Sometimes we get requests from customers who are out of viable options. In the case of a very large energy company, they simply gave us an assembly and asked us to replicate it twice. Then, they gave us something completely different and said how about replicating this? We said OK.

Reverse Engineering Application #1

The first case was to recreate a crane pendent with a very unique dead man’s switch with specific fit and functions. They had no schematics, but we were able to borrow their spare unit for a week. We mapped the unit, took 100 pictures, marked components, statically tested, and then started the redesign and build. One of our partners were able to recreate the Amphenol connector and pre-solder the leads on with 3-foot pig-tails. A local machine shop was able to recreate the dead man’s switch with Solid Works and then send to a CNC shop to fabricate. The rest just came down to getting the correct components and assembly. Prior to shipment, we had two engineers go through the completed unit for quality assurance

Reverse Engineering Application #2

The second case was a vintage synch board for a very large and very vintage drive. The challenge for this projects was it did not include schematics and involved unusual 460VAC to 48VAC 50VA transformers. We were able to find a source and complete the job. B&D fabricators in Loganville crafted the back plate. Our Senior Applications Engineer, Jeff Sandrock, fabricated the capacitor holders from scratch because configuration was not available anywhere. Again, two engineers did a QA inspection and power-up tests prior to shipping to the customer.

Last Words

Reverse Engineering is not a filthy word, sometimes there is not a way to replace equipment easily or inexpensively. The idea is to keep it running as long as possible and plan an upgrade in the future. If you look at why we invest so much time with SoftPLC (and our new AB RIO option card), as well as other specific lab projects, our goal is always to give customers options. If you have cable harnesses, old assemblies, battery designs or anything that you may want us to look at, just contact us or let our local branch folks get it from you.

C. Tolbert DOE