Never Want to Get Audi (Out) of Germany (Day 5)

Today started with breakfast again, the new thing I tried today was lactose free fruit yogurt and it honestly wasn’t bad at all which surprised me. I also had a waffle again cause I have been loving it, so I decided to include a picture finally.

a picture of my breakfast today

We then got on the bus to Ingolstadt, which is where Audi is located.

The Audi Forum in Ingolstadt

When we got there, I was shocked by the sheer size of the plant. We got to look at some of the cars while we waited, and they looked so fancy I was afraid to get too close.

a fancy car that I was intimidated by

After getting there, they showed us a video about Audi, including its different locations and what they do at each location. During this video, I found out their Ingolstadt was their headquarters helping me make sense of their large size. Their video was very modern and helped me get a little bit of a better understanding of the company.

We then got to take a tour of the Audi factory. I sadly do not have any pictures of the factory as we had to put our phones into lockers and were not allowed to take photos. This site was so large we had to take a bus to our first location, which was the body shop. They make the bodies of the cars with steel and aluminum and she showed us how they get rid of the waste which was interesting to me, prompting me to think about whether it would be cheaper for them to have their own steel manufacturing sector that way they wouldn’t have to spend money on transporting metal scraps. I asked Dr. Feick about this and he explained that the company has to consider whether it is more expensive to produce the steel themselves or to outsource it to suppliers. In this case, it is more cost efficient to outsource it, which makes sense for the decision not to produce it and to continue to send back the scraps. When we got there, I first surprised by how many more robots were working rather than people. The crew was on their lunch break, but the machines were still working rapidly and continuously. In the body shop, they were putting together the framework of the car. It was interesting to see that this was the most efficient way to go in terms of building the body of the car.

We talked about the paint shop although we didn’t get a chance to go there because it is still under wraps, but I was really fascinated in that as it was dust free, and I really wanted to know how they kept it that way. When I asked our tour guide how the paint shop keeps the facility dust free, she said they had multiple layers to it. What she meant by that was everyone had to change into special outfits almost like hazmat suits, and then the dirt and extra dust and such would be sucked out of this area. They would enter one more section like this before they could actually enter the shop. Also, since an even coat is applied, I wondered what kind of machine they used to get it so even looking?

We then went to the assembly line where the cars are already painted and are getting all the parts assembled at this point. They have robots performing some actions like installing the engine, getting the front and back windows, taking the doors off the cars and of course other jobs. But there are also people and manual work being done on the cars such as installing the cables, physically putting the front and back windows onto the car and making sure each of the parts are being installed correctly. I really enjoyed getting to see the assembly line as you are seeing the body of the car being transformed into a whole car that people will be driving in no time.

After these factory tours, we were given time to get lunch, go to the store, and visit the museum. For lunch, I got some vegetables, a pretzel, and some yogurt. Their cafeteria was really nice, and I enjoyed that they had so many choices. After lunch, I visited the store and got my dad a mug but while there it was quite obvious that Audi was a car company that produced premium cars and such. The museum was pretty cool as they had it chronological order by floor, so we got a chance to see the cars like a timeline.

one of the older cars from the special exhibit at the Audi museum

They had these demonstrations showing how the first airbags worked, and how front wheel, back wheel, all-wheel drive comparing them when driving up a hill, which I really enjoyed because they helped explain why certain car features are made the way they are.

We then met up as a group for a presentation from one of the employees at Audi. One of his main points was that Audi is a premium progressive company, and he talked about how this affects what features they have in and on their cars and such. One member of our group asked a question regarding making autonomous ambulances but his answer to this was that they are definitely working on autonomous vehicles but for a vehicle such as an ambulance would not fit under premium progressive so they would leave the manufacturing of such a vehicle to another company in the Volkswagen Group.

After the presentation, we made our way back to the bus and after getting back to Augsburg some of us went to get dinner. We decided to get Doñer for dinner, which is a type of Turkish sandwich which is not something I expected to be a popular food in Germany, but it was really good, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. After another long and exhausting day, we hung out for a bit and ended our exciting day at Audi. 

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