Manufacturing Cost Levelization Model – A User’s Guide

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The Manufacturing Cost Levelization Model is a cost-performance techno-economic model that estimates total large-scale manufacturing costs for necessary to produce a given product. It is designed to provide production cost estimates for technology researchers to help guide technology research and development towards an eventual cost-effective product. The model presented in this user’s guide is generic and can be tailored to the manufacturing of any product, including the generation of electricity (as a product). This flexibility, however, requires the user to develop the processes and process efficiencies that represents a full-scale manufacturing facility.

The generic model is comprised of several modules that estimate variable costs (material, labor, and operating), fixed costs (capital & maintenance), financing structures (debt and equity financing), and tax implications (taxable income after equipment and building depreciation, debt interest payments, and expenses) of a notional manufacturing plant. A cash-flow method is used to estimate a selling price necessary for the manufacturing plant to recover its total cost of production. A levelized unit sales price ($ per unit of product) is determined by dividing the net-present value of the manufacturing plant’s expenses ($) by the net present value of its product output. A user defined production schedule drives the cash-flow method that determines the levelized unit price. In addition, an analyst can increase the levelized unit price to include a gross profit margin to estimate a product sales price.

This model allows an analyst to understand the effect that any input variables could have on the cost of manufacturing a product. In addition, the tool is able to perform sensitivity analysis, which can be used to identify the key variables and assumptions that have the greatest influence on the levelized costs. This component is intended to help technology researchers focus their research attention on tasks that offer the greatest opportunities for cost reduction early in the research and development stages of technology invention.

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