Day 5 (May 11): Assembly Lines & Griddy Lines

Today was the earliest and longest day yet but definitely one of the most fun days so far. After an amazing hotel breakfast again, we headed to the outskirts of Munich for our third company visit: Webasto. Webasto was another one of the companies that we had never heard of before, but their products were very interesting. They produce sunroofs, electric vehicle chargers, and battery packs. Before the tour, they offered us vitamin shots—unusual, but they were really good! During our tour, we walked through the testing facility for the sunroofs. Our tour guide showed us all the different types of testing chambers that they put the sunroofs in, such as one that shakes them to see if it withstands bumpy terrain, an audio test to check for rattling, and a water test to ensure safety in rain, and a glass shatter test. I think it was very interesting to see how much rigorous testing they put their sunroofs through to make sure they are perfect for carmakers. I was surprised at how much attention they gave to just one component of the entire car.

After Webasto, we headed further into the city of Munich to the Olympic Park, which is right next to everyone’s most awaited company visit of all: BMW! It’s simply impossible to describe how amazing it was to be in the complex of BMW’s headquarters and factory—from the unique contemporary design of BMW World to the quad-cylindrical tower of BMW’s HQ that puts Pitt’s Tower B to shame and the bowl-shaped BMW Museum. The entire area on a hot sunny day was absolutely beautiful. After a quick griddy line for TikTok in front of the buildings, we began the factory tour. This factory was by far one of the coolest places I’ve ever been and the most fascinating factory tour. We were able to see the hundreds of robots picking up car bodies, welding, and sautering. I had never seen something as impressive as this so up close. I kept wondering about how they had to program each robot to perform each task in a specific manner and precisely weld and build the car. We also saw the area where they install seats, and it was interesting to learn that BMW is one of the few companies that produce their own seats. I also found the painting process to be very interesting. BMW uses electro-static painting which is meant to reduce paint waste because it uses the exact amount of paint needed. Although less action-packed than the factory, the museum was fun to see the history of how different BMW models evolved.

Today’s back-to-back company visits made the day-long but very worth it. Both companies had fascinating tours and gave me lots of important insight into the automobile supply chain and the manufacturing process. After we made the journey back to Augsburg, we stopped by the Turkish kebab restaurant for some authentic Döner sandwiches. The flavors in this dish were the perfect end to one of the best days. There are more exciting blogs coming up soon!

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