An Automated Cost Estimating System for Variant Design Based on the Method of Successive Calculus
Paper in proceedings, 2003
For many products the adaption to customer specifications is essential and requires flexible product design and manufacture while maintaining competitive pricing. A large category of design work in industry has the character of redesign of an existing product concept in terms of dimensional changes, topology variations and configuration of components. In order to evaluate design proposals, costs, which are controlled by the product design, selected materials and manufacturing processes, need to be estimated. Cost estimates are normally based on the manufacturing process plans, which can only be formed when production preparation is finalised. The widespread industrial use of solid modelling opens up new possibilities to automate this process. The purpose of this work is to demonstrate and test a method to extract product information from a CAD model to allow process planning and cost calculation to be carried out automatically for a given class of products. With such a system cost estimates can be made available to the designer the instant a design proposal has been presented. This allows for design iterations to be carried out in order to govern the design work towards solutions with an optimal balance between product and production properties.