Our third day in Germany brought our first company visit! We started the day by departing to SGL Group- The Carbon Company. Our visit began with a presentation about SGL and who they are. Their products include carbon fibers, other materials such as plastic and graphite that are carbon-reinforced, composite components, and more. A gentleman from HR also spoke to us about how to apply for internship positions. We also had the privilege of touring their facilities and taking a look at their production lines. I noticed that they used KUKA robots, a company we will be visiting next week. Though it was very heavily engineering based, our guides made everything easy to understand. I also got to touch a bundle of carbon fibers, which are both lighter and stronger than steel. In addition, we got to hear about the business aspects of the company as well, which was particularly fascinating because they were impacted greatly by the crash of the steel industry. After touring, we finished our visit by having a delicious lunch of chili! A challenge that I have been coming across though is the ability to find still water in a lot of places.
Moving on from carbon fibers for the day, it was time to refocus our attention onto cars themselves. For this, we headed to BMW, starting at the museum. I have never paid much attention to cars, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed having time to look around at cars through the years. We ventured over to BMW World to take a look at modern cars and the store. We had time to snack quickly at the cafe inside, so I tried Kinder chocolate for the first time! Finally, it was time for our factory tour. The behind the scenes of their production line flew by because everything was astonishing to watch. We observed processes such as the press line, paint line, assembly, and engine production. Personally, the paint line was the most interesting part to see. I learned that they changed their process to increase efficiency by using cartridges that are filled with the exact amount of paint needed and can be swapped out. They also had a decent percentage of KUKA robots on their floor. A full day of company visits has finally been completed, and a long bus ride brought us back to Augsburg. A lot of us took a short walk down to McDonald’s and I was pleased to see that they have curly fries on their menu in Germany! Overall, another very successful day.