A Cost Estimation Tool for Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Student Co-author

HMC Undergraduate

Document Type



Engineering (HMC)

Publication Date



In an effort to help electronics designers make more cost-effective design decisions, a software tool was developed which predicts the costs of manufacturing circuit card assemblies. This tool can be used in a concurrent engineering environment to provide board density information, scrap and rework cost estimates and a breakdown of setup, labor and material costs for each step of the printed circuit board (PCB) assembly process. What-if analyses can be performed to compare the costs of using different component types, such as through-hole versus surface-mount components, or different manufacturing process alternatives, such as manual assembly versus automatic assembly. Incorporated within the software tool are activity-based models of the 56 processes that constitute the circuit card assembly manufacturing system. In addition to predicting the level of activity at each of the processes, the model also identifies and considers design decisions that lead to an increase in processing costs. Specifically, board density, solder characteristics, production batch sizing and the variety of components used in a design can lead to higher rework rates as well as increased setup and processing for certain operations. Verification was done by comparing predictions made by the model to actual historical cost data for 12 randomly selected boards currently in production. The average prediction error made by the tool is 6.68% for labor costs, 4.76% for component costs and 3.1% for density estimations.

Rights Information

© 2011 World Scientific Publishing Co.