Day 4: Continental Produces More than just Tires

Day two of site visits has arrived and we are visiting the beautiful town of Regensburg and the company Continental. I had high expectations for this day because Arielle was telling us that this was her favorite day at breakfast in the morning. The two hour bus ride was the perfect opportunity to catch up on the lack of sleep, so I was asleep within minutes of being on the bus. I woke up just in time to look out the window as we arrived into town.

The guided tour was the first thing on the agenda for the day so we met out tour guide in the center of town. She was so passionate about talking about the Roman history and how the Danube divided them from the Barbarians. We traveled through the cobblestone streets and marveled at the different architecture and the variety of colors that were surrounding us during the walk. The presence of Catholic churches in Germany is very prevalent. This Cathedral was especially dark compared to the first one we visited because of the minimal amount of windows. The tour was not very long because we had to take a bus to our site visit at Continental.

When thinking about what this visit would entail I was imagining a heavy focus on their tire manufacturing. However, this was not the case. We were welcomed into their board room with a display of drinks and information regarding the company. After an introduction we were able to go and eat a meal in their dining facilities. Following the meal their was a second presentation that dived deeper into the exciting innovation and technology that Continental emulates. For the tour we were given specific instructions about dress code and what was allowed inside. We were given jackets, shoe coverings and headphones before walking into the facilities. We were warned about a test that we would have to take to ensure their would be no interference from our clothes or bodies with their machines. Finally after there were many failures of passing the test due to the shoe coverings, everyone made it in. I was genuinely confused when the tour guide started showing us the manufacturing of circuit boards. I was expecting rubber and tires but instead was shown a whole different side to the company. All of the sudden there were “robots” carrying materials and supplies guiding themselves throughout the plant. I felt like I had jumped ten years ahead and was looking into the future. The tour guide was excellent at explaining the innovation within the plant itself and also with the products the produce. These robots for example are an impressive way to make the actual manufacturing of their car safety technology more efficient. They are also constantly finding ways to improve their sold technology in order to make each car ride safer. Although this was not what I expected from this visit, I was intrigued with the entire company.

Following the visit, we took the bus back into the beautiful town of Regensburg. A coffee was immediately desired by most people, so the three German students guided us to the closest location. Although I was planning to grab a coffee and explore the town we ended up talking to the German students for an hour about every facet of their culture. Even though the town would have been interesting to explore, getting to know Lucca, Mateos and Freddie was an exciting experience. It was soon time for our group dinner and I decided on ordering the Grostl mit Speigelei. I honestly did not know what it was but I was willing to try a new Bavarian dish. Surprisingly, this meal was my favorite traditional meal that we had eaten so far! We had to make it back to the bus soon after and finally departed for our two hours bus ride home.

Highlight of the Day: Plant tour at Continental

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