What PRIZ Platform could give:
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Project title: Stop increasing turnover at the plant
Project description: Good engineers and technicians are leaving the plant after 2-3 years of work
Project goal: To find a way to prevent increasing turnover
Creative thinking tools used: Perception Mapping (PMap)
Achievements: Created a list of relevant actions (perceptions) and defined a blocking rank:
Proposed solution: Establish a special recognitions for effective engineering solutions – this perception is revealed as a block for any other actions aiming to reduce the turnover. This blocker should be removed first to ensure the effectiveness of the rest of the actions.
Project title: Filtration of water from fine particles resulted in wafer contamination
Project description: Water contains particles that contaminate a wafer resulting in the yield impact at microchip manufacturing. 100 nm filter improved the performance. It was expected that an additional filter of 10nm (or smaller) would additionally improve the performance, but it resulted in a strong contamination of the wafer.
Project goal: To describe the mechanism of the contamination after fine (<10nm) filter installation and find a solution to improve the yield
Creative thinking tools used: Functional Modeling, 40 Inventive Principles
Achievements: The failure occurs because the fine filter destroys the agglomerates of the water. The activated water becomes an aggressive solvent with a higher evaporation rate that results in leaving defects on the wafer
Proposed solution: Reduce the flow, heat the water before the filtration
Project title: Improve team productivity
Project description: One of the teams in company A is currently underperforming. The team has many different deliverables and commitments; however, the team members are currently not capable to deliver on all the quarterly commitments.
Project goal: Identify the reasons for the underperforming team and find a way to improve without firing engineers and replacing them with others.
Creative thinking tools used: Cause & Effect Chain, Functional Model
Achievements: We analyzed and identified that the main issue is how people work and the current culture in the organization. Digging deeper, it appeared that one of the team members is the most problematic out of all, and that engineer is pulling the entire team down.
As per the diagram above, Engineer #1 delivers value and produces a lot of harm. If we want to stick with that engineer, we need to change his responsibilities. That way we can keep the engineer, make him more useful and reduce his harm.
Proposed solution: Change the responsibility of Engineer #1 as follows:
Project title: Product-market fit for Startup
Project description: A fresh startup is working on its product and failed to find the right client until now. The initial plan was to become a data supplier of companies providing KYC services. As experience shows, these types of companies are not interested in Startup’s services.
Project goal: Identify why a product that perms to be perfectly fitting the model is not gaining any interest among carefully selected clients.
Creative thinking tools used: 9 Windows
Achievements: We analyzed the current situation of the target market and identified that the service provided by the Startup is no longer needed. The target clients are planning to implement similar services internally.
Proposed solution: Move to supersystem and provider services for ML.
Project title: Defects remain after a wet clean process of silicon wafers at microchip manufacturing
Project description: The wet cleaning process is performed with single wafer equipment: by one-by-one.
The wafer rotates, and chemistry or rinsing water is poured from the nozzle to the central area of the wafer.
Project goal: Improve the wet clean process of silicon wafers at microchip manufacturing
Creative thinking tools used: Cause and Effect Chain analysis, 5+ Whys, Functional Modeling, 40 Inventive Principles
Achievements: The chemistry is evaporated too fast and leaves defects on the wafer
Short-term solution: To increase the air pressure in the process chamber to reduce the evaporation rate
Long-term solution: Replace the single nozzle with a shower, eliminate airflow within the chamber.
Project title: Cooling water degradation within closed-loop
Project description: Cooling water is used in a fabrication plant to cool the production equipment parts. The water is running in the closed-loop built from stainless steel pipes, flanges and fittings. The acidity of the water started to increase – pH dropped down. If pH runs out of spec limits, the production will be stopped. The typical solution is to add NaOH in compensation for pH drop, but water conductivity increases and could exceed the spec limits. The refreshment of the water is expensive and does not solve the problem.
Project goal: To describe the mechanism of the pH drop and propose a solution to the problem of the water refreshing.
Creative thinking tools used: Cause and Effect Chain Analysis
Achievements: pH drop is resulted from the corrosion. Root cause analysis (Cause & Effect Chain Analysis) shows that an electrochemical process occurs that leads to pH reduction. Corrosion was found on some parts of the cooling water system. There are two possible directions for the solution: either keep the low conductivity of the water or ensure equal electrical potentials on all metal parts of the loop
Proposed solution: Ground all metal pipes of the loop to ensure equal electrical potential
Project title: Improve safety on stairs
Project description: Several safety events were observed in the new office building – failing people while going on stairs.
The stairs are without windows, walls, and handrails. People typically keep laptops while moving from floor to floor; sometimes keep notebooks, coffee, or some other things.
Project goal: Ensure injury-free while using stairs.
Creative thinking tools used: Cause and Effect Chain Analysis
Why do people refrain from keeping handrails while going on stairs? Three main reasons were revealed: insufficient handrail cleanness, too many things to handle, watching on stairs, and believing it is good enough not to fall down.
Project title: Ensure proof that the report has not been generated twice.
Project description: In PHSA, as part of the tracers manufacturing, HPLC and other equipment are used. As one of the requirements from Health Canada is proof that the reports generated by this measurement have been generated only once. One of the available acceptable options is to have an additional person co-signing the documents together with the one generating the reports. However, given that only one person is operating one piece of equipment at a time. There are time constraints, and having additional people overseeing the operation is not an option. One other option is to manually compare the generated report metadata with the record left in the computer of the equipment. This is extremely time-consuming and nobody wants to do it. The actual long-term solution is already in process, the purpose here is to find a short-term “patch” to pass audit until the additional software is available to use.
Project goal: Be able to prove that the reports are generated only once without investing a lot of effort into development.
Creative thinking tools used: Functional Model, Inventive Principles
Achievements: Functional modeling revealed the core of the problem. Inventive Principles helped to find solutions.
1. Involves putting more responsibility on QC & changing permissions on the shared drive
Use adobe signature (or similar) to sign off the generated document by QC for him to acknowledge that he understands his responsibilities. Adobe signature also locks the file and disallows anyone from tampering with the file after signing.
In case that the report file is stored on a shared drive, QC should be only able to write files there. Not modify, overwrite, or delete.
This effectively creates a situation that QC signs the fact that that is the original run, and if not, he should be able to add an explanation for that.
2. Allow QA to generate the report based on the raw data.
Since QA is the party that is putting their signature on the report, QA is the one taking responsibility for it. If it is possible, QC may provide the raw data so that QA can generate the report itself. In this scenario, QC knows for 100% that the report (PDF) is the original one, and can sign off on that.
Project title: Wafer breakage at flash heating
Project description: Flash heating is widely used in microchip manufacturing. The purpose of the operation is to ensure very fast heating of the wafer to reduce the effect of diffusion of atoms and ions. The typical equipment consists of bottom continues pre-heating and upper flash heating. The main disadvantage of the process is that may result in the wafer breakage.
The scheme of the typical equipment is shown below:
A pedestal made of quartz keeps a wafer. A wafer is placed on the bumps. Centering bumps direct the wafer. The Bottum lamp provides continuous heating while the upper lamp provides flash heating (1000C for 1 sec).
Project goal: Create a failure model and find a solution to exclude the wafer breakage.
Creative thinking tools used: Cause and Effect Chain Analysis
The failure model is that a wafer flies due to air pressure difference while the flash heating and hits the centering pins, resulting in the wafer breakage.
To redesign the centering pins to avoid hitting even when the wafer flies:
The best solution would be as shown below:
Would you like to solve your problems using logic and not only intuition?
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