Example projects for students
Here you can find some examples of projects that students did at Prodrive Technologies, for either their internship or graduation project.
ICT tools to support the organisation
I’ve been programming since I was very young and at Prodrive Technologies I can really put my skills to use and create amazing applications. This way, I am making life more easy for several project teams. I am currently developing tools to assist in the development of new software. With the input of a big group of stakeholders I am making a tool to integrate source code with requirement traceability tools, such as Polarion.
This software creates an easy overview of what project requirements are implemented and where. I’m also automating the generation of test specifications and result documents to make quality assurance easier for both customers and development teams. Developers can define test cases directly in their code using one universal syntax that works in every programming language, this along with test reports can be used to generate a document in seconds.
My project can be difficult at times, but that’s part of the fun! Seeing and experiencing the process of software development from within a company has taught me a lot. Additionally, the atmosphere here is very open, from the first day I was treated like an equal and I can just walk into anyone’s office when I have a problem. If you are looking for an internship with a very open atmosphere, where you can develop innovative software and where you can learn a lot from frequent feedback, I would definitely recommend applying at Prodrive Technologies.
Linear motor design
It’s a motor but it doesn’t spin! I can always remember my impression when I first learn about linear motors. Passionate about linear motors, I joined Prodrive Technologies as a designer intern to optimize linear motor geometries. I usually start my day with a simple cup of coffee and a banana. Then I dig into existing ideas of linear motor design. Since the simulations I run are time consuming, I make sure to do the rest of my tasks whenever I need to wait for the generated data. With the data I acquire I have an overview of what is essential to the specific optimization. During my hours at Prodrive Technologies, I can count on support of my supervisors and colleagues; For me Prodrive Technologies is like a big family.
The characterization of a power module
When I joined Prodrive Technologies as an intern, I was expecting to work on Power Electronics topologies that I am very enthusiast about, but I got an offer on something relevant, but rather different. I was asked to work on the characterization of an IGBT power module that Prodrive Technologies wants to sell in the future. Basically, this means that I needed to do research on a datasheet feature of the IGBT which I used to take for granted in the past as a student.
Even though it wasn’t what I expected initially, it was an extremely interesting task where I learned a lot, gained important practical experience in the lab and felt that I truly had a significant responsibility even though I was an intern. I worked with many young (graduation students, interns) colleagues and my supervisor made me feel at home. The communication within Prodrive Technologies is easy, because we all have a nice phone and our office doors are always open.
I have always been interested in how all kinds of electronics and machinery work. Therefore I was very interested when given the opportunity to come to Prodrive Technologies to work on the development of active magnetic bearings. As it is a fairly new technology, most of my time is spent doing literature research on the topic, but since there are still a lot of gaps in the available research, it is necessary for me to break down the problem to its most basic elements. This has given me a lot of insight into not only this specific topic, but electromagnetics in general. This is largely aided by the fact that I am guided and surrounded by colleagues that are very experienced in this field. The flat hierarchy present at Prodrive Technologies makes it very easy to casually approach anyone for help. As such, I view my internship here as a very valuable experience from which I’ve learned a lot, and hope to learn even more in the future.
At Avans we learned how to etch our PCB designs and as I was inspired by the process and decided to learn more about it. When we learned about EMC and EMI and their big role in PCB design, I came to realize that a PCB is more than just placing components in a logical place. For this reason, I am designing PCB’s during my internship at Prodrive Technologies. Prodrive Technologies gave me the opportunity to learn more about the entire PCB design and all processes involved to designing a product. I enjoy that despite being challenged by mechanical design and production limitations, I still manage to make everything fit together. I like the way of communication at Prodrive Technologies; it is very direct and clear. If you are not sure about a design choice, you just ask one of your colleagues to have a look at your design and they will review it to make it more awesome!
I have always been interested in smart technologies and the Internet of Things. Imagine that smart infrastructures can be created not only to assist humans, but also to support a better environment; that is my perspective of the future and I would like to be a part of that. The objective of my project is to perform a research on data-representation- and asset-management frameworks (Software as a Service, SaaS) followed by an implementation of the most suitable platform. In other words, I have to perform a research on several existing data analytics platforms and provide the customer with a demo with the most suitable analytics platform. Although I work in a small group of software designers, my project is not depending on others. I work with them on the same project, but everyone is working on their own part of the project. Nevertheless, there are enough experts to help me out when I am stuck on a problem.
Prodrive Business Software
On a day-to-day basis, I’m tasked with figuring out the ins and outs of big and intricate programs and then update their code. While I don’t have a passion in particular for the system I’m working on, I do enjoy anything that has to do with back-end programming! Every morning, I load my current project and start looking through the code to see what might be related to my current task. I definitely need to have a hands-on approach to learning for this, as there’s no tutorial explaining how everything works. Instead I have to learn by making changes and seeing what sticks. When I inevitably get stuck on an error or a bug, I find it easy to approach my colleagues for guidance, as everyone is willing to lend a hand if you ask them. This also leads to a pleasant and friendly atmosphere in the office.
Smart charging of a logistic robot
As I have always been interested in robotics, industrial automation and smart algorithm development, I was searching for such an assignment in a project that is actively developing and using the latest and greatest hardware and techniques. Luckily, I found this at Prodrive Technologies. The achievements I need accomplish to fulfill my internship assignment are to design, develop, integrate, test and evaluate a smart charging algorithm that manages the charging of a set of automated guided vehicles meant to operate continuously in a production facility. I actively work with the project team which is a set of great software and electrical engineers. Together, we discuss the progress of the project, active issues, future features and work together to be able to design the best possible product to automate our production facility.
Design of a conductive hands-free charging system for electrical vehicles
My dad is a mechanic and he has his own company. On Saturdays I worked with him on different machines like cars, but also tractors, etc. Here my interest in cars and the automotive industry started. When I was orienting myself for a graduation project, I contacted my supervisor Nick Rosielle from TU/e to ask him if he knew a company where I could do a project in automotive. He invited Ron, who is now my colleague at Prodrive Technologies, at the TU/e to introduce the conductive hands-free charging project to us. I chose the project, since it is one of my personal interests and it was a very challenging project. The system needs to deliver a certain amount of force to realize a conductive connection between the connector and the charging inlet. Once the system is connected, the system should deliver a holding force (to keep the connection) and be compliant in different directions at the same time. Compliance is needed, since the vehicle can move due to passengers who get in/out, loading/unloading of luggage. The system should be able to connect to SUV car models and sportscar models, which means that the stroke of the system should be sufficiently large. Once the system is in rest position, it should be possible to drive over it with a car tire, so the housing of the system should be designed sufficiently stiff. Every Monday during the project I had a meeting with Nick Rosielle about the progress of the project. We discussed about different design choices and generated new ideas. At Prodrive I had one or two progress meetings during the week with Ron where we also discussed about the design of the system. If I had specific technical questions I could walk to an engineer’s office and ask him/her if they could help me. They were always willing to help me which was very nice!
Designing for a high-speed pick-and-place application
I am currently working on my graduation project for the master Mechanical Engineering. Within the TU/e department of Mechanical Engineering I am part of the group constructions and mechanisms, which focusses on the design of precision and high-speed machines. Prodrive has connections to this group and can therefore propose internship and graduation assignments to them. Since my childhood I have been interested in all kinds of technologies. Among those are mechanical and electrical engineering. The interaction between these two domains is interesting in particular. My graduation project at Prodrive suits my interests very well since I am able to design both a mechanism and the actuators that are part of a high-speed pick-and-place application. Not many companies offer these capabilities. The ultimate goal is to increase the placement rate of the machine by a factor three. Within Prodrive, Pim is my mentor. Together we have a weekly discussion. Through his experience and suggestions, I am able to learn about design for production and several other aspects regarding the design of precision machines, which I use to make improvements on my design.
Topology optimization for a cooling system
I recently started my graduation assignment at Prodrive Technologies, in which I will apply topology optimization to a cooling system of one of the custom power electronic systems that Prodrive Technologies is developing. Topology optimization is a tool that computes the optimal material distribution within a fixed domain, given a certain goal (i.e. to maximize stiffness for a given weight). I have applied topology optimization before, when I was part of the Formula Student Team Delft. I liked the method a lot, because it can be used as a good inspirational tool for your designs, but it can also be extended so that it is possible to directly generate designs that can be manufactured (using Additive Manufacturing). When my current mentor at Prodrive Technologies told me that he looked for an intern to optimize the cooling performance of one of the highest power-density components that Prodrive Technologies develops (a SiCFET power switching module), I knew immediately that I could apply and broaden my knowledge! Therefore my goal is to develop and prototype an optimized design and compare its efficiency to a previously used design.
As a Logistics Trainee my focus is directed towards improving the process of logistics within the warehouse of Prodrive Technologies.
While researching the logistics process, I inspect the process as a whole and prioritize which bottlenecks are worth improving. Changing this process demands a very in-depth analysis and knowledge of the whole process and the steps within. For that reason, I ask for input of not only the people responsible for a certain department or process step, but also the support engineers and the process engineers that are involved. This requires that my communication towards all stakeholders is clear and complete.
To increase my knowledge as much as possible, I am constantly checking for new improvements that could be implemented in logistics and I offer the responsible my expertise and input. Before finalizing the improvement, I make sure to review and discuss the changes with all stakeholders.
Improving assembly efficiency
Before I started my internship at Prodrive Technologies I already worked here for quite some time as a team leader. Therefore, my internship became a combination of fulfilling my team leader function within the cleanroom (2 days a week) and working on a project to improve assembly efficiency within operations (3 days a week). The combination of my team leader function with an interesting project within operations results in an internship that is dynamic and challenging.
I like the operations environment because it is very dynamic, and I must deal with a big group of various characters and nationalities.
My project goal is to define whether "augmented reality" can improve the current assembly efficiency by attaching a vision system to Prodrive technologies their existing workstations to guide operators during assembly. Within my project I decide what are my priorities and my mentor is purely there to review my work and check whether I have overthought my decisions. This gives a feeling of trust and responsibility. For me this is very motivating.
Tools for plasma etching
Since my started my study I have developed an interest in how electronic devices are made. Improving people’s lives is what I want to do with the knowledge I gained at the university. Here at Prodrive Technologies I have the opportunity to combine theoretical physics research with a clear application.
Developing a tool to improve the accuracy of plasma etching will lead to faster and better chip manufacturing, resulting in faster and cheaper microchips. To develop such a tool, the electrical properties of a plasma and wafer and their interaction have to be well understood.
Every week I get to work with a lot of electrical engineers. Because I am one of the few physicists, translating my knowledge to the electrically focused project is quite a challenge. However, this has as the result that I learn new things every day and broaden my horizon; I’m starting to feel like a real circuit expert.
Designing and manufacturing spare part carts
I got to know Prodrive Technologies through a friend at school. He did an internship here (about 2 years ago), after his internship he quit his old job to start working here. Therefore, I knew I had to keep this company in my sight. To be honest, I also heard a few stories about getting a phone you get when you start working there, so in my third year of my study I gave it a chance and that’s is how I ended up doing my internship here.
My project goal is to design and manufacture a safe storage maintenance spare parts cart for the ovens at our production facility. This means that I need to measure the dimensions of every part that I have to store in my cart and make a 3D model in NX, the CAD software we use. After I have completed my model and have it reviewed by my mentor, I can start producing and assembling the cart; Yes, I take care of the production of my own design. After I finish the production of my own cart, I need to test it on Prodrive Technologies’ production lines, and I need to explain the way of working to the people who are gone work with my cart for the coming years.
I work with my intern mentor Jarno and also with Niels, who support me in every way and are there in case I have questions. I work in an office where other designers also work so if I have a quick question, I can just ask.
You can’t imagine how excited I am, when I think what I am doing! I love the responsibilities that I get as an MBO student: I got the task to design and make a product. On top of that I can explain to others how my creation works after I am sure that it is producible.
Testing and validating
I have many interests, so during my internship interview I asked to get in touch with as many different projects as possible. Therefore, at my job interview I was introduced to the department of Test and Validation.
This department tests and qualifies all products within Prodrive Technologies. Therefore, I would have to research the DUT (Device Under Test), implement the test (C++) and qualify the test. My internship assignment specifically is to elaborate on an already existing test. The challenge here is that the old test needs to be adapted to work for a new product version supplied by our customer. I had to research both product versions, find out what exactly to change in the test and do the implementation accordingly. The process was a lot like as projects at school, but then I could implement it in real life.