Tag funf: Audi All Day

May 9th

We had an early wake up call for the drive to Ingolstadt, meaning most of us slept on the drive to Audi. When we arrived, there was an introductory presentation with general facts about the company Audi by our tour guide. She told us that the headquarters and an assembly facility were located at this site, with some suppliers literally across the street, delivering straight to the assembly line. The site in Ingolstadt is literally larger than the country Monaco, employing more than 44,000 people, though there are three shifts, two of which rotate, so not all of those people are there at once. The complex and buildings themselves are so large that company buses and bikes are used for transportation between and within buildings.

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Silly group photo in the Audi forum.

Next up was the tour of parts of the production facilities, beginning with the body shop. This part was primarily robots spot welding together prefabricated parts and panels for the body of the cars. I was amazed at how smoothly the machines and how versatile the robots were with relation to the variations of car models being assembled. Obviously, the kind of robots I made in high school were of an indescribably lower caliber than the robots made by expert engineers for multi-billion-dollar companies, but I was still wildly impressed with the robots used in these assembly lines.

One thing I’ve noticed since Hirschvogel, and especially during both the Conti and Audi tours is that I find myself much more interested in the machines used to create the products at these facilities over the products themselves. I wanted to find out how each robot worked, what kind of typical maintenance might need to be performed on the robots, how they could be modified to accommodate different car designs, what kinds of sensors are used, and how the sensors are used, among many other things.

After the body shop we visited one of the assembly lines, where the car bodies slowly moved across the floor while workers at each station added a new component to the car. I really liked how people worked together with the machines, whether it was a robot handing off windshields to the assembly line workers, or a suspended seat that allows workers to sit in the vehicle before it has seats, moving along the floor at the same rate as the conveyor belt, even featuring a cup holder.

Once the guided tour ended, we had time for lunch at the restaurant in the Audi forum, followed by souvenir shopping in the Audi store and wandering through the Audi museum. There were so many options for lunch, but it all tasted really good. The museum was relatively small, but it was fun to look at and learn about the company’s history.

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One of the many, many cars in the Audi musuem.

We finished our time in Ingolstadt with a talk by Peter Will about Audi as a company, and how it’s changed into a premium progressive brand since it began making cars. The other focus of the talk was the importance of electrification, with a focus on Audi’s new e-tron, their first fully electric car. I found it interesting that customers didn’t want the design to look super new or modern compared to typical cars now, though it makes sense. I was also surprised to learn that the e-tron was featured in Avengers: Endgame, which I saw just last week.

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The small camera replacing the side mirrors on the e-tron.

After the talk, and the ride back to Augsburg, Justin took some of to a restaurant that serves Döner sandwiches, the Turkish equivalent to a Greek gyro, now a classic dish in Germany. For an unreasonably good price of €4.50, the sandwiches are filling and tasty. Plus, the waiter was very friendly and gave us all a complimentary glass of Turkish black tea.

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The famed döner sandwich.

I don’t really know what I was expecting by the company tour at Audi, but it definitely blew me out of the water, making for a very satisfying day with a satisfyingly delicious ending.

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The Audi napkins.
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Maps of the Audi museum.

Today’s sign or design(s) of the day are the graphics on the napkins at the Audi restaurant, and the maps of the Audi museum. I found three variations of the napkin design, with a drawing of a “disassembled” food, either a walnut, orange, or tomato, and directions underneath describing how to prepare each food in a certain way. I like the way the “blown up” foods are shown with perspective, but after translating the directions for preparation, I wish the drawings were more directly related to the directions, though I do like the consistency in the layout between the designs.

The bright colors in the design for the museum maps are what first caught my eye, and the overall layout is what sealed the deal. Plus, I like how the German and English language maps are exactly the same except for the color.

[Napkin translation]

Filleted Oranges

Step by Step

  1. With a filleting knife, cut off the top and bottom of the orange, so that the pulp is visible. Then peel off the remaining peel all around. It is important that the white skin is also completely removed.
  2. Now carefully remove the individual filets along the white skin.

Peeled Tomatoes

Step by Step

  1. On the underside of the tomato, cut a cross in the skin.
  2. Then soak the tomato in boiling water for a short time.
  3. Remove the tomato and rinse with ice cold water. Now the skin can be easily removed with a knife.

Cracked Walnuts

Step by Step

  1. Soak the nuts in boiling water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Then you can crack the nuts more easily with the nutcracker. The nutshells are more easily broken and the nutmeat remains undamaged.

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