Cost Engineering

ESTIM is :-  for Pricing/Costing, planning records & history for discrete parts or assemblies.

ESTIM is not :- MRP or ERP (like SAP or JobShop or Epicor) but works with it.

For instance, an ERP/MRP’s standard cost estimate considers the price of a manufactured part and, maybe, the operations needed to make it,but it does not have a way of calculating the time to manufacture, considering Speeds, Feeds, Depths, Handling, Hit rates etc. which is what ESTIM does. It’s not just a guess.
ESTIM establishes the standard time that each operation should take, and then you can import the process plan into your MRP/ERP system, with the associated cost – or – just use it, stand alone for Process Planning, Customer records, Quotations, Shopfloor Documentation and Purchase requisitions.

Most manufactured products require careful planning – Some are more complex than others and take longer to assess. Computerised planning gives you the ability to evaluate each step in the manufacturing process and significantly when the design changes or there is a change to the raw material’s physical properties or commodity price, ESTIM will instantly evaluate the change in time and cost.

What you put in:

  • Method of manufacture (Operations)
  • Stock material size or type
  • Batch Size (Quantity)

What you get out:

  • Competitive quotations
  • Plant usage (Capacity planning)
  • Controlled markup and discounts
  • Purchase inventory

ESTIM Manufacturing times and costs

Time is Money ESTIM is a PC application that allows you to accurately estimate the time and cost of manufacture.


ESTIM is a PC application that allows you to accurately estimate the time and cost of manufacture. Its primary use is machined parts, however, due to the inclusion of user definable tasks, the versatility of ESTIM can be extended to any type of manufacture.

ESTIM allows you to determine cycle time, taking into account component size, the raw material used and resources. From this you can then create operations which can be used to define production plan of the part. Parts are then assembled, perhaps with bought out items, to form complete assemblies and so on to a works order or production schedule.

By accurately predicting the time it takes to manufacture, this enhances your ability to deliver on time, improving your customer experience and your overall profitability

  • Keep track of bids, costs and resources
  • Real time detail estimating of discrete manufacturing from CAD input
  • Create estimates based on historical data and industry standards
  • Compare estimated to actual manufacturing relationship
  • Report on customer history – won & lost


Planning the manufacturing process

ESTIM is designed to reduce quoting and planning time and ensuring that the manufacturing process is efficient. Templates are used to simplify the follow steps to evaluate a manufacturing process.

  1. Recall a template to quickly plan the operations needed to make the part
  2. Enter materials – type & size
  3. Add – Delete – Modify manufacturing detail
  4. Enter the Quantities  1 off & 3 off & 10 off
  5. ESTIM quickly calculates Time to make – Cost to make – Materials required.
  6. Output Quotation – Estimate – Tender – Bid price (Printed or e-Mailed)
  7. Print Route cards and Job Tickets
  8. Record design changes and manufacturing history
  9. Link selected data to MRP ERP Accounts (Preactor / Sage / Micross)
  10. Refine the manufacturing detail to produce more accurate figures.

You now have an analysis of a part or assembly.

ESTIM Part Review

Review Page

Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP)
Computer Aided Estimating (CAE)
Computer Aided Cost Comparison (CACC)

Time is Money .

Cost +Plus gives the selling price
how long will it take to make?
how much it will cost to make?
can I recover the tooling cost?
what Materials are used in manufacture?
So it should cost – xxx.xx
See the effect of the learning curve on the time
Add % markup on materials
Add % profit margin
Is the selling price competitive?
Predict the price in 1 and 2 years
Is there a quicker method?
The time + work in progress gives the delivery date

Link the planning to production control system – Integration utilities, data export and ODBC technology allows the routings + parts’ details to be accessed by all departments.

Most manufactured products require careful planning – Some are more complex than others and take longer to assess.

ESTIM instantly evaluates a change in:-

  • Method of manufacture
  • Stock material size or type
  • Quantity
  • Plant usage
  • Product Design
  • Different Customer
  • Different Supplier
  • More competitive pricing

Typical users are in Aerospace, Marine, Automotive,Switchgear, Fabrication, Sub contract and the Sheetmetal/Plate industry, where machining or technical processes influence cycle time and product pricing is paramount. ESTIM offers accurate and consistent planning -> Job Costing + Operator instructions + Part history + Revision Control + Comparison of Estimated to Actual. Jobs Won/Lost report. Customer performance.

Does Lean manufacturing mean – Manufacturing without making a profit? Or is it accurate, consistent, achievable and profitable work delivered on schedule for customer satisfaction.

Our software package is delivered with data — the knowledge of manufacturing technology — for General Engineering

We can supply industry specific data sets.

  • Aerospace
  • Fabrication
  • Sheetmetal
  • Gear Cutting
  • General Engineering


Cost of manufacture, sale price, and profit margin are always important issues – they are in fact the key to the success of your business.  ESTIM calculates accurate, consistent, and achievable manufacturing times and costs.


Detailed proposals can be very time consuming to produce and when design changes are made the proposal has to be done all over again ! unless of course you are using ESTIM, because you can simply change the detail concerning the design change and you immediately have your new Time & Price. ESTIM  is many times quicker than the manual method – guessing would be even quicker!

Finding capacity in a busy schedule for a firm delivery date can be a juggling act – ESTIM combined with a capacity planning system such as Preactor gives you the management tool to schedule efficient manufacturing.


The quality and style of your proposal will affect the company’s image and reputation – ESTIM produces high quality personalised quotations incorporating drawings, and gives prices for any number of batch quantities.  The system can even be paperless, sending your bid via e-mail.


ESTIM performs estimating and process planning encompassing time study for all manufacturing processes and hand operations time and motion studies. Manufacturing operations

  • Manufacturing times
  • Cycle times
  • Set-up times
  • Basic minutes
  • Standard times
  • Accurate, consistent and achievable times
  • Speeds and feeds
  • Metal removal rates Estim calculates these times for :-
  • Conventional machining
  • CNC machining
  • Special processes
  • Sheet metal
  • Assembly
    • Mechanical
    • Electrical
    • Electronic
  • Gear Cutting
  • Fabrication

    Advanced features

  • Gear cutting and gear grinding
  • Bought out item – by unit – by volume – by length
  • Sheet and bar utilisation
  • sub-assembly costing;
  • Learning curve and power curve;
  • Torque and Thrust

    What values does it use to calculate?

  • Data for your own plant list
  • Universally adopted cutting data
  • Speed and feed – depth of cut – surface finish values
  • Cutting Tool types – tips, coated etc.

    What the ESTIM cost model can do for you

  • Predict manufacturing costs;
  • Ensure a viable workload;
  • Produce quotations;
  • Facilitate variable mark-up rates;
  • Reduce response time;
  • Calculate machine load times;
  • Material costing;
  • Easy experimentation with different machines, materials, etc.;
  • Bought-out items amortisation;
  • Look at varying batch quantities;
  • Optimise machine utilisation (speed / feed power);
  • Sub-contract monitoring;
  • Comply with BS5750 & ISO 9000 – ISO 9001

    Links to other systems

  • Sage (
  • Micros (
  • GB Efficiency Services Limited (
  • Preactor for manufacturing scheduling
  • Any Production controls system with linkage options
  • CAM cnc instructions form part of manufacturing history
  • MRP – ERP
  • ODBC Databases
  • Shopfloor documentation
  • Word processing
  • Spreadsheet


  • ESTIM can be installed and running in your working environment with little disruption:
  • No work study required;
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use database


  • ESTIM is easy to learn, and easy to configure to your manufacturing standard:
  • User-friendly;
  • User configurable system parameters;
  • Customised output;
  • Minimum keyboard use;
  • Reduced errors and omissions;
  • Rework existing routings for revised quotes or operator instructions
  • Removes key-man dependency


  • Full technical training & support ;
  • Detailed user manual
  • Getting Started Manual
  • Context on-line help F1 key
  • Rapid induction of new staff

Production control linkage

Fully documented output from ESTIM provides accurate information for quotations, and in addition serves process planning and production control functions. ESTIM as an add-on module interfaces to many production control systems to provide the technical solution to estimating that a lot of the major systems do not offer.

Scheduling ESTIM output with Preactor

  • Scheduling and capacity planning;
  • Resource utilisation;
  • Load works orders into Preactor for forward or backward scheduling, with finite or infinite capacity.
  • Reports
  • ‘Work to’ lists, ‘Work in Progress’ ‘Tardy’ lists for those jobs running late
  • The very flexible user interface is based on a visual planning board, which
  • See at a glance what current and future conditions prevail.
  • Pick and place to fine-tune the planned schedule
  • Make enquiries, or change a delivery date

ESTIM gives sub-contractors the edge in estimation

In the highly competitive world of sub-contract machining, the ability to provide accurate and profitable quotations to strict deadlines is essential.  With so many companies bidding for a limited amount of business, estimating accuracy is all-important – cost too high and the job will go elsewhere, too low and there’s a risk of winning unprofitable, or even loss-making, work. Written by engineers for engineers across a wide range of manufacturing Industries, ESTIM eliminates guesswork and inaccurate quoting, while reducing estimating time by up to 75%.  The ESTIM system can use data specific to the machines in your plant – not theoretical information and generalisations. As a package, ESTIM forms the basis of manufacturing control and could pay for itself in a single order by avoiding a quoting error costing more than the price of the software licence.


Most manufactured products require careful planning – Some are more complex than others and take longer to assess. Computerised planning gives you the ability to evaluate each step in the manufacturing process and significantly when the design changes or there is a change to the raw material’s physical properties or commodity price, ESTIM will instantly evaluate the change in Time and Money.


Numerous systems offer an estimating module which loads the scheduling module with operation time in order to evaluate resource loading and delivery dates. But usually these times  are nothing more than guesswork with no technical basis. ESTIM however calculates accurate, consistent and achievable cycle times because each building block of time is based on engineering principles and your own plant and practices.

CAD Interface

Sizes can be taken directly from a CAD design, making it very quick and easy to evaluate the manufacturing of a part.

When the CAD design changes, the ESTIM time and cost change in unison.

Importing from XML

ESTIM imports design data from CAD for geometry, parameters and bought out items contained in .xml files.

A utility program is available called ESTIM_CAD_Wizard.exe which takes a spreadsheet and creates the xml file. The spreadsheet is of the format produced by the AutoCAD Block export function.

The spreadsheet does not have to be an AutoCAD Block file. It is any spreadsheet .xls or .xlsx that has the layout described in the examples below (.csv files can also be accommodated). The file could be created by any CAD system or configurator or perhaps simply a spreadsheet or database.

Example of Spreadsheet

The XML structure supports the part definition:

  • If the part exists, but is not the current part, the current part is saved and the import part becomes active.
  • If the part does not exist, ESTIM creates the part from the specifies template and that becomes the active part.
  • If the template does not exist, the process is terminated.

Example xml file

The xml file can contain just parameter information:

  • If the parameter exists, the value is updated with the import data.
  • If the parameter does not exist, it is created and the value imported.
  • Parameters for multiple parts can be imported in a single xml file.

Example xml file for parameters

The xml file can contain just a part definition which calls a template which has a table of parameters already defined. The Part would be created and then a set of parameters loaded to give the new sizes.

Example of a new part with updated parameters

The CAD Wizard function is external to ESTIM and can be run on either the CAD station, the ESTIM station or another platform on the network.

The Block identifies the Part Number and optionally Method and Revision. If the part cannot be identified in ESTIM the import is interrupted so the operator can select a part.

If the part does not exist in ESTIM, a part must be created preferably from a template containing all the operation structure.

If operations do not exist in the part, an operation of the type supporting the task is automatically copied from existing parts or templates.

The CAD import principle relies on the ability to export a spreadsheet of data in the form of an AutoCAD Block.
The Block spreadsheet can contain feature geometry and quantities as well as Product codes and quantities of bought out items.
The structure of the Block Spreadsheet is flexible and can contain many different block types.
Each entry in the Block Spreadsheet should define an ‘Instance’ which is unique so that if the drawing is modified, the entry in ESTIM is modified in unison rather than create an additional entry.
Note. If the xml file is created without the use of the Wizard, the instance should be deleted prior to redefining it with modified values.
The Wizard is used to create and modify a lookup which relates Block names to tasks.
A Block such as ‘Tapped Hole’ could call up Tasks for Centre Drill followed by Drill followed by Countersink followed by Tap.
The Wizard also maintains the look up for the ‘Responses’ to Task Prompts from the Spreadsheet columns names.
If the Look up of a Block is changed in the Wizard the relationship of Block Name to Tasks and Prompts changes, so when an import is refreshed or repeated, the old Task entries are automatically deleted and new ones created.

The system requires a copy of Microsoft Excel to be installed on the Wizard station. When using the Wizard the speed of opening an import spreadsheet file is improved if Microsoft Excel is running on the computer.

Importing a design can be done in just one Spreadsheet or in a series of files and as the import into ESTIM is triggered every few seconds, it is feasible to send the a file covering the last feature worked on in the CAD system.

Multiple design stations could be working on the same part simultaneously.
Multiple Wizards could process CAD data and sent it to a single ESTIM session.
But it is not possible to have a part open for edit on more than one ESTIM station.

The ESTIM session will initiate import of the CAD data when it is idle in the part form.
Import will be suspended when an Operation form or Task form is active.

Geometry – Sizes and quantities which effect the time taken to manufacture a part with these features through applying standard time, machining data, overheads discounts and markups.
BOM – Part ID and quantity for Bought Out Parts which reference stored price and markup data to comprise the non-manufactured part of the selling price.

The Review Tab in the Part form provides a dynamic monitor of both time and cost as the import changes the part definition, the Bid Price for each of the batch quantities is recalculated and displayed.

CAD Linkage

A utility is provided to import the CAD data into ESTIM.

Run ‘ESTIM_CAD_Wizard.exe’.

There are two Options:

Read and import a file from the current directory for processing and transfer to ESTIM.
– or –
Edit the existing Block data (Look ups) read and import xls file.

If all the look ups are tried and tested this button expands the Block data into the xml file which ESTIM is waiting for.

ESTIM will then add, remove or modify the feature data and bought out items and then display the new times and costs. If the Wizard comes across a Block Name it has not got any Tasks for, the process is interrupted for the operator to select an Operation and Task or Tasks. A Block cannot reference multiple operations.

When a Task is added to a look up list for a Block, the Chain and passed parameters has no effect. If a response is left blank, ESTIM will either assume its normal default or indicate that a entry is missing.

If you want to refer to parameters such as #Dia# or #L# etc you must arrange for the values in the Block spreadsheet to be populated by the CAD system as it exports the data.

To edit an entry Double click it
To Delete one or more, tick the box(es) and the DeleteBrowse by Selecting Operation or TaskMove through a string of Tasks with Next and Previous
Add additional Tasks to the Block
To Delete – delete the whole block and redefine all tasks
To populate the Lookup – Click the Prompt Cell – then click the Lookup Cell.
When defining a string of Tasks for a Block Click Add Next Task

When you have added the last Task in a string of tasks Click Add and FinishThe Import data will be written into the file specified in ESTIM Options and located in the ESTIM and Wizard working folder.



Notes for ESTIM Users

A current maintenance contract entitles you to a free software upgrade to the latest release.

CES have software that takes the BDE data and writes it to the new SQL structure. It is a tool rather that a user utility so it is best that CES do the transfer for you without charge. Users can send your data at the close of business at the weekend and we could have it ready for you at the start of the following Monday.

The new release uses SQL in place of the obsolete BDE database.

It can use Microsoft SQL or Oracle MySQL

The server can be the free Express versions or the full enterprise version if you have, or buy, the licence.

SQL is more reliable and some say faster. It is certainly the industry standard and BDE is not.

Licencing is now done by Either Single USB dongle DK12 or Network USB dongle DK2 or Website registration which can be purchased as a lifetime licence or monthly subscription. Additional licences can be added or dropped at any time. The Website option does require internet connection while running ESTIM.

There is a new CAD viewer tool to interrogate drawing sizes and populate task entries. The previous one was an evaluation version which users could upgrade to a full version, but the cost of that has risen beyond a reasonable figure, it was too big and inflexible. DXFReader is better but it does not read DWG files.

There is now a CAD interface which links CAD feature data with ESTIM tasks to automatically calculate the manufacturing costs of features or bought out parts. When the feature export is performed in the CAD package, the file that is created in the designated folder triggers the import in ESTIM. A recalculation is automatically performed and bid prices updated. When a feature is changed, and exported, the same feature is modified in ESTIM. Provided the CAD and ESTIM folders are available on the network, the designer and estimator can be in different parts of the world.

There is a Review page which shows all the constituent sections of a part and as the name suggests provides a complete review of manufacturing on a single page.

Assemblies now shows the Where Used On to help with ‘Drill Down’. Double click a Part on the assembly tree to navigate to that Part.

Quotations now provides for automatically sending the e-mail to the Contact without needing to go through Outlook or any other e-mail application.

The example report for route cards now includes Bar Codes.

Electronic documents can now be associated with a Part and in addition correlated by Operation and Quotation. PDF, bmp, jpeg, dwg, dxf and any other format can be used and viewed by double clicking the reference, causing the associated application to be run.

Context sensitive help has been expanded to include the new facilities.

Report writing is supported with the revised Quick Report module and better example files are included with the package. We also offer a report writing service.

Context sensitive help on Quick Report – report writing has been included.

Parameter import is now provided allowing entry from spreadsheets or other systems.

Multiple databases can be created and selected from the options menu.

Backup and restore are provided in an ESTIM utility.

Networked users can be deployed anywhere where the SQL server can reach.

Users can join a community of shared data. ESTIM data can be uploaded and downloaded on/from our website by users who have joined the community thus making it easier to add Materials, Machines and Tasks.

Installing ESTIM is easily done from our website with or without the SQL server.

If you remove ESTIM you might need to remove the SQL server as well, as it uses a significant amount of resources.

If you install the new ESTIM on the same PC as the BDE version, you should not uninstall it as it will damage the existing installation.

If you would like to download the evaluation version, I suggest you try it on a PC that it can be uninstalled from as we don’t want to upset your current ESTIM installation.

QR reports for the BDE version have to be re-coded for the SQL version which you can do yourself or CES can do for you. We reserve the right to make a charge for report writing.


After purchasing ESTIM or choosing your 30-day evaluation you will receive your license code in a confirmation email. You will need this code to validate your copy of ESTIM.

Open Setup.exe when downloaded.

You will need the MSsql driver installing if you do not have an SQL Server on your system already. Download the tools here (version 8).

You can use a later version but you may need the tools which you download separately.

If you require assistance with deploying the database on another server, please contact CES support.