(19a) Finding Potential Failures Deliberately

Authors: 
Hipple, J., TRIZ and Engineering Training Services


Our concerns for preventing and eliminating the causes of chemical and safety incidents that affect human life and cause property damages have led us to ever more comprehensive checklists, including HAZOP and FMEA. These checklists exhaustively analyze a proposed or operational process and question each of its design or operational variables and ask the basic question in different ways, ?What if the design point is not where it is supposed to be?? Does it matter? If so, to what extent? What is the importance of the degree of variability from the design point? These considerations are especially important during startups and shutdowns when normal operational conditions are seldom present.

The Russian originated problem solving process, TRIZ (acronym for ?Theory of Inventive Problem Solving?) is a ?left brained? problem solving process based on detailed problem analysis, and the use of an algorithm based on the study of the inventive principles in millions of patents. A subset of this process has been developed which has demonstrated its usefulness in the analysis and prevention of potentially hazardous incidents and operations. This algorithm basically asks the question ?How could we cause an accident or release to occur?deliberately?? This sounds very simple, but the difference between a group of people sitting around a table asking ?what if? (and of course with much caffeine!) and those same people trying to think up ways to sabotage the system is dramatically different.

This presentation will briefly review TRIZ and this reverse algorithm and examples of its application in the chemical industry.