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  Anticipating Innovation Risks

New products, production processes or systems often only achieve an acceptable standard of reliability after a large number of failure/re-design cycles. Therefore, methods of anticipatory failure identification are growing in importance.
The TriS approach for anticipatory failure identification, AFI for short, is an effective and creative method for the prediction of hidden sources of potential breakdown scenarios or damage as well as analysis of previous failures which have occurred due to unknown causes AFI helps to determine the risk of potential failure of innovative product concepts and ideas even at the stage where early product performance data is not available.

The approach of AFI is different to existing quality control methods such as FMEA, HAZOP and others. In anticipatory failure identification the failures are "invented" in a subversive manner. Instead of defensively asking "might this function or part fail?" one asks offensively "what actions will definitely cause a function not to be delivered or a system to fail?" Once a list of "invented" failure scenarios has been completed, the problem must be re-inverted and the failures must be prevented from ever happening. In practice, this approach frequently leads to new product concepts with higher reliability and lower cost.


  Anticipatory Failure Identification with TriS-IDEAS

The TriS-IDEAS software enables the comfortable application of the AFI-method. It supports an easy-to-use complete AFI step-by-step process including analysis of failure resources, checklists of typical faults as well as procedures for systematic failure prevention. This approach in TriS-IDEAS ensures that the new product developer avoids painful learning curves (vis. early product failure) when introducing new products to market.


  Anticipatory Failure Identification - AFI Method

The AFI method identifies existing faults and predicts potential system or process failure mechanisms. The general AFI procedure consists of four main steps as follows:

1. Inverting the task: "What actions will definitely cause a system to fail?" Functions are not only analysed as to whether they are performed or not, but also whether they might be excessively or incompletely carried out.

2. Sources of errors are taken to the theoretical extreme. Resources from the system and the surroundings are utilised with the occurrence of each fault.

3. With the help of TRIZ inventive methods, sources of errors are systematically "generated" using both the entire potential of the TRIZ database and the checklists of typical faults.

4. Re-inverting the task: TRIZ tools for the development of fault-avoidance measures without compromises are used.

The AFI method prevents "mental blockages" and motivates the user to find new, inventive solutions. The method is so effective that users are sometimes frustrated by the large number of errors identified in a technical system (machines, procedures etc.) and it amazes them that the system had worked at all in the first place. This is quite normal, since the sources of errors are only potential sources of errors. The engineer's job is then to prevent these potential errors from happening. The implementation of TRIZ and AFI helps to create an expandable internal platform for innovation and quality management in companies. AFI can also effectively supplement existing quality control methods such as FMEA.


  AFI Example: The Automotive Industry

The AFI method identifies existing faults and predicts potential system or process failure mechanisms. The general AFI procedure consists of four main steps as follows:

This is not the case however when AFI methods are utilised. Even if a circuit were thought to be completely waterproof, various ways of how moisture could enter the 'protected' area would be found. One of the possible connections to the external surroundings is, in this case, through cables or insulated conductors. Very often there is a thin layer of woven material under the insulation, which can carry the moisture along its fibres through capillary action. The 'subversive' capillary effect can be further aggravated by voltage.

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