Alumni.卒業生の記事が企業サイトに. Featured in Dow.com

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卒業生(学部2011年、修士2013年)H. M. (B.2011, M.2013) was featured in his company (Dow Toray). Dow Chemicals is no.2 largest chemical producers in the world.

See the attached PDF file or here: jp.dow.com/ja-jp/careers/career-overview.html

彼が1年目で担当したプロジェクトに関する記事です。(プロセス開発部)新卒採用向けに弊社HPで公開しています。An article about a project he was in charge of in his first year. (Process Development Department). Available on company website.

https://jp.dow.com/content/dam/corp/documents/location/905-00009-42-new-products-from-japan-to-the-world.pdf
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日本発世界向け新製品。New product for the world from Japan.

重要な量産プロセス開発を入社 1 年目から. Important mass production process development from the first year of employment 
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希望通りの配属, 量産化プロセス開発部門 Assignment as desired, Mass Production Process Development Division

化学品の開発というと、多くの人は実験室で試験管やフラスコを振る光景を思い浮かべます。しかし実際、様々な産業分野で製品材料として使用されるには、数百キログラム~数トン、時にはそれ以上での生産が必要です。ところが化学品は、生産単位が大きくなるに連れ、ラボでの性能がうまく出なくなることが往々にしてあります。そこで登場するのが我々プロセス開発部です。『ラボ品と同等の製品性能を量産設備でも再現する』ことを使命として、どんな装置や手順(処方)、運転条件で生産すれば、低コストかつ好性能が実現出来るのか、法規制等も含めてスケールアップの検討をします。プロセス開発は新製品を立ち上げる上で非常に重要な仕事。元々スケールアップに興味を持っていたので、入社後、希望通りの配属と聞いて、わくわくしたのを覚えています. When most people think of chemical development, they think of shaking test tubes and flasks in a laboratory. In reality, however, chemicals need to be produced in quantities ranging from several hundred kilograms to several tons, and sometimes more, to be used as product materials in various industrial fields. However, as the production unit of chemical products increases, the performance in the laboratory often fails to improve. This is where we, the Process Development Department, appear. Our mission is to “reproduce the same product performance in mass production facilities as in the laboratory”, and we examine how to scale up production, including laws and regulations, to find out what kind of equipment, procedures (formulations), and operating conditions are needed to achieve low cost and good performance. Process development is a very important task in launching a new product. I was originally interested in scale-up, so I remember how excited I was when I heard that I would be assigned to this position as I had hoped.

新人でも、重要製品の担当を任せてくれるEven if I am new, they’ll put you in charge of important products.

驚いたのは、入社して2か月で、日本発の技術にして世界的イノベーションが期待される新製品のプロセス開発を任されたことです。今後さらに高温になると予想される車載半導体に使用される材料で、これが供給されれば、他のいろいろな電化製品もさらに高機能になると言われていました。担当したのは、4段階の工程のうち最後の部分。主原料(フィラー)に処理剤(液体)等の原料を混合する工程です。ミッションは、ラボで実現した4つの重要な性状を、まずパイロット設備(数十キログラム単位)で実現し、次に量産設備(数百キログラム単位)でも生産体制を確立することでした。正直なところ最初は、ただ混ぜるだけという安易な考えでした。チームメンバーの認識も同様でした。ところが初回のパイロット実験を行うと、4つの重要物性の何一つ、ラボ品を再現出来きていないことが判明しました。パイロット実験によって初めて幾つもの問題が生じるという、化学製品の大難問にまさに直面しました。そこから各物性と対決の日々が始まりました(笑)。混合時の流動状態に影響を及ぼし得るプロセス要因(原料の投入手順や液体の投入方法、混合速度や時間、混合中の温度管理、攪拌容器や形状、材質、攪拌羽根の形状等々)を思いつく限り列挙しては、解決策を提案・施行。泥臭く地道に一つずつ問題を解決していきました。What surprised me was that within two months of joining the company, I was put in charge of process development for a new product that was expected to be a global innovation in technology originating from Japan. The material was to be used for in-vehicle semiconductors, which are expected to become even hotter in the future, and it was said that if this material could be supplied, various other electronic products would also become even more sophisticated. I was in charge of the last part of the four-step process. This is the process of mixing the main raw material (filler) with the processing agent (liquid) and other raw materials. Our mission was to achieve the four important properties that we had achieved in the lab, first at the pilot facility (in units of tens of kilograms), and then to establish a production system at the mass production facility (in units of hundreds of kilograms). To be honest, at first it was a simple idea to just mix the two. The team members were of the same opinion. However, after the first pilot experiment, it was discovered that none of the four key properties could be reproduced in the test product. We were faced with a major chemical product conundrum that would only be solved by a pilot experiment. From that point on, we were confronted with various physical properties. From that point on, we were fighting with each physical property (laughs). We listed as many process factors as we could think of that could affect the flow state during mixing (raw material input procedure, liquid input method, mixing speed and time, temperature control during mixing, mixing vessel, shape, material, shape of the mixing blade, etc.), and then proposed and implemented solutions. We solved the problems one by one, steadily and methodically.

最後の壁を突き崩してくれたのは先輩エンジニア It was a senior engineer who pushed the last wall down.

4つの物性の中で唯一、最後の最後まで解決できない問題がありました。原因はせん断不足であり、撹拌速度など装置能力に起因することも判明していました。しかしこの新製品は既存設備での量産が条件だったため、装置を新規に購入するわけにはいきません。社内の他の設備でも太刀打ち出来そうになく、万策尽きたかと思いました。そんな窮地を救ってくれたのは、プロジェクトチームのベテランエンジニアでした。「ミキサー本体を改造してはどうか?」と、装置のモーター改良をリードしてくれたのです。おかげで、欲しかった範囲の混合速度が得られ、遂に問題を解決することができました。化学のエンジニアが自分の手で装置をカスタマイズするなんて、予想外でした。ダウのエンジニアの技術幅の広さに驚かされると共に、プロセス開発という仕事の想像以上の奥深さに面白さを感じました。Among the four physical properties, there was only one problem that could not be solved until the very end. The cause of the problem was insufficient shear, and it was also found to be caused by equipment capacity such as the mixing speed. However, since this new product had to be mass-produced using existing equipment, we could not purchase new equipment. We thought we had run out of options, as we could not seem to compete with other equipment in the company. It was a veteran engineer from the project team who saved us from such a predicament. He said, “Why don’t you modify the mixer itself? He took the lead in improving the motor of the device. Thanks to him, we were able to get the mixing speed in the range we wanted and finally solve the problem. I didn’t expect a chemical engineer to customize the equipment with his own hands. I was amazed by the breadth of technology of Dow’s engineers, and I was also fascinated by the depth of process development work beyond my imagination.

試行錯誤こそエンジニアとしての知見の蓄積に
Trial and error is the key to accumulating knowledge as an engineer.

結局、パイロット実験は30回以上。約1年かかりました。前の3工程のエンジニアは皆ベテランで順調に開発しているのに、自分の工程だけ迷惑をかけている焦りはありつつも、自分なりに考えて実験し、結果から再度推測して「この方法なら今度こそ行けるかも?」と次の手を実践していく毎日は楽しかったです。こうしてパイロットスケールは成功。量産スケールでも得た知見を活用したことで順調に検討が進み、期限どおりにプロセスの各仕様を決定することができました。振り返ってみて、自分は新人時代から本当にいい経験をさせて貰ったなと思います。問題山積みでも楽しみながら取り組めたのは、前の工程のベテランたちが、急かさず見守り、常に相談に乗ってくれたおかげ。普通新人は、言われた通りに動くことが求められると思いますが、ダウでは、最初からひとりのエンジニアとして扱ってくれ、たくさんの試行錯誤のチャンスをくれます。成長していく上で、とても恵まれた環境だと思います。これからも勉強や経験を積み重ね、一刻も早く、一から全てのプロセスを考案できるエンジニアになりたいです。プロセス選定は『製品化の可否』と『利益の大きさ』を決定づける重要な仕事なので、簡単な道のりではありませんが、一歩一歩頑張っていきたいです。In the end, the pilot experiment took more than 30 times. It took about a year. While all the engineers in the previous three processes were veterans and were developing smoothly, I was frustrated that my process was the only one causing trouble. But it was fun every day to think about it, experiment, re-evaluate the results, and try the next step. The pilot scale was a success. By using the knowledge we gained in the mass production scale, the study progressed smoothly, and we were able to decide on each specification of the process on time. As I look back, I feel that I have had a really good experience since I was a newcomer. Thanks to the veterans of the previous process who never rushed me, watched over me, and always consulted with me, I was able to enjoy working on this project even though problems were piling up. Normally, newcomers are expected to do as they are told, but at Dow, they treat us as individual engineers from the beginning and give us many opportunities for trial and error. I think it is a very blessed environment for me to grow. I would like to continue studying and gaining experience, and become an engineer who can devise all processes from scratch as soon as possible. Process selection is an important job that determines whether or not a product can be commercialized and how much profit can be made, so it’s not an easy road, but I want to do my best step by step.
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私のイチ押しポイント! プロセス開発 全体に携われる
My strong point! I can be involved in the entire process development.

大学院時代に2週間のインターンシップに参加し、開発規模が大き過ぎると、自分自身が関われるのはプロセス全体の中でも限定的になってしまうかも、と印象を受けました。スケールアップを受け持つのであれば、私は最初から最後まで技術が見られる方が楽しめそうな気がしたので、連続プロセス~バッチプロセスまで幅広く取り扱っているダウへの入社を希望しました。ダウは、全くの新製品を立ち上げることも珍しくありません。いつか、世界規模の新製品の量産化を丸ごと自分の技術でやり遂げてみたいです。I participated in a two-week internship when I was in graduate school, and I got the impression that if the scale of development was too large, my involvement might be limited to the entire process. If I was going to be in charge of the scale-up, I felt that I would enjoy being able to see the technology from start to finish, so I wanted to join Dow, which handles a wide range of processes from continuous to batch processes. It is not uncommon for Dow to launch completely new products. One day, I would like to accomplish the mass production of a new product on a global scale entirely with my own technology.