Day 11: TE Connectivity and DuPont’s R&D Center

Today was our second and final day of company visits. First, we went to TE Connectivity, a parts manufacturer that makes computer parts for big name companies, such as Huawei and Lenovo. While there, we learned that there are 4 main departments in that specific factory: assembly, stamping, plating, and molding. We were only able to see 3 of the manufacturing floors due to safety concerns: assembly, stamping, and molding. Our guides decided that taking us through the plating section would be unsafe due to the chemical reactions taking place, so we weren’t allowed to see that section.

However, we were able to walk through the stamping, molding, and assembly sections. The molding section used molten plastic and molds to make simple plastic parts. The stamping section cut different alloys of copper into specific patterns in gigantic spools of metal, which were then combined with the plastic molds to make the finished product. Some of TE’s most requested pieces are SIM cards for major smartphone brands and ports for plugging cables into laptops.

After lunch in yet another mall, we visited DuPont’s Research and Development Center, which is connected to their Innovation Center. There, one of the leaders of the Innovation Center walked us through some of DuPont’s high points, such as being the oldest Fortune 500 company and inventing nylon in the 1950’s. Then they introduced us to some of their more current projects, such as a light frame car, washable wallpaper, and milk with a 6-month shelf life. After a few unconventional questions from Dr. Li, we headed on a tour of the Innovation Center. We were able to see the washable wallpaper in action, and touch the fabric they designed for the 2016 Chinese Olympic Team’s uniforms. After I had a brief chat with the head of the Shanghai branch, we were led on a tour of the labs. We saw the room where they performed tests on their solar panels and decibel tests on drills.

After heading back to the hotel and working on the final presentation, Sabrina and I decided to head back to the Bund to climb up to the top of the Shanghai Tower. We took the subway around 6:00 PM, which probably wasn’t the best idea considering we were squished into (and towering over) more people than either of us would’ve liked. Once we exited the subway near the base of the Oriental Pearl Tower, we sprinted across a major street in less than 4 seconds (because I’m an idiot) and then bought our tickets to go up to the world’s highest observation deck on the world’s fastest elevator, which was in the world’s second tallest building. On the elevator, my ears popped more frequently and more painfully than they did on the flight over, but the view from the top of the Tower was beautiful and made every painful pop worth it. We’d gotten there just as the sun was almost set, and although the pollution and smog levels were high, it made for a beautiful sunset of reds, yellows, greens and blues.

After I had thoroughly fangirled, Sab and I met up with a bunch of the other engineers at Nanjing Road, where we wandered through Shanghai’s equivalent to Times Square. I don’t really like the original Times Square, so Nanjing Road wasn’t my favorite place in Shanghai, although it was very cool.


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