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Technical Paper

The Theory of Cost Risk in Design

1999-03-01
1999-01-0495
In a recent paper (Hoult & Meador, [1]) a novel method of estimating the costs of parts, and assemblies of parts, was presented. This paper proposed that the metric for increments of cost was the function log (dimension/tolerance). Although such log functions have a history,given in [1], starting with Boltzman and Shannon, it is curious that it arises in cost models. In particular, the thermodynamic basis of information theory, given by Shannon [2], seems quite implausible in the present context. In [1], we called the cost theory “Complexity Theory”, mainly to distinguish it from information theory. A major purpose of the present paper is to present a rigorous argument of how the log function arises in the present context. It happens that the agrument hinges on two key issues: properties of the machine making or assembling the part, and a certain limit process. Neither involves thermodynamic reasoning.
Technical Paper

Cost Awareness in Design: The Role of Data Commonality

1996-02-01
960008
Enhanced information management techniques made available through emerging Information Technology platforms hold a promise of providing significant improvements in both the effectiveness and efficiency of developing complex products. Determining actual management implementations that deliver on this promise has often proven elusive. Work in conjunction with the Lean Aircraft Initiative at MIT has revealed a straight forward use of Information Technology that portends significant cost reductions. By integrating previously separate types of data involved in the process of product development, engineers and designers can make decisions that will significantly reduce ultimate costs. Since the results presented are not specific to particular technologies or manufacturing processes, the conclusions are broadly applicable.
Technical Paper

Predicting Product Manufacturing Costs from Design Attributes: A Complexity Theory Approach

1996-02-01
960003
This paper contains both theorems and correlations based on the idea that there is a uniform metric for measuring the complexity of mechanical parts. The metric proposed is the logarithm of dimension divided by tolerance. The theorems prove that, on the average, for a given manufacturing process, the time to fabricate is simply proportional to this metric. We show corrleations for manual turning (machine lathe process), manual milling (machine milling process), and the lay-up of composite stringers. In each case the accuracy of the time estimate is as good as that of traditional cost estimation methods, but the effort is much less. The coefficient for composite lay-up compares well to that obtained from basic physiological data (Fitts Law).
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