Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Puebla Congress Day 3

Day 3 of the Iberoamerican TRIZ Congres in Puebla, MX. Daily blog experiment continues:

Rafael Oropeza Monterrubio opened the session with a review of the economics of competition through knowledge development. Factoid: Samsung generated more patents than the whole country of Mexico, and IBM generated more patents than all the countries in Latin America together. He then proposed a TRIZ-based system of education to be operated by AMETRIZ (Mexican TRIZ Association, conference sponsor). There was discussion about whether it should be high-school level or university level, but the initial proposal is for college-level participants in industry and academia.

Noel Leon announced a program in the state of Nueva Leon called “city of knowledge” that has goals for training from pre-school through university. They have sponsored two month-long programs from INSA in France, and will be sponsoring test-programs from AMETRIZ.

Laura E. Ponce Garcia & Rogelio Arzate Fernandez from the AU in Mexico City proposed a simulation for union negotiations that can deal with the 2 kinds of unions that predominate in Mexican universities (not a general model for all unions as I thought at first, but one for the university unions, which is a very big business opportunity). The use of the simulation enables the negotiators to be innovative.

Maria Alondra de la Llave Hernandez from the BAU Puebla synthesized methods of operations research with TRIZ. There are many tools and methods in each system that are similar to those in the other, but used for different purposes. By giving the analyst both sets of tools, we enhance his ability to solve the problem. A case study involving changing a company’s policies on layoffs and maintenance work, with eventual positive impact on profitability was mentioned in the Q&A.

Program changes continued—I was asked to present 2 papers for Vladimir Petrov, who was unable to travel from Israel. On Day 2 a paper from France which was mistakenly left off the program was given instead, and on Day 3, there was a paper on the need for innovation and the need for many ideas to stimulate innovation. Daniel Pineda Dominguez had some very interesting statistics about innovation in Mexico—recent patents are 10% cost reduction, 58% production increase, balance deal with new products or services. More than 50% of businesses (6/12 in survey) say their primary interest is in improving quality of products and services, 40% improving productivity of labor, and a mix of issues for the rest. Changes in innovation patterns since 1985 (how much done in Mexico, how much by foreign companies) have been dramatic. Extensive analysis of credit patterns for micro, small, medium and large businesses was not clearly related to the patterns of innovation.

Guillermo Cortes Robles (Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse) is an old friend from the European TRIZ meetings—he has been studying in Europe for several years. He presented a synthesis of TRIZ with “RBC” which is reasoning based on cases (loosely translated) In general, the basic unit of knowledge is the “case” and cases are classified for easy re-use of knowledge. Advantages of RBC are the familiarity to the user, and the large databases available in various specialties. The limitations of RBC are the specificity of the cases, consideration of narrow cases and results, and no structure to guide creativity. Example showing the hybrid method: Separation by chromatography and separation by centrifuge. Guillermo showed the classification of the steps in the cases, and the analysis of the similarities and differences, using a prototype software system to aid in the process.

My presentation of Vladimir Petrov’s paper on business system development models followed. His idea that products, businesses, and markets all follow S-curves, and that there are healthy and unhealthy combinations of stages of all three elements was very appealing to the audience.

Maria De Lourdes Juarez Hernandez explained the method used at the Instituto Tecnologico de Piedras Negras to introduce local businesses to TRIZ. The dramatically successful case studies presented by her students yesterday are testimony to the success of their system. Most of the students work in local industry and attend the university from 6-10 pm. They are in excellent position to find suitable problems, but the business managers must make the commitment to implementing the changes. She invited all of us to visit the institute and see their methods in work.

Miguel Martinez Espinoza is another student from ITPN, with a local industry project to improve steel processing in an auto parts factory. Process heats steel rods and modifies the surface and changes the diameter. The machine has been modified many times. There is high waste in operation. There are many compromises in temperature/pressure profiles and other operating conditions. Princ. 35 and 39 (inert gas reduced corrosion, improved hermetic sealing of the hydraulic system) and 19—an accumulator for the hydraulic system. The machine productivity increased by 15%, and a system previously regarded as obsolete continued in use, giving the factory enhanced options for flexible capacity.

The morning keynote presentation was from our friend and frequent TRIZ Journal contributor Avraam Seredinski. His presentation in French was translated into Spanish, but the slides and proceedings were in English. The world isn’t altogether flat yet…
“Creativity, TRIZ, Innovation: Always together?” He strongly concludes “YES” and reminds the audience that the last step in ARIZ is to take the learning from any situation and apply it to other situations and to personal improvement in capability for innovation. Many people do not continue the process through all the steps because they get an answer to the specific problem very quickly, and they lose the benefit of improving their capability.

The afternoon program began with a report by Prof. Oropeza on an agricultural project to reduce water consumption. “Excess” water is defined as water that the plants cannot absorb, and water that the soil cannot absorb. The contradictions were between speed, duration of action of a moving object and loss of substance and the solution principles were 3,5,19,35, and 10,13,28, 38. The treatment of the soil around the roots with a flocculent substance by means of sonic vibration (combining 3 and 28) of the soil makes the soil absorb water better, and lets it release the water slowly to the plants. This also drastically reduces (in one case eliminated) the need for chemical fertilizers, since flooding water carries away nutrients that are replaced by fertilizers.

Maria Gabriela Perez Ramos reported on work done with Prof. Cordoba on combining TRIZ with Value Analysis. They used original source material on both TRIZ and VA, but did not use any of the extensive literature from Japan and more modest amounts from the US and Europe. The paper went into considerable detail proposing specific steps to be taken to analyze a problem and to apply techniques from both TRIZ and VA, and concludes with the claim that the hybrid method is superior to either component, more flexible, easier to apply at any stage in product life cycle, and more comprehensive.

ITESM Santa Fe Campus sent us Eduardo Manzur Servin and Muhammad Ali Yousuf (known to TRIZ Journal readers for the amphibious bicycle project.) Eduardo explained that this 2-armed manipulator project started as a class exercise, but has now gone much beyond the classroom. Situation in stamping machines (printing on small plastic parts.) Prior to TRIZ there was a proposal for a faster machine, at high capital cost. They set goals for improved productivity at low cost. Initially the intern examined all the work flow steps and identified 2 steps where automation could help. Why TRIZ? His professor suggested that he read a book, and he got the idea that he could save production from migrating to China! Problem definition: 3 contradictions: Higher (human) speed vs. accuracy and use of 2 hands vs. accuracy and two robots increase automation but increase complexity of control. Used 40 principles multiple times to improve quality and saved the contract in Mexico. Comparison analysis—robot is actually slower than the human operator, but it has no pauses for rework. Operator avg. 240/hr, robot 360/hr, even though the operator handles one piece in 0.6 sec and the robot requires 1 sec. The owner of the factory now wants to begin a program of continuous improvement at Industrial Corona de Mexico. In response to a question, he confirmed that he did this project with primary input from “Suddenly the Inventor Appeared” with no other training, but TRIZ courses are now being taught at ITESM.

Victor Mendoza Martinez presented an electric power infrastructure problem that was part of a strategic innovation project for Zona Puebla Oriente. TRIZ gave them a completely different approach to connections without interrupting service as had been done in the past. There was a very strong impact on the leadership, which had been very conventional in the past. Power supply to 1.2 million people was improved.

Raul H. Lozano Acosa from the Piedras Negras group used TRIZ to address mobility problems for the elderly and disabled, inspired by the situation of his 91-year old grandmother. The contradictory requirements are light weight and high durability of a moving object, and the principles 2, 27,19, 6. Additional contradictions were ease of use vs. complexity of control, with principles 15, 10, 37, 28. Each principle gave them ideas for the solution to the problems, which they combined into the prototype chair that helps the person move from sitting to standing and from standing to sitting. The mechanism is motorized, covered with easily cleaned material, can be disassembled for transport, and has a full range of motion from standing to sitting to lying down.

Noel Leon Rovira concluded the day with a review of the TRIZ patterns of evolution. He surprised some people by saying that there is no algorithm for prediction; although the patterns have been extracted from chaos, the observed regularity may not be fundamental, and continued research is needed. He had an interesting graphical technique that would combine nicely with the presentation Joe Miller and I did, using the maturity level of each of the elements of the technical system to create a map of the potential next steps for a system. He reviewed the “S” curves developed by Altshuller and pointed out the areas where more research is required to make the method predictive, and made the same point for the quantification of the concept of ideality. He then extended the evolution of ink, paper, pens, etc, into virtual reality, semantic search, data and text mining, etc. He concluded with some very strong questions about the development of inventions by genetic algorithms—who is the inventor?

The day concluded with the AMETRIZ meeting. I was greatly honored to be elected an honorary member of AMETRIZ!

This ends the daily blogging experiment. If you want me to do it again for the Six Sigma and European TRIZ Association meetings, post your comments or send e-mail, por favor!

Ellen, thanks a lot for great and instant coverage of the Puebla conference. No doubt the TRIZ community will benefit from it! I wish more people would comment on various TRIZ events in their blogs.
Just a small note: I think the presentation of Guillermo Cortes Robles addressed "Case-Based Reasoninig", or CBR, a technique which emerged in cognitive science in the middle of 1980s and has been studying how to re-use previous experience to solve new problems. More info can be found at .
Ellen, thanks a lot for a great and instant coverage of the Puebla conference. No doubt the TRIZ community will benefit from it! I wish more people would comment on various TRIZ events in their blogs.
Just a small note: I think the presentation of Guillermo Cortes Robles addressed "Case-Based Reasoninig", or CBR, a technique which emerged in cognitive science in the middle of 1980s and has been studying how to re-use previous experience to solve new problems. More info can be found at .
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