Day 5: the Old and the New

Today started off slightly differently than usual. We got to sleep in a little, and then instead of a company visit, we were off to a tiny rural town an hour away for brunch.

Why an hour drive just for brunch? Famous breakfast sausages, apparently. Or, more accurately, weisswurst. Weisswurst is white sausage, made from veal and pork. And according to tradition, it may only be consumed before noon. Before eating it, we had to literally peel away the thick outer casing and scoop out the meat. Personally, I found it a little unappetizing, especially for so early in the morning. Big fan of the pretzels though!

Afterwards, we visited KUKA, which produces a large range of robots for industrial use. The tour began with the “Brand Experience” room, which featured VR headsets, interactive robots, and an honest-to-God light show. There was also a larger robot to take pictures with, and I snapped a pretty neat pic of Brad Miner and his prom date.


Next came the factory tour. If I though Hirschvogel was cool, I was in no way prepared for KUKA. Nearly every stage of production was driven by robotics, all working in perfect sync. We got to see the KUKA Titan robot in action, which is capable of lifting loads up to 1000 kg. My favorite part was the testing facilities, where engineers ensure the robots are up to par. With hundreds of robots in little cages performing tricks for their engineering-masters, it reminded me of a dog training class or something. Needless to say, very cool!

The presentation afterwards focused on the future as defined by robotics. The engineer discussed the three rules of robotics, as determined by Issac Asimov, and why robotics taking over traditionally human-filled positions could be a good thing. I can understand that reasoning, as you don’t want humans doing repetitious or possibly dangerous tasks, but with KUKA looking to expand into the medical industry, I can’t help but feel a little nervous for all future professions (baring, of course, the mechanical engineers that make the robots).

KUKA is actually a supplier to quite a few of other local companies, two of which we have to yet to visit. I’m excited to see how different companies utilize this incredible technology, and I’m looking forward to our visit tomorrow to my group’s assigned company, SGL Group: the Carbon Company.

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