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Report #2 from the 4th Congreso Iberoamericano de Innovacion Tecnologica

| On 19, Nov 2009

Ellen Domb

Authors and other participants are invited to add their comments and corrections using the “comments” function at the end of this column.   Since my name was spelled wrong in the program, I’m sure that there were others as well, and I have relied on the program for basic data.  For the papers given in Spanish and Portuguese, I’ve use a combination of my high school/tourist Spanish and Google translate for the titles, and the help of the excellent conference translators for the themes. 



The audience was fascinated by “Contribution to the development of conceptual design of new high tonnage truck for mining projects” presented by Carlos Dublé.  Extensive research on the patterns of evolution of trucks of all kinds, as well as specific economic problems of the mining industry (especially load vs. weight of the truck) gave the analysis team ideas for a number of improvements in the trucks and in the management of the transportation system. They made great progress with the use of gravity as a resource, and the use of the existing structures of trucks in new ways.    The audience was also interested in Carlos’ observations on the team’s learning process and the patent analysis that reached back to 189o, and he even got one offer of collaboration on development.


“Aplicación computacional de modelo Sustancia-Campo basado en las 76 Soluciones Estándar” —
Christopher Nikulin demonstrated an interactive algorithmic modeling system developed at the university for the use of the 76 standard solution.   He showed the application to the milling function that had been explained before, applied to preventing the failure of the mill.  The program guides the user through a series of question about the substance-field model and guides the user to a class of solutions to apply to the problem.   He noted that the nature of the technical language of TRIZ as well as the technical language of the problem can be enablers for knowledgeable users but can be roadblocks for those who try to use the software without understanding the TRIZ vocabulary.  


Noel León (frequent TRIZ Journal author and frequent speaker noticed in this column) brought his experience at TEC in Mexico to Santiago, speaking about the “Proposal for automation of the invention process using QFD, TRIZ and parametric modeling ” being developed by his students.   He gave us a survey of the taxonomy requirements for the system, which focused on functional analysis, and exposed some of the controversy between axiomatic design and TRIZ (if you can resolve contradictions with TRIZ, do you need functional independence prescribed by AD?)  Prof. León showed several of the popular flow charts for the use of TRIZ tools and proposed a more general flow that would be managed by the automated system.   He agreed with Sr. Nikulin, the previous speaker, that the user must understand the language of TRIZ, OR the automated system must be able to understand the language of the user. Two case studies have been completed (wind turbine and crankshaft) with active interplay between the users and the program.


Blanca Isabel  Vicario Lopez  from Mexico presented an application of TRIZ to problems of clean production in the chemical industry.  This is a very practical case study of preventing explosion in the production of ethylene oxide.  The current, expensive method is to use nitrogen gas , which is expensive, and requires heat exchangers which add complexity.   Multiple technical contradictions were examined, and some of the 40 principles were applied to the problem.   The resource-oriented solution was to use the ethylene oxide gas to protect the ethylene oxide liquid, which requires much less gas exchange than the other methods, saving U$60,000 directly, plus  recovering costs in 2 months, and the solution required 2 days of development.  


Montiel Hernandez Fabian  from Mexico presented a paper which has won the Millennium Prize 2007 World Challenge in Numero 14: Science and Technology,  “Using TRIZ to Improve Human Condition.” He propses a series of conference of 150-200 people, with breakout groups of 15-20 people, with facilitators to guide them through the application of TRIZ to specific problems of the country. Massive diffusion of TRIZ could result – 27000 people in year 1, and up to 270,000 people by year 10.    Latin America already has many people who can be the facilitators, and meeting rooms, etc.  He showed examples from trial seminars, for improving water purification systems using direct solar energy and for disposing of contaminated construction materials.


Just before the coffee break Noel Leon gave congratulations to the Chilean TRIZ association for its formation.  The websites of both AMETRIZ and the Chilean TRIZ association will invite solutions to the world economic crisis.  He also announced a permanent committee for the Iberoamerican congress.


“Análisis de Vida residual, mejora continua en la búsqueda de aumento de confiabilidad y vida útil de nuestros Rodetes Pelton de la Central Hidroeléctrica de Alfalfal” = improving the life cycle of the hydroelectric facility at Alfalfal which has the most aggressive requirements in the world, due to both the speed of the water and the large amount of quartz that is in the water.  Maurizio Edwards is the maintenance manager and he gave a dramatic presentation of the challenges in keeping the power plant working.  Numerous improvement projects were conducted between 1991 and 2008.  Extensive analyis of the metallurgy, the method of manufacturing, the details of the geometry of the buckets on the turbine, and the variables of operation gave them the data for a model of the system and to an understanding of the fatigue phenomena in the plant.  The turbines are now very successful, with much longer life, but there were still problems of cavitation at unpredictable intervals.   They found that human variability due to exhaustion, dehydration, and particularly to noise in the manufacturing environment was the source. Using robots for the machining removed the variability.    This is a classical example of combining designed experiements, finite element analysis, stastical process control, and the discipline to apply the methods when the “experts” are saying that the results aren’t right.   The useful life of the power plant has doubled (and Maurizio says he is not popular with the experts.)   The question session focused on the use of classical (non-TRIZ) methods, and Maurizio said that he is just learning about TRIZ for the first time at this conference, and he will be applying TRIZ in the future.


Jaime Glaría’s paper “Causality” reminded all of us that “how” can be more important than “why”  in solving real problems.   His humor (and rejection of jargon) were appreciated for the late afternoon session.   He started with an example of force, defined as a flow of momentum, and used it to challenge people from all disciplines and all kinds of jargon with an elegant example of water flowing out of a tank, and then expanded the example to problems of water management in times of drought. 


Edgardo Córdova’s paper gave us a view of the history of industrial maintenance, starting from the review of old maintenance manuals, and seeing progress from fixing what is broken, to preventive maintenance, to predictive maintenance, to proactive maintenance.   They applied TRIZ to the maintenance systems, looking for ideality opportunities, such that the system can maintain itself, without stopping.   He used the analogy of the ideal shoe, which enables the user to both run and rest, to challenge our thinking, and he demonstrated progress in automotive technology – maintenance is done at much longer intervals than 30 years ago, such as the 100,00- mile tune-up, or the sealed (no maintenance) battery, and the car that protects itself from damage by not starting if the driver is drunk.


Rodrigo Bulnes  continued the maintenance theme with “TRIZ-based Tribological Maintenance” which is a specialty of the University.  He related many of the concepts to TRIZ methods.   He began with the analogy between doing blood tests on people to determine the state of health with testing lubricants to determine the state of wear/friction of a mechanical system.  The cause/effect diagram for scuffing in a basic machine, such as a journal bearing, was truly impressive.   Rodrigo developed the su-field model, showing how a third substance accomodates the speed difference between the first 2 bodies (which causes the damage)  and suggests some approaches to overcome friction.


Prof. Sariego gave a brief summary of the day’s activities, thanked the presenters, and invited us to conclude the day with a cocktail reception with folk dancing–will try for pictures in tomorrow’s posting, with a faster connection.  


Readers–do you want pictures of speakers hugging each other?   Distinguished people introducing each other?   People drinking coffee together? Or summaries of the papers (like this one.)  Let us know!  AND please volunteer to report on meetings that you attend.


“TRIZ in automotive quality problem: aligning the nozzle of the fuel tank”