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Outsourcing Reverse Engineering? Answer These 7 Questions

Posted by Mike Knicker on Jul 19, 2013 5:59:00 AM

reverse engineering 3D fan

If you have decided that outsourcing reverse engineering services makes the most sense for your project or business, you still have some decisions to make. Not all reverse engineering applications are the same. You must decide what type of equipment to use and what kind of output you need, as well as consider a range of other factors.

This checklist is designed to help you get started.

7 Questions to Ask When Outsourcing Reverse Engineering

  1. What is the objective of reverse engineering? Your provider will need to know your end goals in order to help you make the most cost-effective decisions.

  2. What type of reverse engineering makes the most sense for your application? You can decide between design intent, verbatim (as-built), or a hybrid of the two. When reverse engineering for design intent, the measurements of the original object may be adjusted to correct for imperfections so that the final product will function in the desired way. The verbatim approach aims to create an exact replica of the original object, including imperfections, and the hybrid approach can be used in cases when the original object features multiple types of surfaces.

  3. How should you process measurement data? When gathering measurements to reverse engineer an object, you can use a dimension-driven approach, shrink-wrap surfaces, or a combination of the two.

  4. How accurate do you need to be? Depending on your objectives and the reasons for reverse engineering, your application might need a certain degree of measurement accuracy. For example, in the case of an object that must meet regulatory specifications, accuracy is extremely important. However, if you are replicating a statue for sale in a gift shop, some minor differences are acceptable. 

  5. Does the original object need to remain intact? In some cases, in order to get the most accurate measurements, the original object will need to be disassembled or even destroyed. If this is not an option for your application, your provider must know that at the beginning of the process.

  6. What type of equipment should you use? Many different types of measurement equipment can be used for reverse engineering. Your provider will consider the level of accuracy required, surface characteristics of the original object, and many other factors when deciding how best to take measurements.

  7. Do you need to measure the object in a constrained state? For some applications, measuring the object while in a state that simulates how it's shape will conform in assembly makes more sense. You might also need to measure other objects or parts if you are reverse engineering an item that is part of an assembly.

Your provider can (and should) help you answer many of these questions, so don't be afraid to ask.

One of the greatest advantages of outsourcing reverse engineering services to providers such as Q-PLUS Labs is that we operate across multiple industries. This means that we offer a broad range of equipment types and the expertise to handle almost any reverse engineering application. Contact us today to learn more or to get started on your next reverse engineering project.

 

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Topics: dimensional inspection, measurements, dimensional measurement, criteria, reverse engineering, 3D Scanning, 3D scanners, metrology, outsourcing

Reverse Engineering: Should You Purchase Equipment or Outsource?

Posted by Mike Knicker on Jul 2, 2013 2:20:00 PM

reverse engineering purchase or outsource

If you need reverse engineering for your business, you may come to a point when you must decide if you want to outsource to a qualified provider or purchase equipment to do the job in-house.

Both approaches come with advantages and disadvantages. Ask the following questions to help you make an informed decision:

  • How frequently do you need to perform reverse engineering? If the answer is not that often or for a short-term project, you might consider outsourcing as a more cost-effective solution. On the other hand, if you foresee a consistent need for reverse engineering, buying or leasing equipment might be a better approach.

  • How quickly do you need results? If the answer is yesterday, outsourcing is likely to be faster than purchasing new equipment and training staff to use it. If you think buying is a better solution, factor in the time needed to acquire equipment and train your staff.

  • How much can you spend? Working backward from a set budget is a good way to evaluate your options. Remember to factor in more than just equipment costs. You might also need to train staff and pay for maintenance, so the up-front expenses do not necessarily reflect the total cost of ownership. On the other hand, if you will need reverse engineering services for the long run, owning your equipment could cost less over time.

  • What types of objects do you need to reverse engineer? If you expect to scan multiple objects with different sizes and surface characteristics, you might actually need more than one piece of equipment to get the job done. Outsourcing to a provider that has multiple devices can save you time and money. However, if you know you'll be reverse engineering similar objects, doing it in-house could be more efficient.

  • Does your staff know how to reverse engineer? Just because employees are skilled in one area does not mean that they will have the necessary knowledge and skills to use new equipment that they are not familiar with. If you do decide to buy, consider investing in training.

  • Is NIST traceability important? If you require NIST traceability, ensuring that the personnel operating the equipment have the necessary skills becomes even more important. A qualified provider can ensure NIST traceability, or you can train staff so you can achieve it in-house.

  • Can you handle tech support and maintenance in-house? Owning equipment means that you are responsible for calibrating, operating, and maintaining it. If you’re not prepared to do this for the life of the equipment, consider outsourcing. Some equipment resellers also provide ongoing training, support, and maintenance, so if you do buy, look for a provider that offers these services.

One approach that many businesses take is outsourcing before they decide to make an equipment purchase. This way, you can ensure that the equipment you are considering is adequate for the task at hand. You will also have time to hire skilled staff or train your existing employees to use the new equipment.

Whether you buy or outsource, Q-PLUS Labs is here to help. As a reseller of multiple types of equipment, we offer a large selection of manufacturers. Because we use this equipment in our own labs, we are uniquely qualified to help you make the best selection for your specific needs.

If you’re not yet ready to buy, we can perform the reverse engineering for you, either for a single project or on a long-term basis. Get in touch with a representative today to start exploring your reverse engineering options.

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Topics: equipment, reverse engineering, budgeting, project planning, outsourcing, equipment purchasing, purchasing