Today is our fifth and final site visit of the trip. We took a short bus ride to SGL Carbon, which is located not to far outside of Augsburg. The last visit at Faurecia was not the best, so there was much less anticipation and excitement for this trip compared to the first three. However, this ended up being one of the best company visits from the whole trip!
The limited knowledge I had about SGL carbon came from the first presentations. I especially remember Ravi explaining the process of creating carbon fiber and specifically calling it “beautiful.” Soon after arriving we entered in a spacious room and took our seats to wait for the first presentation. Since I am not an engineer, I do not take as much interest in some of the processes that we have been exploring the past two weeks. However, the combination of the presenter and Ravi’s clear passion for this field, I was hooked. The presentation gave me enough details to understand more about the business development aspects of SGL, as well as their work with graphite and carbon fiber.
We split off into two groups and started our tour of the facilities. This specific location is mainly and research and development center. We started at the very beginning of the process of making carbon fiber. I watched as this extremely soft white material was fed through a very large machine. As we continued down the line the material turned into a brittle black line. The next part of the tour we got to see how the pieces of carbon fiber and put together to create very strong smooth materials.
The most interesting part of the tour was the second to final section we visited. This area was where they focus on creating specialized patterns for the strips of carbon fiber to optimize materials and strength of the end good. We were able to see the samples and get to feel how strong they were. I appreciated the ability to actually see and touch the final products, which no other site visit allowed us to do.
Following the tour we were served lunch. I had no idea what they served actually was. It was certain meat wrapped in a white cabbage. I was starving at this point so hate most of the meal. This however was a mistake because I felt sick for majority of the rest of the day. When we got back to the hotel, I had to get ready quickly to go the University.
The Pitt Audi members met in the lobby, then we all grabbed a Starbucks coffee before getting on the tram. Since the Augsburg students are still in classes it was hard to find a time that everyone could meet. We stayed at the University for about four hours and got the chance to see each member of our group at different times. The Pitt group felt good about the amount of work we had done and decided to head back to the hotel.
All the girls decided to get dinner together at a Mexican restaurant, Enchiladas. I was not sure how Mexican food in Germany would be, but we decided to try it. Majority of our table go chicken tacos and everyone loved it. After a long day of site visits and project work it was so much fun being able to have a calm dinner with the eight girls on the trip.