The goal of any technical system is to provide some function. Conventional engineering thought states: “It is required to deliver such and such a function. Therefore, we must build a mechanism or device to deliver this function.” TRIZ thinking: “It is required to deliver such and such a function without introducing a new mechanism or device into the system.”
The Law of Ideality states that any technical system, throughout its lifetime, tends to become more reliable,
simple, effective — more ideal. Every time we improve a technical system, we nudge that system closer to Ideality. It costs less, requires less space, wastes less energy, etc. Ideality always reflects the maximum utilization of existing resources, both internal and external to the system. The more free or readily available the resources utilized, the more ideal the system will be. We can judge an inventive work by its degree of Ideality. The further an invention is from its Ideal state, the more complex the system will be — and visa versa. What happens when a system reaches Ideality? The mechanism disappears, while the function is performed.
A meat plant in South America ships its product to the United States. Refrigeration is required during
transport to keep the meat frozen. The meat is flown to the United States, so refrigeration systems were
installed in cargo planes. When competition increased, the owner of the plant sought to reduce delivery cost. It became obvious that he must increase the amount of product per air shipment. Analysis of the situation revealed that he could compete better if the weight of the refrigeration system were replaced with that of meat. He did exactly that. Flying at an altitude of 15,000–25,000 feet the air temperature is below 32oF, so no refrigeration system was actually needed. Conclusion: Utilization of existing resources costing nothing brought the system closer to Ideality. The art of inventing is the ability to remove barriers to Ideality in order to qualitatively improve a technical system. (In this book we are talking only about technical systems.
Of course, this statement can be applied to any system.)
There are several ways to make a system more ideal. See additional examples:
A. Increase the amount of functions of the system.
Example: An entertainment center contains a radio, tape player, CD player, and amplifier.
B. Transfer as many functions as possible to that working element which produces the system’s final action.
Example: A crimping tool also cuts wire, strips insulation, and crimps the terminal to the wire.
C. Transfer some functions of the system to a supersystem or to the outside environment.
Example: Usually, windows in a green house operated manually. When the outside temperature is low, the windows are closed. When it is hot, the windows are opened for better ventilation. A new, more ideal system can be developed when the windows open and close automatically. This is accomplished with a temperature sensitive bimetallic spiral mechanism.
D. Utilize internal and external resources that already exist and are available.
Example: Comtrad Industries, Inc. of Virginia recently developed its Spectrum Antenna TM that utilizes the existing wiring system of a house to enhance the outside reception in the house.