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Book Review: "New Tools for Failure and Risk Analysis"

| On 09, Feb 2000

by Ellen Domb,

Title: New Tools for Failure and Risk Analysis: Anticipatory Failure Determination ™ and the Theory of Scenario Structuring

Authors: Stan Kaplan, Ph.D., Svetlana Visnepolschi, Boris Zlotin, Alla Zusman

Soft Cover, 83 pages, US$35, ISBN 1-928747-05-1

Published by Ideation International,

The reviewer’s responsibility is to help the reader decide whether or not to spend valuable time, energy, and money on a new book. So if the reviewer says “great book!” how does the reader know if she or he will agree with the reviewer?

The reviewer, in this case, has been a TRIZ consultant and instructor for 5 years, editor of The TRIZ Journal for 4 of those years, and a physics professor, aerospace engineer, and quality improvement consultant in the 15 years before that. In the course of those careers, she has spent a lot of time with experts in failure analysis, reliability, vulnerability and survivability, product development, and with both beginners and experts in TRIZ.

Reviewer’s prediction: All those people will agree that New Tools is a great book!

The first chapter introduces a variety of methods of failure analysis (HAZOP, FMEA, etc.) and the methods of scenario construction used in each of them. The scenario tree is demonstrated, and the differences in the use of the scenario tree in each of the methods of analysis is explained. The explanations are easy to read and extremely clear, without being over-simplified.

Chapter 2 introduces the concept of AFD-1 and AFD-2. The Anticipatory Failure Determination (AFD) method was explained by Steve Ungvari in the October, 1999, issue of The TRIZ Journal. Very basically, it is the application of TRIZ to a failure situation.

In AFD-1, the purpose is to find out how the failure could have occurred. The analyst asks, “how could I make this failure happen?” then proceeds to use TRIZ to develop scientifically valid ways to cause the failure to happen every time the situation occurs. After the analysis, experimental work is conducted to validate the conclusion of the analysis. AFD-2 is the method of looking for potential failures before they occur, and preventing them.

The case studies will be familiar to those who have heard Dr. Kaplan and Ms. Zusman’s presentations at conferences. Whether they are familiar or not, the reader will find them to be very well presented, with figures that enhance the text, and diagrams that use the concepts that were introduced in the first two chapters. They are examples that the readers can use as guides to their own applications of AFD.

There are occasional references to the AFD software and databases published by Ideation, but the book is very useful on its own. Appendices 1 and 2 have the analysis templates for AFD-1 and -2, and Appendix 3 is a very complete case study of the application of AFD-2 to the process of manufacturing a bicycle rear fender. This case study is an excellent teaching aid, like the 2 that appear in the body of the book.

The authors of New Tools are TRIZ experts and reliability experts. They have succeeded in the difficult task of writing a book that can help beginners learn the techniques of the experts, without overwhelming them. New Tools is a valuable addition to the growing English language TRIZ literature.