Determine the components of a system that are most suitable for product development – Lely



Company Name / Department


Contact Person

Lely – Oscar Moers

TU/e – Claudia Fecarotti

TU/e – Néomie Raassens



Study programme(s)


Community Servitization
Start Date

September 2022

Housing arranged by company


400-500 per month

Company Description

Working at Lely

It is an amazing opportunity at an international innovative company, leader in the agricultural industry. In other words, enough to learn for an intern!

  • Working in an international environment where you can really make an impact with your contribution;
  • You will work at one of the most innovative organizations in the Netherlands;
  • Freedom in organizing your own work;
  • Lots of responsibility;

And the best cappuccinos made by our own barista and fresh milk directly from our farm from one of our colleagues.

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Lely is traditionally an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) which supplies innovative products along with some technical service including necessary repairs and warranty. Nowadays Lely is undertaking a “servitization journey” aimed at upgrading the company from an OEM, to a service provider. This means that Lely will not only supply products, but the technical services provided to the client as per contract will be a tailored preventive maintenance service optionally bundled with a lump sum for break-down services. The offered maintenance services develop from corrective maintenance, via preventive and predictive maintenance to pro-active maintenance. One of the goals of the servitization journey is to offer customers 100% uptime for Lely products, with no unscheduled breakdowns and limited number of scheduled service visits, along with a minimization of the maintenance costs and a maximization of the product output performance. The offered maintenance services develop from corrective maintenance, via preventive and predictive maintenance to pro-active maintenance.

This research plan is meant to contribute to Lely’s servitization journey by ultimately developing a decision support system for initiating maintenance actions and their clustering for a machine as a whole during the entire life of the machine. The decision support system will develop “optimal” maintenance concepts for the machine during the (1) design phase, (2) early exploitation phase and (3) full exploitation phase, respectively. Each phase has different requirements and challenges related to the uncertainty of the failure and degradation processes, which are strictly dependent on the availability of engineering and field data. The decision support system should work as one system, but embed models tailored for each phase.


The ultimate vision is to have a machine with maintenance concept that is customer specific optimized on cost, downtime and performance, by fully implementing predictive and pro-active maintenance. The relevant components are continuously monitored by means of sensors. The IoT (Internet of Things) technology combined with AI (Artificial Intelligence) techniques will enable the timely prediction of failures and times to degrade to relevant degradation thresholds, as well as the selection of the appropriate maintenance action. Accurate predictions of the remaining useful life of components will enable to minimize the loss of life while also minimizing the risk of unexpected failures. The decision support system will enable “individualization” of the maintenance concepts based on customer preference, external circumstances, service conditions and machine usage.

Project Description

Traditionally an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) supplies a good functioning product. The technical service related to the product includes repairing if necessary and taking care of the warranty. As soon as the OEM develops to a service provider, the technical services provided to the client as per contract will be preventive maintenance optionally bundled with a lump sum for break-down services. It is therefore necessary to develop a service concept for preventive technical services.

If the OEM wants to achieve 100% uptime, the OEM can choose either to further develop components or to maintain them. Then the question is “Which components should be developed and which maintained?”

Given components characteristics and costs, one wants to decide whether it is best to maintain a component or to improve its reliability performance by development. This decision is based on the trade-off between the following criteria defined for the entire machine:

  • Cost of maintenance
  • Downtime of the machine
  • Output consequence (e.g. production loss, safety risks, different “importance” of consequences for different clients)
  • Cost for development

A ranking of the “worthiness” of components’ development based on the overall improvement induced to the system performance as defined by the above criteria is developed. This ranking will serve as a support to the company for the selection of components to be further developed.

“Feasibility” of components development from a technical point of view is considered first as a preliminary filter. Then the “suitability” (or “worthiness”) of components for further development shall be assessed against the components’ contribution both maintenance and development costs, reliability/availability, output performance. Starting from a (near) optimal maintenance concept obtained based on the system as it is (no development), how do we improve from it by increasing the reliability of components? This is a typical sensitivity analysis problem; we can build a structured and systematic scenario analysis program which eventually enables us to evaluate minimum thresholds for improvement which make the development of components worthwhile.

    Goals of the Project

    In this project we strive to find the (near) optimum in the development of a maintenance concept. Developing a maintenance concept means to align the development of the maintenance concept with the development of the product.


    Answers to the following questions:

    Q1. Which are the components most suitable for product development, based on a multi-criteria optimization?

    Q2. What are acceptable costs for development, as well for cost price in relation to the component reliability improvement?

    Q3. What are the minimum goals to achieve in product development in terms of cost and improvement?

    Q4. Which components of the Lely Discovery Collector 120 are most suitable for product development?

    Essential Student Knowledge

    More information: