Interview/ Equipment/mechanical design

I’m Responsible for Creating a Conducive Work Environment for My Team

Naoya Matsumoto

Naoya Matsumoto (joined the company in 2006)

Equipment engineering / Chemical plants

Equipment Engineering Department

Mechanical engineering graduate


I wanted a job that supports the infrastructure of people’s lives

Naoya Matsumoto

My job search after university focused on manufacturers, because I had majored in mechanical engineering. And as my search progressed, I realized I wanted a job that supports the infrastructure of people’s lives and that I wanted to be active on a global level. Of the places I considered, the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group (MHIG) felt the most comfortable because an old lab colleague was here. That determined my decision to join MHIG.
For the first five years with the company, I was responsible for quality assurance at chemical plants. In 2011, I transferred to equipment design, where I am today. My main work at the Quality Assurance Department was to outsource the production of products designed at MHIG to manufacturers in and outside Japan, and manage and check the quality of the manufacturing. The quality assurance work was very worthwhile, but as I advanced, I found myself wanting to gain more in-depth knowledge about the products. I wanted to become more of an expert on equipment by experiencing the engineering process, and put that knowledge to use in future quality assurance work. That’s why I requested a transfer to my current equipment engineering department.
What makes quality assurance interesting is being involved in a great number of products. You also get lots of opportunities to go on business trips to overseas sites and gain experience that you just can’t get in Japan. On the other hand, the attraction of engineering is seeing your accomplishments come to life, as the designs you think up turn into tangible things. I’m not saying one is better than the other. Whichever suits your disposition and aims should decide the occupation you choose.

My involvement in the integrated coal gasification combined cycle power plant, a project to aid the recovery of Fukushima

After I transferred to my current department, I was put in charge of plant equipment engineering for two projects. This was followed by replacing equipment in plants already completed and other operations. Since then, I’ve been involved with the design of gas purification equipment for the world’s state-of-the-art integrated coal gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant, a project to aid the recovery of Fukushima. I have been with the project since it launched in 2015.

I serve as the key person (KP) on the engineering of heat exchangers in the plant, which means I coordinate the equipment engineering department. This requires many skills because the nature of the equipment design department’s work changes quite a bit depending on the project phase. In the initial engineering phase, we racked our brains over how to incorporate the client’s required specifications in the plans. We also had to account for the overall balance of the plant while making adjustments with other departments with the layout and piping design, electrical and instrumentation design, and other components — all with the aim of building a plant that is in line with the client’s needs. In the equipment production phase, we had to check the production process of our partners very closely, especially in the case of overseas manufacturers. I traveled to the production sites, and inspected whether the specifications were in line with the plans, and whether the schedules and quality standards were being observed. There are a lot of headaches, but it is a thoroughly satisfying job because of the breadth of operations and the commensurate responsibility.

In the future, I want to develop IGCC power plants overseas

Naoya Matsumoto

The role of the KP is to create a conducive work environment for the team and to boost the team’s output.
KPs must always take a broad view and pay attention to what is going on around them. I, however, still tend to get lost in my own work. That’s a point I would like to improve on moving forward. A general key person (GKP) is a position above KP. In the near future, I want to refine my skills so that I can become a GKP and manage an even larger team.
My current goal, as the KP of the equipment design department that is currently working on IGCC gas purification equipment, is to pool the team’s strengths and guide the project to success. My future goal is to develop IGCC power plants overseas. Because I’ve been involved with this project since its beginning, if we are successful in Fukushima, I want to build an IGCC power plant overseas. Just thinking about being stationed overseas for such a project gets me excited.