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Optimizing the Industrial secondment experience during the Covid-19 pandemic

Industrial secondment activities for early-stage researchers (ESR) are an essential part of the learning process and development, especially in the Smart Cities EMC Network for Training (SCENT) project, which has an orientation to develop their ESRs become excellent experts. However, the Covid-19 pandemic in the world, which began at the end of 2019, made the learning process, including industrial secondment activities, become more difficult than usual.

Responding to government policies that impose social distancing to suppress the spread of the Covid-19 virus, many institutions, agencies, universities, and industries implement strict procedures. They also applied for a strict health protocol and health monitoring program.

The effects of the ongoing Covid-19 situation and the social distancing regulation affect many aspects and people, including myself. Every schedule must be re-arranged carefully. One of them is my industrial secondment plan, which is planned to be conducted in Thales Hengelo, Netherlands. This industrial secondment in Thales is very important for Thales and also for me. It is related to the development of a system that will be installed on ships. The performance of the observed system needs to be analyzed scientifically. Therefore, a collaboration between industry and university becomes mutual cooperation in this project.

The observation of system performance requires special test equipment, which is only available in the Thales laboratory. Initially, Hans Bergsma (my supervisor at Thales), Thales engineers, and I planned to conduct an intense experiment and research collaboration in Thales laboratory for a few days. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this plan had to be adjusted based on Thales regulation. They make strict scheduling for employees, including 'external customers' like me. Thales implement strict health protocol such as always keep at a distance and use hand sanitizers. They also always provide a questionnaire regarding the visitor's health condition before I am allowed to experiment in the laboratory.

Optimizing the industrial secondment activities, we must carry out all measurements and experiments as efficiently as possible. For this reason, we tackled it by optimizing the investigation at a particular time and then analyze or simulate the result at home on another day. We discuss every progress event through the virtual /remote meeting or teleworking. The virtual meeting result might not be as perfect as if we can discuss directly or face-to-face because the communication quality depends on the existing internet connection. However, so far, this secondment has produced a success story. We successfully developed a method to analyze the correlation of an electromagnetic interference (EMI) event with other EMI events by developing a multi-point measurement technique during this secondment. This technique has been applied in the real situation on the ship. Using this technique makes it easier to determine the source of EMI and its effect on the complex system. Further information about this technique is available in our published papers [1], [2].

Indeed, the Covid-19 has influenced research activities, including industrial secondment activities. However, during this situation, several activities can still be performed. With good coordination, time efficiency, and health protocol implementation, we hope we can pass the covid-19 pandemic and handle the tasks with good results.


References

[1] M. I. Sudrajat, N. Moonen, H. Bergsma, R. Bijman, and F. Leferink, "Multipoint Measurement Technique for Tracking Electromagnetic Interference Propagation and Correlation in a Complex Installation," in 2020 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility, Signal Integrity and Power Integrity., 2020.

[2] M. I. Sudrajat, N. Moonen, H. Bergsma, R. Bijman, and F. Leferink, "Evaluating Rapid Voltage Changes and its Propagation Effect using Multipoint Measurement Technique," in EMC Europe 2020, 2020.