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The widespread use of modular construction in the electronic equipment industry has resulted in the development of standard electronic modules (SEMs). These units are an extension of the original modular partitioning concept, and are designed for universal use, being interchangeable between different items of SEM equipment. They are highly reliable functional modules which may be discarded on failure, and are designed to be independent of manufacturer or technology level. As a consequence of their development, this paper describes the use of life cycle cost modelling in the design and evaluation of competing SEM/non-SEM modular systems.