LEADERSHIP RECALL INTERVIEW – Ts. NG WEN BIN
It’s with great pleasure that our Immediate Past President accepted the interview and shared his journey from childhood to becoming an HVAC expert. With more than 20 years of driving sustainability change for the industry, read on and discover his words of wisdom for young engineers.
Would you give a brief biographical sketch of your life?
I am a Professional Technologist with a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical and Material Engineering and a Master of Science (Mechanical and Material Engineering) from the National University of Malaysia. Currently working at Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysia France Institute (UNIKL MFI), more than 20 years of experience as a senior lecturer in the Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigerating Section.
I am involved in the development of numerous National Skill Standard for air conditioning and refrigeration since 1999 for MLVK, JPK, and CIDB. I also served in several working committees on developing the Training Manual for Technician in Refrigeration & Air-Conditioning Sector for DOE, CIDB, and developed standards and code of practice for SIRIM. I was appointed by DOE Malaysia as Master Trainer for Certified Service Technician Program and as Speaker for a roadshow of Phaseout refrigerant supported by (HCFC) Phased-out Management Plan (HPMP Stage 2) (2017 – 2022)
My area of expertise is in Air conditioning and refrigeration, and current research is focusing on Refrigeration especially related to refrigerants. One of the interesting researches is to develop a novel refrigerant for the air conditioning system in the Tropical region which is collaborating with a few Universities in Malaysia.
What other interests and/or hobbies do you have?
I love traveling. Travel takes us out of our comfort zones and inspires us to see, taste, and try new things. It constantly challenges us, not only to adapt to and explore new surroundings but also to engage with different people, to embrace adventures as they come and to share new and meaningful experiences with friends and loved ones.
What attracted you to engineering and/or the HVAC industry?
To become an engineer was my childhood ambition. Engineering is a great profession and is rendered with great respect. I have been fond of the profession of engineering from my childhood onwards. When I was studying in primary classes we were taught about different professions. My teacher explained about the works of different professions. I got curious about the profession of an engineer when it was explained by my teacher. At that point, the passion for the engineering profession started developing in my mind. When I went home, I asked my parents about engineers and this great profession. They made me understand the engineers and their role in the nation. I started enhancing my knowledge about this profession as I grew older. I decided to become a mechanical engineer in the future.
What was your first job in the HVAC industry and where did it lead?
Before joining UNIKL MFI, I worked as a sales support engineer for an air conditioner manufacturer. As an HVAC engineer, my job was to estimate the cooling load for the building and select air conditioning equipment for the project.
Describe the industry at that time. What were the challenges that you and your colleagues were facing?
Based on the Government data, to comply with the Montreal Protocol, Malaysia must freeze its consumption of the Annex A CFCs at 3,271 ODP tons by 2000 and then reduce this to 1,635 ODP tons by 2005 and 491 ODP tons in 2007, before final phase-out in 2010.
By 2000 Malaysia had reduced its consumption to about 2,092 ODP tons (2,101 MT) which is well below the target it must meet for the "freeze" and also well on track to meet its target for 1,635 ODP tons in 2005. Based on a straight-line extrapolation, the trend for CFC demand in Malaysia.
Chillers are large centralized cooling devices that are usually used for air conditioning in larger buildings. They can also be used for cooling in industrial processes, but this is less common. Until the mid-1990's most chillers in Malaysia used CFC-11 as the refrigerant, with a smaller number using CFC-12. CFC-114 and R-500 were also used as refrigerants in air-conditioning equipment in the past. The challenges that I was facing are to design a chiller using a CFCs alternative to meet Malaysia's CFC phase-out plan.
How and when did you get started in ASHRAE?
I joined ASHRAE in 2002. I am actively involved in ASHRAE Malaysia Chapter activities since 2009 as Student Activities Chair
What was your ASHRAE chapter experience?
I was President of the ASHRAE Malaysia Chapter (2019 – 2021). I was also actively involved in Refrigeration in ASHRAE as Refrigeration Chair for 4 years, from 2010 to 2014. I am also very excited to join ASHRAE CRC. This is full of wealthy knowledge-sharing content and highly engaging bonding activities that strengthen my knowledge and experience.
What were the major issues facing the industry at that time?
Looking for CFCs and HCFCs alternative for air conditioning system for building and transportation.
On what ASHRAE committees did you serve?
Currently, I am serving as a member for T-STDS-SSPC 34: Designation And Safety Classification Of Refrigerants,
I also serve as a corresponding member for TC3.01- Refrigerants And Secondary Coolants, TC3.08 - Refrigerant Containment, TC4.01-Load Calculation Data And Procedures, and TC4.03 - Ventilation Requirements & Infiltration
What advice would you give to a young person entering the HVAC field?
Technology and society evolve so that learning never stops. Get your basics and continue to learn even at your own expense. Your knowledge makes you more valuable. when going into “the field” with customers, always be honest. Today’s customers can educate themselves from YouTube and Google and see right thru a story. If you don’t know the answer to something, Don’t be afraid to say “I will find out for you.” When you run into something you are not familiar with either by hands-on or in the books you have read, do not be afraid to ask for help.
As in anything in life, you get out of something that you put into it, be persistent, professional, and thoughtful in whatever you do.