Cuckoo for KUKA! (Day 9)


After a considerable break from company visits, we were scheduled to visit KUKA, which manufactures robots, today. We saw a glimpse of these robots, as well as ABB robots, at the BMW factory last week.


Before our tour, though, we were set to go to the University of Augsburg and listen to a presentation on German politics. We had learned a bit from our Plus 3 classes in Pittsburgh, but it was interesting to go more in-depth with the topics and learn about the future of German politics. While most people were not looking forward to it, I was excited because I am minoring in Political Science, and while I am specializing in American politics, I am still very interested in global politics (especially since my plans for the future are starting to shift after this trip . . . more on this later). I had so many questions about the parallels that can be drawn between German and American politics, but the presenter answered them all before I even got the chance to ask!


One of my main concerns from the talk is the rise of the AfD, or Alternative for Germany, party. Living in today’s world, it astounds me that there are actually people who share the same ideologies that the AfD believes in. I thought it was only a phenomenon occurring in the United States after the previous election, let alone a global issue, especially in Germany.


After the talk, we were allotted time to work on our projects with our groups. Unfortunately, I left my laptop behind at the hotel and cannot work on any other computer than my own (especially since the German keyboards are so different from ours!). I took the tram back to Königsplatz with Dr. Feick, who showed me exactly which tram to take back. Honestly, the whole ordeal took much longer than expected and I did not even get the chance to work on my project. However, I was very proud of myself for managing to get back to the university by myself via streetcar and not getting lost in Augsburg. Since everyone was meeting at the mensa for lunch at 12:15, and I made it back to the hotel at 12:00, I decided to just join everyone for lunch, instead.


After lunch, we travelled to KUKA. I was taken aback by the initial presentation. The room we began our tour in was dark with orange lights, with a wall that showed the entirety of KUKA’s history. Our guide then led us to a show put on by two massive KUKA robots that lifted cubes with a graphic display that played a short clip for us. It was one of the highlights of any company tour we had done! The group even got their picture taken with a robot before someone accidentally set off another robot that was on display. On our tour of the production site, Eric and I kept wondering when we would see robots manufacturing other robots. Although the tour included a lot more engineering lingo than I would have liked, it was still pretty impressive, especially seeing the KUKA Titan, the largest KUKA robot with an unmatched capacity to lift heavy weights. It is amazing how KUKA produces robots of all types, starting with the large Titan and going all the way down to their newest lightweight robot, iiwa, with seven axes.


Finally, we ended the day with a presentation that covered all of KUKA’s uses in today’s world as well as plans for the future. At the end, one of the presenters asked us how we were enjoying our trip in Germany, and I told him I would stay there forever – only if I was offered a job! After asking what my major was (finance), he approached me and told me that if I wanted to work in KUKA’s finance segment, alongside the skillset, I would only need to learn German. Maybe in a year he’ll be seeing my application along with “German” listed under languages I am fluent in!


Bis wir uns wieder treffen!

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