Hi, my name is Monique and I’m taking the PDEng programme in Maintenance.
I chose to pursue a PDEng because of the combination of theory (education) and practice (working for a company that has a problem you will solve or provide new insight to). Daimler is the company where I work for (producer of Mercedes and Smart cars); a very large company in which I can now look around and learn besides my PDEng goals, how such a company operates and discover if it is interesting to work for after my PDEng.
In the automotive industry, customers are offered many choices when ordering a car. The combination of all these different choices lead many different car variants. To give an indication: the number of variants of the SLK model of 2011 is 3,48 E41! Besides this large number of variants, maintenance is performed on the car model, because of which parts of the car are continuously changing. Accordingly, I have already heard engineers of the Daimler plant in Bremen say: “every car that leaves this factory is unique”.
We can say that with over 330.000 cars leaving the Bremen plant per year, here a unique, complex product is produced in high speed. The difficulty this production lies amongst others in the predictability of the manufacturing process of the cars: as each car is different, each car needs a slightly different manufacturing process. It is my task to find out how the maintenance on the car model can be carried out as smooth as possible in this complex production process.
At the University of Twente, the courses and assignment run in parallel. This assures me that I gain knowledge that directly can be used within my project and helps me to apply this knowledge when it is still fresh. Furthermore, there is also contact with the University’s staff when their theories are applied in practice, providing help when needed (and possibly feedback on their teachings and/or research as well). What I really like of the programme is that it is so pragmatic. In that way, it suits me a lot better than a PhD. What I find less fitting is that in the maintenance programme, a lot of courses are obligatory. However, I do understand this choice as it assures that every PDEng candidate is broadly educated. This will also help me in my further career.