Kraev's Korner: ARIZ - Lesson 9

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Editor's note: Kraev's Korner was first published in the newsletter of the Altshuller Institute in 2005. Our thanks to the Altshuller Institute and the Technical Innovation Center for letting us reprint this educational series. Previous lessons can be found by searching the TRIZ Journal's archives.

ARIZ is the acronym for the Russian name "algorithm for solving the inventor's problem" and it is one of the analytical tools of TRIZ, uniting a variety of other TRIZ tools. The main goal of ARIZ is to logically transform the initial problem situation into solution concepts for that problem. It is a step-by-step modeling procedure of directed development for solving a problem.

ARIZ has been modified since 1956 when more than 10 different versions of the algorithm are known. The last generally recognized modification is ARIZ-85B. This modification contains operators for the analysis and solving of difficult technical problems that could not be solved with the application of any other TRIZ tools individually: principles, s-field analysis and standards.

ARIZ-85B contains nine parts (which include 40 step-by-step procedures for problem resolution):

1. Analysis of the problem
2. Analysis of the problem model
3. Ideal final result and physical contradiction determination
4. Mobilization and utilization of resources
5. Utilization of the information database
6. Change or reformulate the problem
7. Analysis of the method that removed the physical contradiction
8. Utilization of obtained solutions
9. Analysis of steps that lead to the solutions

Generally, the process contains certain basic consolidated fragments. First, an initial customer problem situation is transformed into the problem model with help of operators: a technical contradiction between two conflicting elements of the system and functions of unknown x-element that is necessary for solving the problem. Then, this model of the problem is developed into a model of ARIZ ideal solutions as an ideal final result that contains the physical contradiction. Next, the model of the ARIZ ideal solution is reformed into the solutions for the initial problem with application of separation principles for physical contradictions, resources and scientific effects. All these actions are implemented in first five parts of the algorithm. Parts six-nine of ARIZ are devoted to reformulating the problem if there is no a good solution concept and to verifying the solving process for improvement of the obtained solutions.

Exploring problem situation. The process of problem solving starts from the interview with the customer and defining the problem statement. Typically, the situation that is described by the customer during the first interview has more than one problem – it is an important to define all these problems. Next, pick out the main problem that is the priority for the customer. The problem questionnaire provides valuable information that includes a detailed description of the problem situation and problem development background. We can also document previous attempts for solving this problem by the customer with a definition of the interactions and links between the technological operations or components of the system.

Formulating ARIZ model of a problem. The model consists of just two conflicting elements of the system: the product and tool. Define the technical contradiction between them and the function that should be provided by x-element for solving the problem. In order to develop this model, the first direct and second reversed technical contradictions are formulated. Select just one of the technical contradictions. This selection is based upon the main desired function in the contradiction. (Remember that a technical contradiction describes the conflict between parameters within a system: improvement of one parameter of the system leads to the worsening of another parameter.)

Developing ARIZ ideal solutions. In this stage, the technical contradiction should be replaced with a physical contradiction. A physical contradiction results from opposing requirements to a physical characteristic of a single parameter or element in the system. Successful formulation of a physical contradiction usually shows the problem's nucleus and the ways for resolving the problem. The step of formulating an ideal final result (IFR) helps to decide how to increase the beneficial factors and eliminate the harmful factors. Comparison of the developed solutions with the IFR demonstrates whether the solving process is true or false and not in the choice of the major contradictions. Thus, the ideal solution serves as an abstract model and a goal for future specific solutions.

Generating the specific solutions. During this stage, the ideal result should be transformed into specific solution concepts. Creation of solution concepts is implemented by applying listed resources, scientific phenomena and separation principles for resolving a physical contradiction. At this stage, the existing substance-field resources should be used together with other knowledge databases and tools of TRIZ for resolving the contradictions.

Subsequent evaluation of solution concepts and choosing the best one is the next stage that is implemented with the customer and includes a multi-factor evaluation of proposed new designs. The main criteria are usually adaptability for industry, cost of production and patentability. Also, TRIZ recommendations are used in this stage to make comparison one's solution concepts with the formulated ideal result and to make evaluation of the solutions with a cost-benefit-type of analysis.

 List of S-Field Resources Resources Substances Fields Internal System Product Wall (or other obstacles) Reactive force, rigidity Tool Robot's body Driving force, friction force External System Super-system Suction air and port, exhaust air and port, battery, motor, wheels, sensors, control system, antenna, other robot components Static and dynamic negative pressure, electricity, magnetic field, rolling friction, sliding friction, inertial force Environment Ambient air, floor, carpet, furniture, wall, obstacles Atmospheric pressure, gravity force, geomagnetic field Byproduct Exhaust air Static and dynamic positive pressure

Practical use of ARIZ allows you to create the strongest proposals for solving manufacturing and R&D projects. However, the mental work with the application of ARIZ demands more intellectual efforts and time in comparison to the use of the inventive principles or standards.

ARIZ will not solve your problem without your leading role – the algorithm is only a tool. It can assist, but cannot substitute for your own process of thinking. Altshuller said that, "ARIZ is just a tool for thinking, but it is not instead of thinking."

Summary

A constant narrowing of the problem area occurs during problem-solving with the ARIZ application. In the beginning, we are dealing with a whole system that is first transformed to a conflicting pair of technical contradictions and then changed to just one element. At that time, the initial problem situation is transformed – step-by-step – to a specific technical problem and then to a physical task. These transformations are carried out with the help of the basic algorithmic operators through formulations of the technical contradiction, physical contradiction and ideal final result. At the end of the solving process, all analysis is focused on the resolution of a detected final physical task. Finding this task and solving the problem on a physical level allows us to develop strong technical proposals. The operators (separation principles for physical contradictions, resources and scientific effects) are used for this purpose in the final stage.

Practical Work

Quiz. Which ARIZ tools (contradictions, ideal final result, resources, scientific phenomena) are used in the problem-solving processes described in the two following problems?

 Problem. When you work with a thin drilling bit that has diameter less then 1mm, you risk breaking it with the smallest effort or slip. Sometimes it is critical, because you can damage expensive work and there is no substitute for drilling bit. How can we protect the thin drilling bit against breakage during delicate work and prolong its lifetime?Solution. Spread bar soap on the surface of the drilling bit. The drilling bit will have a longer lifetime and will not break even under pressure from considerable side forces. Problem. When we work with a soldering iron and want to solder many components, it is necessary to have a little more solder on the tip of the soldering iron. But the usual soldering iron cannot provide this feature and we have to interrupt the soldering process in order to place a new portion of tin on the tip's surface.Solution. Make a thin cut in tip. Due to this thin cut, the soldering tip can hold an increased quantity of solder. Therefore, the soldering process will go faster and you do not need to interrupt it as often to add on a new portion of solder.

Three Home Problems for ARIZ Application

 Rope ProblemSometimes, we have to stretch a rope and tie knots in it in order to dry clothes. We should provide a good tension in the rope and have strong knots. Can we apply the ARIZ tools of contradictions and ideal solution to this problem? For instance, the rope itself will be tensioned and will have strong knots. How can we achieve this action without any complex devices and in a typical home environment? Scissors ProblemHow can we sharpen a pair of scissors without a conventional sharpener and without the process requiring any special skills? The ideal solution can be stated like this: the scissors themselves will provide sharpening without a sharpener. Try to formulate contradictions, resolve them and correlate to the ideal solution using simple items that can be easily found in your home. Shoes ProblemOften during inclement weather our shoes get wet. Sometimes there is no option to change shoes although we really need dry shoes. How can we dry our wet shoes in just 10 minutes? Formulate the ideal final result for this problem: moisture itself will be removed from the shoes to provide dry shoes in 10 minutes, in normal home conditions and without any complexities. Formulate complete conflicts and then propose solutions to approach the ideal result.