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What I saw and experienced in the Rolls-Royce factory.

From:Internet Info Agency 2019-07-11 17:11:37

It is a glory to have the opportunity to visit the Rolls-Royce factory. On June 27, 2019, when I was on a business trip to Munich, I traveled to London, with another media colleague, and went to Goodwood Town from Heathrow Airport to visit the Rolls-Royce factory.

It took about two hours from Heathrow Airport to Goodwood. As the annual Goodwood Speed Carnival was about to be held in the area, the preparations for the festival were in the final stages. The one-mile-long track was made up of one-meter square wheat straw, and there were signs of “No Fire” everywhere.

The hotel we stayed in was called Goodwood INN, just neighbor to the track. This hotel looks like a country house in the British TV series from the outside. It is very old-fashioned. However, the facilities inside the hotel are quite modern, and the swimming pool and gym are all available. In the evening, a young guy with a delicate beard, Terrence, came to the hotel to discuss with us the schedule of the next day's visit to the factory.

The next morning, Terrence drove us to the Rolls-Royce factory in a Phantom, just minutes from Goodwood INN. On the red brick wall in front of the Rolls-Royce factory gate, the golden "Rolls-Royce Motor" with black marble background is conspicuous. After entering the door, we saw U-shaped building groups in front. The highest floor was about four. It is said that the office of Rolls-Royce’s president Thorsten is at the highest point of the first group. Then the car went to the left and went straight to the main entrance of the company. Because I had just met with Thorsten in Munich before, I didn't visit him this time. After all, the main purpose of our trip is to walk into and visit Rolls-Royce factory.

In the reception hall, an old British gentleman named David warmly welcomed us. He humorously told us that he only speaks English. The old gentleman told us the story of the two main founders of Rolls-Royce. His tone and eyesight seemed to explain the past of his family. He said: "Whether in my heart, or in the hearts of my parents, Rolls-Royce is a symbol of authority, it is extremely solemn and respectable." David spent a long time introducing the company's founder's biography so that we could feel the power of inheritance when we entered the workshop. The pioneers laid a solid professional foundation for the establishment of Rolls-Royce, and it was because of obsession with machinery and power that Rolls-Royce has always been unique in the automobile kingdom.

Today, when automobile production has entered the era of intelligence, the production of Rolls-Royce still relies entirely on labor. In the production hall, we did not see a robot. David said that almost all of the work in Rolls-Royce was done manually, even for large parts such as engines, where workers manually pushed the forklift to move, not by the conveyor belt. He said: "The machines have many advantages. They may be more precise, labor-saving and work more efficiently, but the machine has no life and soul. What Rolls-Royce made is not just a simple transportation tool but an art with traffic function."

At the Rolls-Royce factory, there are as many as 48 kinds of wood used to make beautiful interiors. In principle, each Rolls-Royce car uses only wood from the same tree.

Leather is an indispensable choice for a sophisticated, comfortable and durable interior, and that is why leather is one of the most sophisticated components of Rolls-Royce. The leather used in the Rolls-Royce must reach a rigid standard. David raised a question to us: “Do you know why Rolls-Royce must use the cowhide in the Alps Mountains in southern Bavaria?” He proudly said: “The cattle we use can neither be bitten by mosquitoes nor be trapped with wire. Because the cowhide bitten by the mosquitoes will be smashed, and the captive cows often rub the barbed wire, then, the quality of the leather will be greatly reduced. The altitude of the mountains in southern Bavaria is more than 3,000 meters, this height is difficult for mosquitoes to fly up, and the low temperature is also difficult for mosquitoes to survive, and most of cattle there are free-range.”

In the leather workshop, we saw that a piece of cowhide was skillfully laid on a large platform by a worker. He first carefully stroked the entire piece of cowhide by hand. I curiously asked David: "I have visited some car leather workshops. In most cases, they put a piece of cowhide on the platform and then used laser scanning to check the quality of the leather. Why does Rolls-Royce trust workers’ hands?" He replied: "We also have laser scanning machines. But in Rolls-Royce, everyone always believes in workers first, because people feel more sensitive than machines. Experienced workers only need to touch the entire piece of cowhide to indicate where there are defects or uneven thickness. After the end of this process, we let the laser detect it.”

The appearance has a special meaning for the Rolls Royce. Another deep impression left by the factory was that every Rolls-Royce was different. David told us: "There is no identical Rolls-Royce in the world. What color you see is just the one you want most. Before the car delivered, the Rolls-Royce workers have polished 45 different pigments on the body-in-white. The total weight of the paint on the car body can reach 45 kg.

When it comes to the color of the car, David told us two real stories. There was an American rich woman who came to Rolls Royce with her own dog hair and asked them to match the color of the car she ordered. Rolls-Royce did a good job of this task. The American rich woman was also satisfied and said that if the dog unfortunately dies in the future, he would buy another one and order one more Rolls-Royce in the color of the dog. Another story is that a customer in the United States took a flower from his garden and sent it to the Rolls-Royce headquarters. He hoped that the car he ordered would be the same as the flower. Of course, Rolls-Royce also completes the task perfectly. The flower is now still on the display wall at the paint workshop. There are also a variety of quirky ideas on the color display wall. Anyway, the thoughts of the rich can't be understandable for us.

For the Rolls-Royce is handmade, the number of working positions in the factory is much less than the factory of the general production car. However, we found a place on the right side of the middle of the workshop is really special. It was a transparent confined room which looked like an operating room where workers wore coveralls with gas masks. I learnt later that in the Rolls-Royce factory, the installation of dashboards needs to be done in an absolutely sterile environment.

The process of assembling the engine and the car body is also special. Here we saw that the engine was done ahead of time. I asked: Is the Rolls-Royce engine a foundry product? David replied: The Rolls-Royce engine was built by BMW in strict accordance with Rolls-Royce standards. Rolls-Royce Bentley was originally sold to the Volkswagen Group. But the Rolls-Royce executives at the time were not at ease with the Volkswagen, so they did not sell the Rolls-Royce brand. Later, during the negotiations, the executives thought that BMW was a very good car manufacturing company. If Rolls-Royce was placed under BMW, it would be a good choice.

In 2003, when Rolls-Royce was sold to BMW, there were only 250 employees, and only 300 cars were produced each year. Now, there are 2,200 employees, and about 20,000 units were produced in 2018. David said: "Rolls-Royce does not win by sales volume. If customers order a car today, it is normal to wait for more than one year." David concluded with a famous British saying: Patience is a quality.

Before entering the workshop, we passed the restaurant at the Rolls Royce factory. David told us that all employees can have meals here regardless of their level. So, they often meet the president Thorsten, the chief designer and other company executives. Rolls-Royce is a top brand, and the relationship between the big family is equally friendly. Employees work on two shifts and never work overtime. Employees also take a break on public holidays and religious holidays.

I once had an interview with the Rolls-Royce design director, and that interview also left a deep impression on me. We talked about car design, and I thought his words had some philosophical meanings, such as "When I see a car model, I will see a huge empire, a disciplined commander, or, abstractly, I saw the forgiveness of repentance..."

I didn't understand what he meant at that time. However, at the Rolls-Royce factory, it seems that I’ve got what he meant.

Editor:Li San

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