Our fourth and final company visit of the week was Faurecia, which also happens to be my company. We had a slightly later start time today, which everyone was happy about. The factory is in Augsburg, so we just took the streetcar to get there, which only took about twenty minutes. There was some miscommunication from the company, so we did not know that we needed IDs. We all had our driver’s licenses though, so they accepted those, and we went in. We went on the tour first, and our tour guide mainly showed us the testing center of Faurecia. Before the tour started, we all had to wear special attire again, which included rubber shoe covers, glasses, and a white coat that some described as a “large dryer sheet.”
On the tour, I learned about component testing and the engine test bench. There are four types of component testing: bending hot, bending cold, burner, and shaker. All of these tests take about two to three weeks, but acoustic testing only takes about two to three days. In component testing, Faurecia mainly does total fatigue testing, where they heat the component up, hold the temperature, cool it, and then repeat the process 1000 times. The point of the testing is to discover the fatigue limit of the part and determine its safety factor. The most interesting part of the tour was the acoustic room, which was a soundproof room where cars’ sound systems are tested. There is only one in the facility, so they often have to rush through testing to be able to complete it within a few days.
After the tour, we had a presentation about the company. I learned that they are focusing on sustainable mobility and smart life on board, and that one vehicle in every three cars includes Faurecia technology, which is a pretty large statistic. Something that I have not heard any other company mention is that Faurecia has a 30% female workforce, but their goal is to hire more females in order to challenge and change their way of thinking, which I think is progressive of them but I am glad that they want to look at automobiles from a female’s perspective as well. Due to the recent decline in the automotive industry, Faurecia has expanded into the ship and commercial vehicle industry as well. In those industries, the company is focusing on clean mobility because of all the pollution that cars, ships, and commercial vehicles cause, which is a matter that definitely needs attention.
In the middle of the presentation, however, there was an unexpected change of subject. Two programs were presented to us: The Voluntary International Experience (V.I.E.) Program and the Graduate Program. None of us were eligible for either program, but I do not think that the presenters were aware of that fact. We were all a bit confused, and my group was a little taken aback by this random segment of the presentation.
We went to the University of Augsburg after Faurecia for lunch and a politics lecture afterwards. For lunch at the Mensa, I got almost the same food as I did the first time, which included chicken in a curry sauce and potatoes. I also got a tiramisu dessert, and everything was delicious as usual. One thing I noticed, however, is that the German students ate their French fries by cutting them with a fork and knife, which I found odd since we count French fries as finger foods. We also talked to the German students about different regional slang words that only people from certain areas are familiar with.
There was a bit of free time before the lecture, so after lunch Noemi, Laura, and Alicia took us to a café on campus. It was surprisingly crowded, so Frank, Sahana, and I just went to the lecture room earlier. The politics lecture was interesting, as the German political system is very different from the American system. Our speaker, Dr. Sebastian Greßler, supported the Green party and hearing his view of the political system was unique. The Green Party has become the second largest party in Germany, which is surprising because I assumed that there would be two dominant parties like there are in the United States, but it is easier for smaller parties to gain popularity in Germany.
After working on our final company presentation outline for a bit, Reid, Joe, and I headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit. It was really nice being in the hotel in the afternoon and having downtime because we have been so busy the entire week. I called my parents, and then a few of us went to Vapiano’s for dinner. I got the lasagna this time, which was excellent.
Overall, it was a more relaxing day, which was much-needed. Tomorrow, we are going to Munich, and everyone is very excited to be visiting one of the most popular European cities, so I cannot wait for all there is to see there!