Ingolstadt Factory and Audi Luxury Performance

October 12th, 2006

When I was in Germany on a mission I had the opportunity to take a VIP tour of the Audi factory in Ingolstadt. That was one of the best factory tours I have ever been on. I would have to say it was even better than the Jelly Belly factory tour because we got to walk right on the manufacturing floor. We got to lift some of the equipment used to assemble the cars. There were some spots where we had to wait for sparks to stop showering down onto the path in front of us so we could proceed. My two favorite parts were the slow-motion demonstration of how the seats are placed through the car door opening through a series of robotic arm movements that makes it just barely clear the edges. Then the robot replays the move at full-speed and it takes less than a second to get it in, even though I don’t then I could get it in on my own if given the chance. My second-favorite part was watching the final adjustments to the door alignment. A buff guy with tattoos and a measuring device would quickly but calmly measure how far off the door was from where it was supposed to be when closed, then he would open the door and hammer on it with the heel of his hand, close the door, and measure the adjustments he had made until he got it right. It just seemed so low-tech that it seemed out of place.

The adjoining museum showcased vintage as well as new luxury cars. They told the history of Audi in auto racing. You could see people showing up to literally drive their new cars right off the end of the production line. It made me really want one of their cars someday when I am rich and powerful.

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