Friday, May 12th was our fourth company visit. After another breakfast at the B&B, we boarded a bus bound for Meitingen, home of SGL Group – The Carbon Company.
From our introduction at SGL, we learned that the company is a leading carbon and carbon biproduct manufacturer, up until recently also operating in the graphite and steel markets. However, due to a business downturn, SGL has focused its efforts on what it sees as the material of the future, specifically lightweight carbon fiber. After our introduction, we were divided into groups and led on a tour of the facilities. A very hands-on tour, we had the opportunity to handle many materials, including a fresh carbon fiber plate and a full Porsche door. We also saw the fibers that make up carbon fiber being spun together and chemically treated in a large plant overseen by… (you guessed it) one worker. Later, we got to see SGL’s Lightweight and Application Center, its most future-centric area. There, a KUKA robot made a carbon fiber plate right in front of our eyes. SGL provided a lunch of lasagna after our tour.
Once we were done at SGL, we boarded the bus and returned to the University of Augsburg. At the University, a representative from BMW lectured us on the company’s outline for an autonomous future. He took us through the company’s advantages, disadvantages, competition, and model for what makes a car autonomous. The lecture was incredibly informative, and was followed by a Q and A session that was equally interesting. I can now confidently say that driverless cars are not too far off.
After the lecture, our program ended for the day. I visited a coffeeshop on campus then went to Vapiano, a popular Italian restaurant chain for dinner.