Three Times You Might Need to Reverse Engineer an Optical Component



3 Reasons to Reverse Engineer

“Reverse engineering” is a term with a bad reputation. It calls to mind patent violations and expensive legal wranglings. There are legitimate situations, though, when a company might need to work backwards to design an optical component that matches the performance of a commercial item.

1. Vendor Loss

Nothing lasts forever, including your suppliers. Companies drop product lines, change specifications, or go out of business altogether. If your product has come to rely on a unique part from a specific vendor, an interruption in your supply chain can choke your entire production process.

2. Margin Challenges

When it comes to a business’s basic survival, money actually is everything. Survival is all about maintaining a profit margin, and market forces beyond your control can shift that margin from black to red. You may find that a commercial component of your system has become suddenly unaffordable.

3. Outdated or Hard-to-Find Parts

When products are out-of-date or in need of repair, often the right optical components are nowhere to be found. It may be necessary then to redesign or upgrade the existing optics. Our lens design and systems design experts excel at this; when one company needed to refurbish their old surgical microscopes, we worked with them to rebuild the optical parts. 

Designing for Better Performance

If any of these situations occur, you might find yourself in need of an alternate source for a commercial part. By reverse engineering a design, you’ll be able to make an equivalent part yourself. The trick is to ensure that your design really does match the performance of the original part. For high-precision optical systems, this can be especially difficult. Ross can help.

Our optical engineers have the analysis and design expertise to ensure that replacement optical systems maintain or exceed performance specifications. With today’s advanced optical technologies, we can often enhance performance at the same or lower cost. We can also keep you cognizant of relevant intellectual property.

Once a design is in place, Ross can find optical elements that match your quality, quantity, and price requirements. Furthermore, we can keep those parts in stock at our facilities, saving you the expense of inventory management. We can even assemble your system for you, so that ordering your complete optical system is as easy as ordering a part from a catalog. 

Looking for matching components? We offer equivalent parts to now-defunct Rolyn Optics, as well as other matching catalog optics, at competitive prices.

Want more optical design tips? Download our Tolerancing Guide for ways to avoid over-specification.

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