A group working together infront a smart board.

    Ongoing Projects

    Joint Curriculum for students

    04/2018 – now

    Involved members of the IALF:

    Reutlingen University, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Technical University Darmstadt

    Publication Link

    In the joint curriculum for students, three universities offer the possibility to visit each learning factory with different learning content. The first run was in the summer semester of 2018, the second in the summer semester of 2019. Up to 15 students learn and analyze assistance systems in production (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), production and shopfloor management (Technical University Darmstadt), and innovative intra-logistics (Reutlingen University). The overall evaluation is very positive. The linked publication shows more details of the concept and the evaluation.

    Closed Projects


    11/2011 – 08/2013

    Involved members of IALF:

    University of Patras, Technische Universität Darmstadt

    Website: -

    The KNOW-FACT project aimed at the definition and launch of the Teaching Factory paradigm in manufacturing education. It challenges the needs of integrating education, research, and innovation into manufacturing education. In this content, it faces the problem that research outcomes of educational institutions are typically presented to the scientific community without having been directly accessible to the industry.

    The involved partners have a strong background in manufacturing education, research, didactic approaches in production and ICT technologies. These skills were indispensable to deliver distinct results, which added value for academia as well as for industry. This “hybrid mission” wants to benefit both sides, which are defined in the practical and educational training of students and the preparation of the results for industrial personnel.

    The KNOW-FACT consortium acts as the core of the Knowledge Partnership and focuses on defining and piloting the Teaching Factory, leading the European manufacturing education in future aspects. It is constructed as a platform used as a multiplier to extend the partnership to other key players. It tries to overcome the tribulations existing, since academic institutions often fail in recognising every day needs of the industry. In order to this KNOW-FACT uses a concept to transfer improvements, which is summarized in the following figure.

    Industry and Academia combine their knowledge in industrial projects leading to innovative inventions, new educational possibilities as well as enhancing competencies. For this purpose KNOW-FACT delivers networks of academic and industrial partners, which are able to implement and support the establishment, a complete study to the conceptualisation and implementation of the Learning Factory, as well as a pilot run of the initiative operations. The future exploitation of these results will be sustained through the extended partnership that will allow the operation of Teaching Factory sessions on regular basis. An Europe-wide recognition of these activities has been gained as a promising new paradigm for manufacturing education.


    10/2012 – 09/2014

    Involved members of IALF:

    Reutlingen University, Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH Wien, University Split

    Website: http://www.esb-business-school.de/forschung/forschungsprojekte/abgeschlossene-projekte/lopec/


    The purpose of project LOPEC (Logistics Personal Excellence by continuous Self-Assessment) is to develop innovative software tools to support small and medium-sized companies, as well as private individuals and educational institutions. These tools are assisting training programs for specialists with a field of activity in logistics. Thereby lifelong learning is focused.

    The modification in logistics, caused by new services and outsourcing activities, requires continuous development of the involved surroundings. The software tools introduced by LOPEC seek to support this process. It transfers lean logistic know-how, as well as basic knowledge from a software solution into practicable processes. This transformation is completed by a self-assessment to analyse the own improvements. LOPEC is aiming to fill the gap between secondary and tertiary training. Meanwhile the idea of self-excellence, which leads to lifelong learning, shall be implanted.

    LOPEC combines three important aspects in one system: Modules for educational development, a new method for a continuous self-assessment and a tool for analysing different degrees of maturity, which can be integrated in a continuous improvement process. Since 2014 LOPEC acts effectively and innovative in an industrial environment.

    CIRP Collaborative Working Group


    Involved members of IALF:

    Darmstadt, Patras, Vienna, KTH, Reutlingen, Bochum, Karlsruhe, Braunschweig, NTNU, Aachen (ITA)

    Website: https://www.cirp.net/


    Scientific objectives:

    • Provide a comprehensive overview of the global state-of-the-art of action-oriented learning in Learning Factories
    • Identify potentials and limits of Learning and Teaching Factories
    • Secure the knowledge gathered in CIRP CWG on „Learning Factories“ as a basis for future research
    • Identify and name future research fields on the topic and potential (inter)national funding programs

    Educational objectives:

    • Provide a comprehensive overview of education in Learning and Teaching Factories around the globe
    • Simplify the exchange of educational and didactical contents among CIRP members

    Industrial objectives:

    • Link CIRP closer with the industry in the Learning and Teaching Factory area by including industrial efforts on this topic
    • Raise the visibility of the topic in the industry by providing scientifically sound data


    04/2013 – 03/2017

    Involved members of IALF:

    Reutlingen University, Technical University Darmstadt, Technical University of Munich, Technical University Vienna, KTH Stockholm, MTA SZTAKI, University Split, University Patras, Stellenbosch University, School of Technology Portugal

    Website: http://www.esb-business-school.de/forschung/forschungsprojekte/nil-netzwerk-innovativer-lernfabriken/


    The Network of innovative Learning Factories (NIL) is an international research project, which is promoted by the DAAD and the German ministry for education and research, and got national as well as international partners. Since the first Learning Factories in 2005 were installed, they took root in technical and economical educations of engineering.

    Universities benefit from the new established platform for education. The Learning Factories are still becoming a more important part of the education of young engineers with a technical or an economical focus. The factories are needed to transfer knowledge especially in the thematic areas engineering, working and manufacturing processes as well as combining these processes. They are aiming at developing skills and knowledge in industrial productions. The focus lies on bringing theory and practice together involving the point of view from real applications, innovative control concepts, methods and tools of the advanced industrial engineering, methods and tools of the operational excellence, planning tools of the digital and virtual engineering as well as the use of lean methods in production, administration, coordination, and the whole supply chain. For the improvement of these benefits the network connects ten Learning Factories to share experience and now-how in the field of manufacturing education.

    The group of network members is not a closed circle, it is much more an open platform to build partnerships and cooperation. Standardization is one of the topics in focus of NIL. For example, unifying structures, communication tools, learning methods and documentation supports the connection between different institutions. Overall the network uses synergy effects for effective development and improvement of the Learning Factories.


    »NIL - Line Balancing: Practical example in a Learning Factory

    »NIL - Netzwerk Innovativer Lernfabriken - Industrie 4.0 in Learning Factories