Process Functional Modeling with the PRIZ Innovation Hub

We always talk about solving problems and improving processes of an operation, a part of a bigger process. This is great! In fact, it is always encouraged to break the bigger, more complex process into smaller pieces so we can simplify the problem we are working on. However, this approach may create another issue. The engineers working on a problem, especially in large complex processes, might end up diving into the wrong operation of the process. In this article, we introduce the newly released tool in the PRIZ Innovation Platform that is built to help engineers look at the whole process holistically. This tool is called Process Functional Modeling (PFM).

Process functional modeling with the PRIZ platform

Fabrication System

Before we dive into how to use the PFM tool, let’s start with some definitions so we are all on the same page, and we’ll start with the Fabrication System (for simplicity, we’ll call it a System). A system is built to create a product. We can present any system using a very simple diagram:

fabrication system

Energy feeds the fabrication, and the fabrication creates a product.

  • Energy is anything needed for the fabrication to create the product: raw materials, electricity, chemicals, information, etc.
  • Fabrication is a system built to convert energy into a product: manufacturing equipment, computers, processes, groups of people, etc.
  • Product is the carrier of value created by fabrication to satisfy a customer: food, clothes, electronic components, devices, software, knowledge, etc.

A fabrication always consists of sequential production steps (AKA operations)

Fabrication system consist of operations

Many processes, particularly in the manufacturing world, can be extremely long and complex. There are many questions when operating such systems. How do we analyze the process flow? Which operation is the main contributor to the value elevation of the product? Who do we find which operation is the most problematic and needs improvement or elimination? And many others…
Process Functional Modeling (PFM) helps to answer all of these questions.

Process Functional Modeling (PFM)

PFM is an analytical tool to learn the process through modeling different operations, solving problems, and defining ways for improvement. Although we are usually not trying to push for a specific flow when it comes to how to use a tool, with PFM, we would offer to follow the proposed flow as much as possible to save some time. Keep in mind, since we are analyzing the entire fabrication process in this case, the analysis might be much longer than in any other tool offered in the PRIZ Platform.

Phase I: Learn the fabrication process

In order to build and visualize the whole process, we need to know it, right? In this phase, we should describe the fabrication process at a high level. That includes components of the energy, products, and main production steps. Use pictures, sketches, and any information that may help understand the manufacturing process.

Phase II: Map the manufacturing process flow

Create the manufacturing process flow is always a linear chain of sequential operations. Suppose ramifications of the flow are needed due to reworks, waste treatment, etc… In that case, additional linear flow chains should be created and analyzed separately because each branch has its own product (target).

Mapped operations in PFM

Phase III: Define operations type

Before we continue, we want to define the types of operations we mapped in the previous phase. There are 4 types of operation:

  • Productive – an operation that results in irreversible changes of parameters. These operations add value to the product.
  • Providing – an operation that results in temporary changes of parameters. These operations do not add value to the product.
  • Corrective – an operation that changes parameters to eliminate unwanted characteristics. These operations may add value to fulfill the previous operation.
  • Metrology – an operation that measures parameters. These operations do not add value to the product.
Mapped and grouped operations in PFM

Once this phase is completed, we can visualize the full end-to-end structure of our process. Here, we want to highlight something very interesting. Unfortunately, many high-tech manufacturing processes contain no more than 20% of Productive operations. For instance, the typical operations type share for microchip manufacturing can be presented in the following chart. The share of Productive operations is only about 16%.

Operation types distribution

This analysis helps to formulate the main direction of the improvement. We should target the increase of productive operations share.

At this stage, we can make strategic decisions on process improvement.

Phase IV: Create a Functional Model of operations

In all the previous phases, we visualized the whole process holistically at a high level. Sometimes people call it a wide and shallow view of the process. In this phase, we need to start diving deep into every operation.

Each operation is originally built to create a certain product. An operation is performed by a system that consists of a number of components. These components interact with each other within the system and supersystem to create the product. The interactions between components are called functions. And the mapping of all the components and their functions is known as System Functional Modeling (SFM).

We have already described functional modeling for a single system in our blog. You can find a lot of useful information in Functional Modelling with PRIZ Innovation Platform or watch the recording of our Webinar:  The Art of Functional Modelling with PRIZ Platform.

In general, there is no hard requirement to create a function model for every operation, though it is very useful. You can decide which operations should be analyzed with Functional Modeling. For instance, the modeling of metrology operations can be skipped.

Defined functional model for every operation in PFM

The result of the Functional Modeling for different operations allows us to define each operation’s functional and problematic levels. Using this information, we can make a decision on which operation we should work on to improve (or sometimes eliminate) in order to achieve the best process improvement.

This phase is for tactic decisions for the process improvement

Accessing PFM

PRIZ Innovation platform offers the Process Functional Modeling tool that is easy to use. It offers an intuitive interface for process flow mapping, functional modeling of different operations, automatic calculation and documentation, and reporting.

PFM selector in PRIZ tool box

Contact us with any questions.

Ph.D. in Chemistry. Expert in processes design, improvement and problem-solving. TRIZ (Inventive problem solving) specialist (Level 3).

1 Comment

  • Falih Hasan Almansor
    January 5, 2023

    Reports on my activities in invention, innovation and research
    I look forward to working with your team to market my inventions and innovations . A patent for a gear engine invention issued by the Iraqi Patent Department has been deposited with the patent departments of the following countries. America, China, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, the Arab Gulf states and Jordan, in addition to Iraq as a country that issued the first patent for this technology by Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Company.
    Please see final draft fot gear engine in attach file . So I look forward to marketing three patents owned with more strategic innovations and vital to all world companies .
    The first patent certificate includes its technology that helps to produce energy from all its nuclear sources, from all types of fuels, and from all renewable energy sources. The new technology relies on a hydraulic system as an alternative to steam, and it will help international companies specialized in energy production to get rid of the technology of energy production by steam and gas turbines responsible for the environmental pollution of our planet Earth. in energy storage.
    As for the second patent for the gear engine, please see attach .
    The third patent. The invention of a mechanical control system whose technology helps to compare the amount of load on the engines compared to the amount of loading and produce control commands to change the work of the engine or change the speed according to the amount of load on the engine. The technology of this invention is the solution to the production of the hybrid car.
    Presentation to your team: Patents and innovations that will change the means of energy production in the world. Including the disposal of steam and gas turbines in the production of energy on a large scale in the world.
    I look forward to working with any company adopt my new innovations including
    invention of a energy engines that works on hydraulics, with high efficiency close to the maximum, according to the laws of physics, as an alternative to all types of turbines. Its technology will help to produce and store energy from all its nuclear sources and all types of fuel and from all renewable energy sources, and its technology will help to store energy with a very high efficiency and with a huge capacity and we will get rid of energy storage with batteries .
    Introduce the innovation of wind energy fan technology that is characterized by very high efficiency due to the conversion of wind energy into the greatest value of rotation. The new technology depends on the area of ​​the fan blade length and width and gives the designer the freedom to increase the blade area in length and width without any limitations.
    because changing the angle of blades during rotation controls the value of energy profit to the greatest value and reduces the value of resistance to less value.the air changes the position of the blade so that the working resistance is reduced to a minimum value. That is, if a four-bladed fan is designed, each blade is ten meters long and five meters wide, we get blades that are in a permanent position under the pressure of the air current with an area of ​​150 square meters, meaning that the wind force will be continuously applied to the blades of the fan, which has an area of ​​150 square meters, and thus we will generate The wind energy is very huge. And the fan base will be equal to twice the width of the blade and this facilitates the introduction of the fan between the buildings with vertical construction and invests the energy of the air current between the buildings
    in order to adopt the principle of green building .
    Helicopter internal combustion engines . Which Internal combustion engines operate with the greatest efficiency according to the laws of physics. With a very high rotational speed, it is possible to design engines that are faster than turbine engines, but with greater efficiency .
    This technology will make the helicopter industry cheaper than the automobile industry .
    Demonstrate the innovation of aeronautical propeller technology that helps to build aircraft that run on internal combustion engines. This technology will help take off and land all types of aircraft without airports and will help realize the human dream of simulating the flight of birds .
    Innovating the production of renewable energy using hydraulic technology. One of the things that is hard to believe is the production of energy out of nowhere but because of my many attempts as an inventor, I was able to benefit hydraulic technology to produce sustainable and unlimited energy without fuel, sun, air or water. The prototype of this technology requires me 10 thousand dollars, and because of my circumstances in Iraq, I do not have this money. I am looking forward to obtaining funding in order to save the earth and the living creatures on it from a tragic end that is possible to come.
    I have many other very vital and important innovations .
    important note: – I was born in 1954 and my circumstances in Iraq are difficult, security and financially, which prevent my ability to travel and market my inventions and innovations because of my poor English, I cannot speak to you without an Arabic translator. So I look forward to exchanging messages to find suitable solutions .


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