As DoD’s weapon systems age, obtaining repair parts can become increasingly challenging as commercial supply sources become scarce. DoD maintainers are often forced to either locally purchase or even manufacture supply parts. Advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing and CAD machines have made producing non-stocked parts increasingly more viable. However, DoD often does not possess the design and manufacturing data required to produce the parts or source them commercially. Fortunately, a host of tools for scanning, inspecting and prototyping are available which have 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.
Event: On 27 June, 2017, the Joint Technology Exchange Group (JTEG), in coordination with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), hosted a virtual forum on “Reverse Engineering, 3D Scanning & Prototyping”.
Purpose: The purpose of this forum was to 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.
Welcome: Greg Kilchenstein (JTEG Co-Chair) welcomed everyone to the forum, thanked the presenters and all the listeners for their attendance, and 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 45-50 participants from across DOD and industry joined in the forum.
TARDEC DMSMS/Reverse Engineering – Jason Middleton (TARDEC) discussed diminishing Manufacturing Sources & Material Shortages (DMSMS) and the importance of reverse engineering practices as a known “value added” for customers. He described a “holistic” customer specific obsolescence approach with data driven analysis to “early-identify” potential Reverse Engineering (RE) efforts. He followed with a description of RE candidate selection, project development, implementation, and release.
Reverse Engineering, 3D Scanning & Prototyping within COMFRC – David Price (FRCSW) & Justin Reynolds (FRCE) described the FRCSW Advanced Measurement Systems Reverse Engineering Lab (AMSREL) which utilizes a metrology technology that can digitally compare a 3D model to an off-aircraft part; the FRCE Manufacturing Digital Data Center that employ RE when applicable to rectify discrepancies internal to drawings, or when compared to in-service components; the FRCE Precision Measurement Center (PMC), the Manufacturing Model Management System (3MS) which was created at FRCSW to add a higher level of scrutiny to 3D models prior to manufacturing; and data acquisition for dimensional analysis.
X-Ray Reverse Engineering Techniques – Laura Watson (NUWC Keyport) described radiographic analysis of printed wiring boards (PWBs) using Computed Tomography (CT) as well as 2D x-ray techniques, where images are converted to a vector format suitable for Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). This technique is an excellent solution for maintenance of obsolete systems because it is can be used for fast, accurate, and non-destructive Circuit Card Assemblies (CCAs) analysis, facilitates the generation of Technical Data Packages (TDPs), minimizes first article testing and board requalification, extends repair capability through accurate reproduction of assets, and extends the life expectancy of systems nearing obsolescence.
ATOS 3D Scanning – Ben Thomason (AMRDEC Metrology Team Lead) described RE related activities being performed at AMRDEC and showed a short video of one of the scanning techniques. We hope to have his information readily available and posted shortly.
3D Scanning – Scott Geller (PartWorks, LLC) described PartWorks as performing an integrated approach to scanning, reverse engineering and prototyping. Some of the capabilities include:
- Laser Scanning and CMM Onsite
- Offsite File Analysis for:
- Inspection using GeoMagic Control X, GOM Inspect
- Inbound Part Verification
- Outbound First Article Inspection, Conformance
- Reverse Engineering
Reverse Engineering – Michael Raphael (Direct Dimensions, Inc) talked about 3D scanning for manufacturing: methods, tools, and applications for industrial reverse engineering of legacy parts, to include a range of 3D scanning tools, Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) workflow, and industrial applications for 3D scanning.
Closing Comments: Greg Kilchenstein thanked the presenters for their contributions and the audience for their participation. He commented on the fantastic coverage of RE included in the presentations and the importance of the process, teaming/partnership, and the tools & technology to the DoD maintenance community.
Obtain “public release” versions of the presentations and post to the JTEG website. These meeting minutes, the Q&A, and those briefing slides approved for public release, will be posted on the JTEG website at http://jteg.ncms.org/ . (All presenters, LMI, NCMS)
Next JTEG Meeting: The next JTEG virtual forum is 25 July, 1:00 – 3:00 pm EST. The topic is “Troubleshooting Intermittent & Steady State Electronic Faults”.
POC this action is Ray Langlais, firstname.lastname@example.org , (571) 633-8019
TARDEC DMSMS/Reverse Engineering – Jason Middleton (TARDEC)
Q1. How do you estimate and track the value/ROI of RE efforts for the TARDEC enterprise?
A1. The Army handbook with cost estimator tools. Also, it depends on the customer as well, for example, DLA uses an ROI based on annual demand value. We ask what would industry charge? We look at the history and perform a BCA. We also have a SharePoint site utilized to track and view status.
Q2. Do you aggregate those and look at it from a higher level?
A2. We used cost savings for previous years to grow the effort.
Q3. Does the DLA 339 process resource most of your RE efforts?
A3. It has been the only one so far, and sources the initial investigation in the candidate/project selection phase.
Q4. Can you characterize how much of your RE efforts are done in house versus on contract?
A4. In house..about 70% of the effort including project management, implementation and the development of prototypes. Component testing is performed by outside partners.
Q5. How are you projecting what the next RE effort will be….moving toward Proactive?
A5. That is where we are heading. We are working to get embedded in the PM meetings
Q6. What kind of changes do you suggest to reduce product costs – GD&T, material selection, manufacturing process selection?
A6. Opening up the competition is the best way.
Reverse Engineering, 3D Scanning & Prototyping within COMFRC – David Price (FRCSW) & Justin Reynolds (FRCE)
Q1. How do you keep up with the ever changing technology with regards to CMM, optical scanners, or 3D Printers?
A1. It’s difficult because it is not standardized. Each team is charged with that effort. We try to leverage industry best practices. Our purchases are very deliberate such as bringing in SMEs.
Q2. Does COMFRC perform RE for customers other than NAVAIR?
A2. Kind of limited to Navy at this point.
Q3. How do we get copies of the presentations? Will a link be mailed out?
A3. They will be posted on the JTEG website once they are cleared for public release. www.jteg.ncms.org
X-Ray Reverse Engineering Techniques – Laura Watson (NUWC Keyport)
ATOS 3D Scanning – Ben Thomason (AMRDEC Metrology Team Lead)
Q1. Scan at the micron level? Can we see surface anomalies and cracks using these scanners?
A1. Yes & No. We have another system that does surface anomalies. The lenses can also be switched out
Q2. Can we use this scanning capability to inspect critical components such as gas turbine engine airfoils?
A2. Yes, and it has been performed.
3D Scanning – Scott Geller (PartWorks, LLC)
Q1. Who are your DoD customers? Are you currently doing any work for WRAFB or MC Albany in Georgia?
A1. We are not working with any DoD customers at this point. We are trying to get introduced into that side of the business.
Q2. If you use CAS vice RE, how much do you lose in terms of size tolerance and/or material properties?
A2. CAS can pick up more irregular textures than RE, but will not pick up internal spaces and parts. The materials we use have no shrinkage.
Reverse Engineering – Michael Raphael (Direct Dimensions, Inc.)
Q1. Do you have tools to automate the process of taking 2D drawings and creating 3D models?
A1. No. We have done it, but do not specialize in it. There are companies that do specialize in it. Mainly we start with 3D data.