## Formulation of Multi-Material Molding Cost Estimation

### Generic Per-Piece Costs

For a foundation, we first start with the most generic per-piece manufacturing cost as suggested by Esawi and Ashby's resource-based modeling [Esa99], [Esa98]. Here the total per-piece cost is split into six categories: 1) material, 2) tooling, 3) overhead or time, 4) energy, 5) space, and 6) information. The total cost's units of dollars per piece are kept consistent by dividing each resource by an appropriate rate. For example, the overhead per-piece cost is found by dividing the per-hour cost of overhead by the hourly total assembly production rate. This is intended to be used for a single process rather than a manufacturing system such as SMM&A or MMM production lines with multiple stations (e.g. molding, assembly, inspection, etc.).

There are three essential contributions to cost per unit:

1) a material cost (independent of batch size or production rate),

2) a dedicated production cost (inversely proportional to batch size), and

3) a "gross overhead cost" (inversely proportional to production rate).

#### Material Costs

The material cost is simply the cost of the raw materials that go into producing one unit (e.g. resin, fasteners, adhesives, etc.). This cost is usually quite easily calculated by determining how much material goes into each product and multiplying it by its respective cost from the supplier. For example, in injection molding, the total volume of a part can be used to determine how much resin is needed, which is then used to determine the cost based on a supplier's resin price.

#### Dedicated Production Costs

The dedicated production cost (or "tooling cost") is basically the cost of the specialized equipment (e.g. molds) required to manufacture the product, amortized over the total production volume. For example, if a \$500,000 mold is used to make a total of 5 million products before it is retired, the mold itself is contributing a cost of \$0.10 to each product. For injection molding, the tooling includes the mold base, the machined cavities, the machined cooling system, the ejector system, and any other special features such as side actions. The cost of each of these items must be accurately calculated and summed to get the total tooling cost, which can then be divided by the production quantity.

#### Gross Overhead Cost

The gross overhead is split into five terms: 1) basic overhead, 2) capital cost, 3) energy cost, 4) space cost, and 5) information cost. These all relate to the fact that the manufacture of any product requires the consumption of all of these five kinds of "resources" (e.g. labor, capital equipment, power for running equipment, factory space, and designer's time, respectively).

The reason that the cost of capital equipment is amortized over the production rate (instead of the production quantity as with the tooling cost), is because capital equipment (such as an injection molding machine) is typically used to manufacture many different product lines, rather than dedicated to a single product. Therefore, it is customary to amortize such capital costs over a period of time rather than a production quantity.

The overhead rate can be split into two terms: 1) a basic overhead rate which covers the cost of labor and other fuzzy expenses, and 2) a total capital cost which is amortized over a specified write-off time, two, (usually in years, but expressed in hours for unit consistency). The write-off time is time is how long the capital cost of equipment takes to be recovered or paid off, and depends on the conditions of the loan. There is an additional term contributing to the overhead rate representing the fraction of time over which the equipment is actually being productively used. This load factor depends on the factory conditions and which production lines utilize the equipment. For the purposes of this model, the load factor and capital write-off time must be specified by the user. This is because these terms are completely dependent on the financing practices of the company and cannot be estimated analytically.

#### Final Cost

Although every term is important, having the potential to drastically influence the overall cost, two terms in the gross overhead expression will be dropped for this model. The first, the cost of energy, will actually be absorbed into the basic overhead rate. This is because the primary energy consumption is caused only by the operation of the injection machines and any auxiliary equipment. These will all have their own associated run costs based on their power consumption and other factors. The other term, information cost, while having important contributions to overall cost, is outside of the scope of the model. It relates to more administrative cost factors rather than direct manufacturing costs. While this may seem like gross oversight, it should not have a large effect in a relative sense, since this value should be a constant independent of either process variant.

### Total Manufacturing Costs

While the per-piece cost of the following equations is a valid and useful measure for cost estimation purposes, it may be more informative to see how the total cost varies with the production quantity. This is because in many cases the optimal process in terms of total cost, depends on the amount of units made. For this reason, we will look at total cost as a function of the total production quantity, allowing us to plot quantity-cost curves and identify break-even points and chose the proper variant based on estimated production quantity.

### Production Parameters

The production parameters relate to the volume and speed of production. That is, they quantify the number of products produced, and the rate of production. These parameters directly affect all of the five cost parameters mentioned above.

### Production Quantities

The desired production quantity is the total number of assemblies that need to be made. This actual number could depend on a customer's order size or anticipated demand of the product. It is used as the independent variable for plotting the cost-quantity curves.

The individual production quantities represent the total number of units processed at each station. For example, denotes the total number of part B's molded at machine B. In order to ensure that enough assembly AB's are produced to meet the production demand the actual production quantity has to be scaled higher to account for defects.

#### Defect Rates

The defect rates, expressed in a percentage of bad parts to good ones, are a result of random errors in the manufacturing process which result in unacceptable components. These could be caused by any number of reasons such as fluctuations in the controlled parameters (e.g. melt temperatures and pressures), human errors, or mold malfunctions. These numbers have to be estimated from historical data and an understanding of each molding machine's characteristics. However, each molding job is different, with different part geometries producing different defect rates. Typically, conservative average defect rates (based on the plant's production capabilities and adjusted for any geometric issues) need to be used.

It should be stated, that because the state of today's manufacturing technology, (including molding machines) has significantly reduced defect rates, the defect rates used in the above equation will be rather low (less than 5%). However, it should be notated that because MMM is both more complex than traditional molding, and the technology is less mature, there will most likely be higher defect rates associated with the MMM variant. This is an important difference that should be accounted for.

The production quantity and defect rate equations have all been verified as valid through consultation of several molding experts. They serve to correctly adjust the production quantity to account for the inevitable production of defective components.

### Production Rates

The individual production rates are defined as the inverse of the total processing time at each corresponding station. For instance, the production rate of the assembly station is the inverse of the assembly time. We will make the simplifying assumption that batch processing is employed throughout the production line. This means that each station is constantly kept busy by working on batches of the product in various stages of completion. This eliminates the problem of bottlenecking, and makes the production rates simpler to compute.If there is more than one worker at any station, although this would increase the corresponding station's effective production rate, it would also increase the hourly labor cost of the station. For instance, if there are two assemblers, the assembly production rate would double, but so would the hourly wages paid to the workers. This would cancel out the effect of the number of laborers on the total cost. Hence, the actual labor distribution is disregarded in this model.

#### Inspection and Packaging Times

The inspection, and packaging times must both be estimated based on historical data and reasonable assumptions about the difficulty of such tasks based on the product geometry. For example, a simple box-shaped part would require only a brief look-over by an inspector, while a complicated part with many features might require several seconds of inspection. Similar reasoning should be applied to the packaging term.

#### Molding Time

The total molding time is the time the product is spent in the injection molding machine. For the SMM&A variant, although both separate pieces could conceivably be manufactured simultaneously on different machines (in fact, this would be the preferred method), they still require dedicated use of both injection machines, which has an associated cost. Therefore, the molding time for this variant will be the sum of processing times for parts A and B. On the other hand, the MMM variant only makes use of one machine. Although the molding operation involves the injection and cooling of two separate shots, the actual associated molding time will be only the maximum of the two molding times. This is because, after the machine has reached steady state, one finished part AB is ejected from the mold after the required injection and cooling times. This essentially causes the MMM variant to have consistently less molding times than the SMM&A variant.
##### Injection Time
The injection time can be approximated using the injection pressure and power relation provided by BD&K's pressure/power relation. The injection pressure is set depending on the size of the shot and the mold filling requirements. The power of the injection unit depends on its size, and is obtained from the manufacturer's data.
##### Mold Cooling Time
Perhaps the most accurate method to estimate the mold cooling time is through CAD cooling simulations such as C-Mold or Pro/E's mold analysis tools. If this is not feasible, there are two simpler methods of calculation the cooling time. The mold cooling time may be estimated based on the maximum wall thickness of the part. This can be done either by Poli's table-lookup method based on elemental plates and part complexity or by applying a simple analytical cooling equation.
##### Mold Resetting Time
The mold resetting time is the time it takes for the mold readied for the next cycle. This includes both the times required for closing as well as the operation of any side-actions and/or the rotary platen (for MMM only). In addition to being affected by the presence of a rotary platen or side actions, the reset time is greatly affected by the part height in the direction of the mold opening. This value should be estimated based on the specifics of the molding press.
##### Assembly Time
The assembly time specifically refers to the total time required to assemble the SMM&A variant of the product. This includes both the handling and insertion times of both material components as well as any fasteners/adhesives required to secure them. It is of value to emphasize the fact that the assembly time only applies to SMM&A, thus causing a potentially significant difference in the cycle times between SMM&A and MMM. Even if the estimated assembly times have some inaccuracy, their addition to the cycle time will help to differentiate the cost values output by the model.

### Material Cost

The material cost accounts for all of the separate components of a product, including resins, fasteners/adhesives, labels, and packaging materials.

#### Resin Cost

The resin cost is dependent on the amount of resin used in making one part and the resin supplier's price.
##### Shot Volume
The shot volume is the total amount of material that is plasticized and ejected from the mold after injection. This includes the cavity images themselves (the desired molded part geometry), as well as the hardened sprue, runners and gating required to fill the cavity.
##### Part Volume
The part volumes are the actual volume of plastic needed to make each component (part A or part B) of the final assembly, part AB. These values can be automatically calculated from the CAD models of the parts. These volumes are the exact volumes, and should not be confused with the bounding box volumes of the parts.
##### Gating Volume
The gating volume accounts for the additional material consumed by the resin which solidifies inside the sprue, runners and gates. In most molding situations, the volume of the gate into the cavity is insignificant compared to the volume of the runners and sprue. Because of this, the gate volume will be omitted from the total gating volume calculations. Furthermore, the gate volume is typically included in the cavity volume, so in those cases, this assumption is accurate. Therefore, the term "gating volume" will henceforth refer to the combined volume of the runners and the sprue.

#### Fasteners Cost

In some SMM&A scenarios, some sort of fasteners must be used to secure the separate molded pieces together. This could include screws, pins, clips, and/or adhesives. The fastening method is entirely dependent on the product design and should be avoided where possible. For example, a common DFM/DFA technique is to use snap-fit connections to avoid additional parts in the form of fasteners. If the use of fasteners is unavoidable, the type and number of them must be determined for each SMM&A variant of a product design and then priced according to supplier's rates.

#### Miscellaneous Material Costs

The miscellaneous costs represent consumable materials such as packaging, labels and so on. As with the fasteners, each design must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the packaging, labeling, and other miscellaneous material requirements and then price them accordingly.

### Tooling Cost

The tooling cost refers specifically to the total cost of the mold, including mold base material costs, cavity machining/finishing costs, and the added costs for manufacturing the cooling system, ejector system, and any side actions and/or hot-runner systems. Additionally, the mold has an associated setup cost.

#### Mold Base Cost

The mold base is the unfinished set of steel (or aluminum) plates that will house all of the mold components, including the cavities/cores, the gating system, the ejector system, and etc. It is typically bought from a specialized dealer, built to the specifications of the molding job. Then the molder finishes manufacturing the mold by machining and adding the required mold components into the base. The base itself can be rather costly due to its complexity and precision. The number and type of mold bases, and hence total cost, depend on the molding process being used.
##### Mold Base Dimensions
The mold base dimensions depend directly on the part size as well as any special mold features such as side actions. They can be calculated based on the part's bounding box dimensions by using a modified version of Poli's equations.
##### Mold Wall Clearance Factors
The mold wall clearance factors, represent the additional percentage of the cavity size that should be added to the mold area and height, respectively. These factors depend on the required mold strength which is a function of the mold material, part size, and injection pressure. They must be conservatively chosen so as to ensure safe mold operation while not requiring excessive mold size.
##### Additional Area and Height Required by Side Actions
The additional mold base area and height required for housing the side actions or other accessories depends on the nature of the device and must be appropriately chosen. However for estimation purposes, a constant length factor can be added onto the mold at the appropriate location.
##### Part Bounding Box Dimensions
The part bounding box dimensions are simply the maximum cavity length, width, and height corresponding to the respective dimensions of the mold base. These dimensions can be automatically extracted from the CAD model of the part, after its orientation relative to the mold base has been chosen.

#### Mold Machining Cost

Assuming the mold cores and cavities are machined into the mold base in-house, the total cost of the required machining operations can be estimated as the product of total machining time and the machine shop's hourly tooling rate.
##### Machine Shop Hourly Rate
The actual machining rate depends on the process capabilities of the machine shop and must be specified based on historical job data. If this rate is difficult to determine, an appropriate value can be estimated based on current national averages (for example, at the time of this writing, a quick internet search of "machine shop rates" returned values between \$40/hr to \$80/hr).
##### Total Mold Machining Time
The total mold machining time is the sum of the individual machining times required for cores, cavities, and gating. As is customary for most molds, it will be assumed here that the cores and cavities are embodied as inserts which are secured into pockets of the mold base. This facilitates machining, mold repair, and even potentially allows some mold bases to be reused with different core/cavity insert sets.
##### Cavity and Core Insert Machining Time Calculations
The times required for machining the core and cavity inserts of the mold are complex functions of the gross part size, part geometry/complexity, and machining process capabilities. If the exact mold design is completely specified along with the process planning, the machining time can accurately and easily be predicated through CAM simulations. Unfortunately, in the early stages of design the exact mold configuration has most likely not been determined and hence it becomes tricky to estimate this time.
##### Gating Machining Time Calculations
As well as the machining required to produce the desired cores/cavities in the mold base, additional machining is needed for the mold gating system. In an ideal situation, the completely-specified cavity layout would be input into a cutter path generation program to obtain the total milling time in a similar manner to predicting the core/cavity milling times. If this is not possible, a rough estimate can still be obtained through volumetric considerations.

#### Tolerance Costs

"Tolerance costs" refer to the costs associated with achieving the required dimensional tolerances specified in the plastic components' design. Obviously it will cost more to mold a part that has tight tolerances, because the tooling used to produce it must have tight tolerances itself. Thus, we can account for this added cost by estimating the additional machining time required to achieve the desired tolerances in the core and cavity inserts of the mold. It may be assumed that desired core/cavity dimensional tolerances are produced by additional precision milling operations. Typically, any milling process is performed in a series of increasingly precise (but slower) machining steps, using smaller and smaller tools. The initial steps are referred to as "roughing" operations and the final step is referred to as a "finishing", or here, "tolerancing" operation.
##### Hourly Tolerance Machining Rate
The hourly machining rate applied to tolerancing operations is similar to the other hourly rates previously discussed. It is a representative hourly cost that accounts for the labor and machine tools (milling machines) used to perform the tolerancing. The actual value depends on the rates charged by the particular machine shop and should readily be calculated based on historical machining data.
##### Number of Surfaces Requiring Tolerancing
The number of surfaces requiring tolerancing are simply the number of part surfaces that have specified dimensional tolerances that are tighter than those provided by regular rough machining. Each one of these surfaces has a corresponding surface in the core or cavity insert of the mold.
##### Surface Area
The surface area is the total area on the core or cavity's surface that possesses the tolerance value trying to be obtained. The entire surface typically has to be engaged by the finishing tool, increasing the total machining time. These surface area values are readily obtained from the CAD model and are required inputs to the model.
##### Surface Milling Feed Rate
The tolerancing feed rate is also a process-specific input variable and is obtained in a similar manner as the regular volumetric feed rate used in rough machining. This value depends on the milling operation and can be obtained from a machinist's handbook [44]. The actual feed values are typically much lower speeds than regular machining feed rates, and are based on the process capabilities and tools of the individual milling machine.

#### Surface Finishing Costs

Surface finishing costs will here refer the combined cost of two separate actions: 1) hand polishing the mold to produce the desired appearance on the part's surface, and 2) incorporation of textures onto the mold surfaces. These two operations are performed independently, but they are both carried out to enhance the surface texture of the part, so are rolled into one cost.
##### Hourly Rates of Mold Polishing and Texturing
As with the other tooling operations such as machining and tolerancing, both types of surface finishing operations have associated hourly rates that deal with the costs of labor and equipment operation throughout the tooling process. These values are company-specific and are input to the model based on historical tooling cost data. The only difference here is that since mold texturing is usually outsourced to specialized companies, the hourly rates can be directly quoted from them.
##### Mold Polishing Time
Mold polishing is a costly operation, performed by hand on the mold core and cavity surfaces. Typically, a special type of sand paper is used to buff the mold surface until the desired finish is produced. The total time required for this action is proportional to the surface area, part complexity, and desired surface finish. Surface finishes are typically divided into seven distinct categories, each with an associated Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) grade.
##### Mold Texturing Time
While the mold texturing time could possibly be estimated using similar reasoning as that for the tolerancing and polishing times, it will be a bit different because there are many specialized textures, each with their own associated application processes and costs.

#### Ejector System Costs

The process of preparing the mold base to receive the ejector system is a lengthy (and costly) task, and unfortunately, very difficult to predict in the early product design stages. This makes the total cost of ejector system hard to estimate with any certainty. According to Boothroyd, although the cost is directly related to the number of ejector pins, which in turn, is dependent on the part size, core depth, rib geometry, and other part-complexity features, no strong mathematical relationships between these factors and cost could be established.

#### Cooling System Costs

Most typical molds employ a cooling system which is simply a series of connected cylindrical channels that run throughout the mold, close to the cavity and core surfaces. These channels circulate cold water during the cooling phase of injection molding, helping cool the molten resin. There are other specialized cooling devices that can be built into molds in order to help meet special cooling requirements and reach difficult mold areas. Some such devices are baffles and water jets. For simplicity, often these specialized cooling devices are not considered in this model. Cooling channels are usually machined into the molds as a series of deep drilling operations. Then certain channels are plugged on one or both ends to create a closed circuit. A simple example of this is illustrated in Figure 1. An easy way to calculate the machining costs of these drilled holes is by realizing that the cost is directly proportional to the machining time.

##### Drilling Hourly Shop Rates
The hourly cost of drilling is just another hourly machine shop cost associated with the operation of drill presses and the associated labor costs.
##### Drilling Time
The time required for drilling the holes is directly proportional to the channel size, which in turn, is directly proportional to their length and diameter.
##### Drilling Speed
The drilling feed rate, or speed relates how fast holes can be drilled, that is, how fast the drill can travel through the mold core and cavity plates per unit time. This value is highly dependent on the hole diameter, mold material (typically steel), and most importantly, the machine shop's drilling equipment and capabilities.
##### Cooling Channel Length
The total cooling channel length is the most important parameter in terms of cooling system cost and is also, unfortunately, the most difficult to determine at an early design stage. This is because just from looking at the CAD model of the part, it may be difficult to determine the best cooling strategy.

Fortunately, our fundamental assumption that the MMM variant is strictly the rotary platen MSM method slightly simplifies the cooling channel considerations because both shots have the same core, and hence, the same cooling channels in the core side of the mold. In terms of the cavity side of the mold, we can also assume the cooling channel layout for both cavities A and B will be the same in either process variant. Because the cavities should be nearly identical in the SM mold and the MS mold, this assumption is justified. These assumptions reduce the total number of unique cooling channel layouts to four, as listed below and illustrated in Figure 2:

1) A layout for the core side of mold A, and the common core side of mold AB

2) A layout for the cavity side of mold A. and the cavity side of mold AB - shot A

3) A layout for the core side of mold B

4) A layout for the cavity side of mold B and mold AB, shot B

#### Side Action Systems Costs

If the part geometry absolutely requires undercuts with respect to the mold parting direction, side actions will have to be utilized on each side of the mold cavity that contains said undercuts. The cost of integrating side actions into a mold base depends directly on the type of side action mechanism used, which is in turn, depends of the number and nature of the undercuts.

#### Hot Runner system Costs

Hot runner systems are required in the MMM variant's mold and optional in both or either of the SMM&A's molds. Typically hot runner systems are custom-built by a specialized company to meet the molder's needs. Resultantly, the associated hot runner system costs are controlled directly by their manufacturer. However, linear size-based assumption can be used to estimate representative costs for relative comparison purposes.

#### Mold Setup Costs

The mold setup cost is a one-time cost associated with installing the mold into the molding press and preparing it for production. The cost is incurred simply because it takes time and manpower to hoist a mold onto the press and ensure that it works properly. This also includes the time required for setting the controller for proper operation as well as putting the machine through any necessary dry-runs and getting it up to steady-state production. The total setup cost can be expressed as the sum of the individual setup costs for either process variant.

### Basic Overhead Costs

The term "basic overhead" will be used here to refer to the hourly cost of running the production line, including labor costs and machine rates. The direct labor and machine costs will be adjusted to account for indirect overhead costs, by applying appropriate overhead rates. The overall overhead rate is split into a sum of 1) direct labor costs, and 2) molding machine/s operational costs, which are then adjusted by corresponding overhead rates.

#### Labor Rates

The labore rates account for the different hourly wages paid to different laborers involved with production. The actual values for these rates depends on the individual company's practices as well as the level of skill required for the product under consideration. These numbers can be calculated from historical and geographical data.

#### Machine Rates

The machine rates refers to the hourly cost of running the injection molding machines. This accounts for the power consumption and other utilities used during their operation.

### Capital Investment Costs

The total capital investment cost is simply the cost of all the required production line equipment amortized over a period of time. It is amortized over a time rather than a production quantity because the equipment is typically used throughout several product lines, rather than dedicated to a single product. For instance, the same molding machine will be used to manufacture many different parts.

#### Equipment Costs

The equipment simply refers to all of the machinery required to manufacture and assemble the product. This includes the molding machines, assembly equipment, and other miscellaneous items (e.g. packaging equipment). This also includes the rotary platen required for the MMM variant. Table 1 lists some common capital equipment that must be priced, including both required and optional equipment:

Table 1 - Common Equipment for MMM and SMM&A

While Table 1 is by no means a comprehensive list, it shows all of the required equipment as well as some typical auxiliary equipment that should be considered for production of either product variant.
##### Molding Machine Cost
The cost of each molding machine includes the cost of the press and the necessary injection unit/s.
##### Molding Press Cost
The molding press refers to the part of the molding machine which holds the clamp mechanism that controls the opening/closing of the mold. The price of the press is a function of the press size, which is a function of the required clamping force.
##### Injection Unit Cost
Like the molding press, the cost of the injection unit is a function of its size. The required size is in turn, a function of the total shot volume. The injection unit's size is characterized by the volume of the plasticizing barrel. According to Bryce, the ideal barrel size is twice the volume of one shot [Boo02].
##### Assembly Station Cost
The cost of the assembly station for the SMM&A variant includes the cost of any tools, fixtures, and workbenches required at the assembly station. The total cost is entirely dependent on the station's configuration and must be input to the model by the user. The station could consist of a simple table and chair, or an elaborate assembly cell with drop-down tools and conveyors, etc.
##### Rotary Platen Cost
The rotary platen adds a significant cost to the MMM process variant. A typical platen can be in the ballpark of \$50K-\$60K. The cost of the platen is a direct function of its size, which is in turn, a function of the size of the mold base that it rotates. The mold core side of the mold base essentially bolts directly to the rotary platen, so the platen should be large enough to accommodate the base. As a general rule, the platen's diameter should be slightly larger than the length of the diagonal of the mold base.
##### Auxiliary Equipment Cost
The auxiliary equipment term is intended to include all the other optional equipment outside of the direct molding/assembly items. This could include things such as resin dehumidifiers, packaging equipment, etc. The presence of such extra equipment is case-specific and the
costs must be supplied by the user.

#### Capital Investment Parameters

The capital investment parameters, namely the load factor and write off time, are highly dependent on the investment strategy of each individual company and their accounting practices. These values have to be determined based on the company's specific needs in order to be input to the model. Interest Factor The "interest factor" is a term added to include the cost of capital; that is, the interest incurred throughout the repayment of the loan.
##### Write-off Time
The write-off time is simply a time period over which the capital cost of the equipment is to be recovered. This would typically be the length of the loan taken out to pay for the equipment.
##### Load Factor
The load factor is used to represent how effectively the equipment is used. It can account for things such as breakdowns, scheduled downtimes (for maintenance etc.), and the possibility that the equipment is used on several product lines rather than dedicated to the production run being estimated. This actual number can be difficult to estimate, especially in the early product design stages, as there are many uncertainties associated with running a production line. This number can be conservatively estimated based on historical data, or using more sophisticated means such as discrete event simulation.

### Plant Floor Space Costs

Since the entire production line will be taking up space in some manufacturing plant, a rather significant cost is incurred as a result. This is because it simply costs money to rent and maintain facilities. Bulky molding machines take up precious floor space that could otherwise be used on other production lines or as storage room. While this cost could be absorbed into the basic overhead as with several other factors, it may be independently considered here for greater emphasis and ease of calculation.

#### Floor Space Used by Production Lines

The total floor space is the sum of all the space used by every station in the production line, including molding machines (and their associated auxiliary equipment), assembly stations, and packaging stations. Here it makes sense to emphasize the significant difference in floor space usage between the two process variants; that is, the fact that SMM&A requires two machines and an assembly station, whereas MMM requires only one (although usually larger) machine. This difference could significantly affect the relative costs between the two processes. It should be noted that the footprint of the MMM machine is highly dependent on the layout of the injection units. 3D views of these same layouts are shown below in Figure 3 for quick reference.

#### Hourly Cost of Space

The hourly cost of space must be determined based on the cost of renting the entire manufacturing facility as well as other factors such as upkeep. These values are company-specific and should be readily calculated based on historical data.