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ERC Case Studies

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Reverse Engineering A 50 Year Old Part From Scratch

Background and Goals
 

Representatives from a large manufacturing company contacted the Engineering Resource Center with the request to re-create a historic part that was still in production after 50 years. The existing mold had become damaged and no original CAD files ever existed. The manufacturer was challenged with fulfilling orders for a part that could no longer be made with the existing mold, and did not know if an exact re-design would be possible.

Strategy

Our project engineers knew they would have to reverse engineer the mold. With no design prints and only the part to go off of, our team was essentially re-creating a production part from nothing. The goal was to duplicate an existing component, subassembly or product and the struggle was to do so without the aid of drawings, documentation or computer models. In an intensely competitive global market, reverse engineering allows manufacturers shortened lead times and the ability to re-create existing products with improved features.

As part of the reverse engineering process, (CT) scanning of the part offered the necessary insight to create a CAD design that was used to re-create the mold. This fast, and nondestructive approach also helped identify any design issues and ensure highly accurate and detailed measurements of the part. All of the equipment needed to complete the process was available in-house, which added to efficiencies in regard to speed and budget.

Results

Without having the original mold or designs to reference during the process, it was unknown how many design iterations would be needed to get the part to properly fit the engine. Much to the surprise of the manufacturer, the ERC got it right on the very first try and parts were sent approved for production in 4 weeks.

Impact

Without access to the in-house technology available through the ERC, the manufacturer would have likely experienced a longer design and production process, higher development costs and a possible shortage of parts needed. The ERC’s experienced design engineers used the latest processes and state of the art equipment to provide the manufacturer with a fast and cost-effective solution that kept the part in production with no product delays.