Obsolescence is a serious area of concern for all ongoing projects or programs. Unfortunately, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) pivot business models or close their doors, leaving an ongoing program with no support for the required project. This can mean that the electric motor or generator needed for actuation, propulsion, pumping, power generation, etc. is no longer available for a company’s active program. When this happens, the program must develop a path forward which usually has three options: cancel the project, develop a new solution, or reverse engineer the current solution.
Canceling an entire project, especially one for national defense, may not be a viable option. If the program has a risk mitigation plan, then there already may be a plan and a budget to develop and qualify a new solution. This is typically started prior to the loss of the current supplier given the long duration for development and qualification. But what if the loss of a supplier is more sudden or a company’s budget or schedule don’t allow for new development?
Then reverse engineering can prove to be an attractive solution because it begins with a field-proven or qualified design. When compared to new development and qualification, reverse engineering has a shorter cycle time to attain production and has reduced development costs, too.