Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Plenty of Opportunities for Career Development

This is part of a series of articles that appeared CETD championed issue of IEM's monthly publication - Jurutera, September 2013. The article is best viewed in its original published form, available from IEM in print or online.

An Interview with John Thurtell, PhD 

John Thurtell, Engineering Global Support Office (EGSO) Manager of ExxonMobil Business Support Centre Malaysia Sdn Bhd, said demand growth in the chemical industry is anticipated to strengthen over time, linked to the growth of the broader economy.

“Most chemical demand growth is in Asia, driven by manufacturing of consumer products for both worldwide export and to serve the growing Asian middle class. These consumers are expected to purchase more packaged goods, appliances, cars, tyres and clothing, many of which are manufactured from chemical products,” he said. “Asia Pacific has accounted for more than two-thirds of global demand growth since 2000, and this trend is expected to continue,” said the Canadian who has just arrived in Malaysia approximately half a year back.
In the next decade, global chemical demand is expected to grow by 50%, driven by improving prosperity in developing countries. Large scale investments are ongoing in the region, particularly in Singapore and China where world-class facilities are being built in the refining and chemical businesses. Thurtell feels this augurs well for the chemical engineering profession as the industry boom will require more engineers with strong professional capabilities in every aspect of the business.
Will the development of the oil & gas sectors in Malaysia & Asia Pacific region affect the chemical engineering profession? In Malaysia, ExxonMobil has been operating for over a century. In fact this year marks the company’s 120 years in Malaysia, which is a significant milestone. Thurtell said: “We are a major oil producer and natural gas supplier in Peninsular Malaysia. We produce about a fifth of the nation’s crude oil and condensate and supply about half of its natural gas needs which is mainly used for power generation. Beyond upstream operations, our Business Support Centre, which is the second largest within ExxonMobil, also hosts ExxonMobil’s IT infrastructure and provides IT support across the globe 24/7.”
As an engineering-based company, ExxonMobil hires a lot of engineers to meet the operating needs of its business. “We also employ engineers in our EGSO in Kuala Lumpur. By virtue of the EGSO functionally reporting to ExxonMobil Research and Engineering (EMRE), our engineers are given the opportunity to provide technical, engineering and application support for ExxonMobil’s manufacturing plants around the world,” he explained, adding that about 95% of its total workforce is Malaysian which “reflects the tremendous local talent we have in our organisation”.


Sadly, many chemical engineers are not registered with the Board of Engineers Malaysia. We asked Thurtell what ExxonMobil is doing to help develop young graduate engineers into professional engineers. He said: “We recognise that engineers play many different roles, depending on their specific job scope. ExxonMobil values the role of certification to ensure compliance with regulatory and process requirements. At ExxonMobil, membership in professional boards is not a prerequisite to employment or an on-the-job requirement as much of our focus is on safe and reliable project management and implementation, as well as operations of our existing facilities. Nevertheless, we are fully supportive of employees who wish to pursue qualifications to improve or maintain their skills and have over the years provided education assistance and reimbursement of the full cost of studies upon successful completion. We also provide internal training programme to strengthen the technical skills of our engineers.”


Chemical engineers can help to promote sustainable development in the country. Thurtell said ExxonMobil’s commitment to operating in an environmentally responsible manner is anchored in its Environment Policy, which fosters appropriate operating practices and training, and requires its facilities to be designed, operated and managed with the goal of preventing environmental incidents.
He added: “Our ‘Protect Tomorrow. Today.’ Initiative guides our management processes to continuously improve environmental performance. Our business operations continue to drive enhancements in environmental performance by incorporating Environmental Business Planning into the annual business planning cycle. In Malaysia, one example where environmental considerations are incorporated into the design basis of our facilities is the use of a hybrid power-generation system on our unmanned satellite platforms. Solar panels produce about half the electricity required, and thermoelectric generators provide the other half. This combination ensures high reliability and low operating costs. Within the global ExxonMobil group, we also focus on various renewable energy initiatives, apart from doing energy optimisation such as co-generation, etc.”
Thurtell shared with us more about ExxonMobil’s new Engineering Global Support Office in Malaysia and the industry as a whole.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chemical Engineers are not Chemists

This is part of a series of articles that appeared CETD championed issue of IEM's monthly publication - Jurutera, September 2013. The article is best viewed in its original published form, available from IEM in print or online.

An Interview with Ir. Professor Mohd Ali Hashim

by Tan Bee Hong

Ir. Professor Mohd Ali Hashim is an unassuming man and so soft-spoken that I wonder if his students ever take advantage of him. But make no mistakes. Five minutes with the Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Malaya and one realises that there is a steely presence behind his patiently quiet demeanour.
He shows Ir. Professor Dr Dominic Foo (Chemical Engineering Technical Division chairman of IEM) and I some facts and figures to back up his replies to our queries during an hour-long interview in his office.
He is smartly dressed with a tie to match, which he admits, at the end of the interview that he seldom wears, preferring a more casual style.
We wanted to know about how chemical engineering started in this country approximately 40 years ago. Being the most senior chemical engineering professor in this country, Ir. Professor Ali told us about the story. The university’s Department of Chemical Engineering was established in 1975 (first in Malaysia, followed by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in 1983 and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 1984) with the help of Professor John Kirkaldy, a Scotsman. Before that, an undergraduate course on chemical technology was offered in the Chemistry Department at the Faculty of Science.
At that time, only a selected few were among the intake, less than 10 students a year. “Today, there are about 60 students annually,” said Ir. Professor Ali. “When we first started, my students were picked for jobs by corporations, even before they graduated.”
However, he adds: “It’s not easy to start a chemical engineering department in general, as it involves very expensive lab equipment.” Later, he walks us to the lab to show us the impressive equipment set-up.
Despite this, more and more universities have started offering Chemical Engineering studies as the demand for chemical engineers continues to grow. Ir. Professor Dr Foo stated that there are more than 10 Chemical Engineering departments set up in the past 10 years, bringing more than 20 departments that offer Chemical Engineering courses in Malaysia, with approximately 1,600 graduates each year. However, Ir. Professor Ali agrees with Ir. Professor Dr Foo that while graduates are excellent in the “hard” skills part, many are still lacking in soft skills or the ability to communicate and make presentations. One of his ways to overcome this is to get his students to do reports as presentations which he feels, will prepare them better for the job in the real world. 


Friday, October 4, 2013

IEM CETD Design Competition RESULTS

The Final Poster Presentation held on 23rd February 2013 was the most anticipated event of the IEM Chemical Engineering Design Competition 2012. The competition, which was organised for the first time by the Chemical Engineering Technical Division (CETD), had attracted twenty four teams from the higher learning institutions nationwide. After submitting three progressive reports, only eight teams were shortlisted for the poster presentation in Wisma IEM, which contributed the final 10% for the competition’s assessment.

 Each team was given fifteen minutes to present the poster on their biogas plant design. The A2 size poster must contain the background of the plant design, the design basis and criteria, process flow diagram (PFD), piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID), design drawing of one equipment and brief summary of the plant’s economic performance. The teams were assessed on poster design as well as oral defence by the panel of judges that consisted of experienced engineers from the industry and academics.

 After an hour of presentation, the floor adjourned for lunch break while the Secretariat and Organising Committee consolidated the marks. Finally, the event ended with the announcement of the winners and prize giving by Ir. Prof. Dr. Dominic Foo, the Chairman of CETD. 
The winners are:
1st prize winning RM 3,000 goes to Monash University

Chee Beng Siang - Aaron Ng Tze Heng - Voon Seen Yee
Sarah Yeoh Ee Lyn - Manura Ananda Kumar

2nd prize: RM 2,000 goes to Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

  Har Chen Loon - Chan Ying Xin - Liu Chun Mei - Neo Lei Yee - Nicole Lam Chooi Yan

3rd prize: RM 1,000 goes to Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP)
 Chiew Yee Ket - Law Woon Phui - Lau Siaw Jing - Ling Yeu Shin - Tan Ni King

2 x Consolation prize: RM 500 and certificates goes to
Monash University
Cheang Khai Hong  - Lee Pui Ee - Low Yen Yen - Tan Kian Tiong - Teh Hock Xiong


Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)
How Kha Tiam - Chan Junda - Pang Wei Xiong - Carina Hoon Huey Q - Danny Ho Pui Fui


Ir. Prof. Dr. Dominic Foo had also presented letter of appreciation to all the judges that had been involved in the entire competition during the event. Participants who did not bag any prizes from the competition were also given certificate of participation issued by IEM. Overall, the competition had been a great success with many positive feedbacks from the participants and panel of judges. The same competition will be organised in year 2013/2014 and it is hope that more chemical engineering students will benefit from this design competition.

Reported by,
Engr. Noor Zuraihan Mohamad Noor
Organising Chairperson

Finalist teams at the final poster presentation session.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Half-day Course on Intellectual Properly (IP) Law

IEM Chemical Engineering Technical Division (CETD) will be organising a Half-Day Course onf Intellectual Property (IP) Law this coming Saturday, 28 September 2013.
The session is scheduled to run from 9 am to 1 pm. Participants will be granted 3.5 CPD/PDP hours.

Details are as follows:
Half-Day Course on Bird's Eye View on Intellectual Properly(IP) Law Practical Approach on Protection of Your IP Rights

Venue:Wisma IEM (C&S Lecture Room, Second Floor)
Date & Time:28 Sep 2013 (9:00 AM - 1:00 PM)
Closing Date:25-Sep-2013

For more details and to register, please visit the myIEM portal. Register online by 25 September 2013 for exclusive member rates.

Monday, August 12, 2013

IEM CETD Half-day workshop on Innovation

The IEM Chemical Engineering Technical Division (CETD) will be organising a Workshop on the Source for Innovation this 7 September 2013 (Saturday) at Wisma IEM, PJ. The session is scheduled to run from 9 am to 1 pm. Participants will be granted 4.0 CPD/PDP hours.
In this day and age of advancing technology, it is said that we either Innovate or Die. But what is innovation? How do we innovate? What are the barriers to innovation? and How do we promote effective innovation?
This half-day workshop is designed to answer all these questions and more.
The workshop will be run by Dr Edwin Chung, Head of Taylor's Technology innovation Centre and Deputy Dean (Innovation and Enterprise) of the School of Engineering at Taylor's University. Dr Edwin Chung holds a BSc in Computer Science, BEng in Electrical & Computer Systems Engineering and a PhD from Monash University.
His academic research interests is in the area of asynchronous circuit design; while his other intellectual research interests lies in the art and science of innovation. He started his career in the semiconductor industry and has worked on various products design with NEC Australia, Motorola Adelaide, Intel and Atmel.

For more information please visit the myIEM portal. Login and register online by 4 September 2013 for exclusive rates!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Engineers are not KAYU!

IEM Forum on "Engineers are not Kayu"

A forum entitled “Engineers are not kayu was held at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus on 11 May 2013, specially dedicated for the September issue of IEM Bulletin.  The forum was jointly organized by ChemicalEngineering Technical Division (CETD), Young Engineers Section (YES) of IEM, as well as Taylor’s University, and added by some practiting engineers and engineering students.  Seven panel speakers were invited too share about their professional work duties along with their side interests and talents.  

CETD chairman Ir. Prof. Dr. Dominic Foo Chwan Yee welcomed the participants by giving a simple overview of the forum. 

The forum started at 11.15 am, where two academic members of CETD, Engr. Dr. Chong Chien Hwa (Taylor’s University) and Engr. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Denny Ng Kok Sum (University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus) shared about their professional works being lecturers and researchers.  Apart from performing their academic duties, both Engr. Assoc. Prof. Dr Denny Ng and have another identity that are less known by their students and academic colleagues.  Engr. Dr. Chong Chien Hwa is a dedicated cook during his free time and has some very nice recipes with him in cooking fishes and seafood

Engr. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Denny Ng, on the other hand, is a traveler as well as a badminton player.  He shared quite some photos for his badminton competitions, as well as his travelling to various Asian and European cities.  He also share some tips on how to travel with low budget. 

Next, Engr. Rafil Elyas who is a consultant (East 101 Sdn Bhd) shared about his professional work in the oil and gas business.  In his spare time, he enjoyed writing fiction and short stories, playing and composing music, as well as music recording.  

 Apparently, music is also a common interest that he shares with Ir. Prof. Dr. Dominic Foo, who is a chemical engineering professor (his regular work duties include being a researcher, author, editor, teacher and “social worker” – his service with IEM).  

They next performed together with their guitars on a new song composed by Engr. Rafil specially for the forum – “I Want to be an Engineer”. The forum participants were also given a copy of the song lyrics (see the song lyrics at the end of this post) so that they can sing along together.  

Engr. Lim Mei Ling is the next panel of the forum, who shared about her professional work being a mechanical engineer at Technip, a project management, engineering and construction company. To the surprise of all forum participants, this young lady is actually a tough sport woman who enjoys a lot of outdoor activities, such as mountain hiking, marathon and mountain cycling!  She hikes many mountains in Malaysia (e.g. Gunung Batu Putih, Gunung Irau, Gunung Nuang, etc.), apart from completing 42 km marathon for 3 times, and also cycled up to Bukit Fraser, Cameron Highland, Bukit Tinggi, among others.

The next panel of the forum – Engr. Mohd Khairul Kamaruddin is also another sport man.  Apart from working as a piping engineer at Technip, Engr. Mohd Khairul spent his spare time with paragliding and rock climbing.  He worked as a rock climbing instructor before, and now is a member with the Malaysian national paragliding team.  His past achievements include a silver and two bronze medals in Southeast Asia (SEA) Games 2011 that was held at Indonesia.  He will soon represent Malaysia again in the coming 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.  He also shared how he can appreciate the knowledge in fluid mechanics through paragliding activities.  

Ir. Razmawata Mohd Razalli, who is the last panel of the forum, is also an oil and gas consultant for his profession (Synergy Oil & Gas Engineering).  However, to this 2012/13 Session Chairman of the Oil and Gas Technical Division (OGTD) who owns a professional license of scuba diving, not all his offshore trips is meant for his oil and gas business, but rather to fulfill his desire to observe the many micro-organism and sea life in the deep sea.  Ir. Razmawata showed many pictures that he took for the unique creatures under the deep blue sea, which amazed the forum participants very much. 

The forum ended at 1 pm, with the 2nd performance of the song "I Want to be an Engineer", followed by group photo and lunch sessions.   Many participants felt that life of an engineer can be very interesting provided that we know how to enjoy our life.  The forum left some good memories especially to those undergraduate students in engineering who attended the forum.

Composer: Engr. Rafil Elyas

I want to build a rocket ship, I want to grow a giant turnip
I want to break covalent bonds, maybe find a Higgs boson
I want to make some gasoline, put it in my speedy machine
Drive it over to your house, build a giant robot mouse
I wanna be an engineer, you wanna be an engineer!
I don’t wanna be no doctor, I don’t want to be no lawyer
I want a hard hat, safety boots, don’t want no designer shoes
One ton beam falls on my toes, dance around in my coveralls

I like chemistry and physics, diff EQs and stochastics
I really dig fluid mechanics, gotta have my thermodynamics
Willard Gibbs is the Taikor! Bernoulli, Maxwell and Euler!
Now we can make anti freeze, build space stations, refineries!

I wanna be an engineer, you wanna be an engineer!
I don’t wanna be no doctor, I don’t want to be no lawyer
I want a hard hat, safety boots, don’t want nice designer shoes
One ton beam falls on my toes, dance around in my coveralls

I wanna make my car go faster, I wanna make my bridge span longer
I wanna make my sub go deeper, I wanna make my plane fly higher
I wanna end all world hunger, make sure everyone’s got clean water
Everyone’s healthy there and here! So everyone can be engineer!

I wanna be an engineer, you wanna be an engineer!
I don’t wanna be no doctor, I don’t want to be no lawyer
I want a hard hat., safety boots, don’t want nice designer shoes
One ton beam falls on my toes, dance around in my coveralls

You want to be an engineer, you momma wants to be an engineer
Your papa wants to be an engineer, you brother wants to be an engineer
Your kid wants to be an engineer, your neighbour wants to be an engineer
Everyone can be engineer! Everyone can be  engineer!       ENGINEER!