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Design, Production and Management

Understanding, designing and managing large, complex processes

Are you a mechanical engineer with a particular interest in understanding the principles underlying the design and management of large systems, such as a factory, or an entire supply chain? Do you want to optimize production or logistical processes by combining your engineering expertise with specialized knowledge of design and manufacturing systems? If so, the Master’s specialization Design Production & Management (DP&M), one of five tracks you can choose from within our Master’s programme Mechanical Engineering (ME), could be the perfect choice for you.

What does it take to successfully launch new products, machines and production processes in today’s world? How does the mass customization trend – which combines the low cost of mass production with the flexibility of customized products to meet consumer’s highly personalized demands – influence manufacturers and their production and logistical processes? How can new tools, such as Virtual Reality or Additive Manufacturing (3D printing), help us optimize these processes? These are typical questions you will tackle in the Design Production & Management track. 

A track offering two directions

The track offers two specialization directions: Production Management (PM) and Design Engineering (DE). In the PM courses, the emphasis is on large environments and systems and the principles underlying their overall development and optimization. In the DE courses, you will focus more on the development of partial solutions and the use of tools within that broader context.

"The Design Production & Management track attracts students who like to have an overall view of processes and systems. They’re creative, they enjoy and are good at working with specialists in other disciplines. They appreciate the fundamental principles of their field, but their problem-hands-on attitude tends to drive them more towards tackling real-world manufacturing issues than towards doing fundamental research. Most of them have chosen either Design and Construction (D&C) as their competency profile, or Organization and Management (O&M) – and a only very few opt for Research and Development (R&D) in combination with this track." - Dr. Ir. S. Hoekstra, Track Coordinator for Design Production & Management

What makes this track different? 

Become a specialist in the design, maintenance and optimization of large systems

The ME track Design Production & Management will deepen and broaden your knowledge of the design, analysis and maintenance of machinery, structures, products and production processes. In this sense, it is on a par with the other four ME specializations, Biomechanical Engineering & Robotics, Maintenance Engineering & Operations, Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems, and Thermal and Fluid Engineering. The main difference is that this track will make you a specialist in the design, maintenance and optimization of large systems, such as an entire factory or supply chain, or a complex production process. It will equip you to handle the bigger picture of manufacturing and delivering goods in a world that wants better, cheaper and more personalized products delivered on-demand through faster, more flexible production facilities and supply chains. 

Huge changes are sweeping through today’s manufacturing industry. New Intelligent Manufacturing Systems are absorbing previously isolated factories and processes into larger, more complex systems. These developments call for engineers who understand the technologies involved, while also having a firm grasp of issues such as production design and the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of processes. This is why in this track you will acquire expertise in design and factory physics as well as mechanical engineering.

As a Design Production & Management specialist, one of your tasks might be to make sure products are designed with the changing needs and wants of consumers in mind as well as the manufacturing and assembly process. You may have to figure out how your manufacturing company can keep its products up-to-date with what consumers are looking for. Or how all the necessary parts and tools involved in creating a new product will come together at the right time, how you will intercept failures, schedule machine maintenance and ensure maximum flexibility. 

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

✓ Develop a broader, more holistic perspective on the (cost-)effective design, management and maintenance of large production and logistical processes

✓ Cultivate an open-minded attitude and the ability to choose the right design tools, methods and technologies for progressing quickly and efficiently from product concept to final product

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:

✓ Taking the Design Production & Management 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 your 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 production technology, ICT, supply chains and business modelling.

✓ 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 

A lot of room for personal preferences

Like most of our Master’s tracks, the ME track Design Production & Management offers you a lot of room to make your own choices. Depending on whether you choose Production Management (PM) or Design Engineering (DE) within this track, you can draw up your own curriculum around the following components:

  • Mandatory ME courses
  • Mandatory specialization courses
  • Electives related to ME, your track or other fields 
  • Your graduation project

Production Management 

If you take the PM direction within this track, you will learn to address the many decisions involved in configuring a production system. Think, for example, of structural decisions, such as production capacity, facility design, production equipment selection and configuration, as well as control decisions, such as quality policies, supply chain logistics, production planning, control and scheduling.

Design Engineering 

If you opt for the other direction, DE, you will study the processes related to part and product design. You will look at the entire design process, from conceptual design to manufacturing and maintenance. This direction has a strong focus on the development of design support tools and techniques. You will familiarize yourself with methods for structuring the often chaotic and complex design process, as well as methods aimed at stimulating creativity.

Graduation projects

Combine cutting-edge research with practical application

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 valorization, we strongly encourage our Master’s students to choose graduation projects in which they combine fundamental research with practical application. In the Mechanical Engineering Master’s, many of these projects are carried out with and for leading corporations, ranging from ASML to Heineken. 

Thesis research possibilities

Because of the high degree of personalization this programme allows for and the broad overview you will develop in the DP&M track, the range of thesis research topics is huge. 

  • Generic methods for improving product development processes
  • The use of Virtual Reality for improving communication and collaboration across different disciplines and for advanced concept testing in (product) development processes
  • The use of new-generation engineering tools to shorten design processes, while boosting design quality 
  • Exploring new ways of applying fundamental physics in design and production
  • Lean design engineering aimed at reducing waste and increasing competitiveness
  • The use of system thinking in the design and production of complex products, such as airplanes, ships or medical equipment
  • Sustainable product-service combinations
  • New the use of new techniques and materials, for example Additive Manufacturing (3D printing)

Career prospects

Demand for mechanical design engineers is huge

On completing the Master’s programme Mechanical Engineering you will receive a Master of Science degree. Your specialization is not mentioned on your diploma. We’ve designed the programme in such way that you will meet all the requirements of a qualified Mechanical Engineer, regardless of the track you take. This means you will be equipped to enter any area of mechanical engineering – not just the area of your Master’s specialization. 

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 go on to manage other engineers in their first job.

DP&M job examples

Given the broad perspective you will develop in the Design Production & Management track, you will be able to get a job in which this breadth of vision really matters. Whether you join an engineering firm, a consultancy or a manufacturing company, others will rely on you for your combination of in-depth engineering expertise, creativity and the ability to work with and lead cross-disciplinary teams.