As military systems age, the availability of spare parts can become increasingly challenging as key components may no longer be available from legacy sources. Form, fit and function replacements for these obsolescent parts must be found as well as reliable manufacturers. Fortunately, a host of tools for scanning, inspecting and prototyping are available commercially and also fielded at numerous DoD maintenance depots, providing the capability to quickly and accurately create 3-D models of parts as input to CAD models. 3D scanning for reverse engineering creates 3D design CAD models directly from physical parts. Through the reverse engineering process, it is possible to not only extract a digital shape of physical objects with insufficient design documentation and create 3D CAD models, but to gather strength and materials data as well. The end-to-end reverse engineering process is complex, expensive and technically challenging. This forum will examine the reverse engineering process, its challenges, and the tools and processes being employed by maintenance activities to provide ready and safe weapon systems to their customers at optimum cost.
1300-1309: Welcome and Overview – Greg Kilchenstein (OSD) 01 Reverse Engineering Intro & Final (Mar 2019)
1309-1310: Administrative Notes – Debbie Lilu (NCMS)
1310-1335: Intellectual Property Issues in Reverse Engineering” – Mike Acosta (MARCORSYSCOM) 02 IP & Legal Issues Related to RE
1335-1400: Reverse Engineering within COMFRC – David Price (NAVAIR)
1400-1425: Reverse Engineering for Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) – Eric Niemasz (CCDEVCOM FRC) 04 EricNiemasz
1425-1450: New Laser Scanner for Large Components – Doug Sutphin (Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence) Leica ATS600 Customer Presentation – March 26th 2019 – comp
1450-1500: Wrap-up and JTEG Principals Comments
Event: On 26 March 2019, the Joint Technology Exchange Group (JTEG), in coordination with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), hosted a virtual forum on “Reverse Engineering Technology Enablers”.
Purpose: The purpose of this forum was to examine the reverse engineering (RE) process, its challenges, and the tools and processes being employed by maintenance activities to provide ready and safe weapon systems to their customers at optimum cost.
Welcome: Greg Kilchenstein – OSD(MPP) welcomed everyone to the forum, thanked the presenters and all the listeners for their attendance, discussed the importance of RE in DoD sustainment, and then briefly previewed the agenda.
Administrative: This was an open forum. The presentations, along with questions and answers, were conducted through Adobe Connect. A separate audio line was used. Approximately 65 participants from across DOD and industry joined in the forum.
Intellectual Property Issues in Reverse Engineering – Mike Acosta (MARCORSYSCOM) discussed how Government rights in technical data and patent law considerations are the two aspects of intellectual property law that most significantly impact RE. The first is relevant to the way in which the Government’s reverse engineered tech data file is generated. The second is relevant to the actual making; using and selling of the build made with reverse engineered data. Some legal instruments do expressly prohibit reverse engineering: software licenses (routinely do this), confidentiality agreements (NDAs), contracts, and sales documentation. If RE is planned, don’t get bound by such Agreements. Mike suggests seeking legal counsel before committing the Government to such terms. Lastly, don’t copy and Trademarks when using RE.
Reverse Engineering within COMFRC – David Price (NAVAIR) and Scott Gray discussed certified 3D models, dimensional analysis, metrology tools, and creating a digital model with limited or no technical data. Measurements of a physical part are used to create nominal technical data. A combination of scan data and traditional measurement techniques are used. End uses include: analysis models, job performance aids, inspection models, custom fittings and tooling, artisan aids, support equipment, as-damaged models, and manufacturing (with limitations). As a general rule, the FRC’s do not reverse engineer aircraft parts if the intended end use is manufacturing (certified 3D model required).
Reverse Engineering for Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) – Eric Niemasz (CCDEVCOM) discussed lessons learned from implementing RE, including: key stakeholders are going to resist change (engineering, logistic and provisioning, and procurement strategy changes), build relationships and establish the organization as SME, documenting the value added is critical, and identify the impact of a single NSN on the platform. He described the RE process and factors that impact RE viability, and presented a couple examples.
New Laser Scanner for Large Components – Doug Sutphin (Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence) gave a presentation on the new Leica Absolute Tracker ATS600, which is a metrology grade large volume scanner, combining scanning with tactile measurements seamlessly. The ATS600 offers selective scanning capabilities, so only scan data that you really need, and is capable of fully autonomous inspection. Additionally, point cloud data from ATS600 is directly available within the application software for immediate feedback, i.e. Build & Inspect. Doug also discussed scanning accuracy, system components, application software, and comparisons to terrestrial laser scanners. He closed by demonstrating the ATS600 capabilities on a 15 foot stone Detroit tiger sculpture.
Q&A – A Q&A occurred after each briefer finished their presentation. Questions and answers will be posted on the JTEG website with these minutes.
Closing Comments: Greg Kilchenstein thanked the presenters for their contributions and all the work being done to support the development and implementation of reverse engineering capabilities in support of DoD sustainment operations. He suggested continuing the information exchange beyond the forum and the importance of collaboration within the DoD maintenance community.
- Three of the four briefings are cleared for “public release” and are posted on the JTEG website at http://jteg.ncms.org/ . The fourth will be posted once approved for public release.
Next JTEG Meeting: The next scheduled JTEG virtual forum is 30 April, 1:00 – 3:00 pm EST. The topic is “Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Research & Development”.
POC this action is Ray Langlais, firstname.lastname@example.org , (571) 633-8019
IP in Support of RE: Mike Acosta (MARSYSCOM)
Q1. Even though an engineer may not have directly used the OEM’s tech data, does their inherent knowledge of the contents of the tech data constitute a data rights infringement? People simply can’t unlearn something they have learned previously…
A1. It is a huge risk. Whether a court of law would rule yes or no, I can’t predict, but it’s best not to test it. Don’t take the risk.
Q2. If the government takes compulsory license to patented or copyrighted work, how is appropriate compensation determined? Does the government have a process to determine what that compensation is likely to be prior to taking a compulsory license?
A2. Choose either 1) administrative claim process and handle internally; 2) litigation; 3) Federal claims court.
Q3. In the case of a dispute regarding rights to tech data, who is the burden of proof on? DoD or industry?
A3. That’s a big question. There are a number of procedures a contractor has to fulfill. If the basis is funded at private expense, the government has the right to inquire. The burden of proof is on the contractor.
Q4. Since the definition of DoD maintenance includes re-manufacturing and modification, how does the OMIT rule apply to unlimited data rights?
A4. That is a contradictory question. I suggest reviewing the DFARS.
Q5. If the Government possesses proprietary data for a device, but the company refuses to make it, how can the Gov’t gain use of the data to find another source of supply?
A.5 Let’s assume the owner is an OEM. When the appropriate 3rd party works with the government, it is the 3rd party’s choice.
Q6. Is it true that when the DOD owns a weapon system that they have the right to reverse engineer anything on the aircraft?
A6. If the government owns the hardware, and the patent, then we can re-engineer it. If the government has limited rights to the patent – we should not use.
RE in COMFRC: David Price (COMFRC))
Q1. Are the FRCs attempting to be a “one stop shop” for RE thus lessening the need for industry RE Companies? We see this in the Air Force with the REACT Center, in the Army at the Prototype Integration Facility (PIF) and at the PIF at Pax River and several other governmental organizations.
A1. They kind of are already, though they are not competing.
Q2. How are requirements determined to be given to organic organizations vs contractors? What about the next logical step where potential sources have to be identified and qualified? How do these government organizations handle this?
A2. We look at private organizations capabilities. As far as qualifying, we provide them with the part and then review their analysis.
Q3. Did I hear correctly that the government created drawings and models are NOT used to manufacture the parts? If not – then what is the data used for?
A3. The data is used for analysis and repairs on non-flight critical items. That is because the models are uncertified.
RE for DMSMS: Eric Niemasz (CCDEVCOM)
Q1. COMMENT: Small point re Phase III SLIDE indicating Distribution Statement is applied only on finalized drawings. DoD Instruction 5230.24 requires Distribution Statement is to be applied even on drafts of technical data.
Q2. Do we keep metrics on the level of activity of RE in support of DSMS?
A2. We have an MOA with DLA Columbus and do have metrics on the amounts spent and associated cost avoidance.
Q3. Are we seeing a sharp increase in this area?
A3. Yes, we are. That is part of the reason why we came up with the Phases. Funding is allocated based on a selection process.
New Laser Scanner for Large Components – Doug Sutphin (Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence)
Q1. No Questions