By: M.A. Bargir ([email protected]) Date: 20th July 2021
Technology is rapidly changing the world of engineering and especially the way engineers are working. Reverse engineering is one of the recent technological developments that is revolutionising the various mechanical engineering fields such as product development, system analysis and competitive benchmarking. Reverse engineering, also referred as back engineering is process of analysing the product or sub-assembly by discovering the physical aspects of the same, to develop digitised representation of the product or sub-assembly that basically helps in understanding the features and interconnectedness of elements of product or sub-assembly. In other words, reverse engineering is considered as a process used for creating the digitised form of product or sub-assembly without using existing drawing or CAD model.
It is a concept of creating 3D surface model in stl file format from of an existing physical product. In this process an object profile is measured with laser scanner & then the data obtained in point cloud can be used to create the 3D surface model. This 3D surface model can be useful for redesign & reconstruct the model. Reverse engineering is turning into common engineering practice due to its effectiveness in duplicating the product especially in cases wherein adequate drawing or documentation is not available for existing product. Competitive benchmarking is another application for reverse engineering where better understanding of competitors’ products is made available through advanced reverse engineering tools. In case of supplier unwilling or unable to continue the supply of the part, then existing part can be converted into CAD model by reverse engineering techniques.
3D scanning technologies is used along with coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), such as portable arms structured with laser or optical sensors can be used to measure the physical object. The measured data from scanning usually captured as a point cloud and thus often treated into a triangular-faced mesh (STL) file and then modelled CAD surface format or a set of Non-uniform rational basis spline (NURBS) surfaces. MSMEs and large scale company’s, practice reverse engineering to get digital environment of the existing physical geometry. Some examples of reverse engineering includes automotive industry to design the sheet metal die tools which were hand worked & does not have digital data, scanning panels or automotive part for research and development. Reverse engineering can be utilised to provide digital data in aerospace industries for as-built components of an assemblies for example, archive legacy aircraft in which 747 parts are made without CAD software. It can be used in architecture and sculpture art work to provide designs digitized for construction.
(Author is Assistant Professor from Department of Mechanical Engineering of Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College (JNEC) which is constituent college of MGM University, Aurangabad.)