Last Company Visits in Shanghai

Our last company visits were today, to TE Connectivity and DuPont.

TE connectivity is a manufacturer of plastic connectors used in electronics. At the TE connectivity plant we visited, they manufacture all parts of these connectors separately and then assemble them on site to yield their final products, a selection of approximately twenty different types of connectors. In addition, they perform quality checks with cameras that are able to image and measure the connectors to ensure proper size and composition. We started off our visit to TE connectivity with a brief presentation from an employee at the plant we visited where we learned about their business and had the opportunity to ask questions. Following this presentation, we were given a tour around their facility. We saw two of the floors in their building. As was explained to us, the heavy machinery is all placed on the lower floor while the lighter machinery is placed on the upper floor. The heavy machinery we saw consisted of stamping machines, and other machinery involved in the creation of the connector components, while the light machinery was more concentrated on the assembly of the components and quality assessment of the final products.

One of the most interesting things I noticed from our visit to TE Connectivity was the difference in safety requirements when visiting plants between the U.S. and China. We were only required to wear safety glasses, and in some cases found ourselves within touching distance of working machines on this visit. However, I have visited other plants in the U.S. and my experience was very different, with marked walkways set very far back and often above working machines with strict rules about staying within those marked yellow lines. I get the sense that perhaps safety is not of as great importance in China, because from what I’ve seen in this trip, rules concerning factory visits are a lot less strict over here than in the U.S.

The second part of our day today consisted of a visit to the last company we’ll see here in China: DuPont. DuPont is involved in the manufacture of many different products, all of which we had the opportunity to see during our visit to their showroom. From fire-retardant materials used in clothing design, to multi-layer solar panels, wireless phone chargers, and slow-melting ice cream, I was impressed by the sheer variety of innovative products put out by one company. Given the option to either try the slow-melting ice cream or visit the DuPont labs, I opted to visit the labs. The most impressive part was the opportunity to go inside a soundproof room that DuPont uses for the testing of their automotive components where reducing noise is of considerable importance for user comfort. I found it a little unsettling to be placed in conditions of “complete silence” because it felt as if my ears had been filled with cotton and I’d lost the ability to hear. Nevertheless, it was an experience I’m really lucky to have had, and seeing the scope of the production of one company over the course of this visit was very inspiring.

Other than the company visits, one of my favorite parts of the day was being able to try honey toast at our lunch meal, an impressive looking dessert made of cubes of toast served with ice cream, honey, chocolate sauce, and mint. It’s hard to believe tomorrow is our last day in China. I never thought two weeks would pass so quickly, but packing our schedules as much as we have has made the days fly past.

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