Key Points of Spare Parts Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering

Many businesses need spare parts, but aren’t able to find the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to obtain them–or the part may even be obsolete. They may even find a part they can substitute for the original, but they find the price tag to be a little too much or the lead or delivery time isn’t acceptable.

Businesses that offer reverse engineering services can help companies that are looking for a solution to this problem. All the company needs to do is provide a sample of the part or existing Cad models of it, and these companies can reverse engineer it and remanufacture it to the desired specification that the customer wants. They can often make the part superior, as well, because this is their core competency.

Successful key points of reverse engineering that move the process from model to tool are as follows:

Measurement of the Object’s Features

The part parameters considered for reverse engineering are obtained by a visit to the customer’s facility to obtain the sample or the part is sent to the spare part’s supplier for reverse engineering. All pertinent data for measuring and modeling the part is collected at this stage.

3D-Rendering for Prototype Manufacturing

After manual or digital measurements are obtained from the part, an engineer or CAD technician will need to input the parameters into 3D software such as SolidWorks or AutoCAD to render a prototype drawing. Some of the more advanced 3-D scanning technologies automatically interface with CAD 3D modeling programs when you take the measurements and can bridge the gaps in development where the process would need manual input.

Product Specification and Drawings

After the prototype drawing is generated, design validation and simulation can be done in the virtual environment of the 3D CAD file, and changes can be made if necessary before a single part is manufactured. Other departments can be consulted at this stage to see if a more robust design can be created, or if improvements to the existing material or other parameters of the part can be initiated and uploaded to update the drawing file.

Communication of Manufacturing Drawings

The completed drawings in this step are given to the manufacturing area and they include orthographic views, notes, call outs, material to use and special instructions that will help make it more understandable to production workers that will be prefabricating and finishing the part. The drawing defines the fit, form and function of the product in detail.

Completion of Design and Outsourced Manufacturing

All reverse engineering firms don’t manufacture the part, and provide the final model to customers that just want the drawings and part specifications to produce on their own. Others ask for full scale production on the part after it gets to this step. If outsourcing of the part is done by the spare part supplier, then they will enter full scale production at this point, often introducing a “first article” to be evaluated at this point to be evaluated by the quality department

For a spare parts supplier to be successful, resulting parts from this process needs to meet or exceed the quality of the customer’s original part. Many companies have a goal to optimize the quality of the part in coordination and approval with the customer. Superiority can be accomplished by a better design and metallurgical process or by optimization of the production process that makes it cheaper to build it and allows more quality checks to be put in place.

The quality department will check the technical specifications of the physical part to the drawing and ensure that it meets industrial standards. After this first article is approved the quality department or designee will give a green light to full-scale production for the assembly and deliverables to the customer.

Elite Tech Engineering is an industrial design firm which provides mechanical engineering services.

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 /


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