Parametric Scale-Up Cost Factors for Conventional and Micro-Scale Tools

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Parametric Scale-Up Cost Factors for Conventional and Micro-Scale Tools

Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics

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This article estimates cost scale-up factors for micro-scale tools, including high speed steel micro tools, micro thread hand taps, and various types of mesh and wires. Many of these tools initially have a positive scale-up factor where the material costs directly correlate with the cost of the tool; they then transition to a negative scale-up factor at the micro-scale where manufacturing is more difficult and becomes the determining factor for the prices of the products. This article describes the transition from positive to negative scale-up factors, which generally has not been previously reported in the literature. In the future, the negative scale-up factor region of cost estimation could become more important because products, such as electronic hardware, will continue to become smaller in size.


Donald S. Remer, PhD, PE, is the Oliver C. Field Professor of Engineering at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, and the Cofounder and President of the Claremont Consulting Group. He has also served as a task force and project manager and a planning and forecast coordinator for Exxon, Manager of Planning Analysis at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Caltech, and Director of the Energy Institute at Harvey Mudd College. He has presented seminars and short courses to over 12,000 people and has managed software projects, project cost estimation, capital investment analysis, and business case evaluation. Dr. Remer is a registered Professional Engineer in California and Michigan and is the former Director of the American Society of Engineering Management. He has published over 50 papers on cost estimation, capital investment evaluation, and engineering and project management. The International Society of Parametric Analysis named his paper on cost modeling the outstanding paper for the year 1992 in the Journal of Parametrics. He has received awards from the American Society for Engineering Education, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Occidental Research Corporation, and Caltech. Dr. Remer earned a BSE degree in engineering from the University of Michigan and MS and PhD in engineering with a minor in business economics from Caltech.

Kerry M. Chin earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. She is now a firmware engineer at Synaptics, Inc., working with consumer electronics customers on a global scale. Kerry has helped advance Synaptics touch panel products from development stages to mass production in smartphones and tablets. She has conducted cost analysis in a variety of research projects covering areas such as biomedical devices, architectural design, and asset tracking systems. Kerry served an active role in the Claremont community, assisting with fundraising for the Office of College Advancement at Harvey Mudd College and contributing research findings to benefit the construction of an environmentally-friendly local building in the town.