This paper presents a part count tool that automates the consideration of manufacturing cost during the conceptual design phase by predicting part count for a particular product concept. With an approximate number of parts per product in the conceptual design phase, the designer can estimate the cost associated with the product. On the basis of the cost, the designer can make changes according to budget requirements. The part count tool will also aid in ranking the design concepts by number of components for a product. This tool utilizes existing automated concept generation algorithms to generate the design concepts. It extracts the available data from the Missouri S&T Design Repository to compute an average number of parts per component type in the repository and then calculates an average part count for new concepts. This data can subsequently be used by designers to estimate product cost. The part count tool also uses an algorithm to determine how to connect two non compatible components through the addition of mutually compatible components. While emphasis is placed on the average parts per product in evaluating designs, the overall functional requirement of the product is also considered.

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