Printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) rework is an acceptable process step in PCBA manufacturing and widely performed using manual and semi-automated tools. Until recently, there has been a lack of international effort for the development of a fully automated rework system mostly due to the predicted high capital cost of such system. Since robots are used in PCBA manufacturing, PCBA robots are equipped and have been developed with multi-functional capabilities to assemble and inspect PCBAs. If the same equipment is used for rework, the high cost of the robot, on account of vision and other sensory needs can be eliminated and this can justify the investment. A robot-based rework system thus becomes an alternative technology to manual or semi-automated rework. Because there is no information on which technology is most appropriate, a model has been developed to predict the cost of reworking PCBAs using semi-automated and automated-robotic rework technologies. These two alternative rework technologies are analysed and compared to give an indication of how appropriate is a robotic rework cell. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.