Developing supercomputers for cutting edge applications
The computing systems that Prodrive Technologies develops are used in embedded applications such as image processing, motion control and system control. They process the image data of live X-ray and control the stages of lithography machines that produce the chips in our iPhones. The need for data processing keeps increasing and bigger and bigger systems are necessary to keep up with market demand. Although we also supply single-server applications, we have customers that demand multi-rack systems that exceed 10,000 cores. Every day, we work on solving the challenges to make these systems work easily, efficiently, and reliably.
Most of my days start with a discussion with my colleague Luc on how to proceed with the project. Luc is working on one variant in the Zeus server series, whereas I’m working on another variant.
Currently we are in the testing phase of our projects. The servers for which I have done the mechanical design are now validated for electrical, functional and mechanical aspects. Using an electrodynamic shaker, we subject our server to various vibrations and shocks to find weaknesses, improve our design and to validate packaging of our product.
As the server is capable of producing 1500W of heat, cooling is a challenge. Bounded by constraints on accessibility and space, this is realized by having air cooling. But, creative design is required to get air flow at the right spot in the server. We validate our design by subjecting the system to high- and low temperatures in a climate chamber.
The server I’ve designed is not just a box around a printed circuit board. Customers want spare parts that they can swap while the product is operational. This requires the design to house removable fans, solid state drives and power supplies. Next to that, as the product is also sold to individual customers, the look and feel of the server has been given some attention as well.
Working at Prodrive Technologies comes with a lot of responsibility, but with the open and trustful atmosphere, I learn a lot and have lots of fun
Mechanical engineer profile
- BSc, BEng or MSc Mechanical Engineering
- Familiar with 3D mechanical design software – preferably Siemens NX
- Knowledge of systems design, structural analysis and design principles
- Affinity with design for manufacturability (DFM)
Pros and cons
- Responsibility over a broad range of subjects
- Experiencing a product cycle from exploration- to design- and testing phase
- Healthy and nutritious snacks, lunch and dinner
- My laptop is a bit heavy due to it’s computing power
During my Electrical Engineering bachelor, I started working at Prodrive Technologies as a Software Engineer (everything is possible at Prodrive Technologies). After working on our own internally developed native iOS apps (Swift) for a while, I picked up full responsibility for these apps. Currently, I’m creating an automated build pipeline with one-click deployment. However, these are just side projects. My main activity is developing a fully automated test which is used to validate our own Zeus server platform (over 2000 Xeon cores in a single cabinet). Testing involves everything from inspecting the RAM configuration, validating internal voltage monitors to stress testing this beast! Because production, development and testing are done under the same roof, the collaboration is great. This allows us to quickly adapt to issues which arise in these different production phases.
In the afternoon, I sneak away for some lectures at the university and I try to be back for our (free) dinner. After dinner, I finish some more tasks, commit and push my code and go to the gym with Douwe.
The provided meals save a lot of time and together with the flexible working hours they currently allow me to combine a fulltime master with a part-time job. Even though I often arrive at 10:30, I still get taken seriously by my colleagues. Prodrive Technologies is the ultimate life-hack for students.
Prodrive Technologies blue is 0x0095da
Embedded software engineer profile
- BSc, BEng or MSc in Computer Science
- C/C++ for DSPs/MCUs at a low software level
- Implementing control loops and microcontrollers like ARM (Cortex-M) or TI C2000 etc.
Pros and cons
- Having a lot of great colleagues around
- Freedom: free food, free gym
- A lot of variety in the job
- Hard to focus on my masters when work is so much fun
In my current role I am involved in several projects at the same time, now 4 in total. These projects aren’t in the same phase, so I start everyday with prioritizing my work. After prioritizing the projects, my days consists meetings, engineering tasks and a lot of research. Most of the time I’m involved in a project if there is a question about high current low voltage, 200 A and 2 V for example.
These projects have a lead time between 9 and 24 months. I am involved from the first until the last day of the project. We start with setting up requirements with internal and external customers. After this work I start my research to see if there is a generic or a specific requirement. If it’s generic, I contact suppliers to see what they can do for me. If not, I start designing a completely new power supply. With the initial design, I contact my suppliers to see if they can help me with their components. Most of the time this contact is via the phone, but twice a year I arrange a meeting with them to ensure we are all on the same page.
After these designs are finished, we use our simulation programs (e.g. Matlab) to test the power supplies. If we pass the simulation, we start the validation in our factory. After finishing everything we helped a happy customer again and we will start producing.
I am involved from the first until the last day of the project
Electrical engineer profile
- BSc, BEng, MSc or PhD in Electrical engineering or Applied physics or a related technical education
Pros and cons
- Versatile days
- Involved in the projects from start to end
- Nice mix between designing and contact with customers & suppliers
- Happy customers
The Prodrive Technologies Mindset
You don’t just go to work, you feel responsible for your project
You decide when, where and how much you want to work
You like to think about manufacturability when designing
You don’t sit and wait, you have a hands-on mentality
0Employees, of which 1300 fulltime
0Annual growth over the last 20 years
0Average age of our employees
0The year Prodrive Technologies was founded
What we offer
- Perfect environment for people willing to take full responsibility in a project
- Unlimited growth opportunities and freedom in taking different roles in different projects
- We are open 24/7 and provide lunch, dinner and a company gym
- Young and dynamic culture
- Unlimited personal budget for training courses, classes or studies
- We keep management positions to a minimum, so there is virtually no hierarchy
- Create your future with your own personal development plan
- Tools and equipment such as an iPhone, iPad and laptop
- The flexibility to work wherever and how much you want
- Salary that grows with your performance
- Opportunity to become a shareholder and entrepreneur in the company
- Travel allowance based on the days you are actually at Prodrive
- 31 Holidays
- Money for retirement
- Distribution of profits
- We’ll take a look at your application as soon as possible.
- You will receive a link to Prodrive Technologies’ online aptitude test to see if you’re up for the challenge.
- We will set you up for a personal interview to ask you difficult questions about yourself. Afterwards, others will ask you some more difficult questions about your expertise. We will immediately decide if we will make you an offer after the interviews.
- When there’s enough time left, we will discuss employment conditions directly after the interviews.
- If you survived everything, only your signature stands between you and being a Prodriver.