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  • Writer's pictureParts Life, Inc

Forward Engineering: What is it? Why is it important? How and where is it useful?

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Designers use available components when designing electronic and electrical applications. As time passes many of these components are discontinued due to low demand, design changes, ownership changes, etc., resulting in obsolescence. In addition, Military Program Managers are employing mission-critical assets and systems well beyond their design life.

These realities can cause major problems for Program Managers who lack the technical data packages and approved component sources to fall back on, which leaves them up a creek without a paddle. This is called DMSMS – Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages.

Parts Life specializes in solving the DMSMS problem of what to do when an asset is no longer available due to obsolescence. The company’s “Replicate” process recreates the required technical data package (TDP) when necessary. Parts Life engineers then verify that all required components and processes are available to replicate the asset. When shortages arise due to a current or anticipated lack of a component, our engineers “forward engineer” or “value engineer” using form, fit and functional analysis to identify alternate components that can be used in the asset. Alternate components are chosen with an eye on future availability – we want to solve this DMSMS issue for the life of the asset!

The forward engineered TDP is then submitted to the Engineering Service Activity at the customer for component or design change approval. This strategy is becoming an increasingly effective way to solve the obsolescence challenge and extend the life of mission-critical assets.

Replicate is just one leg of our 5R® obsolescence solution strategy developed to support the US warfighter and taxpayer, and to help maintain a healthy defense industrial base with cost-effective mission readiness solutions.


Parts Life, Inc. is a certified AS9100D engineering service provider, manufacturer, and alternate source supplier for DMSMS and obsolete replacement components on military systems and subsystems. Our value-added reverse engineering processes address missing or incomplete technical data needed prior to manufacturing. Services, such as R.O.P.E.® (Rapid Obsolescence Planning and Execution) and 5R® (Reverse Engineering, Remanufacturing, Recertify, Repair, Replicate) deliver manufacturable data with source approval to manufacture replacement parts. In our Prototype Integration Facility, parts and components are manufactured and tested for form, fit, and function to ensure each piece meets and surpasses OEM requirements. Our electronic, electric, and electrical manufacturing capabilities include wiring harnesses and electronic test sets.



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