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Testing and programming products in our own production line

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Test automation is working on the Prodrive Technologies goal of a Lights Out Factory. The electronic test system supports that goal by providing test equipment with a uniform interface and form factor, so manufacturing lines can easily be configured for the product’s needs. The test equipment includes power supplies, programming modules and measurement tools, all with a common interface to the test system. Combined with other projects, such as an in-house developed Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV), we are realizing the goal of a Lights Out Factory.


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Dominic

| Embedded software engineer
MAATAM.jpg

Maarten

| Embedded software engineer

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Dominic

| Embedded software engineer

The bulk of my work is to support colleagues who automate product tests which will be used in the production line. For example, I’m asked to extend one of our flash programming libraries to support a new device. I look up the library’s original target device’s manual, and the new device’s manual, and find out how compatible they are. It turns out all three layers of the software stack need some work. Later this week I’ll sit down with the FPGA engineer, and then with our project architect, to propose new software interfaces between the layers.

Another example is a test developer who came to me with a question: they received an error message while using one of our libraries, and don’t know what to do about it. Neither do I, so I look through the code to figure out what can trigger that message. I find the culprit, tell the user how to fix it, and add a task to our kanban board to improve the message so the next user doesn’t have to ask.

Our electronic test system provides independent hardware modules which are used to test and program products in our own production line. For the test developers we provide software and a set of standardized interfaces to talk to the ETS modules, which can be as granular as setting a specific signal to 1.6 volt, or as high-level as writing firmware to a flash chip. Together with the test development team, we ensure the reliability of these processes so the lights at the factory can stay out.

Turning bugs into features

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

  • Many different sub-projects, so I’m rarely bored.
  • Customers are right across the hall.
  • Everything from analog signal analysis to .NET desktop applications.
MAATAM.jpg

Maarten

| Embedded software engineer

At Prodrive we have built our own test machine to test the assembled PCB's that roll off the production line. This machine is called the AET and it has many different components and sub-projects, but the project of which I am the architect generally handles low level software and APIs for our production test developers.

In the morning I usually start with a meeting to discuss a new software interface that was proposed by one of the engineers in the team. We check if all the functionality is there and if any improvements are to be made.

After the review I will start working on a new application that helps test developers handle continuous integration. Where I usually use C & C++, I’m actually learning C# to make this application. This is what is so nice about Prodrive there are no defined roles, if you are an application engineer who wants to do an embedded project that is possible, and of course in my case the other way around.

At the end of the day I am called by the HR department during the interview of a potential candidate and they ask if I can conduct the technical part of the interview. So maybe when you apply for a job, we will get to meet each other during your interview.

The best way to predict the future is to invent it

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

  • A lot of teamwork
  • Learning new things each day
  • Flexible working hours
  • Free lunch and dinner

Responsibility

You don’t just go to work, you feel responsible for your project

Flexible

You decide when, where and how much you want to work

Manufacturing

You like to think about manufacturability when designing

Initiative

You don’t sit and wait, you have a hands-on mentality

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Employees, of which 1380 fulltime

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Annual growth over the last 20 years

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Average age of our employees

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The 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
  • Young and dynamic culture
  • Unlimited personal budget for training courses, classes or studies
  • We are open 24/7 and provide lunch, dinner and a company gym
  • 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

Application steps

  1. We’ll take a look at your application as soon as possible.
  2. You will receive a link to Prodrive Technologies’ online aptitude test to see if you’re up for the challenge.
  3. 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.
  4. When there’s enough time left, we will discuss employment conditions directly after the interviews.
  5. If you survived everything, only your signature stands between you and being a Prodriver.