Cost, quality, and environments tradeoffs for printed circuit board assembly

Deborah L. Thurston, Jorge Alvarado, Donna Mangun, William F. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After exhausting all '"pollution prevention pays" opportunities, further efforts towards environmental protection often engender some type of cost to the manufacturer. Then, designers must weigh tradeoffs between environmental impacts and equally pressing needs to reduce costs, improve product quality, and reduce cycle time: all while meeting customer demands, which are the driving force behind the design process. Although there is a growing market for "green"' products as customers' desire to be environmentally responsible increases, it is extremely difficult to accurately assess the customer's actual willingness to pay for environmental protection. This paper first briefly reviews methods for assessing customer preferences. Then, it presents a decision model for use by design engineers to assist in making these tradeoffs between cost, quality, and environmental impact in which customer preferences can be reflected in weighting factors assigned by the design engineer. Qualitative HOQ information is used as a starting point to derive a mathematical programming formulation for multi-objective optimization. Finally, an illustrative example for printed circuit board assembly is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-231
Number of pages26
JournalEngineering Economist
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics


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