of original designs, it is difficult even for the OEMs to manufacture the parts once again. But, with the modern 3D scanning and CAD modeling techniques, the process of reverse engineering is in tune with industrial product design engineers and manufacturing companies as well as OEMs. The technique easily scans the surface (curvature and internal geometry that is difficult to reach with CMM) and finds the geometrical data to reconstruct.
Earlier, Vernier Calipers and Coordinate Measuring Machines were used. But today, 3D CAD modeling is used for completing the product outline that is scanned using definition laser scanners. This has improved the engineering lead time of re-manufacturing the part and its accuracy.
The kind of revolution reverse engineering has brought about in the manufacturing sector is essentially minimizing the overall design life-cycle, adds value to the existing part and promotes faster duplication of the component. It eliminates the longer downtime of the entire machine shop or the assembly line due to the replacement of one small component.
Today, across the globe, industrial engineering especially in process industry where machine shop is a large and critical asset, 3D CAD modeling and drawings remains irreplaceable. OEMs have embraced reverse engineering when the component is to be replaced owing to the benefits of CAD modeling and 3D scanning.
1. Reduced human intervention
Since the original physical part is scanned using lasers, recording the geometry of the existing physical component is done through drones. The manual measurement through measuring equipment is completely eliminated and even the innermost geometry and dimensions can be re coded with the accuracy. A commonly difficult feature of measuring the curvature of the surface can be recorded with much higher precision as compared to manual methods.
2. Accuracy in recording and modeling dimensioning
When the parts are laser scanned, no angle or a corner is missed. Also since there is least human intervention, the chances of errors are fewer except for the ones that involves in accuracies involved in interpolation. That, however, can also be corrected using the overlaying the scan once a solid CAD model is ready.
3. A simplified process for re-designing and value engineering
In reverse engineering, once the CAD, model is prepared it serves as a base for existing designs. The changes can be made easily. Furthermore, it opens the gateway to design analyses, value engineering and rapid prototyping to develop the proofs of design concepts with changes. It allows validation of the changed designs under extreme operational conditions.
4. Increased versatility and productivity
With such wide scope of reverse engineering and the gateways it open for design engineers, researcher as well as the manufacturing engineers and manufacturing firms, 3D scanning and modeling is seen as the versatile method to re-engineer any component. Manufacturing companies are seeing this as an opportunity to stumble upon and expect growth by eliminating unnecessary utilization of time and effort.
5. Cost-effective solution for competitors’ product comparison
Because of a simple scanning and modeling process, the overall cost of the product for product reverse engineering is significantly lowered. So when the manufacturing companies need to evaluate their market presence based on the competitors’ product line, it is an economical option in terms of both time and cost.
Reverse engineering that is done using 3D scanning followed by CAD modeling is not the solution, it in fact is the way to open multitude of design options apart from just reengineering. Accompanied with myriads of engineering benefits, it also invites monetary benefits – the perfect match for any manufacturing company or an OEM.