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15.05.2014 | Exkursionen


"Excursion Hanover - Bremen - Hamburg" or "16 students - 7 days - pallet of impressions"

Meyer Werft

Harald Augustin, Patrick Schreier

For a good week we, students of the MSc Operations Management master's course of study in Production and Logistics, Professor Harald Augustin and Mr. Bothor, assistant at the VETC laboratory, were on the road in northern Germany. The goal of the excursion was to visit extraordinary companies from industries far away from the automotive industry, which is certainly one of the most dominant industries in the south of Germany.

BIG ONE WORLD - Shot No. 1

At the beginning, a one-day stopover at the CeMAT trade fair, the world's largest logistics trade fair, in Hanover, Germany, was made to look at the latest technical developments in intralogistics. In addition to a wealth of information and impressions of highly automated logistics systems, the all-inclusive opening ceremony of the CeMAT could also be attended using VIP tickets sponsored by viastore systems GmbH.

Arriving in the home of the Bremen Town Musicians, we spent three days on a ship anchored in the Weser River, which was converted by the youth hostel into a dormitory for large groups.


On the first day of the tour we immersed ourselves in the world of the really big production facilities: the world of shipbuilding. First of all, we were shown how up to 5,000 cabins, i. e. the wet rooms and prefabricated cabins, are produced each year for cruise ships at Europe's largest manufacturer of cruise ship cabins EMS PreCab. And this is not done in the classic construction site assembly, as is often the case for such large products, but rather in a one-piece flow principle in an assembly line interlinked through several halls.

Following the cabins, the tour continued to Meyer Werft, Europe's largest shipyard for cruise ships, which builds post-Panamax class ships that currently cannot pass through the Panama Canal due to their size. Ships are built for shipping companies such as AIDA Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and others. Currently, the world's second largest cruise liner was lying in the building dock: the Quantum of the Seas (GT: 167,800, length: 348 m, width: 41.4 m; decks: 18; engine power: 67,200 kW; max. speed: 22 kn; number of passenger cabins: 2,094; passengers: 4,188).


The following day we explored Europe's largest high-bay warehouse: the Tchibo warehouse, which is operated by BLG. The high-bay warehouse wings alone store around 210,000 double-height and thus around 420,000 standard euro-pallets (CCG1 size). New since 2013 is the e-commerce fulfilment centre, where all online trading for Tchibo is handled on an area of 30,000 square metres with more than 160 fully automated picking stations. This enables BLG to cover all of Tchibo's sales channels and supply them logistically. In the order picking area we were allowed to lend a hand ourselves and pick a few orders for a short time - then it quickly became clear to everyone that we still had a lot of practice to get anywhere near the performance of BLG's employees.


In the afternoon, we immersed ourselves in a "miniature world" of production and were able to see tiny little boxes moving on cute conveyor technology in contrast to BLG's large pallets and packages: Boxes filled with tea bags. Germany's largest tea bag producer, Laurens Spethmann Holding AG & Co. KG (LSH), had invited us for lunch tea and more to Buchholz in the production facilities of Milford. In true style we enjoyed a cup of hot tea, then dressed in white lab coats because of the food hygiene regulations in the production and off we went to the production facility where tea bag teas are made for the brands Meßmer, Milford and private labels. In addition to loose tea, LSH produces a total of more than 11 billion tea bags of black, green, fruit and herbal teas per year - in purely arithmetical terms more than 30 million tea bags per day, 1.25 million per hour, 20,000 per minute or 333 tea bags per second - and supplies more than a third of Germany with tea. The production machines we visited produce 6 tea bags per second and are real all-rounders: cutting paper, folding bags without gluing, sewing on the label (just like at home on the sewing machine - only much faster), filling the box and sealing it. The process continues via conveyor belts in model railway format to the automatic carton station, where the boxes are packed into sales units and then automatically palletized by robots. In the dispatch warehouse, which distributes all brands of tea from LSH in Germany, we were able to take a look at the manually operated high-bay warehouse and the picking area.

On Friday we continued our "pleasure tour" and explored the import of coffee for which Hamburg is famous. We visited Germany's largest green coffee warehouse at green coffee specialist NKG Kala. Their warehouse handles about 50 percent of the coffee consumed in Germany every year. The coffee is handled but not processed because - we learned - this would be assessed differently in terms of customs and thus tax law. In addition to storage, the coffee is washed, steamed or otherwise processed according to customer requirements. The tour with a very humorous American guide rounded off the sightseeing programme in style.


The last of the BIG FIVE was again a very big one: AIRBUS, Europe's largest aircraft manufacturer. There, the enormous dimensions were particularly impressive in every respect: a factory site as large as 500 football pitches, the recently landed transport aircraft "Beluga" with 1,400 m² of usable space, which is used for the transport of the individual parts between Toulouse and Hamburg, five A-380 standing on the apron at a unit price of about EUR 400 million (a bargain compared to the EUR 750 million cruise ship), in order to be driven to the hangar for the interior fitting in the next few days. The pre and final assembly of the A-320 will be inspected in detail over all assembly stages. Once again, this is a slow-paced flow production process, because such a large high-tech bird needs its time until kilometres of cable have been laid and everything has been installed.

A visit to the giants of trade fairs, logistics, the oceans, pleasure and the skies has shown us what the world beyond automobile production looks like: exciting, challenging and always worth a trip or even a later job.

he last day of the excursion was used for a city tour and harbour tour in Hamburg, to end the exhausting but interesting week while looking at container ships, harbour facilities and shipyards.

For the students, the excursion was once again a good opportunity to experience an exciting and enjoyable week together, far away from the everyday life at the university, before the paths will separate again from August onwards due to the upcoming final theses.

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