Product Tear Down Study

How do you determine procurement costs for product design, materials, and specifications? A superb way to get valuable insights and pinpoint design improvement and cost reduction opportunities is through a product teardown study. What is a product teardown?

In simple words, the process of disassembling a part to understand how it has been made and its functionalities are known as product teardown.

A product teardown process is an orderly way to know about a particular product and identify its parts, system functionality to recognize modeling improvement and identify cost reduction opportunities. Unlike the traditional costing method, tear down analysis collects information to determine product quality and price desired by the consumers. Companies can understand their competitor’s product, on what ground it differs from their own and manufacturing cost associated.

The three primary reasons for a product teardown study are:

  • Breakdown and Analysis:

It involves understanding the current technology, functionalities, and components of a product as well as identifying its strengths, weaknesses, and establishing areas for improvement.

  • Benchmarking:

Benchmarking is establishing a baseline in terms of understanding and representation of the product. It provides a comparison of new conceptual designs.

  • Knowledge and product improvement:

It involves gaining engineering knowledge to enact new room for concept development.

The entire product teardown process can be summed up in five steps:

  • Identifying the purpose of the teardown. This is to determine the models to be enacted as a result of the process
  • Creating data sheet where all insights will be listed
  • Gathering tools and documentation of the process
  • Analyzing the distribution of product
  • Disassembling of product, component measurement, and functionality assessment
  • Creating a bill of materials (BOM), models, and function flow diagram

The product tear down study technique has proven to be suitable to obtain crucial data about the manufacturing method, components, build-up model, functionality and strategies of competitors to find for improvement and coming up with a more refined version of a product.

Material Selection

Material selection stands out to be one of the most crucial aspects of engineering design as it determines the design reliability in terms of industrial and economic viewpoints. A great design needs appropriate material combinations, or else it will fail to be a profitable product. Engineers need to choose the best materials for the same, and there are several criteria they rely upon, such as property and its reaction to given conditions.  

Some important points to be included are:

  • Mechanical properties: A design needs to go through various manufacturing practices depending on the material. The primary goal is to prevent the failure of the product from a material viewpoint and ensure service fit. The materials are subject to stress, load, strength, and temperature variations.
  • Wear of materials: Most of the time, chances are that materials are contacting each other in a product. It can be seen in the case of gears. The selected materials should be able to withstand wear and tear.
  • Corrosion: This is a condition where the importance of material selection can be witnessed the most. It is evident in products open to the environment for an extended period. Materials like iron are highly prone to corrosion. So it is essential to make that the material is corrosion resistant and capable of being used for the product.
  • Manufacturing: Although the material is fit to be used for a product, it has to be appropriate for the manufacturing process. Improper machining can lead to a faulty product, and incorrect machining stems from an inability to put manufacturing functions of materials.
  • Cost: Cost is a crucial fact to consider while selecting materials. Certain metals are rare to obtain, considering their availability and lengthy refining process. Although the cost factor can be neglected when performance is given priority, overall associated costs should be considered nonetheless. There is a reason why plastics have massively replaced metals in the manufacturing process.  

 

 

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Reverse Engineering vocabulary

3D Scanning – The process of collecting 3-Dimensional data from physical object through a variety of data acquisitions devices.

3D to CAD: The process of converting 3-Dimensional point to a dimensionally defined graphic model.

Accuracy: The extent of how close a measurement is to the recognized true value.

Annotation Models: A digital model containing specific coordinate locations verifying deviations from nominal data.

AS IS CAD: A CAD model that represents actual manufactured parts rather than a designed CAD model.

CAD (Computer-aided design): The use of computer technology to assist in the creation, analysis, or modification of a design.

CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing): The use software that can support both machine tools and 3D CAD modeling capabilities.

Cone beam: A conical-shaped x-ray beam that produces two dimensional images of an object.

Design intent: The process of taking a manufactured part into account with inherent errors and modifying the same till it is true.

GD&T (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing): System of languages and symbols used for defining and communicating engineering tolerances.

Hand held scanner: Portable camera that is used for capturing 3D imagery of objects with a laser or structured light based.

Hybrid Model: Combining two different modeling processes to accurately define 3D geometry.

Laser Scanner: A device used to capture 3D surface geometry, consisting of a laser output and a sensor to interpret the data.

LIDAR: A combination of the words: “Light” and “RADAR.” A LIDAR scanner employs RADAR’s technique of emitting a signal and measuring distances to objects based off of the signals reflection.

Long Range Scanning: Acquiring data at expansive distances from hundreds of feet away to miles away. Data can be captured through a variety of devices including LIDAR, Time of Flight and phase shift scanners.

Modeling: Digitally creating 2D or 3D object using CAD or data manipulation software, such as Polyworks, Geomagic or Solidworks.

NanoCT: Capturing images using CT (Computed Tomography), with a resolution of the images defined in nanometers.

Parametric Model: A sketch driven model that builds a design tree that can be opened in a CAD environment and allows the operator to manipulate the model.

Parametric Modeling: This process is taking 3d scan data and through the use of design tools, creating a sketch driven model with consistent relationships between features in the feature tree.

Phase Based Scanners: LIDAR Scanners that take measurements by sending laser pulses towards an object and measuring the phase shift of the pulses’ reflection off of the object.

Point Cloud: A set of points defined by X, Y, and Z coordinates that represent the external surfaces of an object.

Prismatic Modeling: Creating CAD geometry using basic geometry shapes, i.e. planes, cylinders, cones etc, to define correct shapes of the 3D geometry.

Re-Engineering: The process of modifying an existing part or assembly of parts digitally to improve its performance or use.

Repeatability: The variation in measurements taken with the same piece of equipment, under the same conditions, across multiple tests.

Reverse Engineering: The process by which a man-made object is dismantled to reveal its architecture, designs, or to extract knowledge from the object in order to know about its functioning and structural integrity.

SCAN to CAD: The process of collecting 3D data using 3D scanning hardware and converting the dimensional data to CAD format using a variety of software packages.

2D Drawings / Schematics: A 2D print that describes the physical characteristics of an object, how it should be made, assembled, handled, etc. These can be used to provide basic dimensional values to define its function.

Sectioning: The process of creating 2D profiles through sections of an object.

Short range scanning: A process used to collect dimensional data in 3D space from short ranges.

Solid Modeling: Defining an object with CAD tools such as extrudes, revolves, sweeps, etc. A solid model is enclosed and is said to have mass and volumetric values can be calculated.

Surface Model: An objects exterior skin defined by CAD features or NURBS surfaces.

Triangulation Scanner: Projecting a known pattern of light grids or fringe onto an object in order to calculate surface geometry by analyzing the distortions of the pattern.

White Light Scanner: A 3D camera projecting a known pattern of light grids or fringe onto an object in order to calculate surface geometry by analyzing the distortions of the pattern.

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Scanners & Scanning

As we have seen during the introduction, the first step to reverse engineer a product is through scanning with the help of 3D scanners. Early eras have seen the painstaking task of obtaining dimensions of an existing product. These methods were time consuming and needed attention to details from the very first stage.

However, with the rapid development in the scanning technology, the inception of a product has caught speed and the chances of errors have reduced dramatically which has made 3D scanning and measurement an important part, starting from design stage to inspection stage.

3D laser scanning is the technology to capture a physical object’s exact size and shape using a laser beam to create a digital 3-dimensional representation of the same. 3D laser scanners create “point clouds” of data from the surface of an object.

We will go through point clouds in later sections.

3D Scanning Technology

3D laser scanning efficiently takes the measurements of contoured surfaces and complex geometries which require huge amounts of data for their accurate description because doing this with the use of traditional measurement methods is impractical and time consuming. It creates accurate point cloud data by acquiring measurements and dimensions of free-form shapes.

The basic working principle of a 3D scanner is to collect data of an entity. It can either be:

  • an object
  • an environment (such as a room)
  • a person (3D body scanning)

In reverse engineering, laser scanner’s primary aim is to provide a lot of information about the design of an object which in the later stages gets converted to 3D CAD models, considering the compatibility of 3D scans and Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. 3D scans are even compatible with 3D printing which requires some specific computer software.

3D scanning technologies varies with different physical principles and can be classified as follows:

  • Laser triangulation 3D scanning technology: In this category, the laser scanner projects a laser beam on a surface and measures the deformation of the laser ray.
  • Structured light 3D scanning technology: This technology acquires the shape of a surface by measuring the deformation of a light pattern.
  • Photogrammetric technology: It is also known as 3D scan from photography. It reconstructs an object from 2D to 3D and has specific computational geometrical algorithms for the task.
  • Laser pulse 3D scanning technology: This unique process collects geometrical information by evaluating the time taken by a laser beam to travel between its emission and reception.

Contact based 3D scanning technology: This process requires contact between the probe and the object, where the probe is moved firmly over the surface to acquire data.

Types of scanners

Apart from scanning technologies, there are various types of 3D scanners. Some are built for short range scanning while others are ideal for medium or long range scanning. The built and usage of specific scanners hugely depend upon size of the object to be scanned. The scanners used for measuring small objects vastly differ from the ones that are used for large bodied objects, such as a ship.

Here is a brief summary of types of 3D laser Scanners:

  1. Short Range 3D scanners: Short Range 3D scanners utilize either a Laser triangulation technology or Structured Light technology.
  1. Laser based 3D scanners: Laser scanners work by projecting laser a beam or multiple laser beams on an object and capturing its reflection with sensors, which are located at a fixed distance from the scanners.
  1. Structured light 3D scanners: These are also known as white light scanners. However, most structured scanners use blue or white LED light. The light pattern usually consists of a certain geometrical shape such as bar or block or any other shape, which is projected onto the object. The sensors consider the edge of the pattern to determine the 3D shape of the object. Blue or white light scanners are generally used to obtain outward dimension.
  1. Medium and Long range scanners: Long range 3D scanners are used for large objects such as buildings, ships, aircrafts, and military vehicles. These scanners rotate and spin a mirror which reflects the laser outward towards the object or areas to be 3D scanned.
  1. Arm based scanners: Arm based scanners are very useful when measuring small minor parts, as it can be maneuvered by attaching it to the arm and is generally portable.

Arm-based scanner

Benefits of 3D Laser Scanners

3D scanners have contributed a lot over the years and needless to say, it comes up with many benefits. Some of them are as follows:

  • Able to scan tough surfaces, such as shiny or dark finishes.
  • This is strictly for the handheld or other portable scanners. But given their importance, it is safe to say that the portability of scanners has played a great role in easing up engineering.
  • The scanning technology has made it possible to capture millions of point in a considerably less time.
  • Scanners are less sensitive to changing light conditions and ambient light.
  • Scanning of complex contours and geometrical figures have become more convenient with the invention of groundbreaking scanning technologies.
  • Nowadays, laser scanners have become so diverse that they are produced depending upon variety of projects or the objects to be scanned.
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The New Product Development Process

You might be a seasoned design professional thinking “What do my bosses sit around and do all day while I do the real design work".

This section outlines and explores the various early stages of the industrial design process that a product goes through. It does serve as a reasonable account of the overall and general product design process.

  • Ideating or initial ideas

Before any design work can begin on a product, there must first be a definition of what the product or product line might be. The idea’s genesis can be many factors such as:

Consumer demand – Reviews & feedbacks from the customers or even their ideas can help companies generate new product ideas.

Internal sources – Companies provide incentives and perks to employees who come up with new product ideas

Market research – Companies constantly review the changing needs, requirements and trends of the market by conducting plethora of market research analysis.

Competition – Competitors SWOT analysis helps companies to generate ideas.

  • Idea screening

An idea can be excellent, good, moderate or very bad. Once a suitable product opportunity has been identified, a specification document or design brief is created to define the product. It is usually created by the higher management of a company who’ll have access to information, such as budgeting and buyer/seller feedback. This step involves filtering out the good and feasible ideas which maintains the technical integrity while staying within realistic cost expectations.

Features such as a mechanical specification or a reference to an existing invention the product might be based upon, are outlined. Expectations, uses, and underlying intelligence associated to the product are included as well. Electronics, including sounds, lights, sensors, and any other specific inputs, such as colors and new materials may also be mentioned. Finally, a few reference sketches or photo images can be added to convey a possible direction.

  • Concept design & development

All ideas that pass through the screening stage are turned into concepts for testing purpose. A concept is a detailed strategy or blueprint version of the idea. In most companies, designers work up a design brief or product specification that guides their designs. It’s the designer’s role to make these ideas a reality. A professional designer has the ability to provide a large variety of designs in a quick and efficient manner. Many people can draw one or two ideas, but when asked to elaborate they often fall short. What separates the true design professional is depth and breadth of their presented ideas and vision in a clear and concise manner. Concept design generally means the use of hand-drawn or digital sketches to convey what’s in a designer’s mind onto paper or a screen.

  • Business analysis

A detailed business analysis is required to determine the feasibility of the product. This stage determines whether the product is commercially profitable or not, whether it will have a regular or seasonal demand and the possibilities of it being in the market for the long run.

  • Modeling

With the help of 3D modeling software (CAD – Computer Aided Design), the ideas/concept is rendered a shape, thereby creating a 3D model. The technical and engineering team has the biggest workload during this phase. These 3D models will often show up problematic areas where the theoretical stresses and strains on the product to be developed will be exposed. If any problem persists, it is a best phase of product development to handle the design errors and come up with modifications to address the same.

  • Prototyping & pilot runs (preliminary design stage)

In this stage, prototypes are built and tested after several iterations and pilot run of the manufacturing process is conducted. This stage involves creating rapid prototypes for a concept that has been deemed to have business relevance and value. Prototype means a ‘quick and dirty’ model rather than a refined one that will be tested and marketed later on. Adjustments are carried out as required before finalizing the design.

  • Test marketing

Apart from continuously testing the product for performance, market testing is also carried out to check the acceptability of the product in the defined market and customer group. It is usually performed by introducing the new product on a very small scale, to check if there are any shortcomings. This helps to know in advance, whether customer will accept and buy this product on launching in the market. Test marketing is a powerful tool indeed.

  • New product launch

This is the final stage in which the product is introduced to the target market. Production starts at a relatively low level of volume as the company develops confidence in its abilities to execute production consistently and marketing abilities to sell the product. Product manufacturing expenses depend on the density of the product, if there are numerous parts, material selection etc. The organization must equip its sales and customer service entities to address and handle queries. Product advertisements, website pages, press releases, and e-mail communications are kept on standby on the launching day.

Product development is an ever evolving fluid process and cannot be summed up in a few steps. The entire procedure sees insertion of additional stages or even eviction of a crucial part, depending on the nature of the project. Each group of professionals, whether designers, engineers or marketing, sales; has their role to play in this methodology. It is the company’s responsibility to continuously monitor the performance of the new product.

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The Reverse Engineering process

Sometimes, situations arise where you don’t have access to a part’s original design documentation from its original production. This might be due to the absence of the original manufacturer altogether or stoppage on the production itself.

Reverse engineering empowers us to analyze a physical part and explore how it was originally built to replicate, create variations, or improve on the design. The goal is to ultimately create a new CAD model for use in manufacturing.

Let us take a look at the steps involved in reverse engineering. Commonly, it involves careful executions of the following steps:

  • Scanning

The first step involves using a 3D scanner for collecting the geometric measurements and dimensions of the existing part quickly and accurately using projected light patterns and camera system. Generally, the types of scanners used for such execution are blue light scanner, white light scanner, CT scanner and /or laser scanner. The former two captures the outward dimension and measurements while the latter two is capable of scanning the entire inside out.

  • Point Cloud

Once a certain part is scanned, the data gets transformed in the form of point clouds. Point cloud is a 3D visualization consisting of thousands or even millions of points. Point clouds define the shape of a physical system.

  • Meshing/Triangulation

This stage serves involves conversion of point clouds to mesh (STL or Stereolithographic format). Mesh generation is the practice of converting the given set of points into a consistent polygonal model that generates vertices, edges and faces that only meet at shared edges. Common software tools used to merge point clouds are Polyworks, Geomagic, ImageWare, MeshLab. The meshed part is then run for alignment in the mentioned software tools.

  • Parametric/Non-parametric Modeling

After the meshed part is aligned, it goes through either of two stages. The first option involves applying surface modeling on meshed part in tools such as Polyworks. It results in the generation of non-parametric model (IGES or STEP format). An alternate option is creating a sketch of the meshed part instead of putting it through surfacing. This work-process is known as parametric modeling (.PRT format). For a non parametric model, predicting future data is based on not just the parameters but also in the current state of data that has been observed. For a parametric model to predict new data, knowing just the parameters is enough.

  • CAD Modeling

The next stage consists of transferring the data through CAD software tools such as NX, Catia, Solidworks, Creo etc, for applying functions such as ‘stitch’, ‘sew’, ‘knit’, ‘trim’, ‘extrude’, ‘revolve’ etc for creation of 3D CAD model.

  • Inspection

This stage includes visual computer model inspections and alignment of the merged models against actual scanned parts (STL) for any discrepancies in the geometry as well as dimensions. Generally, inspection is carried out by using tools such as Polyworks or Geomagic. Reverse engineering inspection provides sufficient information to check tolerances, dimensions and other information relevant to the project.

  • Documentation

Documentation of 3D stage model depends solely on one’s technical/business requirements. This step is about converting 3D model to 2D sketch, usually with the help of tools such as inventor or Isodraw/Coraldraw, citing measurements which can be used for reference in the future.

 

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Types of Jigs and Fixtures

Till now, we know that jigs and fixtures are the devices which help in the machining of jobs and reducing the human efforts required for producing these parts. It has been explained before why a centre lathe is an ideal machine tool for creating individual pieces of different shapes and sizes, but for manufacturing similar objects in high number, its use is not that economical.

Different types of objects may require the use of drilling,milling, planning, and grinding machines, etc. Specific tools are necessary for producing these objects in identical shapes and sizes on a mass scale, by holding and locating tasks to minimize the repetition work. That is when various types jigs and fixtures come into play.

Considering the variety in the nature of jobs to be machined, the quality, and the associated functions, the type of jig and fixture varies as well. Following are the various kinds of jigs and fixtures.

Types of Jigs

Template Jig: The template jig is the simplest of all the models. The plate, having two holes, acts as a template which is fixed on the component to be machined.The drill is guided through these holes of the template and the required holes are drilled on the work-piece at the same relative positions with each other as on the template.

 

 

Plate Jig: A plate jig is an improvement of the template jig by incorporating drill bushes on the template.The plate jig is employed to drill holes on large parts maintaining accurate spacing with each other.

 

 

Channel Jig: Channel jig is a simple type of jig having a channel-like cross section. The component is fitted within the channel and is located and clamped by rotating the knurled knob. The tool is guided through the drill bush.

 

 

Diameter Jig: Diameter jig is used to drill radial holes on a cylindrical or spherical workpiece.

 

 

Leaf Jig: Leaf jig has a leaf which may be swung open or closed on the work for loading or loading purposes.

 

 

Ring Jig: Ring jig is employed to drill holes on circular flanged parts. The work is securely clamped on the drill body, and the holes are drilled by guiding the tool through drill bushes.

 

 

Box Jig: Box jig is of box-like construction within which the work is rigidly held so that it can be drilled or machined from different angles at a single setting depending on which face of the jig is turned toward the tool.

 

 

 

Types of Fixtures

Turning Fixtures: These fixtures are generally mounted on the nose of the machine spindle or a faceplate, and the workpieces held them. Whenever necessary, the fixture may have to be provided with a counterweight or balance the unbalance fixture.

 

 

Milling Fixtures: Milling fixtures are typically mounted on the nose of the machine spindle or a faceplate, and the work-pieces held them.The table is shifted and set in proper position, in relation to the cutter. The work-pieces are located in the base of the fixture and clamped before starting the operation.

 

 

Broaching Fixtures: Broaching fixtures are used on different types of broaching machines to locate, hold and support the workpieces during the operations, such as keyway broaching operations, such as keyway broaching, hole broaching, etc.

 

 

Indexing Fixtures: Several components need machining on the different surface such that their machined surface surfaces or forms are evenly spaced. Such elements are required to be indexed equally as many as the number of surfaces to be machined. The holding devices (jigs or fixtures) used are made to carry a suitable indexing mechanism. A fixture carrying such a device is known as an indexing fixture.

 

Grinding Fixtures: These fixtures may be the standard work-holding devices, such as chucks, mandrels, chuck with shaped jaws, magnetic chucks, etc.

Boring Fixtures: This fixture incorporates almost all the prevailing principles of jig and fixture design, their construction need not be as sturdy as that of the milling fixtures, because they never have to bear as heavy cutting loads as involved in milling fixtures, because they never have to endure as heavy cutting loads as involved in milling operations.

Tapping Fixtures: Tapping fixture is specially designed to position and firmly secure identical work-pieces for cutting internal threads in drilled holes in them. Odd shaped and unbalanced components will always need the use of such fixtures, especially when the tapping operation is to be carried out repeatedly on a mass scale on such parts.

Duplex Fixtures: It is the name given to the fixture which holds two similar components simultaneously and facilitates simultaneously machining of these components at two separate stations.

 

Welding Fixtures: Welding fixtures are carefully designed to hold and support the various components to be welded in proper locations and prevent distortions in welded structures. For this, the locating element need to be carefully; clamping has to be light but firm, placement of clamping elements has to be clear of the welding area. The fixture has to be quite stable and rigid to withstand the welding stresses.

Assembly Fixtures: The function of these fixtures is to hold different components together in their proper relative position at the time of assembling them. 

 

Source

The Engineers post, https://www.theengineerspost.com/jigs-and-fixtures

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Value Engineering

During the lifecycle of a particular product, companies tend to review the existing design to look out for ways to reduce production cost. Even when coming up with a new product, so many manufacturers go for analyzing the same during its design phase so that it requires an optimum level of cost to produce. This is where Value Engineering comes in.

Value engineering is an organized method to improve the “value” of a product or service in the lowest of cost.

VE is a systematic approach aimed at obtaining the necessary functions in a product, process, or system at the minimum overall cost, thereby maintaining the quality, reliability, performance, and safety. It provides the substitution of materials and methods with less expensive alternatives, without jeopardizing the functionality. It is emphasized totally on the functions of various components and materials, rather than their physical characteristics. Value engineering is also called value analysis.

It was Lawrence Miles who came up with the concept of finding substitute materials for parts unavailable.  It was found that substitutions not only reduced cost but aided in a better-finished product. It was this new technique that evolved into value engineering today.

The value in VE means two components:

  • Function: The measure of performance abilities
  • Cost: The resources needed to achieve the function

The function of a product is the specific task it was designed to perform, and the cost refers to the cost of the item during its life cycle. The ratio of function to cost denotes that the value of a product can be increased by either improving its function or decreasing its cost. In value engineering, the cost related to production, design, maintenance, and replacement are included in the analysis.

If we take an example of a new tech product which is being designed and is slated to have a life cycle of only two years; the product will be designed with the least expensive materials and resources that will live up to the end of the product’s lifecycle, saving the manufacturer and the end-user money. This is how product value is improved by reducing costs. It is evident that with the increase in function value and decrease in price, the overall product value increases. 

Stages of Value Engineering

There are three main stages to value engineering, which are:

  • Planning: Gathering product information, and understanding its primary goals, identifying the functionality of the product.
  • Design: Designing alternative ways to incorporate in the product which enhances the value rather than affecting its function and quality
  • Methodology: Reduce the action list as much as possible. Developing alternatives to feasible plans. Allocation of costs.
Benefits of Value Engineering

Value engineering helps an organization in numerous ways:

  • Lowering O&M costs
  • Improving quality management
  • Improving resource efficiency
  • Simplifying procedures
  • Minimizing paperwork
  • Reducing staff costs
  • Increasing procedural efficiency
  • Optimizing construction expenditures
  • Developing value attitudes in staff
  • Competing more successfully in the marketplace 

Value engineering concepts apply to business as well as technical situations and consequently lead management to informed, result-oriented decisions. Value engineering has to be treated as a future investment for gaining technology leadership in the industry.

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What is Industrial Design (ID)?

Every product you have in your home and interact with is the outcome of a design procedure. All those products have come into being after long hours of planning, sketching, rendering, 3D modeling. Not to mention the numerous prototypes and testing it has gone through to finally hit the shelves. The ideation and the procedure to develop a certain product is collectively called Industrial Design process or simply ‘Industrial Design’ (ID).

Industrial Design is the professional practice of conceptualizing and designing products, which are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production, eventually to be used by millions of people around the world every day.

An industrial product design process incorporates inputs from diverse domains such as ergonomics, form studies, studio skills, advanced cad, research methods, design management, materials & manufacturing processes and social sciences.

An industrial designer’s purpose is to emphasize on — appearance of a product, the functioning, how the product is manufactured and the value & experience it provides for users. Their sole intent is aimed at improving your life through design.

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What is Reverse Engineering ?

Let us start with an example. One day you get into your garage and find on the workbench a 'black box'. Stricken by curiosity, you build up an urge to discover what it 'is' and what it 'does'. You start with an inspection of the box's dimensions, color. Then you try to find its purpose and then how it operates. Not satisfied, you try to open it, break it apart, piece by piece in an attempt to understand what each component does and build up a pattern of how they would all interact together as one system. Finally you reach the end of your inquisition. You now fully (or partially) understand the box. This very approach is termed as Reverse Engineering.
Reverse engineering, also known as back engineering, is the process where a man-made object is dismantled completely to reveal its architecture, design or to extract knowledge from the object about its functioning and structural integrity.

Why do you need Reverse Engineering?

There might be innumerable reasons to adopt reverse engineering process. Some of the common cases are as follows:

  • The original manufacturer of a particular product no longer produces it. In some cases, situations arise where original manufacturer ceased to exist, but a customer needs the product. Then there are cases where an original supplier is unable or unwilling to provide additional parts
  • There is inadequate documentation or no documentation at all of the original design
  • To enhance and strengthen the good features of a product based on its long-term usage
  • To analyze the shortcomings of the product, thereby exploring new possibilities to improve product performance and features
  • To update obsolete materials or replace outdated manufacturing processes with more current, less-expensive technologies
  • The CAD model is not sufficient to support current manufacturing process; hence creating 3D models
 
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