EXPECTED - PhD position - Advanced Predictive Maintenance of Military Systems

Expected PhD position

Advanced Predictive Maintenance of Military Systems

Project description

In a defence organization, maintenance is very important both from a safety and reliability perspective and from a cost perspective. The traditional way of performing maintenance is to determine preventive maintenance intervals during the design of the system, and execute the prescribed maintenance activities at fixed moments of time. However, since military systems are operated in a very variable (and unpredictable) way, this is not the most efficient maintenance policy. Just-in-time maintenance could be achieved when maintenance is planned in a more dynamic way, and would be based on the actual usage and operational conditions of the system. In that way, unnecessary maintenance can be avoided, but also unexpected failures could be prevented.

In a previous project (Tools4LCM) tools have been developed to visualize the performance and costs of a fleet of military systems (e.g. aircraft, vehicles, ships), which help to improve the Life Cycle Management process. The next step is now to support the system managers in their decisions regarding maintenance activities. That requires two important aspects to be addressed:


predict the future reliability / availability / maintenance costs and workload for a specific military system, given the (measured or assumed) usage profile of the system;


compare different scenario’s in terms of maintenance performance, providing decision support to the managers;

The Ministry of Defence funded project “Maintenance Decision Support and Simulation” (MaDeSi) is therefore started to address these two aspects. In the project, the Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA), the National Aerospace Laboratory NLR and the Asset Management Control Center (AMC) cooperate. The location for this PhD position will be the facilities of the NLDA in Den Helder.

The PhD project described here focuses on the first aspect, i.e. developing advanced methods to predict failures in military systems, based on the specific usage profiles of the systems. There will be two possible approaches to derive the quantitative relation between usage and conditions on the one hand and system degradation on the other hand: physical degradation models (e.g. wear, fatigue, corrosion, etc.) or data mining techniques. Application of the developed methods will then provide predicted service lives for individual components. However, replacing components on their own optimal intervals will not be efficient, so intelligent clustering methods should be developed to obtain the (system level) optimal policy. These methods can be based on the system model that will also be developed in this project (by other researchers). Moreover, this work will lead to a number quantitative relations and general decision rules, that will be implemented in the simulation environment developed in the project. Finally, the developed methods will be demonstrated in a case study.

Your Profile

A sound theoretical background in Mechanical Engineering, Applied Physics, Materials Science or a similar topic at academic level (MSc degree), with affinity for numerical modeling work.

We welcome ambitious candidates with strong communication skills who like to present their work at conferences and project meetings. Fluency in English is required. You need to provide IELTS test results (minimum score 6.5), TOEFL-iBT (minimum score 90) or Cambridge CAE or CPE. An interview and a scientific presentation will be part of the selection procedure.

Information and application

For more information on the research at the Twente is Maintenance Excellence (TIME) consortium in general, or the Dynamics based Maintenance group in particular, please visit http://www.utwente.nl/time and http://www.utwente.nl/ctw/tm/research/DBM. Additional information about this specific vacancy may be obtained from prof. dr. ir. Tiedo Tinga, t.tinga@utwente.nl.

Your application should comprise a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae, a list with grades of courses attended, contact information of 2 referees and, if applicable, a list of publications. The intended start of the project is April 2015. The location for this PhD position will be the facilities of the NLDA in Den Helder. As the project is executed within the Ministry of Defence, a security screening will be part of the procedure.

Our Offer

We offer a 4-year full-time position as a PhD candidate appointed at the University of Twente (UT), with a qualifier after 1 year. Your starting salary will be € 2083, - gross per month in the first year and up to € 2664, - gross per month in the last year.