Reverse engineering of Shukhov team saves the lives of Belgorod residents!

Traditionally, engineering in any production - from matches to space rockets - is directed from project to product. In the process of pre-production preparation, the project undergoes many improvements, improvements and optimizations. Reaching the stage of release and commissioning, the project is already becoming technically complete and workable product. The direct production engineering scheme is simple and effective in cases when the product is just entering the market and it has a long way to go without problem operation and refinement. Design documentation, digital model, production and repair technology are carefully stored at the manufacturer, waiting for the next modernization for specific technological tasks and re-release of the product. But what to do when an industrial product or a significant part of the operating equipment, which has been effectively used for a long time, suddenly fails, requires repair and restoration, and sometimes a complete replacement, often expensive, original or completely impossible due to the inaccessibility of the manufacturer, depending on the monopolist supplier ? Engineers see a way out in reverse engineering of industrial products - a complex of science-intensive and resource-intensive, but effective for the equipment owner measures that implement the production cycle in the opposite direction: from careful research and measurement of the finished product to restoration of its full digital copy, design documentation for production or even industrial reproduction, often with improvements and technological innovations in design and technology.

At the flagship  university, reverse engineering technologies are used in the activities of the engineering center of the Technopark of BSTU named after V.G. Shukhov (D.V. Bogdanov), supervised by the Department for Procurement Control and Logistics (A. Lyutenko). The center is engaged in digital design and additive technologies in mechanical engineering and production, actively using visualization and control of technological processes in virtual and augmented realities. For joint work on real tasks and projects, the center connects the university’s production, scientific and educational divisions with the production facilities of the technopark - a site for processing and manufacturing of wooden and metal products and creative workshops. The center has powerful graphic stations for working on large projects, 3D printers modified by university developments, and high-precision measuring and processing equipment.

In the current pandemic, for Russians and Belgorod residents, access and performance of medical equipment, mainly diagnostic equipment, for the most part expensive and imported, are of particular importance. Heavy duty and increased load on the equipment leads to accelerated wear and breakdown of its parts and components. Stopping, even brief, diagnostic equipment carries enormous risks to human health and life. And this happened at the end of March with a computer tomograph in operation in the second city hospital in Belgorod, which is effective in diagnosing the primary signs of coronavirus, and therefore is a highly demanded medical device. In the most intense and least suitable period of the tomograph's operation, a mechanical failure of a very important system occurred, which instantly turned tens of millions of high-tech apparatus into a useless interior of the hospital, and hundreds of patients awaiting diagnosis - into potential victims of a dangerous disease. Repair and maintenance of the tomograph by the manufacturer was impossible because of their isolation, and the search, order and delivery of the spare part threatened to stretch for months, which was completely unacceptable.

Andrey Ivanovich Kalashnikov, a mechanical engineer at the construction materials and chemical industries enterprises, a graduate of the mechanical equipment department of our university, is successfully working as part of the hospital’s engineering group that provides maintenance of complex and expensive equipment. It was he who, engaged in disassembling, troubleshooting and sketching of failed parts, proposed to seek technical assistance from his own university in the recent past, counting on the qualifications of specialists known to him and qualified technical assistance.

The results of collaboration with researchers at the flagship university exceeded the wildest expectations in terms of production and quality of manufactured products. A group of our experts, under the leadership of Sergey Antsiferov, performed the reverse engineering of the damaged parts according to the sketches presented, created their optimized digital models, produced a sufficient number of spare parts for the repair perspective on a 3D printer of their own design, and assembled and commissioned the finished products. The full performance of the tomograph was restored within one working day, and the completed parts exceeded the original foreign ones in quality and working capacity. So Shukhov mechanics once again managed to confirm their highest professional level and the status of the university as a reliable and competent industrial partner.

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