35 young maintenance professionals obtain WCM Summer School certificate with marine case

On Friday 4 August, 35 young maintenance professionals obtained the certificate for Smart Maintenance & Engineering Management. In the previous week, the students had attended classes by a range of professors from seven Dutch universities in the area of smart maintenance. The students were immediately able to apply this theoretical knowledge to the practical case contributed by the Directorate of Material Sustainment (DMI) of the Royal Netherlands Navy: maintenance of the new M-series of frigates.

The group of young professionals was composed of participants from Alliander, MaxGrip, the Ministry of Defence, NS Techniek, Schiphol Group, Shell, Sitech Services, SPIE, Stork, Strukton Rail, Tata Steel, Thales, the University of Tilburg, the University of Pisa, the University of Twente and Utilities Support Group.

New programme

This was the sixth edition of the WCM summer school, with a brand new programme. Based on the insight from the report on the study ‘Smart Moves for Smart Maintenance’, subjects such as big data, human factors, performance-based contracting and life-cycle costing were added. Maintenance Management & Engineering remains the main subject.

Practical case: maintenance of M-frigates

The Royal Netherlands Navy has a considerable fleet of very complex vessels (including frigates, patrol boats, submarines and diving craft), which is managed and maintained all over the world. The students of the WCM Summer School got the unique opportunity to spend a whole week working on the new series of M-frigates. These multipurpose vessels are primarily used for anti-submarine defence. Helicopters can land on them and they are equipped with ultra-modern sensor, weapon and command systems. The main assignment and challenge for the students was to think about how DMI could optimise the maintenance of vessels by introducing maintenance innovations such as predictive maintenance, life-cycle management, and design for maintenance.

Arnold Boomstra, head of sensors and weapon technology, showed what the groups had to bear in mind in the future for the maintenance of marine vessels: “We are caught in the middle of a technology shift in which we as the Navy are leading the way. We also manage a state-of-the-art fleet. It is a challenge to find qualified people for maintenance. We also want to use our equipment more flexibly and in the future we would like to work more closely with the private sector”.

Modular frigates

The group presented their findings on Friday 4 August during an info market. The public in attendance chose the winner, the group composed of Francesco Castaldi Cuppari (University of Pisa), Bas Pelssers (SPIE), Sander Cords (Tata Steel) and Arjan van der Palen (Schiphol Group). The winning group came up with a new name for the multi-purpose frigates, namely the ‘modular frigates’. In their design, all on-board equipment is set up modularly making both the vessel’s operation and its maintenance flexible. With condition-based maintenance and augmented reality, each module would then itself need to be able to show if, when and what maintenance is needed. The winning group says: “The concept is bold, but if you want to be future-ready, this is the direction the Navy needs to go in”.


Other groups also came up with original ideas for more efficient maintenance of complex vessels: from organisational ideas, such as merging together the DMI and DMO (Defence Material Organisation) and the set-up of a virtual warehouse, all the way to technical ideas such as the use of hydrogen at room temperature (as a result of which cooling installations are no longer needed on-board) and even campaign ideas to increase the capacity of qualified staff. “It is buzzing here. It is impressive that the input we gave resulted in this output of such practical and refreshing ideas”, says Pieter van Noort, head of the Maritime Technology Department of DMI. “The power of this type of initiative is that people are working on common challenges, from the point-of-view of multiple disciplines”.


Rob Kramer, deputy commander and present at the presentations: “It is unbelievably positive to see that there are so many young people who can teach us something. Their ideas and spot-on solutions are of course interesting, but much more interesting is the fact that they keep asking us ‘why?’”. Kramer provides an example: “In our case, a vessel has a five-year cycle. This means that it is used for four years and then goes in for maintenance for one year. “Can maintenance not be done in much less time than a year?” is therefore a very valid question. We were also made to take a look at the marketing of defence activities. This is also something we are going to concentrate on because working with the private sector is a prime focus of ours for the future. This will contribute to greater command out at sea, which is what we are doing it for”.

About the WCM Summer School

This was the sixth edition of the WCM summer school, and this year it took place for the first time at the KIM, the Royal Naval College. In one week, young maintenance professionals get the chance to expand their knowledge and experience in the area of Maintenance Management & Engineering. Alongside the case for which students compete, professors from all Dutch universities that count maintenance among their subjects (Delft University of Technology, University of Twente, Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Groningen, NLDA, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Tilburg University) give a masterclass. The WCM Summer School is planned again for 2018.

Please click here to find pictures of the week. 

“Passenger Experience was the aim for new maintenance solutions”

For the fifth time in a row, a group of over 50 young professionals participated to the WCM Summer School, which took place from August 1-5. The program consisted of theoretical lessons compiled by professors from seven Dutch universities, a leadership training given by the Dutch Ministry of Defense and a case study, provided by Schiphol Airport. “I was genuinely surprised by the approach during the week; not the traditional maintenance solutions were central, but rather the passenger experience as a whole,” says Lars Wouters, manager client projects of Schiphol Airport.summerschool2016-397_web

Renovation of Pier C Schiphol

Schiphol Group is the company that offered the business case to WCM Summer School. The topic was focused on asset management, regarding a wide range of renovations, new constructions and maintenance of departure halls, piers, airstrips and offices. The main question and challenge for the participants of the Summer School WCM was how Schiphol can face the asset life cycle of its buildings and installations and how to optimize the process adopting a design phase approach?

The winning group had a number of unique features: an integrated approach where the land area is used optimally and even increased by adding an element on the sides of the pier. This feature ensures that sunlight can be better utilized or kept out. Wouters about this: “Climate is an important topic within the airport. Besides, we urgently need additional space at the gates, so therefore I voted for the winning group myself.”

Maintenance as a multidisciplinary subject

Henk Akkermans, WCM director, discussed the multidisciplinary aspect of maintenance which was presented by all groups: “It is hopeful to see groups of young professionals who are not dissuaded by the old ‘parochialism’. This case study provided by Schiphol contained several components, but instead of thinking from the different departments, such as finance, HR, operations, maintenance, marketing, energy or IT, the groups one by one have chosen to look at the case-assignment from an integrated approach. With the passenger and other Schiphol stakeholders Schiphol central.” Wouters adds to Akkermans: “Engineers are usually accustomed to look at the Schiphol passengers from a technical perspective, at the WCM Summer School the opposite happened: the young professionals started with the passenger experience, that was the aim for new maintenance solutions.”

Some innovative solutions

The groups presented various and innovative solutions: maintenance based on the user intensity by measuring crowds with heat sensors, physical stores exchanged for shopping systems with large screens and an innovative logistics approache, personal routing through using user data from the existing Schiphol app, specific floor lighting and floor games in the terminal that are able to generate energy by movement.

WCM Summer School

The WCM Summer School is jointly organized by the chair of maintenance and engineering of the University of Twente and World Class Maintenance, the case was provided by Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. This year the WCM Summer School took place this year from August 1-5. Knowledge about smart maintenance acquired through the seven major technical universities is made applicable to business young professionals in the WCM Summer School. That is important because smart maintenance ensures that assets are readily available and reliable: they last longer, investments are being prevented, safety and durability are ensured and yields increased. Moreover, with intelligent maintenance solutions we develop a new export product where the whole world is waiting for: Dutch World Class Maintenance.

Please click here to see the pictures.

51 highly motivated participants made fourth edition WCM Summer School a great success

Early august 2015, a group of over 50 young professionals followed the five-day program of the fourth edition of the WCM Summer School of which the program is composed by professors from seven Dutch universities. Glenn Ackermans, maintenance engineer at Sabic, looks back on an inspiring edition: “Participating in this summer school has taught me that maintenance is needed everywhere and is becoming increasingly important. Dutch installations are generally quite old and should last longer. Innovative maintenance involving multiple disciplines that work together is therefore a must.” 

Multidisciplinary character of maintenance

Ackermans says: “The first two days I thought I was in the wrong place. There were colleagues from different technical disciplines present, not all maintenance engineers. From the second day I worked with my group on the business case NedTrain had provided. I found out that we actually all had the same issues at work and that we could all make a valuable contribution to the solution. That was the moment I realized the value of the Summer School.” NedTrain provided a case on a smooth introduction of new trains. NS is working on large-scale modernization of the existing fleet. In the coming years the double-decker will be fully modernized, 118 new Sprinters will be introduced and also NS is working on new intercity trains. Cock Liefting, NedTrain: “We want to smoothly introduce all the new trains. So all phases of the journey between purchases until delivery and drive trains are to be seamlessly connected. We call this a smooth introduction.”

Mix of maintainability, data monitoring and communication

The group Ackermans wins the prize for the best case solution with an approach in which three teams are needed: a maintainability team, a data-monitoring team and a communications team. All three are evenly important for a smooth introduction of new trains according Ackermans. “When dealing with these three teams we see three important key points: communication and training, data management and the dedication and commitment of all levels within an organization. We were trying to look a lot broader than the technologic aspects such as having your spares in place. That makes maintenance as a profession really interesting, maintenance is always part of a greater whole. But very important, after all, an investment in an installation that cannot be maintained, it is a lost investment.” Leo van Dongen, NedTrain, adds to this: “In several cases solutions I see maintenance is not just about technology but also about processes, human factors and communications. That made the solutions very valuable to us. “ 

New Challenge for a next edition?

Young professional Ackermans thinks the aging of assets is the biggest challenge for the maintenance sector in the coming years. He is not talking about the knowledge in education, but “I mean the experience, the common sense that evolves in working years, I see this experience leaking away. There is not automatically room within organizations to handle this. While we as youths can learn a lot from experienced maintenance engineers. Maybe this is a good idea for the WCM Summer school next year?