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Consultation Forum

Innovation: the way from pure to applied chemistry

9 August 2003 - Ottawa, Canada

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Panel II - Instruments of support in process of transformation of invention into innovative process
Paper N2.2 - Invention to innovative process bridge: heuristic rules
J.A. Kopytowski, Industrial Chemistry Research Institute, Warsaw, Poland

Abstract: The transformation of invention into innovative product or process is an activity of very low yield. Accordingly to the different research sources maximum 5% of the inventions find the way to the market. It means that it is impossible to carry out R&D process through all stages of development process (from idea to the product/process) for all inventions available. Therefore, every R&D institution (decision making body) must have a screening system allowing at certain stages of the R&D process to abandon part of research goal which is not meeting the established criteria. The screening system has to be established in specific way ensuring equal judgment of the results. Companies at large have their own evaluation system, some are subcontracting this task to a specialized companies under specific terms of agreement. Whatever are the modalities of evaluation they must be based on similar or even exactly same level of information as well as using similar evaluation instruments. In practice the following elements of screening system are considered obligatory:

a) Primary results of the research (raw materials, reaction, kinetics, thermodynamics, parameters)
b) Technological flowsheet characterized by function parameters and algorithm of transformation of these inputs into uniform value
c) Estimate of structural elements size and cost and algorithm of transformation of this costs into investment cost
d) Select the integrated system of evaluation and evaluate results in strictly comparative modality
e) Control evaluation by the exogamic elements of the system through statistical analysis or prognostic statement

The number of sophisticated software allows to comply with this tasks. However, the strict application of the formalized algorithms is time consuming and expensive. Also so called "optimum" solution changes substantially when the translation of the results of dynamic equations into practical structural sizes and function parameters. Therefore, the theory of design and years of engineering experience allowed to elaborate heuristic rules to establish functions and structures of the technological process at early stages of development with adequate accuracy to decide on further process research leading to industrial implementation. As analytical teats have shown the difference between solutions elaborated as "optimal" and obtained under heuristic rules are negligible in terms of industrial efficiency of the process. The paper will show examples of the application of the heuristic rules at three stages of the process evaluation:

a) invention stage
b) establishment of the sequence of functions of the industrial process
c) establishment of the structure of the industrial process

The evaluation of process parameters basically from material balance following the functional sequence and structural properties allows to evaluate the investment cost, therefore using any of available financial analysis system it is possible to predict future success of the process and product.

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