Today we are going to our fourth site visit and the final one of this week. From the presentations given by the students I knew that one of Faurecia’s key products was designing interiors for the auto industry. After a quick tram ride we arrived in an industrial park that was home to various different corporations. Although there was a slight confusion with the type of identification to get into the facilities we eventually made it inside. I quickly realized that exhaust systems were another product that is specifically produced at the Augsburg site. Soon they gave us glasses, a jacket and large rubber coverings for our shoes. We were ready to start the tour and get to understand further processes that Faurecia takes in the production and testing of their products.
The first facility we arrived at was test center where they specifically test their products for certain customers. I found it very interesting that they are given certain specifications by the customer and a required to meet those, along with having to meet noise and emission regulations. The positioning and size of the exhaust system plays a major role in the performance of the product. Faurecia has the challenge of meeting requirements from different sources that sometimes oppose one another. We continued on the tour and entered an enclosed space with different shaped boards covering the wall. Most people immediately touched the boards to get an understanding of the purpose, but were quickly informed not to touch anything. We learned that this room was specifically designed to have zero outside noise pollution, which allows them to solely test the noise coming from the exhaust systems. We finished up the tour and made it back to the presentation room.
We were able to hear from three different employees that all play different roles in the company. Two of them discussed different programs that allow master students to become involved in the company through a rotational program. By the end of the presentation it was clear that they are heading in new directions with their products, such as ships. This is due to the growing technology of fully electric vehicles that do not require exhaust systems. This presentation and tour was slightly less interactive then the previous three which made the day a little more difficult. I was very impressed by the group members for Faurecia that asked insightful questions that kept me involved throughout the day.
Following the site visit we got on the efficient and prompt tram that would take us back to the University. After a quick lunch at the Mensa we met up in the room from the first day and got ready for our first and only lecture. The focus of this lecture diversified from what I had been learning the first days, specifically history and the auto industry. The focus of the lecture was the current political situation in Germany. _ was a member of the Green Party, but I felt he gave a good representation of the development in the German Bundestag and Bundesrat. He received one question about American politics and I was impressed by his extensive knowledge of our government system and his strong opinion. He stated that it will likely be a long time before the Democrats and Republicans enter a space that they will be willing to work together more fluidly, unlike Germany that as many different parties.
Since this was the earliest that the structured program ended, I was able to go the gym around the corner from the hotel with Nick. It had been about five days since we both had gone, but I was excited to finally have the chance to go. We both quickly realized we did not know the conversion from kg to lbs, so we merely had to guess the lbs by picking up the weights. After the gym we met up with some of the other Pitt students at Vapianos. This was definitely becoming our favorite restaurant on this trip. Traditional Bavarian food is good, but difficult to eat all the time so I always jump at the opportunity to go somewhere different.
Highlight of the Day: Finally being able to go to the gym!