26 May 2023

The benefits of reverse engineering

Reverse engineering is used in many different disciplines across multiple industries. In a nutshell for AEGIR-Marine: reverse engineering is the analysis of existing maritime parts in order to re-manufacture those parts.

In this interview, AEGIR’s propulsion group manager Jan-Willem Meijer talks about how the company combines the most up-to-date techniques with ‘old school’ skills to bring reverse engineering benefits to its clients.

When do you use the process of reverse engineering?
We use the technique of reverse engineering when a client needs components that are obsolete or not available (in time). We use a handheld 3D scanner to produce a 3D image of an existing component. Then we use drawing software to make the new production drawings. We can use this 3D scanner on anything: bolts, OD boxes, internal and external propulsion components. We recently went to Dubai to scan a set of gears for a client. This was an old piece of equipment, with lots of wear and tear, that needed replacing. But the client didn't have these items on stock and couldn’t be provided with the right parts. That’s where we come in.

In terms of precision, what kind of scale are you talking about?
We can scan components down to an accuracy of 0.025 mm. That means, for very detailed components like the set of gears, we can make extremely detailed production drawings very quickly.

So you take the scanner to the client?
We can fly the scanner with a specialised technical engineer anywhere in the world, perform the reverse engineering, and make the production drawings so that the client can get the component produced as soon as possible. When a ship is in dock, the time pressure is often determining in terms of cost control. We have made this whole process very fast.

What happened to the ‘old school’ technique of measuring by hand?
We still do that on a daily basis; we haven’t forgotten our roots of hands-on craftsmanship. Production drawings can of course be made from reverse engineering measurements that have been taken by hand. A chemical analysis and/or XRF scanner is used to determine what the material is. Our reason to invest in the scanner was that we wanted the ability to scan something for a client anywhere in the world in the shortest time possible. Having our own scanner means that we are independent of third parties; that makes us faster.

What are the main benefits of AEGIR-Marine’s reversed engineering to its clients?
The first advantage is delivery time. We at AEGIR-Marine are fully aware of that every day we can deliver earlier will save our customer time and therefore money. The second advantage is cost. Most parts we are dealing with are either obsolete or not available. This doesn’t fit in with the production process of an OEM and most of the time it will come with extra costs for that specific part.

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