Configuration of a learning factory at DB Netz AG

The research project aims to configure a learning factory for DB Netz AG with the help of an optimization model. In the learning factory, technical competencies for operational employees as well as competencies for lean production are imparted.

Duration: Completed | 2019 – 2021
Funded by: DB Netz AG

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Learning factories are a suitable instrument for vocational training and further education, as they make complex interrelationships comprehensible and tangible. A real production system is used as the learning environment, which uses real equipment and processes. In previous projects, a competence-oriented design approach was developed for this purpose at PTW, with which learning factory concepts can be developed. This approach was used to design a concept for DB Netz AG in the run-up to the project. However, there is currently no methodology that can be used to determine the best possible selection of factory elements – considering restrictions such as available space or budget.


The goal of the project is to determine the best possible selection of factory elements by means of an optimization model. To this end, a methodology is being developed to configure a learning factory for DB Netz AG as a use case. The target group of the future learning factory at DB Netz AG is operational maintenance personnel. The learning objectives are divided into technical competencies on the one hand and methodological competencies for lean production on the other. The methodology should be flexible for different framework conditions, such as different dimensions of the learning factory. Based on the optimization problem, the best possible configuration for the learning factory of DB Netz AG is thus developed.


At the beginning of the research project, the competencies to be trained in the learning factory are analyzed. The requirements for the learning factory to be developed are derived from this analysis. Based on these requirements, mobile learning factory modules are developed as a transitional solution and competence-oriented training courses are designed (stage 1). The training contents of this transitional solution are determined according to criteria to be defined (for example, occupational safety, safety of action and lean production). Based on the solutions developed for the mobile transitional solutions, a concept and training content are developed for the site-based learning factory (stage 2). For this, the framework conditions of the technical layout areas to be defined within the learning factory (such as tracks) must be considered. To select the best possible technical configuration from the possible concepts for the learning factory, an optimization algorithm is developed. By adjusting different parameters, such as available budget, available area and relevance of certain criteria, an optimal solution can be determined considering company- and site-specific requirements.



The PTW would like to thank DB Netz AG for sponsoring this research project.

Funding source

DB Netze