TRIZ Lies. Part 2

G. L. Filkovsky, TRIZ Master,
Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

In my previous TRIZ Lies article, I have shown how unscrupulous authors promote TRIZ by making a false impression that problems were solved by TRIZ, while they actually were solved without it. In this article I will call your attention to an even more crooked method; shameless falsification of history.

The case at hand is an example of flat glass manufacturing where hot glass is poured into a bath of molten tin. There is a double lie in TRIZ literature using this example – in accordance with the TRIZ principle of transition from mono-systems to bi-systems, I guess.

First, the solution is presented as an example for transition of conveyor rollers to micro-level. Rollers get smaller until they become tin atoms. The phrase "to prevent sagging, hot sheets of glass are rolled onto a pool of molten tin instead of a conveyor with rollers” is repeated by TRIZ authors. See, for example, TRIZ Journal and Luther College articles.

This is a lie. In reality, the molten tin bath is used BEFORE the glass goes onto the roller conveyor. The conveyor with rollers works just fine. The molten tin is used to MAKE flat glass, not to convey it. See the description of the process, for example, in Tangram Technology, Graverbel, and Construction Review.

The use of the example in TRIZ is wrong. It is a wrong solution to the wrong problem, and it does not demonstrate the TRIZ principles.

However, the second part of the lie makes the first one just a nuisance. Here the entire chorus of TRIZ authors, including TRIZ Experts and Ideation International (see also this and this), repeats the following.

“Altshuller was able to predict the future technology of glass plate manufacturing. The earlier process was to roll hot glass onto a conveyor. During this process, the glass would tend sag between the rollers resulting in waviness in the final product. Using pattern #7, Transition from Macro to Micro, Altshuller predicted that rollers would get smaller and smaller until they reached the theoretical limit of atom sized. Several years later, an English company introduced a new process of rolling the glass out on a bath of liquid tin.”

Altshuller was born in 1926. He started to develop his methodology in the late 1940s – early 1950s. The idea of macro-micro transition first appeared in the 1970s. The pattern #7 appeared in the 1980s.

On the other hand (see Construction Review) “Sir Henry Bessemer patented the idea of pouring molten glass onto a liquid metal (tin, lead or bismuth) in 1848. The first U.S. patent was taken out in 1902 but no practical application was taken until 1953, when Pilkington Brothers made a trial run using the process. Finally, in 1959 the first successful production float glass line was set up.”

Indeed, TRIZ authors don’t care about their methods. Anything that sells, goes!