Friday started off with another company visit, and this one was to my own company, SGL. I was very excited for this site visit because I had been researching them for a few days. SGL had been operating at a loss for a few years so was interested to hear what their plans were for the future. When we arrived, we had a speaker talk to us. I thought the SGL speaker was fantastic; he touched on the engineering side of carbon fiber, but he also gave great information on the business side of SGL. Our group had plenty of questions, but he answered all of them very well. We didn’t need to do much research for the final project after the site visit because he gave such great information. An interesting thing about SGL is that they completely sold their steel business and now currently focus on just carbon related products. A new business plan of theirs is to enter a market and if it doesn’t look profitable, they get out of it as soon as they can. This ensures that they don’t spend too much time wasting money that won’t earn them profit. After the presentation, we went on a factory tour. First, they took us to their showroom with a lot of products that they have helped produce. I thought that one of the coolest pieces was a carbon fiber car door that felt like it was merely 20 pounds. I was expecting it to be so much heavier. After the showroom, a very nice lady showed us around a facility where carbon fiber was going through quality control. Then, two guys showed us how they produced material out of carbon fiber. It was interesting because no humans were needed, the entire thing was done by Kuka robots. The facilities of SGL were very cool and it was helpful for our group to see how SGL produces its products.
We had lunch provided for us by SGL which was very nice. They gave us lasagna which was quite delicious. I really thought that SGL cared about us being there and about us learning about what they do. After lunch, we left SGL and went to the university to have a man from BMW talk to us. He talked to us a lot about how BMW is focusing on autonomous vehicles. I found this very interesting because I can’t imagine a life where humans are just passengers in cars and not drivers. He said those types of cars will be coming in the near future, but who knows because automated cars can be very expensive. They will certainly need to cut costs in order for the entire population to afford those vehicles.
After the BMW talk, Nikki, Dan, and I went to a coffee shop on campus to eat a little snack before dinner. I had a pretzel and some still water which hit the spot. We then went back to the hotel where I took an extremely long nap. For dinner, we wanted to mix it up from the Bavarian food we had the previous few nights so we went to Vapiano which is a very unique Italian restaurant. I got a ham pizza which was very good. Day 6 was very tiring, but it was really interesting to see my company.