European Escapades: Day 5

“Every new experience brings its own maturity and a greater clarity of vision”

~Indira Gandhi


Day 5 in Germany was enjoyable. Today we had two company visits, Webasto and BMW. Webasto was a lot more slow-paced which gave us some breaks. They had some delicious pretzels at Webasto, and we even got these amazing ginger shots. One thing that forced me to think was a situation that occurred when I went to the restroom in Webasto with my empty ginger shot bottle. There was a trash can in the bathroom, and on reflex, I went ahead and threw it away. When I went back to join the group, one of the company assistants was collecting all the glass ginger shot bottles from everyone. When she asked for mine, I had to embarrassedly admit that I had thrown away my glass bottle. At Pitt, sustainability is preached all the time. In my engineering class first semester, I had to work on a project to make Pitt greener. At the time, I thought it was a waste of my time, and I wished that I was learning about something else.

However, this experience forced me to think because if they can be more environmentally conscious in Europe, why not in America? I know that pollution is a necessary evil for manufacturing; however, small things like using glass bottles for water and collecting the bottles once empty could significantly improve the environment.

After a company presentation, we went to the center where they tested the conditions of sunroofs. In the testing process, they put the roofs in these chambers where they are exposed to extremely high and low temperatures. Then the state of the roof is checked. Some common flaws that may be spotted include changes in the color of the paint or bubbles that occur from incorrect gluing of the lamination underneath the paint layer. After touring Webasto, we took the bus to BMW headquarters, where we got a chicken sandwich for lunch outside. It was a gorgeous day, and it was nice to be outside for a bit. However, I was excessively sweating in my blazer from the heat. I didn’t expect Munich to be so hot!

BMW Headquarters in Munich

After lunch, we went into the BMW building, where we did a plant tour, followed by a museum tour and a Q&A session with a BMW worker. Everyone that we talked to was extremely knowledgeable and willing to answer questions. I especially loved the plant tour because we were able to see the large amount of atomization that BMW has implemented throughout its plants. There were tons of robots working on putting different parts of the car’s frame together. I liked the tour guide because he gave me a lot of insight into how he feels working for a big corporation like BMW. He discussed how he is pretty political and respects some of the decisions that BMW makes as a company. No company is perfect, but he mentioned that when there was an apartheide in South Africa, BMW was one of the few companies who voiced their opinion strongly and took actions so that their plant there would be inclusive to every kind of person. I also really enjoyed the museum tour, and the lady who gave the tour was lovely.

During the Q&A, I got the rest of my questions answered, which was extremely helpful since BMW is the company I was assigned. Even though the guy that held the Q&A only gave tours in the company, he had a master’s in engineering. He explained the physics of drag and aerodynamics behind why BMW shifted from having a shark nose form at the front of the car to a more rounded appearance. After a very long day, we boarded the bus and headed back to the hotel. After stopping by the convenience store, I went to bed. Thank you for taking the time to read this! Until next time!

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