Over the past 120 years, manufacturers around the world have produced millions of machine products and parts. Due to continual advances in technology, few of these products have remained relevant for more than several years after their initial release. However, numerous old parts used in machines have stood the test of time. When the part malfunctions or breaks down completely, you replace the component, not the whole device. A process known as reverse engineering makes replacing these parts possible. Reverse engineering, sometimes called back engineering, is a process in which software, machines, aircraft, architectural structures and other products are deconstructed to extract design information from them. Often, reverse engineering involves deconstructing individual components of larger products. The reverse engineering process enables you to determine how a part was designed so that you can recreate it. Companies often use this approach when purchasing a replacement part from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is not an option. The reverse engineering process is named as such because it involves working backward through the original design process.