PhD candidate in Predictive Maintenance for Agricultural Hightech Equipment

Research / Academic

Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the world's leading research universities (ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement) and is particularly well known for its joint research with industry (ranked number one worldwide by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies). The Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) of Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the longest-established engineering schools in Europe, with a strong presence in the international research and education community, especially in the fields of Operations Management and Innovation Management, which are at the core of the undergraduate BSc program. The graduate programs (MSc and PhD) in Operations Management & Logistics, Innovation Management, and Manufacturing Systems Engineering attract top-level students from all over the world.


For this PhD position, two groups are involved: the Operations Planning, Accounting & Control group (OPAC) and the Innovation, Technology Entrepreneurship & Marketing group (ITEM). The research within the OPAC group focuses on the smart control of operational processes in manufacturing, maintenance, supply chains and transport. Research is generally quantitative in nature, while many of the researchers also engage in empirical research. The ITEM group focusses on understanding and improving new business and product development processes by combining a management and engineering perspective to capture the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of these processes.

Lely International N.V.

For this project, we will closely collaborate with Lely International N.V. (see, a leading firm in the dairy industry. Lely creates innovative solutions that help their customers excel in sustainable milk production to feed the world. Lely does this by continually inspiring and motivating their employees to create new and innovative concepts. Ideas and solutions that make the lives of farmers and contractors easier, their business more successful and open up a bright future for them.

PhD project

The aim of the project is to develop a dynamic maintenance concept, including predictive maintenance based on IoT. We focus on agricultural high-tech equipment like milk robots and automatic feeding systems. Farmers require a close to 100% availability of this equipment. Thanks to all IoT developments, it is possible to monitor critical components remotely. In the project, we study the modeling of degradation processes, the investment to monitor these processes, and the clustering of maintenance actions such that the number of service engineer visits is kept at a reasonable level. We will also study the effect of a predictive maintenance concept on profitability, customer satisfaction, and the satisfaction of service engineers. Because of the close collaboration with Lely, the PhD candidate will work two days per week at Lely in Maassluis, where you will be part of the Service Technology Competence Center headed by Oscar Moers.

Job description

You, as a successful applicant, will perform the PhD project outlined above in an international team and in close collaboration with Lely. You will be part of the national Beta Research School for Operations Management and Logistics. The research will be concluded with a PhD thesis. You will be supervised by prof.dr. Geert-Jan van Houtum, dr. Néomie Raassens, and dr. Claudia Fecarotti. A limited teaching load is also part of the job.


You have:
  • A Master's degree in Operations Research, Industrial Engineering, Econometrics, or a related field.
  • Strong affinity with interdisciplinary research, as well as collaboration with industry.
  • Strong analytical skills and demonstrated competence for quantitative modeling.
  • Potential and ambition to become a top-level management scholar.
  • The ability to work on a challenging topic that has both fundamental and applied research aspects.
  • Verbal and written communication skills that are excellent, as is your proficiency in English and your ability to collaborate in an international setting.

Salary Benefits:

We offer:
  • A challenging job in a dynamic and ambitious environment.
  • A PhD appointment for a period of 4 years.
  • A gross monthly salary of €2.325,- in the first year up to €2.972,- (gross) in the fourth year on a full-time basis.
  • A yearly holiday allowance of 8% and 8.3% end of year allowance.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits (including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, daycare, spouses program, savings schemes, coverage of costs of publishing the dissertation and excellent sports facilities).
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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