Directable Mirror - Manufacturing Cost Estimate

Cost estimates are based on manufacturing a million one square meter directable arrays to pay off setup. The total works out at around US$20 per square meter to manufacture when built this way, there are of course many alternatives.

One million units/year is approximately 3500 units per day or 1 every 8 seconds of an 8 hour day. Therefore for this scale a single production line would suffice.

Description Cost/Unit
2mx1m thin clear film (0.1mm thick)
Cellulose Acetate Film (as used in blister packs) is cheap, very clear (92% for a 6mm thickness), comes on rolls and can be molded at around 130° Celsius.
1mx1m Aluminium foil $0.05
1mx1m 0.25mm thick plastic/fibreboard sheet
For this component almost any reasonably rigid sheet material is adequate.
1mx1m 0.5mm thick foam sheet $0.10
1mx1m very clear exterior glazing grade plastic sheet
There are a large number of possibilities here, with options for varying degrees of strength and abrasion resistance as well as longevity in direct sunlight. Most of the reasonable alternatives occupy a fairly tight price band (about 20% variation).
1mx1mx3cm casing open on one face.
A simple one piece plastic molding or metal stamping with housings for the motor/electronics units on the back face.
Motor/electronics unit.
2 axis movement with (minimal) driver electronics. Similar mechanisms commonly appear in toys retailing at around $5.
Materials Total $18.35
Assembly of the final unit
A simple production line operation that should cost no more than $500,000 to set up. Allow double this for contingency and amortise over one million units.
Allow the same for labour and plant maintenance. $1.00
Total $20.35

This estimate is based mostly on averaging a number of suppliers prices in the US and Europe for appropriate materials and should not be read as a firm estimate, nor should it be read as a finalised manufacturing design. It is simply a possible implementation of the concept with a manufacturing method that can be analysed with reasonable accuracy. There are many possible alternatives.

For example. Manufacturing directable mirror arrays largely from glass made on site in a solar powered factory may be more effective and cheaper in the long run than using plastics, especially if the most of the raw materials are close to hand.

Australian patent no. 722115, US Patent no. 6227673, Patent pending Europe
How it works
Control System Design
Estimated Manufacturing Costs