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The Research (Diagnostic) Problems’ Classification.

| On 03, Apr 1998

Gregory Frenklach
gregoryf@avx.co.il

There is a specific type of engineering problem which is connected with discovering
(exposing, finding out) causes (reasons) of different phenomena, which take place in
technological systems. Simply speaking we have to answer to the question: “Why does
such a thing occur?” or “What is this element intended for?”. Such problems
are called (in TRIZ) research (diagnostic) problems.

In TRIZ, a method has been developed which enables us to transform such diagnostic
problems into inventive ones. Instead of asking: “Why does this occur and what does
cause such a result?” (diagnostic problem), we transit to the inventive problem by
asking the question: “How could we get this result?” In order to find the
solution for this transformed problem we can use all the TRIZ instruments (called
“operators” in earlier articles of this series.) The only condition is to use
only resources of the system in order to find the solution.

The algorithm, in which such a principle is realized, was developed by B.L.Zlotin and
A.V.Zusman about 8-9 years ago, but the weak point of this algorithm is the connection of
the TRIZ instruments. It is not so clear which instrument have to be chosen in order to
resolve the “transformed problem.”

The right classification of the diagnostic problems would enable us to choose the
proper TRIZ instrument(s) for the diagnostic problems’ solving (under solution I
understand a hypothesis which have to be then well-checked).

There are two types of the research (diagnostic) problems:

1. Something happens in our system and we don’t know the reason .

For example:

1. During the wafer’s coating by metal in sputtering machine through the mask the
metal appears on the wafer under the mask too. The possible reason is that between the
mask and the wafer arises space, but why does it happens?

2. The parts of the refrigerator’s compressor don’t wear out. What is the
reason?

3. The surface polishing with help of an abrasive ferromagnetic grain in rotating
electromagnetic field is more effective than it was predicted on base of the engineering
calculations. What is the reason?

4. The hot air drier is switched on if the hands are near it. How does it sense the
hands?

2. The function of the specific element of the system is unknown.

For example: The tram wire is made in form of zigzag. Why?

Diagnostic problems of the first type can be transformed into two types
of the inventive situations:

a) One has to perform some function in order to get the result which has to be
explained;

For example:

1. How could we raise the mask upon the wafer in order to create the space?

4. How could we sense the hands near hot-air drier?

b) One has to eliminate an undesirable effect (UDE) in order to get the result which
has to be explained;

For example:

2. How could we eliminate the wear of the refrigerator compressor’s parts?

3. The efficiency of the surface polishing with help of an abrasive ferromagnetic grain
in rotating electromagnetic field is too low. How could one increase it?

Then we transit from these situations to problems according to the rules of such a
transition:

For a) we define:

the function;

the object of the function;

the known method of the function’s performing;

the UDE which arises if we use this known method;

For b) we define:

the UDE;

the element connected with this UDE;

the function of this element;

the object of the function;

Then we choose the possible directions in order to resolve the problems.

There are four possible directions:

– performance of the function which is connected with transformation of the
function’s object;

For example: to raise the mask.

– performance of the function which is connected with measurement or indication of the
function’s object;

For example: to sense the hands.

– elimination of the UDE which is connected with low efficiency of the function’s
performance;

For example: to increase efficiency of the polishing.

– elimination of the UDE which is connected with any harm interaction;

For example: to eliminate the compressor’s parts wear.

The choice of the right direction depends on the condition: “To use only
resources of the system in order to find the solution”.

In order to resolve diagnostic problems of the second type we have to
“remove in mind” this element and try to determine the UDE which appears in the
super-system in this case.

For example: if the tram wire was not zigzag but of a straight line – the tram’s
electrical contact would touch the wire in only one point and quickly be worn out.

Our problem now is to define the action or property of the “removed” element
which enabled us to eliminate this UDE.

NOTE: Actually, some of the diagnostic problems of the second type are very difficult
and in order to “discover” the UDE one has to consider all the stages of the
system, the “removed element” belongs to: manufacture, transportation, using,
maintenance, repair, utilization an so on. The stages sometimes are divided into
sub-stages in order to make easier the UDE exposure.

Every type of problems, described above can be solved as follows:

a. Using the known methods and our knowledge (simple cases);

b. Using TRIZ instruments (more complicated cases);

I’m sure you have come across diagnostic problems in your practice. Try to solve
them using the approach, which was described above. To make this easier for you use
attached “Adapted Algorithm for the Diagnostic Problems’ Solving”.
It is aimed for solving of the diagnostic problems of the first type. Good
Luck!

Adapted Algorithm for the Diagnostic Problems’ Solving.

Transform the diagnostic problems into inventive one. Transformation is performed by
asking instead of the question: “Why does this occur and what does cause such a
result?” (diagnostic problem), the question: How could we get this result?”

There are two types of problem situation the diagnostic problem can be transformed to:

– the first type is one that exists when it is necessary to conduct some function but
the technical facilities for it are absent or unknown.

– the second type arises when the problem situation is connected with undesired effect
(UDE) inside the existing technological system.

The inventive problem formulating.

If in the case of your problem the technical facilities are absent or unknown (first
type) then you are recommended to:

1. Formulate the function for which realization the technical facility is absent.

NOTE: Try to do it in a short formulation, which includes verb + noun.

NOTE: If during the formulation of the function you run into problem then suppose
what kind of UDE would exist in the case of non-execution of this function and try to
define the action, necessary for this effect elimination. It would be a sought function (the
diagnostic problem of the second type).

2. Object of function definition.

NOTE: Object is a substance towards which the action is directed. In other words, it
is something that being processed, measured and so on. Object is always some material
substance and not a parameter.

3. Choose some known facility for this function realization.

NOTE: If you can not find this one, you can take any facility for realization of
similar functions from other branches of technology.

4. Define the undesired effect, which arises during the realization of the previous
step 3.

NOTE: If you cannot find the known facility in other fields of technology, please,
pass the steps 3 and 4. Further, it would make easier for you to choose the direction of
problem solving .

If in the case of your problem the undesired effect (UDE) exists in the technological
system (second type) then you are recommended to:

1. Formulate the UDE, which is a source of the problem.

2. Define the element, connected with the UDE.

NOTE: You can check your definition of the element which is connected with undesired
effect. For this you may mentally remove this element from the technical system. The first
UDE in this case disappears but instead the new UDE is emerged.

3. Formulation of function of the element, connected with UDE.

NOTE: Try to do it in a short formulation, which includes verb + noun.

NOTE: If during the formulation of the function you run into problem then suppose
what kind of UDE would exist in the case of non-execution of this function and try to
define the action, necessary for this effect elimination. It would be a sought function
(the diagnostic problem of the second type).

4. Define for the object of function for the element, connected with the UDE.

Ideal Final Result:

1. Deposition of time and place of the IFR demands realization.

2. IFR formulation according the regulation:

The function is performed by object of function itself or by other elements of the
system, or by environment without function carrier.

This have to be realized without CHANGING of the system and at desired time and space.

or:

The UDE is removed by object of function itself or by other elements of the system, or
by environment without function carrier.

This have to be realized without CHANGING of the system and at desired time and space.

Searching for the instrument of solution.

There are four directions of the problem solving:

IF:

1. Choice of the direction of problem solving:

– the function realization without carrier of this function.

2.Type of function :

– changing the parameters and properties.

USE:

The first group of standards.

In order to use principles of physical contradictions removal:

1.Specificate the resources of the system:

– substance;

– field.

2.Specificate the resources of the external media (environment):

– substance;

– field.

3.Select the corresponding resource from the resources specification.

4.Select the correspondent resource from the elements of the system or from the
“environment”.

5.Define the properties of the selected resource for required function realization.

NOTE: In the case of difficulties:

1. Performance of chosen resource by crowd of small people.

2. Behavior of this crowd to carry action.

3. Resource action or resource property formulation.

If the UDE originates in this case , then the following principles are recommended – 1;
2; 3; 4; 5.

IF:

1. Choice of the direction of problem solving:

– the function realization without carrier of this function.

2 Type of function

– measurement and discovery.

USE:

The second group of standards.

In order to use principles of physical contradictions removal:


  1. Specificate the resources of the system:
    – substance;
    – field.
  2. Specificate the resources of the external media (environment):
    – substance;
    – field.
  3. Select the corresponding resource from the resources specification.
  4. Select the correspondent resource from the elements of the system or from the
    “environment”.
  5. Define the properties of the selected resource for required function realization.

NOTE: In the case of difficulties:

  1. Performance of chosen resource by crowd of small people.
  2. Behavior of this crowd to carry out of action.
  3. Resource action or resource property formulation.

If the UDE originates in this case , then the following principles are recommended – 1;
2; 3; 4; 5.

IF:

1. Choice of the direction of problem solving :

– UDE removal.

2. Type of the UDE

– harmful interaction.

USE:

The third group of standards.

In order to use principles of physical contradictions removal:

1.Specificate the resources of the system:
– substance;
– field.

2.Specificate the resources of the external media (environment):
– substance;
– field.

3.Select the corresponding resource from the resources specification.

4.Select the correspondent resource from the elements of the system or from the
“environment”.

5.Define the properties of the selected resource for the UDE removal.

NOTE: In the case of difficulties:

  1. Performance of chosen resource by crowd of small people.
  2. Behavior of this crowd to carry out of elimination of UDE.
  3. Resource action or resource property formulation.

If the UDE originates in this case , then the following principles are recommended – 1;
2; 3; 4; 5.

IF:

1. Choice of the direction of problem solving :

– UDE removal.

2. Type of the UDE

– poor efficiency of function realization.

USE:

The fourth group of standards.

In order to use principles of physical contradictions removal:

1.Specificate the resources of the system:
– substance;
– field.

2.Specificate the resources of the external media (environment):
– substance;
– field.

3.Select the corresponding resource from the resources specification.

4.Select the correspondent resource from the elements of the system or from the
“environment”.

5.Define the properties of the selected resource for the UDE removal.

NOTE: In the case of difficulties:

  1. Performance of chosen resource by crowd of small people.
  2. Behavior of this crowd to carry out of elimination of UDE.
  3. Resource action or resource property formulation.

If the UDE originates in this case , then the following principles are recommended – 1;
2; 3; 4; 5.

Limitations overcoming.

To resolve diagnostic problem we have to overcame a lot of limitations. There are two
types of limitations:

– limitations on the substance incorporation;

– limitations on the field incorporation.

Limitations on the substance incorporation.

In the case of limitation on the substance incorporation there are following directions
of limitations overcoming:

  1. Temporal incorporation of the substance.
  2. Incorporation of the substance in the precise place only.
  3. Usage of the existing in the system or environment substances like the incorporated
    ones.
  4. Usage of the transformed substances of system or environment itself as the incorporated
    ones.
  5. Usage of vacuum, air, foam as an incorporated substance.
  6. Usage of the substances mixture. In this case some different types of mixtures might be
    used: mixture of various system substances; mixture of system substance and environment;
    vacuum, air, foam and so on.
  7. To use field instead of incorporated substance.

Limitations on the field incorporation.

In the case of limitation on the field incorporation there are following directions of
limitations overcoming:

  1. Temporal incorporation of the field.
  2. Incorporation of the field in the precise place only.
  3. Usage of the existing in the system or environment fields like the incorporated ones.
  4. Usage of the transformed fields of system or environment itself as the incorporated
    ones.
  5. Usage of vacuum as an incorporated field.
  6. Usage of the combinations of fields. In this case some different combinations might be
    used: mixture of various system fields and environment; “field vacuum”.

STANDARDS.

First group of standards.

Standard 1. Usage of the mechanical energy.

A. For required action realization use of one of the types of mechanical energy.

B. To use the substance for transformation mechanical energy into the required action.

Mechanical fields types: pressure, Archimedes’ forces, air- and hydrostatic and
dynamic forces, vibration, shock, gravitation, etc….

Standard 2. Usage of the oscillation energy.

A. For required action realization use of one of the types of oscillation energy.

B. To use the substance for transformation acoustic energy into the required action.

Acoustic fields types: sound, ultra and infra sound, stable waves, resonance, etc.

Standard 3. Usage of the thermal energy.

A. For required action realization use of one of the types of thermal energy.

B. To use the substance for transformation thermal energy into the required action.

Thermal fields types: heating, cooling, shock and etc.

Standard 4. Usage of the chemical reactions energy.

A. For required action realization use of one of the types of “chemical”
field.

B. To use the substance for transformation chemical energy into the required action.

Chemical fields types: decomposition, combustion, oxidization, insurrection, thermal
reactions, absorption, transport reactions, dissolvent.

Standard 5. Usage of the electric energy.

A. For required action realization use of one of the types of electric energy.

B. To use the substance for transformation electric field energy into the required
action.

Electric fields types: electrostatic field, electrocurrent field, field of electric
charge (or discharge) and etc.

Standard 6. Usage of the magnetic energy.

A. For required action realization use of one of the types of magnetic energy.

B. To use the substance for transformation magnetic field energy into the required
action.

Magnetic fields types: magnetic and electromagnetic fields, magnetic field of electric
current, electromagnetic waves.

Second group of standards.

Standard 7. Denial from measurements.

To change the system so, that it is not necessary now to hold measurements.

Standard 8. Substitution the object of measurement by its model.

A. Substitute the direct operations under the measured object by operations under its
model or picture.

B. To use the optical combination between the object’s image and its etalon for
difference detection.

Standard 9. Replacement of the measurement process.

To replace the measurement process by consistent discovery of changes.

Standard 10. Synthesis of the measurement system.

A. To omit some field through the system, which might be detected easily, and then make
decision about modification in our system by the output change of this field.

B. Usage of easily detected additions – the substance- reformer or the source of some
easy detected field.

Types of easy detected fields: acoustic, thermal, chemical smell, luminescent,…),
electric, magnetic, …

Substances-reformers: ferromagnetic particles, luminophor, bubbles, foam, chemical
indicators and etc.

Third group of standards.

Standard 11. Destruction of harmful interaction between substances.

A. To incorporate the third substance between first and the second substances. As a
rule this third substance may be either the variation of the first (or the second)
substance or their mixture.

B. To incorporate the field which would neutralize this harmful interaction.

Field types: mechanical, acoustic, thermal, chemical, electric, magnetic and etc.

Types of substance variations: change of substance condition, decomposition, division,
breaking, chemical compound …

Standard 12. Destruction of harmful interaction between substance and field.

A. To incorporate some field, which would neutralize the harmful action of the first
field on the substance.

B. To incorporate substance, which would neutralize the harmful action.

Types of fields: mechanical, acoustic, thermal, chemical, electric, magnetic and etc.

Fourth group of standards.

Standard 13. Structurization.

A. From the homogeneous or disordered fields, used for function realization, turn into
the inhomogeneous and ordered (in space and in time) fields.

B. From the homogeneous or disordered substances, used for function realization, turn
into the inhomogeneous and ordered (in space and in time) ones.

Standard 14. Coordination of rhythms of action.

A. To coordinate (or vice versa) the action of the substance carrier of function with
the eigen-frequency of the substance-object of function.

B. To fill the pause during the one kind of action by another action.

Standard 15. Dynamization.

A. From the rigid structure of the substance-function carrier turn into soft, dynamic
structure according the line:

Rigid object – …- Flexible object – Quick object – Liquid – Gas – Field.

B. From the field of direct action turn into the changing field, then to the impulse
field.

Standard 16. Increase of the management.

A. Parallel to the first field, necessary for the function realization, introduce into
the system the second field, which can be managed easily.

B. For management of the substance-carrier of the function it is useful to incorporate
the field and the energy re former substance, which can realize the management functions.

Field types: mechanical, acoustic, thermal, chemical, electric, magnetic.

Standard 17. Micro-level transition.

A. To substitute the substance – function carrier on the which is used on macro-level
by the one on a micro-level.

B. From the mechanical fields turn into acoustic, electric, chemical and magnetic
fields.

Standard 18. Turn into ferro – fields.

A. Substitution of the substance – function carrier by ferromagnetic substance which
can transform the magnetic field energy into the desired action.

B. From the rigid or quick ferromagnetic substance turn into the magnetic liquid.

Standard 19. Turn into over- system.

A. Temporally to unite different substances – function carriers.

B. To combine temporally or permanently the homogeneous function carriers.

C. To combine temporally or permanently the inhomogeneous function carriers.

PRINCIPLES OF THE PHYSICAL CONTRADICTIONS REMOVAL.

  1. Division of the opposite requirements in space.
    In the case when the resources element for UDE removal or for desired function realization
    must have some specific property and at the same moment must not have the same property
    (or it must have the opposite property) for non-originating extra UDE, one have to divide
    the opposite requirements in space by attaching the element of these opposite properties
    in the different space places. For reaching this one can use phase transitions, physical
    and chemical transformations, such as rise and disappearance (elimination), ionization
    with recombination, combination with decomposition and so on.
  2. Division of the opposite requirements in time:
    In the case when the resources element for UDE removal or for desired function realization
    must have some specific property and at the same moment must not have the same property
    (or it must have the opposite property) for non-originating extra UDE, one have to divide
    the opposite requirements in time by attaching the element of these opposite properties
    during the different time intervals. For reaching this one can use phase transitions,
    physical and chemical transformations, such as rise and disappearance (elimination),
    ionization with recombination, combination with decomposition and so on. The transition
    from one properties to the opposite ones is realized by the element itself.
  3. Division of the opposite requirements by the system transition.
    In the case when the resources element for UDE removal or for desired function realization
    must have some specific property and at the same moment must not have the same property
    (or it must have the opposite property) for non-originating extra UDE, one have to divide
    the opposite requirements by system transition: attaching (temporally or permanently) to
    the part of the element one of the opposite properties while the whole element would have
    the other property.
  4. Division of the opposite properties in ratio.
    In the case when the resources element for UDE removal or for desired function realization
    must have some specific property and at the same moment must not have the same property
    (or it must have the opposite property) for non-originating extra UDE, one have to divide
    the opposite requirements in ratio by: attaching the element (temporally or permanently)
    the opposite properties relatively the other elements of the system or environment.
  5. Division of the opposite requirements by incorporating the extra element.
    In the case when the resources element for UDE removal or for desired function realization
    must have some specific property and at the same moment must not have the same property
    (or it must have the opposite property) for non-originating extra UDE, one have to divide
    the opposite requirements by: incorporation (temporally or permanently) some extra element
    inside the system and attaching it one from the opposite properties (requirements). This
    might be done by phase transitions, physical and chemical transformations, such as rise
    and disappearance (elimination), ionization with recombination, combination with
    decomposition and so on. As an incorporated element it is better to use something that
    already exists in the system or environment.

Bibliography

  1. G. Altshuller. Creativity as an Exact Science. NY. Gordon & Breach Science
    Publishers, 1984.
  2. G. Altshuller, B. Zlotin, A. Zusman V. Filatov. Search of the New Ideas: From
    Inspiration to Technology. Kishinev. Karta Moldovenyaske, 1989 (in Russian)