A methodology has been developed that enables designers to estimate the cost of a product at the conceptual stage of design with minimal component information and little or no experience of the intended production process. The methodology is based on a parametric approach in which the information available at the conceptual design stage is directed through a set of data converters to give values of parameters which have been identified as the cost drivers. Parametric equations derived from a large database of component information, are then used to calculate a cost estimate. This methodology has been used to develop a computer-based cost estimating system for a range of injection-moulded components. It is capable of estimating costs to within 20% and is the first stage in the development of a conceptual cost comparison system.
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