Boston--Engineers use analysis software to problem-solve their designs. Now, users of TechOptimizer(TM) 3.0, which integrates TechOptimizer and IM-Phenomenon(TM) from Invention Machine Corp., don't have to do so in a bubble.
The IM-Phenomenon computer tool creates new scientific concepts by bringing together scientific information from a variety of sources, including the Internet, in a whole new way. It also includes a Patent Analyzer, which scans the Internet to search for technical, competitive patent analysis.
TechOptimizer 3.0, which runs on Windows 95 or NT, also features an Effects Module, which creates new concepts by combining scientific and engineering effects. The knowledge can be stored in the software's knowledge base.
The pulp and paper industry is one of the many industries that can benefit from the use of TechOptimizer. For example, the paper industry bleaches paper using chlorine, disposal of which is regulated by OSHA for its environmental effects. The user can see how to measure chlorine by going to the Effects Module and querying more than 4,000 animated engineering and scientific effects and examples, according to Shawn Fagen, product manager.
In the paper example, the Effects Module discovered a process from basic science called chemiluminesence that allows the engineer to make any chlorine in the run-off glow, so it can be seen with the unaided eye or measured with a detector more accurately.
"The user can create a concept by connecting the effects," Fagen says, adding that the user can provide resources for the ultimate effect, or control the underlying effect's parameters.
TechOptimizer can also help engineers find alternate ways to do things, he adds. In the chlorine bleach example for the pulp and paper industry, the software can help users find a more environmentally friendly way to bleach paper.
"Solutions can be borrowed from industries the user is not actually in," Fagen says.
The Internet Assistant can create a keyword search, Fagen says, and can see what kinds of bleaching can be done for pulp and paper. The software can also virtually go to the U.S. Patent Office and find a list of patents that have to do with bleaching. The companies who have patented techniques are presented, with abstracts of what it is they do, so the user can contact the company if the process fits along with what they want to do, Fagen says.
By seeing if an idea is patented, Fagen says, engineers can see if specific concepts are sound.
Another feature of TechOptimizer 3.0 is the Process Analysis module, which allows users to analyze a sequence of technological operations used in manufacturing systems to state process problems. The Product and Process Analysis Modules show the user what impact the current process has on current problems, Fagen adds. The process engineer can see the process in flow chart form. In every stage, the user can go into browser mode and add more information, such as process information.
The Process Analysis module creates a logical relationship between the steps of a process, Fagen says. The user can change process components through trimming, which allows unnecessary parts of a process to be removed to save time and money.
"The Process Analysis module helps products that are process-intensive," Fagen adds.
Fagen says TechOptimizer 3.0 links effects to other examples. "It's very responsive to what you need to make it really happen," he says, adding that the new version is more expansive, covering a broad range of disciplines and wide in its selection.