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