See MSc ME Specializations

Maintenance Engineering & Operations

Improving maintenance for a better economic and ecological performance

Are you a mechanical engineer with a particular interest in the rapidly developing field of the maintenance of technical systems? Are you as fascinated by the technical aspects of optimizing maintenance as you are by aspects such as reliable system, process design, lifecycle management, condition monitoring and safety or supply chains? If you are, the Master’s specialization Maintenance Engineering & Operations (ME&O), one of five tracks you can choose from within our Master’s programme Mechanical Engineering (ME), is the perfect choice for you.

What does it take to ensure the availability, reliability and cost-effectiveness of technical systems? How can we analyse failure behaviour and improve performance by (re-)engineering and optimizing maintenance strategies and concepts? How can we use new technologies to monitor an installation’s structural health and condition and optimise the resources required for maintenance? Or to extend the lifecycles of assets, thus improving their economic performance and sustainability? These are typical questions you will tackle in the Maintenance Engineering & Operations track. 

"The Maintenance Engineering & Operations track is very applied in its approach of science. We have very strong ties with industry, where maintenance is gaining prominence as a means of improving quality, economic performance, safety and sustainability. It is also a highly multidisciplinary track, covering not only the core disciplines of mechanical engineering, but many other disciplines as well. ME&O students typically want to engage with the full breadth, from tribology to operations management. They’re usually open-minded and eager to make real improvements in industry. The multidisciplinary of our specialization is proved by its composition in terms of expertise: research groups from different ME departments and even from two different faculties (ET, BMS) contribute to researches and education." - Dr.  Alberto Martinetti, Track Coordinator for Maintenance Engineering & Operations 

What makes this track different?  

Become a specialist in maintaining technical systems and extending their lifecycle

The ME track Maintenance Engineering & Operations will deepen and broaden your knowledge of the analysis and maintenance of machinery, structures and production facilities. It deviates from the other four ME specializations, Design Production & Management, Biomechanical Engineering & Robotics, Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems, and Thermal and Fluid Engineering, which are more traditionally discipline oriented. The ME&O track rather on a specific application area, namely maintenance and asset management of technical systems. 

In this track you will learn to improve maintenance by making use of research into design methods, physical mechanisms and predictive maintenance, structural health and condition monitoring, asset management and reliability engineering. 

As a Maintenance Engineering & Operations specialist, you will have the tools to engineer innovative maintenance solutions, both in the design phase and operational phase of a technical facility. On top of that, you will be equipped to take part in decision-making regarding maintenance activities for technical installations aimed at improving the overall performance of the system and the company.

✓ Expand the mechanical engineering expertise you gained in your Bachelor’s programme

✓ Study in a field with a strong focus on industrial application and at a university with strong industry tries

✓ Learn to make use of different technologies and to work across disciplines in order to optimize system maintenance and performance

✓ Gain cutting-edge expertise in design methods, physical failure mechanisms and structural health and condition monitoring

✓ Become a highly valued specialist in the rapidly growing and changing field of maintenance 

Why this track at the UT?

Study at an internationally leading university in future-proof manufacturing

You can get a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at many universities, both worldwide and here in the Netherlands. Here is what makes the ME programme at the University of Twente, along with this particular specialization, different from others:

✓ Our Master’s in Mechanical Engineering is one of the very few in the world in which you can specialize in ME&O at this most advanced level. As an ME Graduate with this specialization, you will likely be among the world’s leading pioneers in the rapidly changing world of maintenance.

✓ Taking the ME&O track at the University of Twente will give you a head start in your career, as it will expose you to some of the very best and latest research in this field. In Intelligent Manufacturing Systems, for example, the UT is a leading international player and the go-to institute in the Netherlands, with an outstanding position in key domains, such as predictive maintenance, production technology, ICT, supply chains and business modelling.

✓ Some 30 to 50% of ME students taking the ME&O track are non-Dutch. This international student base means you will work on projects with people from many different cultures and countries – an excellent way for you to prepare for your career in this highly internationalized field.

✓ The UT was acclaimed in 2017 as the best university of technology in the Netherlands, while in the overall ranking we joined our country’s top three universities. Not only will you benefit from our campus’ world-class facilities, but also from our pioneering, cross-disciplinary research in many fields. At the UT you will develop a strong engineering mind-set that will equip you to tackle complex challenges.

Track courses 

Room for personal preferences

Like most of our Master’s tracks, the ME track Maintenance Engineering & Operations offers you room to make your own choices. You can draw up your own curriculum around the following components:

  • Mandatory ME profile courses;
  • Mandatory specialization courses;
  • A mandatory full-time internship with an industrial organization/company;
  • Electives related to ME, your track or other fields; 
  • Your graduation project, which will be an assignment for an industrial player combining research and problem-solving.

Check the list below for some relevant courses in this track:

  • Maintenance Engineering & Management
  • Failure Mechanisms & Life Prediction
  • Design for Maintenance Operations
  • Structural Health & Condition Monitoring
  • Reliability Engineering & Maintenance Management

Graduation projects

Combine research with practical application in an industrial setting

Naturally, you are free as a Master’s student to come up with your own graduation project proposal. As a university that places a strong emphasis on societal impact and valorisation, we require our Master’s students to choose graduation projects in which they combine fundamental research with practical application in a real-world industrial setting. In the Mechanical Engineering Master’s  projects are carried out with and for leading corporations, ranging from NS, ProRail, Strukton Rail, to Fokker, Thales, KLM, Schiphol Airport, Siemens, Bosch, Shell, Tata Steel and many others in several industrial sectors.

Thesis research possibilities

Because of the different angles you can take to look at maintenance engineering, , the range of thesis research topics is huge and can involve any of the domains in which you will have taken courses.

Some examples: 

  • Structural Health Monitoring for Landing Gears (Fokker Landing Gear);
  • Design of a Lubrication Backup System (Triogen)
  • Towards Catenary Condition Monitoring Using in-service trains (Ricardo Rail)
  • There is no Spoon: Applying Virtual Reality for Effective Maintenance Training of Rolling Stock Technicians (NS)
  • Automated Failure Diagnosis using Explainable Artificial Intelligence (NLR, NL Air Force);
  • Dry Gas Seal Reliability and the Development of Prognostic Models (Siemens);

Career prospects

Demand for ME&O specialists is rising quickly

On completing the Master’s programme in Mechanical Engineering, you will receive a Master of Science degree and a special certificate attesting your deep knowledge in Maintenance Engineering. Employees in industry will attach a lot of value to your specialized expertise. At the same time, you will meet all the requirements of a qualified Mechanical Engineer and be equipped to enter any area of mechanical engineering – not just the area of your Master’s specialization. 

Example certificate ME&O
Example certificate ME&O

ME job examples

Demand for mechanical engineers is huge. As a Master’s graduate from the UT you will be amply qualified to work in a wide range of companies in a variety of positions. Many graduates find jobs in research & development or design & construction. In design teams, they take on the role of engineering specialist, integrator and they often serve as team leaders. A relatively high number of them to manage other engineers in their first job.

ME&O job examples

As companies today are increasingly on the lookout for maintenance and reliability engineers, on an academic level, your career prospects will be excellent. Maintenance is a multidisciplinary field and you will find job opportunities in almost every industry as an expert in reliability engineering, predictive maintenance, after-sales service logistics or asset life cycle management.