First of all, we should look for the resource we need among the resources available the list of which is prepared when stating the problem statement. At the same time, it should be remembered that the resource can be found at the most unexpected place, in a remote supersystem.
Which resource is needed is determined by the list of the requirements for it. In the list, we have described attributes of the necessary resource: the form, surface condition, internal structure, and others. This representation of the resource provides significant advantages when searching for it. In the search, the resource is represented not as a whole object but as a set of attributes combined into the necessary combinations. You probably remember what Gogol wrote: “If you had added Nikanor Ivanovich's lips to Ivan Kuzmich's nose, if you had taken some frivolity which Baltazar Baltazarovich has and had perhaps added Ivan Pavlovich's corpulence to this – I would have made my mind immediately. And now – go think!”
The funny in human relations happens to be appropriate in engineering. Let us say we need to drive a nail, which resource to use? The object orientation forces to search for a “striker”, and what striker can you get when the resources we have are water, a coin and a paper cup? The attribute orientation suggests something different.
What type of surface do we need? - A solid one.
And what about the internal structure? - A strong one.
And the form? - Well, to be able to take in the hand.
What dynamism should we have? - To be able to lift and drop with force.
How can we make it of water, a coin, and a cup? - Pour water into the cup, put the coin on the bottom, and freeze it.
Where to search for resource
The basis for searching for a resource is a list of resources available. If the resource sought for is not found among them, it is necessary to use the knowledge about the machine being improved, the surrounding objects, the information about new technologies and research and development.
It is expedient to search for a resource for the solution in a certain sequence while gradually extending the search area (fig.1). The search should be started from the operational area because the closer to the operational area the necessary resource is found, the closer to the ideal the solution will be.
To search for the resource, you need to successively analyse:
Can the tool of the operational area be the necessary resource?
Can the object being processed of the operational area be the necessary resource? In this case, it should be taken into consideration whether any prohibitions of its transformation exist.
Can any of the components of the useful system be the necessary resource? The analysis should be started with the components next to the operational area.
Will the easily accessible components of the supersystems be suitable as the necessary resource?
Can other components of the supersystems, including the machine and environment components, be used to solve the problem?
Resources of the operational area
With the efficient use of the resources of the operational area, we are able to solve the problem with a high degree of ideality. Both the tool and the object being processed can be used as the resource.
Example. Resource of the tool for polishing lenses
When polishing large glass lenses for optical devices, it is important not to overheat their surface. This requires constant supply of a coolant – water – under the polishing tool. If interstices are made in the polishing tool to supply water, the properties of its surface will not meet the process requirements.
To cool the processing area, the tool resource is used – it is made of ice. Abrasive particles are frozen into ice. During friction, ice heats evenly and melts, and the lens surface cools efficiently.
Example. Resource of the object being processed which is used when restoring tooth wheels
To restore wear parts, e.g. the crowns of large tooth wheels, the material of the wheels themselves is used. The wheel crown is pressed for the metal to deform and get pushed into the teeth. This redistribution of the material enables to restore the original dimensions of the teeth. Then the wheel teeth are machined thoroughly.
If resources are not found in the operational area, they should be searched for among the other components of the useful system. Attention should be paid to the resources in abundance. Special attention should be paid to the energy resources which are wasted.
Example. System resources used to turn on the anti-theft device
The exhaust gases of a vehicle carry unused thermal and mechanical energy. Their use to heat the cabin or to actuate the engine turbocharger is a matter of common knowledge. One of the unobvious applications of the exhaust gases is the anti-theft device. A siren with an impeller is inserted into the exhaust pipe. It is actuated by a gas flow. If the vehicle is now started, a loud roar is heard to signal a theft attempt.
Immediately available resources
Use of immediately available resources is one of the efficient methods of solving the problem. Two types of immediately available resources exist: natural and technical ones.
Natural resources are water, air, sand, ice, stones, soil, wind force, daily fluctuations of the temperature and atmospheric pressure, rise and fall of the sea tide etc. Obtaining and using such resources often does not require significant expenses, and their quantity is tentatively unlimited.
Use of immediately available technical resources can provide a double benefit. Such resources can often be found in production waste. Significant money is required to dispose of them. If they are used to solve the problem, it is possible to save on disposal at the same time.
Example. Waste as immediately available resources
Waste of different industries is widely used to improve the quality of concrete. Specifically, the waste of aluminium production is added to the concrete mix to increase its freezing resistance.
Used tyres can be used to solve various problems. Crushed tyres are added to the asphalt pavement for increased elasticity and wear resistance. Elastic retaining walls are made of them. They are even used to create works of art.
It is rare that the resource found would fully meet the requirements stated. In this case, the requirements for the resource not satisfied with the original condition of the component should be satisfied.
To do this, the component should be transformed. This concerns the resources operational area to a large extent. The point is that the characteristics of the components of the operational zone are quite rigidly determined already. It is often impossible to have the component of the operational area as is. It is necessary to understand how to change these components to meet the requirements for the resource.
At the same time, it is possible to change the shape of the component, the condition of its internal structure and surface. The dimensions of the component, the speed of its movement can be changed, various additional fields can be entered: the thermal, electric, sound and other ones according to the classifier of mechanical, acoustic, thermal, chemical, electric, and magnet fields (MATCHEM).
Work with the TRIZ Trainer
At the input of this step we have a description of the resource unknown to us which enables to translate the model of the problem solution into its specific solution. The output of this step is a resource found and the understanding of how to integrate it into the system most efficiently.
In this case, the recommendation is simple: try to find the necessary resource within the operational area because each deviation from the operational area reduces the ideality of the solution obtained.
Running example. Pizza box
The role of the resource in the system: the actuating element which interacts directly with the object being processed.
What, where, and when the resource should do:
Keep pizza in the box all the storage time.
Avoid external contamination of pizza.
Interact with the bottom of pizza at separate places only.
Not to absorb moisture at the places of interaction with pizza.
Elsewhere, absorb excess moisture.
Necessary properties of the resource:
Be strong enough to hold pizza.
Be provisionally sealed.
Have projections on the surface.
The projections should be covered with water-proof material.
The cavities should be free of moisture insulation and should absorb moisture.
Let us examine the preliminary list of resources:
bottom of the box
sides of the box
Based on the requirements stated, the most suitable resource is the bottom of the box, since it is located in the operational area and satisfies most of the requirements stated.
To meet the remaining requirements, the bottom of the box should be transformed, namely, isolated projections should be moulded on it, and the tops of these projections should be covered with insulating material.