It was an early morning for everyone in order to meet by 7:25 to travel to Ingolstadt for the Audi site visit. The longer bus ride allowed time to rest before this big day began. I was assigned Audi to research and analyze for the final presentation, so I was even more excited to get this day started. After researching Audi, I was starting to learn more about different important aspects of the company. My group got together to prepare our questions to make sure we could learn as much as possible from this day.
The day at Audi began with an extensive tour of the beginning to end process of the production lines for their cars. This process always seemed extremely complicated so I never truly understood how an entire vehicle came together. We started off watching roughly seven robots work together to begin the first stages of the car. We continued throughout the plant and slowly watched the car become closer to the final product. Most of the beginning steps involved mostly robots. We were not allowed to see the area where they paint the cars because of the extremely controlled dust free environment. We made it to the next part of the building and watched the conveyor belt of cars travel through the facilities as workers added interior cabling, dashboards, windows and other smaller parts. All of the workers had a specific task and they performed each strategically and with minimal error. An interesting question that was brought up was about their goals of cars produced per shift. TV’s were displayed around the plant that showed the goal and the number actually produced. Our tour guide stressed that even if they are not at the goal the process is not sped up due to the high standards they have for quality and safety. We made it to the end of the line and saw various complete A3, A4, A5 and Q3 that are specifically made at the Ingolstadt site.
Following the tour we had plenty of time to explore the museum and buy lunch at their cafeteria. Now it was time for the important part; hearing the presentation from Patrick Will and Guido Bauer. The topics of focus were innovation, urbanization and the zero emission goal. These topics were spot on to what we wanted to focus on within our final presentation. After four to five pages of notes the presentation came to an end. I was so impressed with dual focus on innovation in more than just cars as well as the core belief of sticking to the Audi roots. I know everyone enjoyed this visit because of how prevalent the information was and (for some of the guys especially) seeing premium models of cars not yet in the US. After our group picture we headed to the bus and departed for the hotel.
Dinner was on our own tonight. The only student that speaks fluent German on the trip, Justin, mentioned a Mediterranean sandwich shop called Doner. I was not overly excited at first and was hesitant to order the sandwich, but was very happy that I did. I have enjoyed getting to know the other 19 students from Pitt on this trip in so many different ways. Whether an engineering student is explaining something I did not understand, or we are trying a new restaurant that I would have never picked, I never imagined that I would become close with so many people that I never even met while at school. I am looking forward to each new day this trip offers and am hoping time slows down in order to enjoy remaining days on this trip.
Highlight of the Day: Audi Plant tour