Modelling of aircraft manufacturing cost at the concept stage

Richard Curran, A.K. Kundu, J.M. Wright, Stephen Crosby, Mark Price, Srinivasan Raghunathan, Emmanuel Benard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The work presented is concerned with the estimation of manufacturing cost at the concept design stage, when little technical information is readily available. The work focuses on the nose cowl sections of a wide range of engine nacelles built at Bombardier Aerospace Shorts of Belfast. A core methodology is presented that: defines manufacturing cost elements that are prominent; utilises technical parameters that are highly influential in generating those costs; establishes the linkage between these two; and builds the associated cost estimating relations into models. The methodology is readily adapted to deal with both the early and more mature conceptual design phases, which thereby highlights the generic, flexible and fundamental nature of the method. The early concept cost model simplifies cost as a cumulative element that can be estimated using higher level complexity ratings, while the mature concept cost model breaks manufacturing cost down into a number of constituents that are each driven by their own specific drivers. Both methodologies have an average error of less that ten percent when correlated with actual findings, thus achieving an acceptable level of accuracy. By way of validity and application, the research is firmly based on industrial case studies and practice and addresses the integration of design and manufacture through cost. The main contribution of the paper is the cost modelling methodology. The elemental modelling of the cost breakdown structure through materials, part fabrication, assembly and their associated drivers is relevant to the analytical design procedure, as it utilises design definition and complexity that is understood by engineers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-420
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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