What is Reverse Engineering and How to Use in Design?

Reverse engineering is an advanced process of manufacturing where raw material data, product technology, and design are taken from an existing product. It can be applied to processes, systems, and software also. The information of very reverse engineering manufacturing process has been taken from existing products and then the new products can be developed.
For reverse engineering process has undergone the disassemble of the existing product then analysis of each and every part then also analysis the design.
Reverse engineering is also known as backward engineering or back-engineering.
Reverse engineering is applicable in the fields of computer engineering, mechanical engineering, design, electronic engineering, software engineering, chemical engineering, and systems biology.
Reverse engineering has originated from the analysis of hardware for industrial purposes and defense advantages. However, this process is not issued with developing a copy or modifying the artifact. It is just an analysis to identify the design features from existing products.
In few cases, the process of reverse engineering can be undergone for re-documentation of legal systems when the reverse engineered product will be developed by a competitor.
The ideal case for reverse engineering process is can be applicable only for the same manufactured company not for others. But some legal procedure has been developed for competitors as well in few countries but this process always causes conflict when competitor develop a new product by reverse-engineered product.

Possible Areas of Reverse Engineering

Machine Designing (3D CAD)

The most possible area of reverse engineering is machine designing through 3D CAD software where the existing physical part can be redesign using CAD-CAM & CAE software. 3D CAD software is getting more popular for the visual design of all kinds of physical machines of products.
The existing product can be dis-assemble and then with a 3D scanner the dimensions of each and every product can be measure easily. The existing product can be design on CAD software in 2D and 3D then every part can be assembled on CAD software and it can be run with motion analysis.
Once the 3D design of the existing product will develop on CAD then the modification and analysis can be performed easily.
So 3D modeling and CAD software is playing a major role in reverse engineering.

Software Development

Reverse engineering also plays a major role in software development and its services. The software data can be extract and the code of the software can easily display visually which is undergoing binary conversion. This binary data will help to develop the prototype software with some modifications.

Source Code

A number of UML tools refer to the process of importing and analyzing source code to generate UML diagrams as “reverse engineering.


Protocols are the combination of rules which describe information in message formats and how messages are exchanged. The new era of the protocol is developed by using a “finite state machine” which is a mathematical language, so reverse engineering can help to modify or develop new protocols by going through backward steps into those mathematical models.

Integrated circuits/smart cards

The PCB circuit board or smart cards are developed by the layering of multiple signal paths and every electronic path contains the data distribution of each device, so reverse engineering is very useful to find the information of each and every layer which contains the electronic information.

Military applications

Most of the nation is using reverse engineering for their defense product and machines from other’s nations’ technologies. Either they can buy their products (missiles, rocket, guns, satellites, nuclear weapon, etc.) or they can obtain from intelligence operations.
China has reversed engineered many examples of Western and Russian defense hardware systems, from jet aircraft to missiles and HMMWV cars, such as the MIG-15 (which became the J – 7) and the Su-33 (which became the J – 15). More recent analyses of China’s military growth have pointed to the inherent limitations of reverse engineering for advanced weapon systems.

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