Tesla strives to make the production of its cars as high quality, fast and cheap. That is why manufacturing processes for the production of a car body must be improved.
The Model Y is the first car of the company for the production of which Tesla uses the new aluminum casting process. The automaker plans to switch to casting from 70 parts to 4, and then to 1. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says:
"We're moving to an aluminum casting instead of a series of stamped pieces. We'll go from 70 parts to 4, then 1 with a reduction in weight, improvement in MBH, reduction in cost, and a significant drop in capital expenditure for all the robots that used to put 70 parts together."
Tesla worked on several significant manufacturing improvements for the Model Y production program, and it includes the creation of a gigantic new casting machine to produce most of the Model Y frame in one piece.
Source: Tesla patent
Tesla plans to simplify the design of its future transport platforms and achieve greater automation in the manufacturing process. Therefore, in the summer, the company published the patent “Multi-Directional Unibody Casting Machine for a Vehicle Frame and Associated Methods”, which discloses a new casting machine that Tesla plans to use for the Model Y.
This design is “reduce build time, operation costs, costs of manufacturing, factory footprint, factory operating costs, tooling costs, and/or quantity of equipment.” The automaker notes that it will reduce the number of casting machines required to build a vehicle frame and that it could even build “a complete or substantially complete” frame itself.
This machine has gigantic dimensions and weighs 6,000 tons. Ray4️⃣Tesla suggests that at the moment, a building is being built for the new casting machine next to the stamping workshop in Giga Shanghai. This building began to be built in January.
Many wonder what the foundation next to the stamping workshop is. Construction started in Jan. Earlier, Elon talked abt single piece casting, leading me to speculate abt this extension site as being prepped for the 4K-ton casting machine, the largest in the world. Images: Wuwua pic.twitter.com/kf5aSvupnl— Ray4️⃣Tesla⚡️🚘☀️🔋 (@ray4tesla) April 19, 2020
He assumes that this machine will now be installed specifically for Model Y casting in Giga Shanghai, as Musk previously said that the rear single-piece die casting would be applied to Model Y, and maybe Model 3 in the future. Ray also said that Tesla recently ordered two huge casting machines, one made in China and the other in Italy. The latter is being installed at Tesla Fremont factory, so he suggests that the one that was produced in China will be installed in Giga Shanghai.
Apparently the extension site is “after-thought”. I doubt it was something in their original master plan. Tesla recently ordered 2 huge casting machines, one made in 🇨🇳 & the other in Italy. The latter is being installed at Tesla Fremont factory.— Ray4️⃣Tesla⚡️🚘☀️🔋 (@ray4tesla) April 19, 2020