Day nine is the day we would be visiting KUKA which is probably the site visit I had become most excited for. I was excited mainly because at all the other companies we visited they had at least one KUKA robot present, so I was interested in seeing the company that seemed to be a backbone for all the others. Although before visiting KUKA we headed to the University of Augsburg for a political talk and lunch. For lunch we had the opportunity to eat at the cafeteria there which I found very interesting. For lunch I grabbed a bowl of pasta, some veggies, a small salad, and some fruit and desert. One thing I noticed that was different than in America was that on my receipt I had been charged for my Ketchup, I found this weird as in America ketchup is free while in Germany I guess they are charged for each packet they take. Another thing I noticed was how us American students took a lot more food than the Germans. While us Americans had roughly four items and finished maybe half of each, all of the German students seemed to only take one or two items and finished all of it. This was interesting to me and made me think about how much food I would take next time I went to the cafeteria.
After lunch we then headed to the political talk and after that we headed to KUKA for out site visit of the day. Upon arriving to KUKA we watched a demonstration of the robots in which they moved around various blocks which had videos displayed on them. I was very impressed by this demonstration as it appeared that the robots were very close together but they seemed to be programmed perfectly so that they never once ran into each other or knocked a block over.
After the impressive demonstration we then headed over to see the new robot that KUKA was creating which had seven joints. Learning about this robot was interesting as I actually began to understand why so many joints were needed, although I’m still confused exactly about how many joints are in my body, the information did help me to understand how the robot was similar to a human arm.
Also, while we were looking at this robot and another someone must have touched the robot and I was surprised by how quickly the light came on and the alarm went off because someone touched the robot. Luckily no one got in trouble for bumping the robot but it was interesting to see the alarm system go off and to see the fear in the person who bumped the robot when it did.
Once the viewing of the robots was over we then headed towards the factory where we would be given a tour. One thing I noticed at KUKA was that while at other companies where KUKA robots were building the company’s product, at KUKA there were people building their product. This was interesting as I noticed KUKA seemed to be the company where I saw the most workers on the factory floor during the tour. I was also curious as to why this was seeing as a lot of the jobs people were doing seemed to be able to be done by a KUKA robot, like painting the robots.
After visiting KUKA and getting the tour and presentation we then headed back to the hotel where I immediately went to bed for a nap as the extent of the trip seemed to be finally catching up to me. After waking up about an hour later I found that I was very thirsty so I headed out to buy a bottle of water. It was in that moment that I had learned I had made a huge mistake.
Unlike in America where everything seemed to be open 24/7, especially pharmacies like CVS or Rite Aid, in Germany everything closes around 6 pm, and everything except food stores are closed on Sunday. I learned that this was because the people of southern Germany were still very religious in the Catholic faith and therefore still treated Sunday as a holy day so everything was closed. This of course caused an issue to me as I had no where to buy a bottle of water, so after walking around for about an hour and trying the grocery store, the pharmacy, and a bunch of restaurants I found the one store that was still open. Good old McDonalds. Lucky for me McDonalds was open to roughly one am and therefore I was able to buy a bottle of water. Although I had wasted a good hour of my time walking around looking for water, the walk was very nice, and it provided me with the opportunity to learn more about German culture along with gave me a chance to see Augsburg at night. I even was able to take a nice photo of the town hall during the night time.
After getting my water I then headed back to the hotel where I once again tried to pack my souvenirs in my luggage, and once again failed, and went to bed frustrated but excited for the next day.