Reverse Engineering


The competitiveness of small and medium-sized manufacturing companies is based on product innovation and time-to-market reduction. The introduction in the market of new products that are increasingly competitive requires the adoption of a series of methodologies (TCT, Time Compression Technologies), whose integration allows to obtain significant reductions in planning, design and engineering times. Reverse Engineering (RE) is one of the tools supporting companies to tackle and overcome these challenges. This technology arises from the need to quickly realize prototypes (virtual and real) useful for the aesthetic-functional evaluation of the product being studied.
RE allows the reconstruction of a digital model starting from a real object or from a part of it. The method starts from the digitization and the measurement of the coordinates of the points belonging to the surface of an object and continues with the translation of the acquired points cloud in a CAD model, through different techniques chosen according to its geometry. This methodology is called Reverse because it is both conceptually and operationally opposed to traditional engineering systems that start from a CAD model to produce a real object.
Not only industrial design uses RE techniques, but also the automotive industry, the archaeological sector, the medical sector, the field of recovery of buildings belonging to the artistic and architectural heritage, the animation industry and the virtual world. RE is used in various situations that can be found even in very different fields:

  • When the model of a product is handcrafted by an artist and must be transformed into a CAD model to be included in the production cycle;
  • When a product undergoes variations during the development cycle for which it no longer adheres to the project and the reconstruction of a new model is necessary;
  • When there are no drawings of the object and this must be analyzed and/or reintroduced into production;
  • To replace the traditional CMMs to inspect tolerances.

Research activities that exploit RE technologies, within this department, are mainly focused in the fields of:

  • Industrial design: creation of multimedia catalogs of company products with the sharing of morphological information of the object, establishing an integrated collaboration between the various subjects involved in the production cycle, carrying out different types of analysis on the same model, etc.
  • Medicine: RE used in orthodontic treatments to measure and reproduce the teeth for the design of devices, in maxillofacial reconstructive surgery for the creation of prostheses, in the orthopedic field for the planning of interventions, and in the dental field for the digitization of certain devices in order to analyze their effect on anatomical components.


Reverse Engineering laboratory

  1. Mandolini, M., Brunzini, A., Germani, M., Manieri, S., Mazzoli, A., Pagnoni, M. (2019). “Selective laser sintered mould for orbital cavity reconstruction”. Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 25(1), pp.95-103,
  2. Brunzini, A., Gracco, A., Mazzoli, A., Mandolini, M., Manieri, S., Germani, M. (2018). “Preliminary simulation model toward the study of the effects caused by different mandibular advancement devices in OSAS treatment”. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, Vol. 21(13), pp. 693-702.
  3. Mengoni, M., Germani, M. (2009). Reverse Engineering and restyling of aesthetic products based on sketches interpretation, Research in Engineering Design, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 79-96, DOI: 10.1007/s00163-008-0054-1
  4. Mengoni, M., Germani, M., Mandorli, F. (2007). Reverse engineering of aesthetic products: Use of hand-made sketches for the design intent formalization, Journal of Engineering Design, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp. 413-435, DOI: 10.1080/09544820701403748
  5. Germani, M., Mandorli, F. (2005). How to automate the geometrical tolerances inspection: A reverse engineering approach, 9th CIRP International Seminar on Computer-Aided Tolerancing, Tempe, AZ; United States; 10-12 April 2005, pp. 147-156.
  6. Corbo, P., Germani, M., Mandorli, F. (2004). Aesthetic and functional analysis for product model validation in reverse engineering applications, CAD Computer Aided Design, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp. 65-74, DOI: 10.1016/S0010-4485(03)00078-2
  7. Cabibbo, M., Forcellese, A., Raffaeli, R., Simoncini, M., (2017). Reverse Engineering and scanning electron microscopy applied to the characterization of tool wear in dry milling processes, Procedia CIRP, Volume 62, pp. 233-238 10th CIRP Conference on Intelligent Computation in Manufacturing Engineering – CIRP ICME 2016; Ischia; Italy; 20-22 July 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.procir.2016.06.087
Scientific Manager
Working group