Today (May 11th) was one of our longest days because we visited two companies, Webasto and BMW. Webasto makes roof, thermo, battery, and charging systems for the automobile industry. Their presentation was very informative and I learned a lot. They mentioned how they have to adjust to different countries’ regulations when making their products. This was something I found interesting because it is a part of the supply chain I had never thought about before. For example, a charging plug for a car in Germany could be different from one in America. Since the company makes products in many countries, these factors play a huge role in their production process.
Afterward, we headed to Munich to visit BMW. Before we started our tour, we had lunch and I had a pretzel along with my sandwich. It was really good, and I never knew that it was common to serve a pretzel sliced in half with butter spread in the middle.
Then we headed over to the BMW factory and museum. We took a tour of the factory and it was crazy! There are so many robots! Pictures were not allowed but I wish you could have seen what we were looking at. Almost all of their production was done by robots. In certain parts of the factory, there were so many robots in such a small space. Our tour guide said they use software to 3D model the robots in the space. This way they could have the highest robot density and place the them in an efficient and least space consuming way.
We were able to watch the cars go down assembly lines where their aluminium frames were molded, assembled, welded, and painted. It was incredible to see a robot arm pick up an entire car effortlessly. It was also incredible to see a multiple robots welding and drilling a car together in only a few seconds. Afterward, we were given a tour of the BMW museum and got to see some beautiful cars and motorcycles. We also had a talk with a BMW engineer about sustainability and the future of electronic and atonomotous vehicles. I found their effort to be sustainable the most interesting. Every building and factory uses green energy and they recycle all materials so it is a “closed loop”.
Overall, the day was long and my legs could not stand any longer, but it was enjoyable and informative. It was really interesting seeing the processes behind a company that makes more specific parts, compared to a big cooperate company like BMW.