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'[OT]: Labour estimation guide'
2002\01\17@160610 by Dave King

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This is a bit off topic but I am looking for something to reference for doing a
labor estimation on a few thousand controller boards I  might get to build.

I'm trying to figure out labor cost's as well as other related items
(delivery periods
stock required on hand etc).

The amount of boards if this comes through is almost worth or may be worth
getting
parts of them subbed out.  However  I'd still like to know for my own
information how
fast the average  underpaid slave wage flunky aka skilled valuable employee
with
multiple benefits and a great boss....  can assemble things.

Has anyone run across a good reference site or materials?

Tnx

Dave

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2002\01\17@231740 by myke predko

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Hi Dave,

You're really asking a tough question simply because there are so many
variables.

In the US/Canada, I have seen hourly rates from $15.00 to $60.00 depending
on company, skills and PCB design.  In "Low Cost Geographies", hourly rates
can be anywhere from $0.60 and up depending on your scruples.

A better question is how manufacturable is your PCB?  If you are looking at
a pin through hole board with a lot of discrete components (resistors and
capacitors), then you would want to consider a far east board stuffer.  But,
in doing this, you have very significant shipping costs (especially after
9/11) and if there are any problems with the design or instructions, you
will end up with a lot of product needing rework.

If you can convert most of the components to SMT, then it requires much less
labor to build the boards and less cost to ship to your customer (but the
shops that build SMT products have a higher level of capital investment).
Most SMT shops will offer substantial support for PCB design and layout to
make sure the board will run with as few problems as possible.  Another big
advantage with SMT is that the throughput can be many times that of a PTH
PCB (requiring fewer person-hours and less time stock is in inventory).

You might want to put out some budgetary quotes on
http://www.pcbmarketplace.com/cgi-bin/display.cgi which is a service that
will allow you to get bids from different PCB fab houses and card stuffers.
From here, you can figure out what is the right solution (and company for
you).  It's a lot of fun watching companies bid against each other.

Good luck - I hope you get the business.

myke

{Original Message removed}

2002\01\19@085044 by Roman Black

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Dave King wrote:
>
> This is a bit off topic but I am looking for something to reference for doing a
> labor estimation on a few thousand controller boards I  might get to build.
>
> I'm trying to figure out labor cost's as well as other related items
> (delivery periods
> stock required on hand etc).
>
> The amount of boards if this comes through is almost worth or may be worth
> getting
> parts of them subbed out.  However  I'd still like to know for my own
> information how
> fast the average  underpaid slave wage flunky aka skilled valuable employee
> with
> multiple benefits and a great boss....  can assemble things.
>
> Has anyone run across a good reference site or materials?


Hi Dave, not exactly the answer you asked for, but
an important option would be to shop around for a
firm that does small quantity assembly. They already
have the best/cheapest labour and efficiently set
up equipment, and contacts for getting parts of the
job done even cheaper than they can do it. They usually
have some type of quality control standard. It might
work out cheaper than doing it yourself, it might give
a more uniform quality, and definitely will be quicker
and a lot less hassle for you. Your time may be better
spent as a designer, not a sweat shop boss. :o)
-Roman

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2002\01\21@021541 by Dave King

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Roman + Mike

Pretty much what you guys have said is common sense
(I even had thought about it too ;-]) Really the problem as I can
narrow it down it strictly assembly speed. That will govern throughput
which will govern how many bodies need to be thrown into the equation etc.
That governs how many work benches  irons and coffee cups and how fast
the cattle prod needs to be recharged.

>* ensure HEALTHY profit markup over parts cost,
>   it's surprising how many extra costs will arise
>   that you didn't anticipate, no successful small
>   manufacturer has low price/parts ratio. Add value
>   with size, reliability, unusual function etc.

My worse case parts cost is $9, I sell the boards for over $200. The product
I compete against sells for $600. I am expected to be able to produce from
2,000 to 30,000 units per year.


>* don't think of your first design as precious,

The design would be embarrassingly simple to a first year tech student.
The problem is the boards have to be certified and pass some fairly
stringent tests. This costs a min of 10K.  If I literally changed from a
slotted
screw to a Phillips I'd have to re-certify the whole thing. The design isn't
precious but my 10k sure the hell is ;-] At that stage I wouldn't care if I
somehow
forgot to run leads to something and it just sat there doing nothing, as
long as the
board worked.

>* test labour yourself, time how long it takes to
>   solder that number of components and connections
>   (just solder randomly on veroboard to test) and
>   any other assembly tasks. Allow for workers to
>   be probably half your speed with rest periods etc.

This really is the entire question here. I found I can do the boards by hand
in about 5 minutes, I was working on the assumption that the labour I'd hire
might take up to an hour. That's what I actually budgeted for (with even
more time to test.).
I'm trying to figure out a realistic rate that I can work down to or shoot
for. It won't do me
any good if I find that it takes a soldering whizard to do it under 10
minutes and that as soon as
I get someone that good they bugger off to greener pastures. We are going
to be paying $15 to $20
per hour + for these positions so I'm sure we won't have a shortage of
applicants, just ones with
skills. ;-].

>* still ask around for any of your tasks that can
>   be outsourced, if you can free 50% of labour by
>   getting some of the time consuming jobs done
>   elsewhere for a small cost it's worth it.

If I could pass this onto someone and know the price was reasonable and the
quality could be counted
on it will get done that way. Less headaches all around. Even then I need
to know if I'm being overcharged
for production. I looked through some of my old EDM stuff and there were
references to doing the estimation
but nothing that really gave any numbers. I guess if worse comes to worse
I'll get a couple of stop watches,
enough parts to do a couple dozen boards and time some people to build em.
And maybe get two cattle prods...

Dave

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2002\01\21@035658 by Jafta

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Dave

How many components/holes are on your board.  Through-hole or Surface mount.

Regards

Chris A

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2002\01\21@075412 by Tsvetan Usunov

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>This is a bit off topic but I am looking for something to reference for
doing a
>labor estimation on a few thousand controller boards I  might get to build.
>
>I'm trying to figure out labor cost's as well as other related items
>(delivery periods stock required on hand etc).
>
>The amount of boards if this comes through is almost worth or may be worth
>getting parts of them subbed out.  However  I'd still like to know for my
own
>information how fast the average  underpaid slave wage flunky aka skilled
valuable employee
>with multiple benefits and a great boss....  can assemble things.
>
>Has anyone run across a good reference site or materials?
>
>Tnx
>
>Dave

Dave,

It may worth checking our assembly services
http://www.olimex.com/pcb/protoa.html
We can do pcb production and assembly from prototypes to volume, just send
us your PCB and Bill of Materials.
PCB and electronic assemblies from Bulgarian origin have 0% import tax to
EU, UK and USA.

Best regards
Tsvetan
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Development boards for PIC, AVR and MSP430  (http://www.olimex.com/dev)

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