EXPECTED - PDEng position - Decision Tool for Determination of Failure Mechanism (DBM)

Expected PDEng position

Decision Tool for Determination of Failure Mechanism

Project description

Although maintenance tries to prevent them, failures regularly occur in practice. And while the number of different failure modes in the huge range of systems used in industry is nearly infinite, the number of basic failure mechanisms underlying these failures is only limited. However, as this mechanism acts on the material level, a system or process operator or maintenance engineer normally lacks the knowledge to assess the proper mechanism that caused a certain failure. But, a precise identification of the mechanism yields considerable benefits in two ways:


Knowing the failure mechanism makes the root cause analysis of the failure rather easy and thus enables to quickly find a durable solution for the problem;


Correct registration of the failure mechanism in the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), which is now typically done by entering a failure type / failure mode / cause or selecting from a drop-down menu, largely improves the potential of RAMS analyses performed with the collected failure data.

In this project a decision scheme and tool (app for mobile device) will be developed that assist (process) operators in assessing the appropriate failure mechanism. The following project activities are foreseen:


Create overview of possible failure mechanisms;


For a number of standard equipment types (e.g. bearing, gear box, pump, structure) create an overview of common failure modes and possible failure mechanisms;


Develop a decision methodology to distinguish between different failure mechanisms (e.g. based on loads, environment, fracture surface, …);


Validate the methodology with case studies;


Check the user-friendliness of the method;


Implement this methodology in a decision tool (e.g. app on mobile device);


Propose method to link the decision tool to a CMMS system to automate data collection;


For many of the activities interaction with the companies is required to obtain the relevant information.

The final deliverable of this project will be a validated decision tool to determine the failure mechanism, preferably also implemented as an app on a mobile device. In addition, a report describing the method and a user guide will be delivered. The reporting language will be English.

Form and organization of the project

The project will be organized as a PDEng (Professional Degree in Engineering) project in the Maintenance PDEng program that is currently developed at the University of Twente. This means that a candidate (with an MSc degree) will be appointed at the university for two years. In this period he/she will do one year of courses, in this case dedicated to maintenance, and will perform a research (design assignment) for one year. As the student takes the courses, he/she will be aware of the current state of the art in maintenance, and will be able to report that knowledge and apply it in the research project. The educational and research parts of the project will be done in parallel, so both are divided over the whole period of two years. After finishing the program, a PDEng degree will be issued to the candidate.

Supervision will be provided by university staff, as well as by the companies involved in this project: Nedtrain, Sabic and Sitech, as well as the NLDA / Ministry of Defence.

Your Profile

A sound theoretical background in Mechanical Engineering, Applied Physics, Materials Science or a similar topic at academic level (MSc degree), and preferably affinity with maintenance. 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

This position is expected to be open in due time. Please check our website on a regular basis to see the status of this vacancy. As soon as it is officially open, it will appear on the UT vacancy site (http://www.utwente.nl/vacatures/), where you can apply then.

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.