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Reason for joining ZEON and the early years

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I chose Zeon and its open working environment so I could apply my knowledge of electrical engineering in a different industry.

I studied telecommunications and wireless technology at graduate school. While many electrical engineering majors later work for electrical manufacturers, I wanted to strike out in a different direction. I was more interested in working on sustaining social infrastructure, in areas such as materials and technology platforms, than on electrical appliances. So I attended presentations by various companies in different industrial sectors.
I was attracted to Zeon’s culture, which highly values its employees. But I didn’t have a clear image of what someone with an electrical engineering degree would do at a chemicals manufacturer. And yet, given that I was moving into a new area, I figured that I should choose a place with an open working environment and consequently decided to join Zeon.
After three months of training at the Tokuyama Plant, I was assigned to the Plant Management Division. Incidentally, I was first woman assigned to work there. I received another month of on-site training at the Kawasaki Plant before starting my current job.


Current work

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After quickly moving up to being in charge of an overseas plant, I am now designing the plant’s DCS “brain.”

The Plant Management Division is responsible for facility maintenance, improvements and upgrades as well as new construction for all Zeon plants in Japan. Our work is divided into areas such as electricity, machinery, instrumentation and DCSs (Distributed Control Systems). I was placed in charge of DCSs, which control a plant. And this represented an entirely new assignment for me. I began with a basic question: What’s a DCS?
In my new role, I was immediately assigned to be a project member for the construction of an overseas plant. My job was to analyze the DCS that would be introduced at the mother plant.
More than twenty years had passed since the mother plant’s DCS had been designed. Many functions were running under improvements made by employees at the plant, and the overall programming had become extremely complicated and convoluted. I went over each detail to create a flow chart as the basis for updating program design.
Understanding the association between the tasks performed by the plant and the program was especially difficult. Since I’m not aware of all the plant’s functions, I’ve been asking plant staff to explain why a certain program was necessary at a certain point, and I’ve proceeded to do my job while considering their comments.
Apart from the overseas plant, I’m also involved in upgrading the DCSs at our plants in Japan. Although we’re still in the preparatory stages, I’ve been collecting feedback from plant operators so we can address worksite requests as much as possible. I believe that regardless of how new or functionally superior a system may be, it’s of little use if it cannot be operated easily.
I was still considered a rookie when an older colleague entrusted me with the responsibility to improve part of a DCS, and my feedback was reflected in the improvement. That was a rewarding moment for me. I had suggested a way to improve the screen used by the plant’s operators. Although it was a relatively small enhancement, the experience has reminded me to be always aware of the views of worksite staff.


Dreams of the future, life outside my job, and a message

I take pride in the work of moving a giant plant and hope to gain more experience at the worksite.

After the current stage of the project is complete, I’d also like to work in sections not related to DCSs, such as electrical engineering and instrumentation. In this job, unless you go visit different worksites to increase your knowledge and experience, you can’t hope to build up your skills.
Although there isn’t a direct connection between my job and the research I did at graduate school, I take great pride in being on a team that moves these giant plants. Since a DCS acts as a brain in its control over a plant, my work provides me with a sense of fulfillment along with a heavy responsibility. While the specialized knowledge you learn at school is certainly important, if you take a broader perspective and look into many various companies, you may discover opportunities for contributing in unexpected ways.

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