Reverse engineering is the methodical process of testing, measuring and analyzing a working electric motor in order to recreate and manufacture that electric motor. It is a combination of replicating the past design with the application of current engineering best practices. The process involves an external and internal analysis of all geometry, analysis of the magnetic circuit, and the application of the latest materials, processes & finishes. It is a strategy to improve upon the original design where practical and warranted while maintaining the field-proven aspects of the legacy electric motor or generator design.
Axon’s focus is on electric motors and generators. Axon can bring new life to an electric motor design that may be at the end of its product life cycle for the current vendor. Whether it be a permanent-magnet brush DC motor, a field-wound brush DC motor, a 400 Hz three-phase AC induction motor, or a three-phase permanent magnet motor, Axon, in collaboration with its industry partners, can analyze the materials and the design to recreate the motor or generator. Axon can manufacture the recreated unit in our facility, or if per annum demand outstrips Axon’s standard capacity, Axon can work with key partners that specialize in high-volume production.
By reverse engineering a field-proven or qualified design, the costs of development are greatly reduced. Qualification requirements are also typically reduced, not requiring the full brunt of MIL-STD-810 & MIL-STD-461. The cycle time required to reverse engineer an existing design also tends to be shorter than one required for a brand-new design. This makes reverse engineering both budget- and schedule-friendly when compared to new development.
Now that we know that reverse engineering involves recreating a current design to continue production, when or why would a project require this? There are three main reasons to reverse engineer the electric motor or generator from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM): obsolescence (the OEM no longer makes the unit), sole source supplier (only one OEM exists), or poor supplier quality (too many defects in delivered units). For each category, a risk mitigation plan should be derived and implemented to avoid future (or limit current) problems and reverse engineering should play a pivotal role in mitigating those risks.