May 9th, 2019
Today was the earliest day we had. I switched up what I had for breakfast: waffle, fruit and a hard boiled egg. We left on the bus at 7:15 and the tour was planned for 9:15. We got another day of great weather with clear sky and around 50 degrees. I think this was the tour everybody was most excited for, even myself. We knew that touring a plant where the actual production occurs would be very exciting and seeing all the parts from the other companies come together. Right when we walked in we were all impressed by the capacity of the whole site. It was open, with multiple large buildings with all windows. The first building we went into to sign in was all glass and filled with some of the new colorful models.
The day started with a video done by Audi and a simulated tour of the plant. At the Inglostadt location Audi A3, A4, Q7, and A5 are manufactured. The entire plant is larger than a small country which is really impressive to hear. We were told that this specific plant produces 2,400 cars in just one day on a three shift schedule.
Then our tour guide Matina, began with the guided tour. If it wasn’t already obvious that this plant was gigantic, we had to take a bus, to get from one location to another. Driving through it felt like its own little city with all the people, tall buildings, and the sheer size.
First walking in to step one of production, we were presented with robots all around us. They were working all completely in sync nonstop. Just working with the smallest parts of the automobiles, the robots were so precise I had never seen something like it before. Thinking about how long it would take to build and program all the robots I saw throughout the day was insane to try and understand. We continued throughout all the steps of production. Through each step, we saw the amount of autonomous robots decrease, and number of more manual production grow. Towards the final production phases we saw more teams of about 10 people, placing in specific cables and interior parts to the frame of the car. At this point the car has already gone through the paint shop and the doors have been removed so we were seeing the very last parts of manufacturing.
After the tour we ended up back in the same building as before. We now had free time for lunch in the cafeteria and a tour of the museum they had regarding the history of Audi. Here they had a self serving options like pasta, grilled station, and classic Bavarian. I got a salad from the salad bar and some of the grilled vegetables. We ate for a little then decided to take a walk through the museum.
The museum started with cars from the early 90’s and finished with their more recent innovations. I loved getting the chance to see how the automobile industry has grown and changed for such a powerful company like Audi. They started like everybody else with a coach and now are looking towards automation and electrification of their models.
We ended our day at Audi with a presentation with Patrick Will, a member of the Urbanization division of Audi. He explained the companies plans with autonomous ride sharing and urbanization in new cities for the company. It is becoming a trend to see that these companies view the electric car as the car of the future. At each site visit we see bow they each view an aspect of the industry’s future differently based on what products they are producing. I’m learning so much about the aspects necessary to remain successful in such a difficult industry, and each company thinks that it takes innovation, electrification, and a movement towards autonomy.
Following the presentation was the bus ride back to Augsburg. For dinner, a group of us tried Arkadas which is known for its döner and sandwiches. It was really really good and I know some people even planned to go back the next day!
After that we went back to the hotel to blog and get ready for the last site visit of the week at Faurecia! Tomorrow marks the hallway point and I cannot believe we have already been here for almost 7 days! I never want to leave!
Tomorrow: Faurecia site visit and a politics lecture at the University