Reverse Engineering

What Is Reverse Engineering?

Reverse engineering in the process of taking apart a complex mixture or formula in order to understand its components and how they function. The process is similar to the combined processes of deformulation and reformulation. Polymer reverse engineering is often used for technology-based products, but can extend to any item that isn’t understood at face value, including polymeric materials. A company may be using a particular polymer like a coating or adhesive as part of a finished product that they market and sell, or perhaps as a component of a larger product. If there is possibility that this product could be improved using advanced formulation and technologies, reverse engineering could be employed to improve performance, reduce costs, and/or increase competitive advantages.

Polymer reverse engineering can also make it possible for a company to better understand competitors’ strategies and then create more efficient products. The understanding and data gained  could be used to help replicate similar systems more cost-effectively or improve current processes by finding new methods of manufacturing. Ultimately, reverse engineering helps make companies more competitive and profitable.

Challenges of Reverse Engineering

The reverse engineering process often requires specialized equipment and advanced analysis expertise, making it an expensive process. Additionally, the analysis process can be very time-consuming because every item component must be studied thoroughly to decrypt it, which also adds to the overall cost.

In addition to this, polymer using reverse engineering in product development could potentially be limited by patent protection on current products and processes. If it is found that a current product, formula, or process is covered by an active patent, then it becomes necessary to develop options outside that patent’s claims to allow for legal manufacture and sale of a new product.

Reverse Engineering Workflow

National Polymer has developed a workflow that we have found quite successful in analyzing polymeric formulas of unknown components and then reconstructing that compound for production use.

  • First, via thorough analysis by our team of scientists and engineers using advanced equipment and techniques, we carefully deformulate all the components that comprise the polymer being analyzed. During this phase, testing is done against the original polymer control sample to ensure that the reverse engineering process is proceeding accurately.
  • Next, we recreate that polymeric formulation via a reformulation process to confirm the accuracy of our deformulation process. During this phase of work, testing is done against the original control sample of the material being deformulated to ensure that the formulation or synthesis is proceeding as needed to reproduce the desired properties. If the resulting reformulation does not perform adequately, we go back to the start to find what we missed.
  • Once we confirm our reformulation, if desired, we can then spend time on optimizing a new and improved version of the polymer for enhanced features, lower cost, and or better performance.
  • A prototype is produced next for validation testing and approval.
  • Next, we make test batches to once again confirm the results of the reformulation and to determine the most effective and efficient methods to produce it in the quantities desired.
  • Finally, we scale-up into full production of the desired end product.

National Polymer is highly experienced in the reverse engineering of a wide array of adhesives and coatings. Our team of scientists, chemists, researchers, and production specialists are available to review and discuss your needs. Call us at (800) 679-0477 or use this online contact form to connect with one of our reverse engineering experts for a no cost, no obligation consultation.

Reverse engineering in a lab

Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering dissects a complex item or element in order to know how it works, functions, and what its individual component parts are. The data compiled via reverse engineering can help produce newer, more efficient versions of the original and/or in a more cost effective manner. This process can also be used to help protect intellectual property from improperly being used by other people or entities.

Let's Collaborate!

National Polymer is a recognized leader in the novel polymer research, development, and manufacturing. We welcome the opportunity discuss your projects or challenges via a free initial consultation, to see if we can enhance your current situation or help solve a problem. We look forward to reading from you!