Germany Day 4: Continental

Our fourth day in Germany included another company visit, this time on Continental. I originally thought that Continental was a solely tire based company. However, I realized that it was a much more diverse company. They sell many other automotive products such as sensors, cameras, antilock breaks, and more. The visit to the Regensburg branch of Continental further solidified this new belief.

Our visit, just like others, began with a company presentation. It wasn’t as technologically informative as BMW or SGL, but I still found it interesting. It was much more business/marketing oriented, which is not necessarily much cup of tea, but I still found it to be very useful. After this presentation, we began the factory tour, which was my favorite part of the site visit.

Right from the get-go, I deduced that it was very anti orthodox tour. We began by putting on lab coats and slipper like things that covered our shoes (something we did not do for any of the other tours). After nearly a half hour of trying to get everyone to be grounded, we finally entered the factory. I was amazed at how close we were able to get to the robots. We watched, from as closed at a few feet away, as electronic chips and other various parts were assembled. Just like BMW, these robotic arms moved with incredible speed and precision. One thing I noticed about the production is how much thought when into the planning. The best example of this was one robot, which would hover less than an inch above the table. This was to prevent people from getting their fingers caught, which I would have never thought about. The amount of planning and thought spent on the manufacturing is truly incredible.

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My favorite, and possibly strangest, part of the tour was these small robots that roamed around the factory. The autonomous “scooters” carried parts to various areas of the factory. They are completely autonomous, which I found very cool. They seemed to serve as a precursor for autonomous vehicles (cars), a heavily invested topic of research for continental.

After concluding the company visit, we took a tour of Regensburg. This city, just like Augsburg, was very historic, even considered a World Heritage Site. It was very beautiful, with large connected buildings surrounding nearly all of the city. The city was surrounded by a river, which just added to the relaxed and historic vibe of the city. The focal point of Regensburg was the cathedral, which was massive and beautiful. I was astonished at how intricate the small details on the exterior of the church was. It was also very interesting to see how the design of the exterior changed based on when it was constructed. The church was constructed in a circular fashion rather than the standard “ground-up” method. Resultingly, the architecture changed around the outside based on the zeitgeist. It was interesting to be able to compare the different ages based on a single building.

The last part of the day that I wanted to mention was the food. I got Groestl mit Spiegelei, which was a classical Bavarian dish containing a fried egg, potato dumplings, and pork. It was one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten. I was originally hesitant to try new foods, but I am so glad that I did. This amazing dinner ended an amazing day.

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