Reverse engineering, oftentimes called back engineering, is a process of deconstructing aircrafts, software, machines, and other products to retrieve design information. It involves deconstructing individual components of larger products to determine how each part is made so users can recreate them. From the name itself, reverse engineering works backwards through the original design process to identify a system s components and their interrelationships to create a physical representation of the system.
Uses of reverse engineering
Reverse engineering captures the physical components, features, and material properties of an item. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) issues
In the event an OEM no longer trades a specific product or has lost its design measurements, reverse engineering can help provide vital information for recreating the product.
- Legacy components
Reverse engineering helps recreate products that were designed decades ago when no 2D or 3D CAD data was available to illustrate them.
- Competitor analysis
Many manufacturing companies use reverse engineering to analyze competitor products.
- Digital archiving
Historic artifacts and museum pieces can be captured through 3D scanning and reverse engineered to result in CAD data. This data helps reproduce parts of the item in case of damage.
Benefits of reverse engineering
Reverse engineering offers numerous benefits in the recreation and improvement of various software, machines, and products. The following are some of these benefits:
- Bringing in more efficient, less expensive products to the market
Reverse engineering fosters innovation in designers and engineers. They can deconstruct a product and create a less expensive but more efficient version of it.
- Discovering product vulnerabilities
The technology helps maintain the well-being and safety of product end users by supporting fault-finding in products.
- Exploring existing designs
Manufacturing doesn t stop at completing one product. Designers look at existing products to benefit communities through innovation.
- Saving money
Reverse engineering is a more affordable choice because it takes a shorter time to bring a product to the market. It helps analyze a product s parts so manufacturers can recreate it at a lesser cost.
Reverse engineering is common in both hardware and software. Several companies have succeeded in producing Intel-compatible microprocessors through reverse engineering.