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Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering is a form of cheating when used in industry to copy someone's product and produce it as your own.

Reverse Engineering is a tool to understand someone else's product to verify that your product is better and different.

Reverse Engineering is an essential tool when you need to design counter measures against something that is causing harm. For example: In WWII, the German's had a coding device that made communications traffic secure. Once this device was Reverse Engineering and understood, codes could be broken at will.

The most important aspect of Reverse Engineering is the ability to return a device to its owner and they have no clue that you looked inside. In fact, if you are clever enough, one does not even need to take it out of the shipping box!

Reverse Engineering par excellence

One of Martin Sala's top skills is gaining understanding of how and why something works, how to enhance, exceed or defeat a design.

By utilizing tools of the trade, or in many cases, inventing new tools, an unknown device (or system) can be analyzed, broken into sub-components and re-constructed. For example, in the design of an ultra-capacitor, does the competitor's design infringe on the design waiting to go into production?


Here one sees the capacitor on the left. The right hand image is a digital x-ray. There is some detail, but the how it is built is not easily discernable.


Now if you take a CT (Computed Axial Tomography) scan, it becomes obvious how this device is built. This image data can be further manipulated to show specific sections of the device, material density, and even spectrographic information (what is it made of?).

Reverse Engineering is a sub-set of Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) and can be used to figure out how a product is failing, how well is it being produced or just "what does it look like inside?"


This is a slice through half of a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) . The filter is made of a ceramic material that allows a gas to flow through the walls, but not microscopic dust particulates. The inlet channel is plugged at the opposite end. The outlet channel is plugged at the inlet end. This forces the gas through the walls, leaving the particles behind. If even one outlet plug is missing the over-all efficiency of the DPF suffers. In the pre Martin Sala days, the only way to check a DPF was to saw it open; if it was good, you just wasted product.

Using a CAT scanner, it is easy to see where the plugs are missing, the quality of plugging and even the integrity of the DPF walls. Martin Sala has designed systems that will automate the process, so as a DPF passes through the scanner, a GO/ NO-GO test can be applied.