Day 10: H&K

Site visit after site visit, we’ve dressed up and sat through presentations, then killed our feet walking through each and every company tour. Finally they were about to be over. Our last one. Hörauf and Kohler. Since their company location was in Augsburg, we were able to take the streetcar there. We got there a little before 10 and were stuck waiting outside for someone to let us in. Apparently the person that was supposed to give us the tour called in sick today. Unfortunately, she was the only person that could give us the tour in English, so we ended up getting the tour in German, but having another lady translate it into English. It was weird at first, but I got used to it after a while.

They started with a company tour in which they talked about the process of making the injection molds. I didn’t necessarily understand all of what they were talking about, but I tried my best. The coolest thing that I saw while on the tour was one of the KUKA robots in action. They even let us get close and take pictures of it!

After touring the process for injection molding, we moved onto another building where they had people making these air dampers by hand. This was interesting because almost everything else there was mechanically made. They actually told us that they were trying to get rid of the air dampers all together and that’s why they hadn’t automated the process. Then, we walked outside and did a “quick” Q&A session. Let’s just say it wasn’t quick at all. We were basically standing in the middle of the parking lot doing this Q&A, nearly getting hit by trucks multiple times, either having the German students ask questions we didn’t understand or asking questions that the tour guide didn’t understand. The question asking itself was also kind of weird because we would ask the questions in English and then they would have to be translated into German, then answered in German and translated back to English. What a long process. What a long site visit.

The biggest thing that I learned about the company was that they aren’t doing too well, but they’re surviving. They didn’t seem too optimistic though.

After we finished up at H&K, we were done with all of our planned activities for the day. However, the presentations are tomorrow, so everyone’s freaking out. We got back to the hotel and I immediately talked to my group about when we could meet up to finish ours. We didn’t have much left because we spent so much time last night figuring things out, but we still needed to work out a few kinks.

A group of us went out to get some lunch and we ended up at these cute little food places next to one of the streetcar stops. I ended up getting a nutella and banana crepe that was AMAZING! Not the most nutritious meal, but hey, when in Germany.

After lunch, my group met up with the German students at the University and we spent the next couple of hours slaving over our presentation. Still arguing about what information was needed and what wasn’t. Once we finally had most of our presentation squared away, we set up a time to meet tomorrow and went our separate ways. I spent the rest of the night stressing about this presentation, redoing my note cards and rehearsing my sections. I was determined to get a good grade. Let’s hope it all paid off. Stay tuned to find out what happens tomorrow.

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