Creating technical documentation for an existing product requires reverse engineering. But what types of circumstances require this kind of service?
When you mention reverse engineering, many people think of taking apart a competitor’s product to take advantage of their intellectual property. In reality, there are lots of ethical purposes reverse engineering products.
Reverse engineering wasn’t in the original playbook for us.
This is one of those services that we grew to offer because our clients desperately needed someone that could skillfully produce reliable technical data for their existing products.
To learn more about that interesting growth process, read our article about business sustainability.
So a common question we get is, “Why on earth would someone need their own product reverse engineered?” The answer? There are 4 common reasons:
You lost the prints.
This may sound crazy, but it’s a lot more common than you might think. Businesses are constantly rearranging, moving, changing management, and along with that…things get misplaced. We see this especially when the company that performed the original design is acquired by another company and documents don’t make the transition or are simply thrown out.
Technology has changed.
Believe it or not, not all data is stored electronically. Traditional Vellum designs may not be usable due to their age and will have to be recreated using the sample part.
The prints don’t match the part.
Sometimes when parts are outsourced, the supplier doesn’t follow the designs exactly. If the manufacturer is overseas, out of business, or just hard to communicate with, new drawings may have to be created to match the existing part.
Relationship with original manufacturer is lost.
This happens a lot of times with government parts and components. When a project is new, a large prime contractor will manufacture an entire airplane or tank. As new projects come along that are more profitable, creating spare parts for those legacy aircraft and tanks is less appealing. Lead times on replacement parts get long (even years), prices rise (because there is only one supplier), and suddenly it is completely unreasonable. At that point, a new supplier is needed. Sometimes that transition is easy and the original manufacture sells the complete technical data package to the government and competitive solicitations are published to find the best supplier. Other times, that technical data may be incomplete, or the original manufacturer is no longer in business and the part must be completely reverse engineered.
Ehren-Haus Reverse Engineering
The Ehren-Haus engineering staff has had the pleasure of helping many government agencies and private sector companies produce legacy products that otherwise would have been lost because of a lack of technical data. In most cases, we have been able to improve upon the design, decrease costs, increase product life span, and shorten lead times as a result of our reverse engineering process.
So if you’ve lost your prints, or your relationship with a manufacturer and need production drawings…you’re not alone!
Think you might be in need of reverse engineering, or maybe you just want to better understand the process? Let’s talk. If we aren’t able to help you, we’ll do our best to help find someone who can.
Want to keep up with us and our industry insights? Sign up for our newsletter: