Today was probably my favorite day so far in Germany. We hopped on the bus at 8:00 am to go to our next company visit, Hirschvogel. They are a family owned mittlestand company that does a wide variety of forging for the automotive industry. I found their business model interesting because they don’t just make the part that the customer orders, they work with their clients to optimize their parts to work with their machines to reduce waste and cost, and to improve quality. They also are working on expanding their processes. They already have started machining parts instead of just forging at the request of their clients. They are also considering investing in a metal 3d printer. On the tour, we got to see much of their plant. At the location we were at, they do cold forging, warm forging, and hot forging. The hydraulic presses they used were almost three stories tall! They also had and interesting mix of workers and KUKA robots. After the tour, we ate lunch on the bus to Oberammergau. Oberammergau has largely been a tourist city, so it was spared from the bombings in WWII and because of this many of the buildings are very old. We went shopping there and ate some gelato which is basically German ice-cream. Afterwards we got to ride a cable car to the Alps. The view was incredible. I have been on the tallest mountain in the Adirondacks, but this was something else. The tops of the mountains were covered in snow, so we got to play in the snow on top of a mountain in 60-degree weather with an incredible view. I could have stayed there all day.
-Outside of Hirschvogel