Use Reverse Engineering to Find the Perfect Components for your Product

Reverse engineering can help engineers create better food packagingA product is only as good as the sum of its components. Whether you’re a chef hunting for the freshest ingredients, or an electrical engineer looking for the highest quality parts, you take care in selecting components because you don’t want the quality of your product to suffer from one bad ingredient or part.

When choosing components, price is an important consideration, but quality and functionality will ultimately determine how well the component integrates into your product. But how do you know which component is superior when every vendor claims to have the best product? That’s where reverse engineering comes in.

Reverse engineering is the process of analyzing a product in order to deduce what it is made of and how it was designed. You may have heard of manufacturers using reverse engineering to reproduce their competitor’s products. However, that is not the only function of reverse engineering. It can also be used to analyze the materials and design of a component. Using reverse engineering to learn more about how a component was designed and what it is made of can help manufactures find the best parts for their products. For instance, manufacturers who want to avoid phthalates in their products should use reverse engineering to avoid purchasing components that contain phthalates.

Here are some more examples of how manufacturers can use reverse engineering and materials analysis in order to choose the best components for their products.

Which Packaging Better Preserves Freshness?

Food producers know how important it is to find the perfect packaging for their products. Packaging can have a huge impact on the freshness and preservation of food products. The freshness and shelf life of food directly impacts the supply chain and profitability of a company. Food packaging must also meet safety standards to ensure that no toxic chemicals from the packaging leach into the food product, so it’s very important to understand what food packaging is made of.

Engineers have become very sophisticated in the way they create food packaging. For instance, food packaging may be comprised of multiple layers or specially designed plastic with each layer serving a unique purpose. Some layers may be intended to seal moisture in, while other layers are permeable to allow fresh produce to circulate air.

When deciding between two types of food packaging, it may be impossible to distinguish with the human eye which packaging is higher quality and better designed. To make matters more complicated, packaging providers may not be required to disclose exactly what their products are made of.
When asked to analyze multilayered packaging, the scientists at Innovatech Labs used digital photography to visually capture the different layers, and analyze their thickness. They then used Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR analysis) to closely analyze the material in each layer of the packaging. The spectra obtained through FTIR analysis from each layer were then searched against a library of reference spectra for identification. After the client learned what the two multilayered bags were made of, they were able to decide which product they preferred.

Finding a Competitive Advantage

A food service vendor wanted to know if a new vegetable oil on the market was comparable to the oil that they were currently selling. The new oil was said to have a longer shelf life, but the vendor wanted to make sure that there wasn’t a difference in the quality of ingredients. Gas chromatography mass spectrometry, or GC/MS analysis, was used to analyze the two types of vegetable oils and found that the vegetable oil that they were currently using contained additives of palmitic acid. Palmitic acid is considered unhealthy because it is an unsaturated fat, so the food vendor decided to purchase the new oil because it had a longer shelf life and better nutritional value.

Are you having a difficult time deciding between products or components from competing vendors? Instead of being influenced solely by price or sales pitches, let the professionals at Innovatech Labs use reverse engineering to scientifically determine which product is the best fit for your needs. Contact us to learn more about our reverse engineering services.

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