The first students of the new Master’s program in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Groningen had their initiation in the Innovation Cluster Drachten. At BD, they were introduced to the high-tech companies where they will start working on their graduation project this autumn.
This is a historic moment because these are the first steps towards the University of the Northern Netherlands location Drachten. After the summer vacation, the two-year Master’s program in Mechanical Engineering kicks off with four tracks: Smart Factories, Advanced Instrumentation, Process Design for Energy Systems, and Materials for Mechanical Engineering. The university counts on sixty students for these four tracks.
,,This afternoon students got to know our high-tech companies and took a first step towards a great graduation project in Smart Factories and Advanced Instruments,” said Program Manager Joost Krebbekx. Students had already chosen the company where they would like to do their project at an earlier stage, but the presentation by Joost Zeilstra, Mechanical Development Manager at BD, caused some students to doubt their initial choice. Joost told the students about the world of his medical systems. Discussions with the R&D managers of the other companies did not make things easier. A student called Tijs summarized this by saying ,,Gee, I thought I had no click with the medical sector, but this is super interesting.”
Seeing is believing
The students got to know more about the problems the companies are facing in production. They were presented with questions formulated on the basis of five archetypes as subjects to work on. Another item on the agenda of the afternoon was a tour of BD’s R&D center. ,,Seeing is believing,” according to Krebbekx. The students in Advanced Instruments could refine their views there, while the students in Smart Factory came across three stations assembly lines manufacturing different types of generators during their tour at Whisper Power. Krebbekx: ,,Whisper Power wants to take a step towards Industry 4.0 and the students could contribute to this.”
In the next two months, the students and companies will formulate the first assignments, known as the design assignment. On August 31, they are expected by their project supervisors in the respective companies.
More about the Master’s program
The Master’s in Mechanical Engineering is a program offered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and already comprises two tracks: Advanced Instrumentation and Smart Factories. This year, the program will be extended with two new tracks: Process Design for Energy Systems and Materials for Mechanical Engineering. Students who complete the program successfully are allowed to put the title MEng behind their name in English. Students of the Smart Factories track go to lectures and do research in ICD’s Shared Facility Center in Drachten in their second year. At this center, they are trained together with employees of the high-tech companies to design intelligent, coherent tailor-made production processes for the factory of the future. Krebbekx: ,,In the coming five years, this will have to develop into a complete Master’s program. The major motive the university and ICD have to set up this program is to offer bachelor graduates a Master’s program and a career in the Northern Netherlands.”