TRIZ Case Study by Ford Motor Co.
Windshield/Backlight Molding -- Squeak and "Buzz" Project  --  TRIZ Case Study
  Michael Lynch, Benjamin Saltsman, Colin Young (Ford Motor Company)
   American Supplier Institute Total Product Development Symposium,  Nov. 5, 1997,at Dearborn, Michigan, USA; 
  The TRIZ Journal, Dec. 1997.
(Japanese translation by Toru Nakagwa
   Dec. 17, 1997 Fujitsu Labs; revised:  Aug. 30, 1999 Osaka Gakuin Univ. )
   Translated into Japanese and published in the Japanese page of this site with the permissions by the authors, Ford Moter Co., ASI, and the TRIZ Journal, (Sept. 6, 1999)..

Preface for the Japanese Translation Version (Toru Nakagawa, Aug. 30, 1999)

This paper of TRIZ Case Study by M. Lynch, B. Saltsman, and C. Young at Ford Motor Co. was first presented in the ASI Symposium in Nov. 1997, and was posted in the TRIZ Journal in Dec. 1997.  It was an landmarking paper on the application of TRIZ to actual industrial problems.  It describes the processes and reasonings of applying the TRIZ methodology at Ford Motor Co. in detail and in technological terms.  At the time when this paper was published, TRIZ had been introduced to Japan only very shortly (i.e., only half a year before for many people); we tried to understand Altshuller's  textbooks, but did not have much chances of learning real applications, and were not yet well convinced with the usefulness of TRIZ.  In such a situation, I read this article in TRIZ Journal and much impressed.  So I translated most part of it in Japanese and introduced it in Fujitsu Laboratories for which I was working at that time.  In its preface I wrote:

   [This is an excellent case study of TRIZ, especially in the points:

      (a)  The way of forming a project team by experts of the problem and experts of the methodology together (US way),
      (b)  The process of closely reviewing states-of-the-art, experiments, and patents (US way),
      (c)  A systematic methodology represented by the Roadmap (SIT way)
      (d)  The methodology to re-formulate a general problem into contradictions in technology (TRIZ methodology)
      (e)  Thinking widely by using a number of hints which may eliminate the contradictions in technology (TRIZ)
      (f)   Making concrete solutions from those hints, with reference to a variety of applications in other fields (TRIZ)

     By using all these methods in a unified way, this paper has obtained very usulful results.

     Their results are:
      (g)  For a many-years-long corporate problem, they have revealed the root cause and solved the problem.
      (h)  Their solutions cover a wide range of ideas, and systematic without apparent holes in consideration.
      (i)   They are tackling systematically, and not randomly inspite of their inventive and creative work.
      (j)   They seem to have made their solutions concrete and have filed strong, wide-ranged patents.

    This case study is written frankly, practically, and in detail.
    We can learn a lot of lessons from this paper.
         That's It!   We should work just like this!
                                                                              Dec. 17, 1997    Toru Nakagawa  ]

I asked for the permission of translating and publishing this paper in December 1997 to the relevant organizations.  Even though I obtained permissions quickly from the authors, ASI, and TRIZ Journal, I had to wait until late July of this year for the permission from Ford Motor Co., the copyright holder; the assistance by Mr. C. Young, one of the authors,  was very helpful.  We are very grateful to the following people and organizations for their permission of my translating this paper into Japanese and publishing it on the Japanese page of this Web site,  "TRIZ Home Page in Japan".
      Authors:      Mr. Michael Lynch, Mr. Benjamin Saltsman, and Mr. Colin Young (Ford Motor Co.),
      Copyright holder:   Ford Motor Company (USA),
      Symposium organizer:  American Supplier Institute (Dr. Shin Taguchi)  (USA)
      Journal publication:     The TRIZ Journal (Dr. Ellen Domb) (USA)

(Please note that reproduction of this homepage without written permission is prohibited.)

This paper has not lost its value since its publication more than a year and half ago.  Among a number of TRIZ case studies published so far in the western countries, this paper is the best in seriously handling actual corporate problems, in its deep solution approach, in its detailed description, and in its suggestive power for our future work.  It is of great happiness for Japanese TRIZ learners that this paper appears in Japanese translation in this Web site "TRIZ Home Page in Japan".

Recently I accessed the TRIZ Journal's Archives again, and found that some miner parts of the original paper was revised.  So I reviewed my former translation draft and revised it into a full translation.  The phrases in [ ] show the translator's comments.  I am thankful to Mr. Hiroshi Igata of Toyota Motor Co. for his help in my writing these translator's comments related to the terminologies in automobilie industries.   At the end of the Japanese translation, I also wrote an Editor's Note, which summarizes my current understanding of this paper.

The original English version is not reproduced here.   You may access to it at the TRIZ Journal Archives:

Editor's Note (Toru Nakagawa, Aug. 30, 1999)

For posting this paper as a full Japanese translation, I have just worked on this paper again and learned much.  I remember that this paper gave me a clear view how to use TRIZ in practical applications and that it suggestped the existence of another unfamiliar useful method named SIT.  Since that time, I wanted to learn the powerful combination of methodologies TRIZ and SIT much closer; and about a year later I got chances of studying SIT (or USIT) little by little.

Reviewing this paper from my current viewpoints, the keypoints of this paper may be described as:

(1)   This is a valuable and excellent report of tackling with a many-years-long actual corporate problem and successfully solving it without compromise.  A joint team of solution-methodology specialists (i.e., in this case, those who had been specialized in quality control and recently mastered TRIZ and SIT) and subject-matter experts was the power source of the problem solving.

(2)   SIT (or USIT, in the current naming) seems to have contributed mainly to the root cause analysis (persuing with physics, e.g., mechanism of the squeak, high-speed video of the squeak, and mechanism of flutter), problem definition, and the breadth of the solution concept generation.

(3)  The essence of this problem is written in Section 6.2, the last section of the paper:
           "The molding lip must be stiff to prevent buzz and it must be soft to prevent squeak."
This is the formulation of the problem into "Physical Contradiction" in the TRIZ methodology.  For solving Physical Contradictions, TRIZ well provides general and standard solution principles.  They are division in time, division in space, and divisions in other conditions.  In Section 6.2, this paper writes just after the above statement as:
           "Once the problem was properly formulated, the TRIZ software yielded the problem statement:
               Make the lip stiff in the lift-off direction to prevent buzz,
                        but soft in the tangential direction to prevent squeak."
However, I do NOT believe that this problem statement was yielded by a TRIZ software.  Fluttering is a motion perpendicular to the glass surface (i.e. the molding surface), while squeak is related to the motions parallel to the glass surface.  This should be the key understanding in this problem; this understanding is not drawn from a TRIZ software tool, but must be obtained (and input) by the humans.  Once the people understood this separation in the directions of the flutter and squeak motions, the solution for the above-stated Physical Contradiction could be presented, by following the standard Division Principles in the TRIZ methodology, in a proper statement (i.e. the problem statement) and further in a variety of concepts.

(4)  Concrete solution concepts and the ways of thinking for deriving such concepts are well described in Section 5.3.  These descriptions are most valuable as a case study report for readers.

(5)   All the former and new solution concepts are shown in the two Roadmaps; one for the situations before the project and the other for after the project.   These roadmaps made this project very systematic and powerful.  This representation is neither proper toTRIZ, nor to SIT/USIT (though USIT recommends generification of every concept, it does not use this kind of format).  The use of Roadmaps, as discussed in Kowalick's paper and in Fobes' book in the terms of Mindmapping, is powerful even as a stand-alone tool for the ease of thinking for problem solving.

In conclusion, this paper is an outstanding landmark in the TRIZ case studies and is still excellent for studying the usage of TRIZ.  It is a great pleasure for Japanese TRIZ learners that the paper was published in Japanese translation in this Web site; it will be helpful for many readers in Japan.
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Last updated on Sept. 6, 1999.     Access point:  Editor: