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PDEng position - Maintenance: Automated rail defect detection using periodic track measurement data

Universiteit Twente. Enschede (Niederlande), 20.04.2017

PDEng position - Maintenance: Automated rail defect detection using periodic track measurement data


Function types
Scientific fields
Job number
About employer
PhD positions
Natural Sciences
38.0 hours per week
maximum € 1803
University Graduate
University of Twente (UT)

Job description

Then, the Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) programme Maintenance is very interesting for you. The PDEng programme is a 2-year post MSc technological programme with a focus on technological design. This programme at the University of Twente contains an educational part that will be followed at the University, and a design project that will be carried out at Strukton Rail. The educational programme will have an in-depth and broadening character with ample attention for professional development and will be partly tailored to the design project. In collaboration with Strukton Rail, high level, creative and new designs for complex issues will be aimed at.

Strukton Rail is a railway full service provider, based in several European countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and France). Strukton Rail operates also on product or project basis in other countries including Australia, India and Saudi Arabia. Core business is construction, maintenance and renewal of railway infrastructure (track, signaling systems, power supply and catenary, data and telecommunication), rolling stock systems and passenger information systems. Strukton Rail employs approximately 3,500 people (2,200 in the Netherlands). Strukton Rail maintains nearly 50% of the Dutch railway network and substantial parts of the Swedish and Italian networks. Strukton Rail deploys railway measurement, inspection and data management services through Eurailscout Inspection & Analysis bv. In a joined effort visual inspection of switches, track and catenary systems have been introduced to replace foot patrols and release possessions for inspection. Strukton Rail is member of Strukton Group, full-service provider of infrastructure and accommodation solutions.

Strukton Rail's ambition is to optimize maintenance operations, monitor and inspect critical infrastructure and improve availability, maintainability, reliability and safety of railway infrastructure. Development and improvement of measurement, inspection and monitoring systems, data analysis and decision support systems and intelligent data management tools and equipment are objectives of Strukton Rail's R&D portfolio.

In this assignment, an application will be designed that can be used to analyse rail measurement data automatically. These measurements, like Eddy current / ultrasonics / profile measurements, are performed on a regular basis (one / twice a year) with a special measurement train, or during ad-hoc inspections at certain locations. Existing data analytics techniques will be applied to detect anomalies in the data sets in an early stage, which can be used to trigger specific maintenance activities. Anomalies can be found by either deviations from standard values (within a certain range) or by a-typical evolution of the values over time.

The detected anomalies will be analyzed in more detail using advanced models based on physics-of-failure (wear / fatigue models) and detailed usage and load histories. These models are being developed in a parallel project, and will be applied to understand the origin of detected anomalies. In that sense, data-driven and model-based approaches for detection and prediction of rail track failures will be connected.

The activities in the present PDEng project entail the characterization of existing data sources, motivated selection of the most suitable sources, collecting, preprocessing and analyzing the data and designing a user-friendly user interface.


For this assignment we are searching for the best MSc graduated candidates (or graduates with several years of experience) with a background in
1. Mechanical Engineering, Applied Physics, Materials Science or a related discipline, or
2. Data Science, Data Analytics (e.g. machine learning, artificial intelligence), or related fieldsAn interview will be part of the selection procedure.
3. However, candidates with a background in either of the two fields must at least have affinity with the other field. Further, candidates should have a demonstrable affinity with design and multidisciplinary assignments. Besides, you must have the ambition and talent to accelerate in finding solutions/creating designs for complex technological issues with a multidisciplinary character. Important professional skills are communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork, initiative and self-reflection. English language skills: good communication (verbal and writing) skills in English. You need to provide IELTS test results (minimum score 6.5), TOEFL-iBT (minimum score 90) or Cambridge CAE or CPE.


Please send your letter of motivation, with a curriculum vitae, a list with grades of courses attended, references and, if applicable, a list of publications before 30-04-2017 through the link below.

Contact information

If you have any further questions about this vacancy of the PDEng programme in Maintenance, please contact T. Tinga. Conditions of employment

We offer a contract for 24 months. During these two years you follow a tailor made post-master design programme with a combination of education (~50%) and working on a design project (~50%). The salary will be € 1.803,- gross per month. Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance and an end-of-year bonus.

On successfully completing the programme, you will receive a certified degree. You will be entitled to use the academic degree Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) and will be registered as a Technological Designer in the Dutch register kept by the Royal Institution of Engineers in the Netherlands (KIVI).


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) is one of the five faculties of the University of Twente. ET combines Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our faculty has approximately 1800 bachelor and master students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates. The departments of the faculty cooperatively conduct the educational programmes and participate in interdisciplinary research projects, programmes and the research institutes: MIRA, CTIT, SBE and IGS.

Bewerbungsschluss: 30.04.2017