Do you wonder how engineers innovate products in such a fast-paced global environment? The answer is simple. Engineers study brand new products through reverse engineering. Sometimes called back engineering, engineers disassemble an object to see how it works. Mainly, this process is used to learn how something works, but nowadays, it is used to duplicate or enhance the object.
It is important to mention that the technique is not limited to physical objects but also can be used in software, military technology, and even biology. The practice is done to gain knowledge from innovative products and repurpose it to gain a competitive advantage or simply understand how something works.
Purpose of Reverse Engineering
If you think about it, tinkering with a new product plays a vital role in a mechanical design and manufacturing-based industry. This technique is recognized as an essential process in the product design cycle. The technique can save you research and development costs and speed up the manufacturing process.
If you save cost on research and development, then the resulting product is relatively inexpensive than the original product. This, in turn, will be a deciding factor in people choosing where to buy.
Take the e-cigarette company, Juul, as an example. In 2015, Juul became famous as the best alternative for smoking. People loved their product because of its flavors and compact design. Their products are relatively higher in price than other e-cigarette devices, yet people still buy them. Recently, however, Juul has been declining in sales because other companies brought out products that have better qualities than Juul and are relatively cheaper too.
The point here is that the innovative Juul product has led to other companies making products that possess Juul elements, from its design to flavors. Despite being the pioneer in the industry, people choose similar cheaper products yet still grant the satisfaction that you get from the original product.
This is the role of back-engineering. With a bit of investigation and tinkering, a company can reverse-engineer products, figure out how they work, find some flaws, and make similar products feasible for the market.
How does Reverse Engineering work?
There are 3 basic steps of the reverse-engineering process. Although it depends on what product it is performed on, these three steps are common to all products.
- Information extraction
There is one cardinal rule regarding back-engineering. To avoid plagiarism, you must not merely imitate the product and thoroughly understand the mechanisms or technology behind it.
It is ethically wrong to just recreate the same product and sell it for cheaper. Instead, take the product apart piece by piece to determine how they fit together and gather information about its design. By doing this, you can also spot the flaws and get insights into producing a better product.
After gaining knowledge and insights on the studied product, you can then proceed to abstract it into your conceptual model. This step guides your design of new objects or systems by taking information from the original product and outlining it into a general model that you use as your base.
After constructing your model, it must be tested in different scenarios to determine if it is successfully reverse-engineered. Meaning, your model must ensure that it is a realistic abstraction of the original object or system.
How does Reverse Engineering affect goods production?
Back-engineering plays a massive role in sparking innovative and productive minds that manufacture products. This, in turn, expands the economy and market among numerous industries.
Reverse-engineering allows you to examine what already exists. And examining current products leads to innovation and discovery. The technique focuses on improving quality; therefore, any outdated kinks in the product can be eliminated, and a better product can be provided to the market. If the current product has any vulnerabilities, then you can incorporate changes that ensure the safety and well-being of your product’s users.
Reverse-engineering provides the opportunity to bring less expensive and more efficient products. This opportunity is essential in goods production because it will enhance user experience, get more customers to your door, and one-up the economy.
Another reason back-engineering is vital for production is that it gives way to innovative design. During this process, engineers connect projects with previous knowledge and harbor an existing product for a completely different project.
Reverse engineering provides engineers and manufacturers with design information for a product. The technique gives you a virtual copy of the blueprint that went into the original design.
With this, you can incorporate what aspects you want for your product and produce better goods than the original product. Additonally, manufacturers can bring cheaper and more efficient products to the market.
By studying the products manufactured by your competitors, you can speed up the time of introducing your products to the market. The money saved in research and development can be used in the future for investment in other parts of your business.