Imprimir Republish


This engineer is different

An R&D consultant lends his name to an engine project

Eduardo CesarEduardo Tomanik, a mechanical engineer, works for Mahle, a multinational German auto parts company. His graduate work was at the University of São Paulo (USP) and he gave his name to an international parameter in tribology, a field that studies friction, wear and tear and lubrication. The Tomanik Criterion of conformability of cylinder rings used in automobile engines was presented in a technical article in 2009. Authors in the field have cited the criterion and it has been used in simulation software by many companies throughout the world. Tomanik, 57, began working at Embraer in São José dos Campo (São Paulo State) just after completing his studies at the Polytechnic School at USP. “It was very important to work there for two years. As a new graduate, I learned how to observe techniques to the letter and consult bibliographies and technical standards,” he says. Afterwards, in 1984, he wanted to return to São Paulo and he began working at Cofap, in Mauá, in greater São Paulo. Cofap produces auto parts, and in 1997 it was bought and split between Mahle and Magneti Marelli.

“At Cofap there was less emphasis on technology and I liked learning more about theory. As a result, I was considered odd. But the managers and directors also wanted the company to innovate and they accepted the idea that one engineer could be different. So they gave me permission to begin a master’s program at USP (this was not standard practice in the industry at the time),” Tomanik says. “They agreed that I could spend one half day per week at USP, where Professor Francisco Nigro, who aligned practice and theory, was my advisor.” Afterwards, Tomanik also completed a PhD with the same advisor and began publishing in scientific journals. He was the first PhD that Cofap “produced.” “They even had to create some sort of research title for a person who had my responsibilities.” In 1997, some of the engine work that was being done at Cofap was transferred to Mahle, and everything changed. In German companies, there is greater recognition of graduate degrees and more emphasis on strict compliance with technical standards. The adjustments with the Mahle Research and Development Center in Stuttgart, Germany, went much faster. “My publications helped significantly.”

Tomanik is a Research and Development (R&D) consultant with the Mahle Technology Center in Jundiaí (São Paulo State), and only once has he held a management position during his 30 years with the company. “Although it was interesting, there was a bureaucratic component to the position that I found unappealing, and I decided I would rather go back to research. I have a number of projects with USP, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Halmstad University in Sweden,” he says. Tomanik also works at Sociedade de Engenheiros da Mobilidade (SAE), a mobility engineering company, as coordinator of the Otto Engine Technical Committee. His post-doctoral work involved  projects such as the Research Partnership for Technological Innovation (PITE) at FAPESP on the tribology of flex fuel engines, of which Mahle is a member.