Learn How A Complex Plastic Part Is Reverse Engineered


Today’s manufacturing, quality and design engineers often need just two gears to get their tasks done; forward and reverse. Moving forward is the best strategy, but it only looks good on paper. Things can go astray at any point.

Why Reverse Engineering is Required in Complex Profiles?

In order to ensure form and function, plastic parts with complex profiles require a high degree of accuracy. Previously, it was difficult to take dimension and inspect free-formed profiles, since they were literally an engineered functional shape that has been optimized, or simply crafted from an artist vision. For successful inspection of a complex plastic part, 3D CAD can come into play or can be reverse engineered from a prototype. Using a portable CMM or metrology software, accurate inspection can be done for the complex profiles of plastic parts.

Reverse engineering has become an integral part of the manufacturing environment, thanks to ever-increasing software capabilities, advancements in data capture and improved processing speeds. These are the necessary tools to develop innovative solutions.

How Reverse Engineering is Carried Out?

Abstract design is not the starting point of every manufacturing process. Sometimes, you have to go in a reverse direction to re-plan your own design process. Reverse engineering is all about taking the part that exists and evaluating it, so it can be ideally integrated into a new system. This process has increased in demand over a period of time. The Manufacturing Intelligence delivers speed and accuracy by putting together VISI and Integrated Scanner to create a non-contact reverse engineering system.

Digitization is simplified with the advanced laser scanning technology that can be applied even on complex and shiny plastic parts. Once the laser scanner and portable measuring arm combination has been employed to create a CAD model, this can be used for developing moulds needed for recreation of the part. Using standard molding components, the process can be carried out within VISI. The software can also mimic the process to identify potential issues in advance, and avoid wastage of resources.

Benefits of Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering applied to complex plastic parts is especially beneficial in a couple of scenarios. Firstly, for molds that require a change of material, say from heavy to lightweight, and secondly, the ones with no design information available from re-manufacturing. In either condition, molds are crafted using a combination of the geometry created on the basis of data obtained from contact probing and the one obtained by non-contact scanner. With just one device, both sets of measurements can be obtained, making the process convenient and efficient.

Reverse engineering is widely applied to explore the future design data that may not have been planned yet. It is also helpful in developing full design information regarding obsolete components. In order to ensure production efficiency in manufacturing, it is important to have accurate data documentation. Reverse engineering can also encourage innovation by allowing design engineers to work on the existing system and make necessary adjustments as and when required. This is to have better functionality and higher performance.

by George Chitos