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Int. J. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35

Cost estimation in mechanical production: The Cost Entity approach applied to integrated product engineering
Fehmi H’midaa,Ã, Patrick Martinb, Franc - ois Vernadata

LGIPM, University of Metz, Ile Du Saulcy, 57012 Metz Cedex 1, France b LGIPM, ENSAM CER Metz, France Received 28 April 2003; accepted 21 February 2005 Available online 19 August 2005

Abstract A new approach for product cost estimating in mechanical production is proposed within the framework of integrated product engineering. The approach introduces the new concept of Cost Entity. It is made necessary due to the current context of growth of indirect costs, especially in manufacturing. The objective, i.e. establishing a tight link between technical variables (or manufacturing features) and economic variables (modeled as Cost Entities), requires to model the reasoning procedure and associated knowledge related to cost estimating. To achieve this, two models, a Product Model and a Costgrammes Model, are presented and used to represent and capitalize technical knowledge. The cost estimating reasoning procedure, that takes into account alternative process plans of a product, is modeled and solved by a constraint satisfaction problem (CSP). The solutions of the problem are ranked by economic satisfaction order. The case of a Termoz part is used as an illustrative manufacturing example. r 2005 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Keywords: Cost estimating; Integrated product engineering; Cost entity; Manufacturing features; Constraint satisfaction problems (CSP)

1. Introduction For most industrial companies, cost estimation methods mostly determine the performances of two strategic functions: product design and pricing (or quotation).
ÃCorresponding author. Tel: +33 3 87 34 69 47;

fax: +33 3 87 34 69 35. E-mail address: (F. H’mida). 0925-5273/$ - see front matter r 2005 Published by Elsevier B.V. doi:10.1016/j.ijpe.2005.02.016

It is commonly admitted that product design can engage up to 70–80% of the total product cost (Asiedu and Gu, 1998). The recent progress achieved in Integrated Engineering such as concurrent engineering or integrated design opens a new field for cost estimating during the design stage. The objective of these approaches is to take into account manufacturing knowledge as early as possible in the design stage (Parsaei et al., 1997; Roy et al., 1999).

Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 In a competitive market. Matthews. In design activities. we came to the conclusion that two support models are required (H’mida. the inability of a company to quickly and adequately satisfy successful requests for quotation can echo severely on its capacity to survive economically (Veeramani and Joshi.e. the property that makes explicit in the form of an analysis network the links of the costs from accounting recording to their incorporation in products or services) is more difficult to achieve with the traditional approaches for cost estimating. Lorino. These methods are really fast because they are essentially synthetic. the lack of information about the cost structure (e. both in terms of design and quotation. and to replace the analyticalbased methods commonly used in manufacturing process planning. 1983.g. Material costs: occur by consuming materials 2. assigning only one cost value to the product limits the transparent negotiation of the cost/delay ratio with the customer.e. 1999. Bouquin. J.ARTICLE IN PRESS 18 F. 1990). Second. 1983. 2002. Indeed. materialized by the support activities. 1991). many companies apply parametric and analogous cost estimation methods (Duverlie and Castelain.e. the limits of which have been analyzed by several authors (see for instance. defined as a constraint satisfaction problem (CSP). . The manufacturing cost of a part can be estimated using one or more of four basic methods: intuitive. they provide the total cost of the product according to some of its characteristics. The product cost structure includes gradually a more important part of indirect costs. These are based on concepts such as main and secondary cost centers and data (e. Their traceability (i. Knowledge modeling is carried out using two manufacturing-oriented models: a Product Model and a Costgrammes Model. 2. The Costgrammes Model is based on the Cost Entity (CE) concept introduced in this paper. Direct costs: may be directly allocated to a cost object. hourly rates) issued from cost accounting. 1996). the sum of the manufacturing operation costs of its manufacturing features). composition) and about the product production processes (i. In manufacturing. it is common to classify costs from two standpoints. The reasoning model first concerns the cost estimating procedure of a manufacturing process (i. 1987. Stewart. In quotation activities. 1992). First.e. cost estimating is the art of predicting what it will cost to make a given product or batch of products (Matthews. 2. 1991. Johnson and Kaplan. an underestimated cost will result in losses while an overestimated cost will prevent the company from remaining competitive. a morphological classification standpoint brakes down costs as 1. Various techniques exist for cost estimating (Stewart. 1991). it concerns the cost estimation of the alternate production processes of the product. i. 1992. there is a strong need expressed by industry to have sound cost estimating solutions. than before. process plans) does not help the designer to make the targeted modifications for cost reduction. Otswald. So. and analytical (Duverlie and Castelain. that can improve the performance of these two strategic functions (Wierda. H’mida et al. the causal relationships between cost objects (products or services) and the resource consumptions are difficult to assess. parametric. Then. / Int. an economical classification standpoint splits costs into: 1. After a detailed study of the cost estimating problem in mechanical engineering. Stewart. Layer et al. Labor costs: occur by utilizing human labor force 3. Another major factor justifying this research concerns the growth of indirect activities (i. 2002): a knowledge model and a reasoning model. Indirect costs: costs that cannot be directly allocated to a cost object. 1991).g.. 1997. such as a piece of product. To face this need. The first one concerns the product structure on the basis of its manufacturing features. Otswald. analogous. Overhead costs: occur by consuming cost elements other than the above two. Cost estimating In traditional cost accounting methods. In addition.e. costs).

2003). but that only considers predefined process sequences (Wong et al. O Due to the generalized use of integrated product engineering methods and tools. 1997). In the Analysis Center method. Finally. To be correctly applied. The Cost Entity concept Still adhering to the principles of the ABC method but augmented by the principles of the method of Analysis Centers of cost accounting (Stewart. a manufacturing cost estimation system that integrates CAD and process planning aspects in a unified system. and activities consume resources that generate costs. In this approach. 1992). 1991. Parametric estimating methods classically entails the linking of cost to technical parameters bound in mathematical relations to build cost-estimating models. Cooper and Kaplan. Driver . the manu- facturing industry is currently characterized by a significant growth of indirect costs. From the academic community. 2004). 2000) and. Interdependent means that the resources are consumed in the same proportion for one or the other.. the use of more sophisticated and integrated production facilities (e. Layer et al. whatever the product that uses them. which permits to associate a driver with the CE. often retrieved using a group technology code. Therefore. A CE can be graphically represented as shown by Fig. 2003.ARTICLE IN PRESS F.g. traditional costing methods per se cannot apply anymore. machining centers.g. 1991.) and the operations in networked organizations (such as supply chains or virtual enterprises). both methods assume homogeneity of resources generating costs. Based on these methods. FIPER developed at NIST as a hierarchical cost estimation tool in all phases of the design stage (Koonce et al. we propose the concept of ‘‘Cost Entity’’ to profit from both methods. (Ben-Arieh and Qian. J. 2004). The Cost Entity representation. different software systems have been developed to assess manufacturing costs. Input Object Resources Cost Entity Cost Output Object Activity Fig. concerns the Activity-Based Costing (ABC) approach (Brimson. etc. neural network-based approaches (Shtub and Zimerman. The fundamental condition on a CE concerns the homogeneity of the resources. based on the CE concept. the costs of auxiliary sections (e. Definition. Cavalieria and Maccarrone. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 19 1999.. Garrison and Noreen. and as such can only occur late in the engineering process. transfer lines. Another recent trend. a framework for estimating manufacturing cost from geometric design data (Wei and Egbelu.g. A Cost Entity (CE) is a cost aggregation associated with resources consumed by an activity. noticeable contributions can be mentioned such as TIMCES. The analogous methods are based on cost extrapolation from previous estimates made for similar or analogous parts.g. / Int. 1992). h/L) of each resource does not change according to the product.. The ABC method has been investigated for cost estimating and management in design and manufacturing ¨ zbayrak et al. products or services consume activities. Homogeneous resources are stable and interdependent. Stable means that the imputation rate h/X (e. Elements of these methods are more or less applicable at various stages of the product life cycle. 1. h/min. more recently. the analytical methods rely on a cost summation related to the steps in the product production process. machining operations). 1993). This is why we propose a novel cost estimating technique. Then the section costs are added and the total cost is distributed between the products. A definition follows and the fundamental homogeneity validity condition of the concept is explained. 1. The problem is to identify cost drivers for each activity. The intuitive method relies on the experience of the estimator to predict the cost.. related to the analytical cost relation methods. logistics) are assigned to the main sections which directly benefit to the products (e. H’mida et al. 3. A detailed analysis of existing commercial software tools and major proprietary systems has been published by DoD (1999). 2002.

The product model The proposed Product Model uses three notions: product. 2). is mandatory. tolerances. 2 describes the structural links between the different components of the Product Model. For design.). The Product Model is built on the basis of the manufacturing . this notion presents a federative aspect (Feng et al. opens on. surface texture. geometrical interfeature tolerances (perpendicularity. the CE will be considered as a PCE (or macro-entity). the basic equation of the model will be: X CostCE ¼ C k ðyik ðX i ÞÞ (1) k 2R i features. The parameters (resources. The first one is about the geometrical and specific description of the product in terms of manufacturing features. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 Let Ri ¼ fk : k 2 K g represent the set of the consumed resources for the CE (CEi) for the realization of ith activity ðAi Þ. manufacturing feature and operation. Wierda. H’mida et al. The costgrammes model To each activity corresponds a CE that capitalizes the cost estimating expertise linked to this element. The last ones represent all the machines able to realize a determined operation. XX CostPCE ¼ C k ðyik ðX i ÞÞ. These links are mandatory or optional. Imputation rate] corresponds to the cost of y units of k. If ½yik ðxi Þ ¼ xi ak Š is equivalent to the quantity of resource k consumed for the realization of activity Ai of driver xi (where ak is the consumption coefficient of the resource k) and if [C k ¼ yik ðxi Þ. has been utilized to structure these data (Cognition. etc. 4. 4. called contexts. It contains a direct/indirect Example : resource cost ¼ Driver ðnbÞak ðh=nbÞimputation rateðh=hÞ ¼ xi ak imputation rate |{z} ¼ yik ðxi Þimputation rate |fflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl{zfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl} ¼ C k ðyik ðxi ÞÞ. 1996. parallelism. input–output objects) and the cost of the PCE are. Its decomposition into elementary Cost Entities. CostAdvantage. the union of the parameters and the sum of the costs of the elementary CE’s that make it. activity. / Int. Two levels are used (Fig. 4. The second level expresses the manufacturing and the cost estimating point of view. Parent Cost Entity (PCE) In the absence of the homogeneity resource condition..1. etc. The second level presents the hierarchical relationship in a CE. The first level of the Costgrammes Model represents all the necessary operations for the realization of the manufacturing features involved in the product. 3. respectively. The proposed Costgrammes Model allows to have a global view of all the Cost Entities present in the company and concerned by the products being processed (Fig. The representation used in CostAdvantage is based on the notion of object classes. This corresponds to the direct costs. in order to respect the homogeneity condition. where ak is the consumption coefficient of the resource k and nb the identifier of the cost driver.). (2) i 2N k 2R i where N is the number of Cost Entities making the PCE. Fig.2. 2000. 2000). etc. 3). manufacturing and cost estimating. The Costgrammes Model will be based on the CE concept. an expert system tool. 1991).). Solid lines indicate mandatory links (Product/Manufacturing Features/Operations relationships) and dotted lines indicate optional ones.ARTICLE IN PRESS 20 F.1. Modeling cost estimating knowledge The necessary knowledge for the cost estimating is represented in the form of a Product Model and a so-called Costgrammes Model. Each manufacturing feature is described by internal parameters (dimensions. Wei and Egbelu. and finally by topological inter-feature relations (starts on. J.

is again the CostAdvantage expert system. H’mida et al.3) Operation (n. the distinction between direct/indirect costs looses its usefulness since all the costs are directly connected to the product.2.3) Operation Cost Entity (2. The computer tool.1) Manufacturing and cost estimation viewpoint Operation (1.j. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 21 Product Conceptual viewpoint Manufacturing feature N˚1 Manufacturing feature N˚i Manufacturing feature N˚n Operations Operation (1.1) Operation (1. 2.1. 3.2) Operation (1.1. The Product Model.1) Operation (1. and elementary/PCE relation.1. So. J.1) Setup Cost Entity Tool Change Cost Entity Machining Cost Entity Quality Controle Cost Entity Handling … Cost Entity Machine M2 Operation Cost Entity (1. / Int.1) Operation Cost Entity (2.k): Option k (machine M) of operation j generated by the manufacturing feature i Fig.3) Operation (1. used to structure these data. .1) Alternate Machines Operation (1.2) Fig.2) Operation (i. The Costgrammes Model.ARTICLE IN PRESS F.2) Operation Cost Entity (1. Manufacturing preparation Process planning Cost Entity Production NCprograming Cost Entity Scheduling Cost Entity Logistics Cost Entity Release Cost Entity … Quality plan Cost Entity Level 2 Handling Cost Entity Machine M1 Level 1 Operation Cost Entity (1.

Fig. Angle b of the chamfer). Solving a CSP consists in finding a set of eligible values for all the variables such that all the constraints are simultaneously verified (Tsang. the estimated costs of the manufacturing process corresponding to the effective manufacturing operations of the feature (H’mida. H’mida et al. 2002). Threaded Hole Center drilling Drilling Boring Counter sinking Tapping Manufacturing feature Draft operations Finishing operations Fig.g. 1993). 4 shows an example of a potential operation set T relative to the manufacturing feature: Threaded Hole. The driver. respectively. Modeling the cost estimating reasoning process The cost estimating reasoning procedure is carried out in two subsequent phases. The set T of the potential operations relative to the ‘‘Threaded Hole’’ manufacturing feature. T corresponds to all the operations that could be used for the most varied instance of every manufacturing feature. the causality of the costs engaged in level 1 (Fig. The approach consists in building the reasoning procedure from an identification of the relevant variables. 5. . appears to be a CSP. a solution takes the form of a production process with an estimated cost. issued from the product characteristics and then from the level 1 (Fig. The implementation of these principles. Cost estimating of a manufacturing feature For each type of manufacturing features. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 The ‘‘Operation’’ CE makes the link between the Product Model and the Costgrammes Model (Figs. there is a set t of operations potentially necessary for its realization. 5. 2 and 3). 3) and in level 2 (Fig. 5. the quality to be obtained) condition the decisions that lead to associate a given process as the effective manufacturing process. According to the intrinsic data of the feature (Quality. J. / Int. allows to generate. 4. and to consider the various true dependencies between the design. The technological criteria (e. by the means of an expert system such as CostAdvantage. insures. So. knowledge and constraints. The second one is relative to the generation of the costs of an alternate production process of the product. manufacturing and production functions. the subset t of the effective manufacturing process cannot contain the Boring and/or Counter sinking operations.1. so forming the subset t 2 T . 3). In our model.2. 3). for a defined manufacturing feature. the expertise linked to the manufacturing of each type of features has to be transcribed in the form of ‘‘If–Then’’ rules in the knowledge base of the expert system. The first one is relative to the generation of the costs of the manufacturing process associated with each manufacturing feature of the part or product. Each operation type includes the expertise of the associated cost estimating procedure.ARTICLE IN PRESS 22 F. Production cost estimating: A constraint satisfaction problem The cost estimation model that seems the most suited for explicit representation of the multiplicity of technical solutions. noted CPP.

2. The knowledge on the production system machines and their arrangement in the workshop with the material handling system used allows to identify the machine preparation cost (ECpr) and the 5. 0 ECpr 0 0 0 : Preparation cost of the option k of the ijki j k operation j0 generated by the manufacturing feature i0 if it follows the option k of the operation j generated by the manufacturing feature i. 0 If Xijk and Xi0 j0 k0 are performed on the same machine. Knowledge cores The expertise on cost estimating capitalized at the level of each operation is used to determine the manufacturing cost (ECf) corresponding to each association of the operation/machine type. 5. 0 Otherwise X ijki0 j0 k0 :   Integer variables relative to the rank of each manufacturing operation. In our case. 8 m > > > < > > > : If the option k of the operation j generated by the manufacturing feature i is executed as the mth operation in the production process: U ijk :  A third declared variable is relative to the cost of a production process solution. J. Interviews with the machine operator who knows well the existing relations between the product and the machine preparation time can bring to the determination of the adequate driver.1. manufacturing constraints and production constraints.2.2. / Int. It is A real variable defined over a fuzzy domain and noted CPP. 2002). H’mida et al.2.3. the capable alternative machines are also capitalized. 8 1 > > > > > > > > < > > > > > > > > : If the option k0 of the operation j 0 generated by the manufacturing feature i0 follows the option k of the operation j generated by the manufacturing feature i ðor X i0 j0 k0 follows X ijk Þ. Manufacturing cost of the option k of the operation j generated by the manufacturing feature i. machine option k realizing the operation j generated by the manufacturing feature i. 0 ECm ijki0 j 0 k0 :Handling cost of the option k of the 0 operation j generated by the manufacturing feature i0 if it follows the option k of the operation j generated by the manufacturing feature i. cost constraint. is used to associate all possible manufacturing operations with the product brake-down into features. mentioned in Section 5.2. Constraints The cost estimating reasoning procedure of a product is build around four types of constraints: appropriate constraints for the model. For each operation. 5. Two types of variables for the production process can be established on the basis of this knowledge. If they are not performed ECm ijki0 j 0 k0 on the same machine.1. Variables The expert system. the hypothesis is made of assigning a constant preparation cost according to each machine k. They are defined as follows:  ECfijk :   Boolean variables relative to the possible precedence cases between two manufacturing operations.3. This allows to parameterize every operation by the Xijk notation. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 23 5. these are: handling cost (ECm) relative to each variable Xijki0 j0 k0 .ARTICLE IN PRESS F. These constraints are completely independent of the . Using similar notations as those provided by Wei and Egbelu (2000).1. i.e. All these constraints contribute to the cost estimation of a product production process solution (H’mida. 0 If Xijk et Xi0 j0 k0 are performed on the same machine. Inherent constraints of the model. Constant [f(k)] If they are not performed on the same machine.

. . / Int.2. ni.1. .1 ¼ 1 (5) ð10Þ Disjunctive mutual dependence constraints: An operation can only follow or precede a given operation: ni0 j 0 nij X n X nþ1 X X X ijki0 j0 k0 i¼1 k¼1 i0 ¼1 k0 ¼1 ni0 j0 nij X n X nþ1 X X a i¼1 k¼1 i0 ¼1 k0 ¼1 X i0 j 0 k0 ijk ð 6Þ for j ¼ 1.0 ¼ 0 Raw material stock. . . . . j 0 ¼ 1.11 are used to respectively represent the state of the product in the raw material stock and in the finished product stock. k ¼ 1. . ni .0 ¼ N þ 1 Finished product stock: Then the two states X 011 and X nþ1. . ECijkij 0 k0 .2. . Cost constraint. . H’mida et al. .3. .0. An extract of the main inherent constraints of the model is presented as follows: Conjunctive mutually exclusive constraints Only one operation can follow a given operation: ni0 j0 ni 0 X nþ1 X X i0 ¼1 j 0 ¼1 k0 ¼1 X ijki0 j0 k0 ¼ 1 for i ¼ 0. . n. . nij . ni 0 j 0 ð 4Þ 5. manufacturing and handling costs and that only the manufacturing cost depends on the batch size.1. . Only one operation can precede a given operation: nij ni X n X X i¼0 j ¼1 k¼1 X ijki0 j 0 k0 ¼ 1 for i0 ¼ 1. Let us consider: n: ni : nij: N: number of manufacturing features. . Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 product and of the production context. . number of options for an operation j of a feature i.ARTICLE IN PRESS 24 F. J. this guarantees the company’s profitability and assures competitiveness on the market. (in this case. (8) (9) U nþ1. . Every production process solution has associated with it a cost value CPP with a . The product design should respect an acceptable maximal cost. that is. n þ 1. . Constraints relative to the enumeration of operation order: Operation order in the operation sequence: U ijk À U i0 j0 k0 þ X ijki0 j 0 k0 ¼ 0 (7) Constraints on the first and last position in the process (initialization): U 0. If this limit is not exceeded. . . The first term of constraint (10) corresponds to the variable CPP previously defined. ECijki0 j 0 k0 and the operations Xijk. . ni .j0 ¼ 1 or 2 or . The determination of Q is out of the scope of this paper). a priori fixed at the beginning of the estimating exercise. An example of such constraint can take the form given by inequality (10). . This constraint sanctions any production process solution far-off the economic objectives and expresses a satisfaction degree for any solution. They mainly concern the model definition. . the cost of a product production process solution. if we assume that in this example the cost is only a function of the set-up. This real variable belonging to a fuzzy domain formalizes the relation existing between the knowlpr m edge of ECf ijki0 j 0 k0 . . . ni0 . number of manufacturing operations of a feature i. total number of possible manufacturing operations. k 0 ¼ 1. . Q corresponds to the size of the manufacturing batch and is assumed to be a priori known to the estimator. . ni0 j0 nij X ni 0 X ni X nþ1 X n X X ðECpr ijki0 j 0 k0 The finished part state ðX nþ111 Þ is preceded by only one operation except ðX 011 Þ: nij ni X n X X i¼1 j ¼1 k¼1 i¼1 j ¼1 k¼1 i0 ¼1 j 0 ¼1 k0 ¼1 m 0 þ Q ECf i0 j 0 k0 þ ECijki0 j 0 k0 ÞX ijki0 j 0 k hAcceptable maxiCost X ijk nþ1. ð 3Þ j ¼ 1. . The second type of constraints concerns the cost constraint.

the function Sestimated cost (CPP) represents the satisfaction degrees associated with the various values of the Cost CPP. Expressions (10) and (11) depend on the problem at hand and may contain additional terms to take into account other resource consumptions as categorized for instance by Lakhal et al. Rules of pose constraints associated with the relation ‘‘Parallelism’’. all the solutions are included between a minimal cost (miniCost) and a maximal cost (maxiCost). The analysis of the geometrical and topological relationships between features is made in our case with the CostAdvantage system. They describe the precedence order to be respect between the operations of the features. C pp ¼ ni0 j0 nij X ni 0 X ni X nþ1 X n X X 0 0 0 ðECpr ijki0 j 0 k0 ð11Þ i¼1 j ¼1 k¼1 i ¼1 j ¼1 k ¼1 m 0 þ Q ECf i0 j 0 k0 þ ECijki0 j 0 k0 ÞX ijki0 j 0 k . a Fig. to the features i and i0 . H’mida et al. according to the capacity of a feature to be a support in the set-up of the part. A fuzzy domain associated with a cost constraint. Manufacturing constraints. respectively. We define a rule base that decides the possible precedence relations to be respected between the manufacturing operations. 6. 5.2.3. The manufacturing constraints concern the geometrical and topological relationships between the manufacturing features. 5. . Rule 2. According to Rule 1. Fig. / Int. It sets the constraints to be satisfied in the process plan. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 25 satisfaction degree. (1999). The rules presented in Fig. They have a direct influence on the machine preparation costs and on the handling costs. So. the precedence order to be respected is between the two finishing operations ni and ni0 belonging. In Fig. 6. associated with the ‘‘parallelism’’ relationship expressed between two features i and i0 .3. The expression type of this cost constraint allows to classify all the solutions in decreasing order of the satisfaction degree. J. 5.ARTICLE IN PRESS F. impose. a precedence constraint (Sabourin and Villeneuve. 1996).

Then. For each ‘‘Unavailable’’ value taken by a machine. Production constraints. the precedence relationships between operations are conditioned by the precision of the existing geometrical and topological relationships between the features. 5.3. then the production constraint is applied. the corresponding rule activates one or several production constraints in order to satisfy any process solution. each machine can take two logical textual values: Available. that is the combinations of coherent values. . If the machine is unavailable. the user selects the cost estimation context: Planned or Not Planned. The following formalization is made in the CostAdvantage expert system. 7). H’mida et al. An activation rule of the production constraint relative to the unavailability of the machine Cu4x. Examples of production constraints.2.ARTICLE IN PRESS 26 F.2. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 constraint on the variable Xij(M)i0 j0 (M0 ). The production constraints arise from the consideration of the machine availability during cost estimating (Fig. means that the two finishing operations ni and ni0 are realized on the same machine (machine M or machine M0 ). Unavailable. J.4. A rule base is associated with each of these contexts.4. comes a filtering phase that consists in eliminating the values of the variables which have no chance to intervene in a solution. First. 7. 8. First. In the example of Fig. Under the Planned context. To support the reasoning of cost estimating for the product production process. In the case of a Not Planned context. Problem resolution The problem resolution consists of two phases. 8. 5. the rule tests the availability of the Cu4x machine. we have chosen Production planning or machine maintenance Causes Unavailable Machines Constraints Alternate machines at different costs Effect Ex : Xijk112 = 0 Xijk312 = 0 EC112 canceled EC312 canceled Fig. This avoids to have in the process plan solution this unavailable machine and prevents an invalid product cost estimation. comes the solution search phase. we consider the hypothesis of the availability of machines without any production constraint. Fig. any variable Xijki0 j0 k0 having for option machine k or k0 on Cu4x is forced to 0. They are decided during the detailed design stage. / Int. Fundamentally. This prevents doing afterward useless calculations.

numerical or fuzzy variables. on the other hand.1. H’mida et al. The established constraints can make reference to discrete domains (discrete constraints). • Costgrammes Model. Illustrative case study First. Con 'flex (constraints satisfaction environment) Fig. • Solution ranking by economic satisfaction order. miniCost] interval. A layout drawing of an instance of this part is presented in Fig. Knowledge capitalization: • Product Model. a 3-axis milling machining center (Cu3x). 10. 11). . On the other hand. Resolution refers to the procedure that implements at the same time the filtering and the solution search phases.) for a new type of part. discrete and continuous domains altogether (mixed or hybrid constraints) as well as to fuzzy domains (flexible constraints). at scanning this space (in a treelike way) to find the solutions. 9).1. Specification of the problem to be solved 6. / Int. Constraint-based modeling accepts a tremendous heterogeneity in the expression of the constraints and the variables. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 27 the Con’flex environment (Rellier.1. and a 2-axis turning center (Ct). the analysis of the Termoz part drawing makes it possible to establish the list of the geometrical relationships between the manufacturing features (Table 2).ARTICLE IN PRESS F. continuous domains (continuous constraints). The interest of this modeling approach (constraints modeling) is that it is able to deal with variables of totally different natures: Boolean. 9. and it supplies a set of resolution algorithms. This CSP software provides a language for problem expression in terms of variables and constraints. Role of the two software systems. Each manufacturing operation realized on one center becomes an elementary CE ECf. The machine preparation cost corresponds to the time interval necessary for the operator to set up the environment (assembly of the fixing devices. the list of its constituting manufacturing features can be established (Table 1. on one hand. Manufacturing workshop It is assumed that four potential machines can be used in the available manufacturing facility: a 4axis milling machining center (Cu4x).1. J. 6. 1996). These algorithms aim. CostAdvantage (expert system generator) Reasoning model based on «If-Then» rules: • Manufacturing operation cost generation. Fig. Variables Constraints Reasoning model based on CSP : • Alternative solution search.2. From the analysis of the ‘‘Termoz’’ part drawing. at reducing the size of the search space (this operation is called filtering) and. ‘‘Termoz’’ part The part for which the cost is to be estimated is called the ‘‘Termoz’’ part. setting the machining parameters. • Determination of the [maxiCost. 6. a 3-axis turning center (Ct3x). • Manufacturing and production constraint activation. etc. The associated CE is denoted ECpr and we assume that it is constant for every machine type (Table 3). the role of the two software packages used is reminded: CostAdvantage and Con’flex (Fig. 6.

11. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 Fig. The Termoz part. The manufacturing features of the Termoz part. / Int. . 10. Table 1 Example of manufacturing features information Name Type Nominal geometrical information Ø 104 (X Â Y) 52 (X) Â 42 (Z) Micro-geometrical information Flatness 0.ARTICLE IN PRESS 28 F.6 Ra 1. J.05 Ra 1.6 Topological information F1 F2 Circular_Surface Rectangular_Surface A2 and R support TT support Fig. H’mida et al.

6. With each feature context are associated all the potential operations as sub-contexts as well as a rule base Table 2 Example of geometrical relations between the manufacturing features Type Perpendicular Coaxial Feature 1 F1 A1 Feature 2 F2 reference A2 reference Name R (F2.2 Cu3x 1. driver) represents a homogeneous CE.05 0. Product Model The Product Model is elaborated from all the manufacturing features in use in the company.2 0 0. The handling costs. The Product Model (with CostAdvantage). The choice of these types of machines and handling systems allows to discard a large number of scenarios frequently used in manufacturing workshops. it is assumed that an electric cart with a driver and stocking containers are used.1.4 0.5 3.05 Table 3 Preparation machine costs Machine Cu4x Cu3x Ct3x Ct Preparation cost in Euro (indicative values) 7 6.3 5. Product Design—Costgrammes Models 6.ARTICLE IN PRESS F.6 0. 12. J.6 0 Fig. Fig. .4 0.2.8 Table 4 Handling costs between two machines Cu4x Cu4x Cu3x Ct3x Ct 0 1.F1) RY (A1.2 0. / Int.2. H’mida et al. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 29 In terms of material handling. 12 illustrates a Product Model specification in the French version of CostAdvantage (in which features are declared as functions).6 Ct 0. A2) ? Value 0. issued from the machine arrangement in the workshop. The set (cart. named Handling Cost Entity and denoted ECm.4 Ct3x 0.2 0. are given by Table 4.4 0.6 0 0.

etc. in addition to the specification of the manufacturing feature example (entitled ‘‘Threaded_Hole’’) by the estimator operator using the first window. the formula of the cost estimation.2. J. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 used to generate the effective manufacturing process according to the geometrical characteristics. the cost estimation formula is recorded in the form of rules that add the cost of the elementary Cost Entities after checking their instantiation.2. Costgrammes Model The Costgrammes Model (Fig.2. and which can be elementary or not. k’’ corresponding to the ECf ijk . At the level of each context of a CE.). The exploitation of this Product Model makes it possible to identify and to automatically generate all the Cost Entities ECfijk present in a particular part. 13) contains all the Cost Entities dealing with establishing the cost of the problem at hand. There are two types of CE’s: elementary and parent Cost Entities. Reminder. By double-clicking on each operation. 6. ECf ijk : cost of the manufacturing operation j performed on the machine k and generated by the manufacturing feature i chosen by the user. another window pops up to indicate the operation cost for an alternative machine and the values ‘‘i. Generation of the manufacturing operation cost In Fig. in the second window. j. 13. the corresponding manufacturing process plan and the processing cost of each operation by default (The values given are indicative). the following knowledge is associated:   the attributes (type. The Costgrammes Model (with CostAdvantage). / Int. resources. the system automatically generates. . A given manufacturing feature for a particular product is an instance of the context. 6. In the case of a PCE. H’mida et al. The parent CE’s contain sub-contexts relative to the CE’s that make them. 14.ARTICLE IN PRESS 30 F.3. Fig.

Generation of the manufacturing process for a ‘‘Threaded_Hole’’. the system alerts the user for impossible operation.5. for instance. Activation of the manufacturing constraints According to the specification of some manufacturing features. the production constraints and the cost constraint. 6. 15). 14.ARTICLE IN PRESS F.2. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 31 Fig. X 14k Þ independently of their realization machine k. 6. The Costgrammes Model design provides all the Cost Entities ECf ijk of the Termoz part. The modeling of production cost estimating in the form of a CSP allows to answer the following questions: Are there any production processes for . The declaration of the model constraints. 15. In Fig. Generation of the cost of alternate production processes The production process of the Termoz part takes into account the material handling costs (ECm ijki0 j 0 k0 ). 6. the integer variables Uijk and the fuzzy variable CPP. the manufacturing constraints.4. We differentiate the modeling steps on three levels:    The declaration of the Boolean variables Xijki0 j0 k0 . In Fig. / Int. in addi0 ijki0 j 0 k tion to the manufacturing operation costs (ECf ijk ). the topological relationship ‘‘Starts_on’’ among. the unavailability of the machine Cu3x cancels the operations X 111 and X 121 concerning the manufacturing feature ‘‘Rectangular_Surface’’. implies the precedence condition between the finishing surface operation (X22k) and the boring and tapping operations ðX 14k . This is translated into constraints of the form: U 22k oU 14k and U 22k oU 15k (Fig. Activation of the production constraints If an Unavailable machine is selected.3. The term Xijk allows to determine all the variables Xijki0 j0 k0 of the problem with the Con’flex CSP solver. as well as the manufacturing and production constraints to be respected. the machine preparation costs (ECpr ). the system alerts the user of a precedence condition among some of the operations. H’mida et al. ECiji0 j 0 k0 and pr ECijki0 j 0 k0 ) knowledge. 16.2. J. m The declaration of the CE (ECf ijk . this means cancellation of all the variables: X111i0 j0 k0 and X121i0 j0 k0 . the ‘‘Threaded_ Hole’’ and ‘‘Rectangular_Surface’’.

15. . Example of manufacturing constraint activation. Fig. J. Example of production constraint activation. 16. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 Fig. / Int.ARTICLE IN PRESS 32 F. H’mida et al.

Indication ‘‘Nbr of instantiations’’ and ‘‘Nbr of constraints tests’’ are a measure of the path (in the treelike search) that it was necessary to scan to find the solutions. 6. F2. For a satisfaction degree equal to at least 0. Establishing the causality relations existing between the specification of the manufacturing features and the engaged costs of the manufacturing operations provides support to the economic decision at the detailed design stage. An additional function of the part requires the creation of two new manufacturing features: The Bored_Hole A2 and the Slot R with the symmetry geometrical specification RC ðR.3. For a satisfaction degree equal to at least 0. 17. Finally. Conclusion The objective of this research work was to propose a cost estimating method fitted to recent industrial context evolution. We propose the following design scenario for the Termoz part: The initial part design involves the F1. The consideration of constraints coming from the market. For the future work. the value ‘‘CoutTotal’’ represents the total batch cost (100 parts) corresponding to the production process solution. 7.09 (equivalent to the production process for which the part unit cost is lower than 7. one could accept a solution that satisfies      For a satisfaction degree equal to at least 0. the generation of different cost sets relative to the alternate production processes gives the quotation function a tool to negotiate the cost/ delay ratio.490 (equivalent to the production process for which the part unit cost is lower than 6.124 Euros): 0 solution exists. The CE concept allows to unify the estimation of direct and indirect costs. in Con’flex. Under this formalism. and provides the designer with a [miniCost.500’’ means.604 Euros): 35 solutions exist.09) allow to determine the interval of the part unit cost [CPP min.ARTICLE IN PRESS F. J. maxiCost] interval to control the technical choices.3 Euro/unit. from the manufacturing shop and from production shows the integration capacity of the cost estimation function. / Int. Cpp max] in the fuzzy interval [4. For the three solutions of Fig.844 Euros): 49 solutions exist. The calculations realized with Con’flex for the cost estimation of the production process solution for the manufacturing workshop at disposal shows that: on the shown value and the width of which is the range declared for the variable. the constraints to be satisfied are more or less important and. it seems very interesting to investigate the possibilities offered by cost estimating modeling in the form of a flexible CSP problem. A2Þ ¼ 0:05 and topological specification R Opens on A2. For a given product. H’mida et al. It is our belief that all the concepts and the techniques presented in this paper sustain this objective. The mention ‘‘À2.7]. The part is produced in batches of 100 units at a 4. they can be more or less satisfied by the various combinations of values of variables. 18).9.290 (equivalent to the production process for which the part unit cost is lower than 6.3] (Fig. The solutions corresponding to the minimal satisfaction degree (0. For a satisfaction degree equal to at least 0. machine set-up and handling costs) provide the interval [6.084 Euro): 49 solutions exist. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 33 the Termoz part and the workshop at disposal whose cost is lower than a given value and whose geometrical specifications can be respected? What is the cost of each solution? The answer to these questions provides the designer with an economic evaluation of his/her technical choices.9 Euros per unit cost. The value ‘‘Sat ¼ ’’ is the satisfaction degree of the solution. The acceptable maximal production cost of the part is 7. The indicative values of the costs put in application (machining.390 (equivalent to the production process for which the part unit cost is lower than 6. A1 and TT1 manufacturing features. 7. the variables can have domains with imprecise borders.364 Euros): 3 solutions exist. that the solution value is an interval centered .190 (equivalent to the production process for which the part unit cost is lower than 6. For a satisfaction degree equal to at least 0.

An interesting valorization of the work that could be investigated concerns the incorporation of the CE approach with its Product Model and Costgrammes Model in CAD or CAE workstations.. Satisfaction degree 1 0. H’mida et al. The fuzzy subset [4.ARTICLE IN PRESS 34 F. . Ben-Arieh. Activity-based cost management for design and development stages...3] of the total cost. International Journal of Production Economics 83 (2).3 Fig. domains and constraints that allow to evaluate the design solution by a Quality/Cost satisfaction degree. J. Gu. D. 883–908. P. 1998. Depending on form features and part material used the system could estimate a rough cost interval and warn the part designer if he exceeds the cost limit or provide a decision guidance in the choice of features of the part. only partially all the constraints. Another research direction could consist in searching the set of variables. L..9.9 Cost 7. 2003. International Journal of Production Research 36 (4). 18. 17. Qian. Production Economics 103 (2006) 17–35 Fig. / Int.1 4. Costs of the production process solutions for a satisfaction degree at least equal to 0. Y.5 0.390. 7. Product life cycle cost analysis: State of the art review. 169–180. References Asiedu.

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