Nizam's story


This summer, MAC catches up with Muhammad Nizam on his onsite assignment at Hitachi Plant Technologies in Japan. “The MicroStation software used was Powerdraft version and it was in Japanese!” Read on to find out more…



Hi Nizam! How does it feel to travel to Japan for this assignment?

It was a wonderful and joyous experience. I was able to work with people from different countries such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, Italy and Germany. We often get together to share stories about our home countries and pictures. My colleagues were very friendly, helpful and willing to share their knowledge. In addition, it was a relaxing environment to work in, because of the reasonable project deadline and beautiful scenery outside of the office. During weekends, I was able to go sight-seeing and I explored lots of places.   



Well, I see it’s all fun for you huh! So were there any challenges faced?

Haha, yes of course! Firstly, I was new to Telecommunication services. As such, there were tones of abbreviations and symbols that I’d never seen before nor understand. For the first few weeks, I had no choice but to refer to the abbreviations and legends standards when I do my work, which was very time consuming.

In addition, the Microstation software used was Powerdraft version and it was in Japanese. It took me quite a while to familiarize myself with the software interface. Powerdraft does not support 3D interface. However, I was told to draft 3D drawings on a 2D plane, which was very rather challenging. This increases drawing file size which inevitably causes my PC to hang.

I also faced problems like file conversion; where I was required to convert DWG format to DGN format. The conversion causes the texts to jumble around and thus, I will need to re-draft the drawings again.






WOW understanding MicroStation interface in Japanese? That’s a tough one. What exactly is your scope of work?

My department handled Fire Alarm Systems, Emergency Siren Systems, Data Network Systems and In-Plant Communication Systems, just to name a few. My duty was to create Block Diagrams, Connection Diagrams and a Structured Cabling System for all the systems. On top of that, I was tasked to do the Cable Routing Layout, Console Layout and the Conduit Layout. I also had to check the cable and equipment tagging and had to make sure all tags were correct. The Telecommunication Room Layout, Detail Drawings and Typical Installation Drawings were to be done in both 2D and 3D as per the request of the client, to help them have a better picture of the whole system. The drawings had to be amended constantly as we were in the planning and design stages and the amendments and design revision had to be done every week prior to the weekly meetings. 

So what is the take away from this assignment?

After 6 months of exposure to Telecommunication services, I now have a better understanding of telecommunication works, as I was given many opportunities to learn. For example, I was given a chance to design the Telecommunication Equipment Room in 2D and 3D. It was very tough and it took me 3 tries before the design was finally approved. I also had to liaise with the Civil Department engineers regarding the sizes and layouts of the Telecommunication rooms to ensure that all Telecommunication equipment were able to fit into their respective rooms. 

Glad that you’ve acquired new knowledge. So how has this experience change you?

“As my superiors were always attending back-to-back meetings, I have to be independent and source for other solutions on my own when necessary. Instead of getting spoon-fed, I have to learn on the job”.

For example, if the dimensions of the Telecommunication equipment were not stated in the Project Specifications, I have to take the initiative to go online to search for product catalogues and cross reference the product number of the equipment with the ones we have in the Project Specifications to get the actual dimensions.

Besides doing my research online, I also have to liaise directly with the vendor so I can get the information needed to complete my work.  Furthermore, I have to update drawings based on the comments given in the document transmittal, without mark-ups from the engineers.  

Overall it was a very good learning experience and I have learnt so much in the past 6 months here. I enjoyed the time spent here in Japan very much. If given the chance, I will not hesitate to experience this all over again.

Thank you AcePLP for giving me this opportunity!

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