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Posted by Daniëlla van Laarhoven on 22-08-2017 10:43 AM

Working on the cutting edge of automotive technology

Categories: Brainport region, Technology

Engineer Emilio Maldonado contributes to the future of automotive at Punch Powertrain

EINDHOVEN - Punch Powertrain is a Belgian automotive company that produces Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT’s) and fuel efficient powertrains. The company faces a period of explosive growth as the technology is very popular in Asia. Systems Engineer Emilio Maldonado (29) from Mexico works for the company’s R&D department in the Dutch city of Eindhoven in the Brainport region. There he works on improving the technology, which he absolutely enjoys: ‘at Punch we work on the cutting edge of technology and that is extremely exciting.’


In Europe CVT’s that are used in automatic cars are not that popular but the Asian market is huge. Automatic cars are very popular in densely populated areas and the technology is crucial in achieving environmental goals. Punch Powertrain -former producer of the Variomatic CVT used in car brand DAF- works on further developing and refining the technology. Its clientele consists of 25 Asian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) and expectations are that the company will produce 500,000 transmissions in the year to come and will increase up to over a 1,000,000 in 2020.

Brainport offers access to talent for R&D department

Punch Powertrain is headquartered in Sint-Truiden in Belgium where key components are made and transmissions are developed together with the R&D department in Eindhoven. Production and assembly takes place in a factory in China. “There is an R&D department in Eindhoven because of the city’s high tech character,” Emilio explains, “the city is appealing to talents with a background in technology and therefore it is easier to attract the highly skilled professionals Punch Powertrain needs.”

Design, prototyping and testing in Eindhoven

“What we do in Eindhoven is designing, prototyping and testing the transmissions. There are about 80 people that work in Eindhoven and most of them are engineers. There is only a small bit of overhead. Within my function as a Systems Engineer, I have an active role as Requirements Engineer, which means that I facilitate the technical translation process between the customer’s wishes, and the design constraints that help shape our products to meet their needs. This in turn requires extensive communication with the whole team of Mechanical, Electrical, Control and Hydraulics engineers, to name a few.

Passionate about green technology

“I am very passionate about technology and about green technology in specific. At Punch Powertrain we are developing sustainable transmissions. We are working on powertrain solutions for hybrids and fully electric cars. With our SRM (Switched Reluctance Machine) motor we are trying to make an electric motor more sustainable by removing the need to use scarce resources that are obtained with methods that damage the environment.”

Excited about contributing to the future

“A very exciting future awaits us and I want to be part of that and contribute to it. That is why I came to the Netherlands. In Mexico I would be missing out on this. I would not be able to work on breakthrough technologies. Knowing that the technology we are developing at Punch Powertrain is going to bridge a gap to what is needed in the future is very exciting.”


Fascinated by the automotive field

The role I fulfil requires a multidisciplinary technical background. I obtained my B.Sc. in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Mexico and after that I started working for a huge company there as an application engineer. During an internship at Porsche in Germany, however, I realised how much I was fascinated by the automotive sector. I decided to apply for a scholarship to get admitted to Eindhoven University of Technology and I succeeded. So in 2011 I started an M.Sc. in Automotive Technology.

Returned to Europe because of multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary environment

“After I had finished my masters I started working for Prodrive Technologies in Eindhoven with my main project being in Mexico, where they had started an office, but eventually it had to close and I moved to VUHL, a Mexican automotive company. There I missed the multi-disciplinary and multicultural environment that I found in the Netherlands and I decided to return to Eindhoven.”

“Finding a house in Eindhoven was quite a challenge but finding a job was not that hard. I found Punch Powertrain through MCA, an automotive consultancy company. The company is really R&D oriented, it is growing really fast and there is a lot of talent here. It is a vibrant place to work at and we are working on cutting-edge technology which is really exciting.”

The Brainport Eindhoven Region

“I do not only like working in the Eindhoven region, I like living here as well. People work hard, are very punctual and remain focussed. Besides that I also like that I can get to work by bike, which I cannot do safely in Mexico. There are no real distances in the Netherlands and the infrastructure is great.”

Lively expat community

“What I also like is that there is a large and lively expat and international community in Eindhoven. It has grown enormously over the last few years. That is something you notice when you are in the city centre for instance. You hear a lot of languages being spoken. During my spare time I engage in rock climbing and my estimate is that about 30% of the people there are international knowledge workers.”

“I mostly spend my spare time with the people I met when I studied at Eindhoven University of Technology. It is an extremely multi-cultural group of people and I enjoy their company a lot. Furthermore I am addicted to reading and cooking. As I find Dutch cuisine somewhat less appealing, as most internationals do, I tend to cook a lot.”

Emilio Maldonado works at Punch Powertrain. An automotive company that is situated in the Brainport Eindhoven Region. A place where technology and IT are used to solve societal challenges. Are you interested in learning more about Punch Powertrain or other companies in Brainport? Or are you interested in working for one of these companies? Then upload your profile and TalentBOX automatically matches you to relevant jobs in the Brainport Eindhoven Region.


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