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Tesla has ordered an aluminum die-casting machine for the Model Y's rear underbody structure, which would allow the component to be produced in one piece. The EV automaker and Elon Musk have been teasing the Model Y's single-piece casting for some time. Now more information about the machine that will accomplish the feat has been revealed.
According to SAE International, Tesla ordered the world's largest aluminum die-casting machine for the Model Y's rear underbody from IDRA Group, the company that makes the Giga Press.
Based on IDRA's website, the Giga Press has two variants labeled OL 5500 CS and OL 6200 CS after its 5500 ton and 6200-ton presses. Tesla was the first to order IDRA's OL 5500 CS for the Model Y in 2019. Later, Tesla's Giga Press was upgraded to OL 6100 CS with specifications from the EV automaker.
Tesla's single-piece Model Y casting has not been kept a secret. The EV automaker eluded to its Model Y manufacturing improvement in its Q4 2019 Update Letter. Later in TSLA's Q1 2020 Earnings Call, Elon Musk talked about the Model Y's casting improvements as well.
"For Model Y, we introduced a revolutionary two-piece rear underbody casting that we are going to be making a single-piece casting later this year. Meaning like essentially the rear third of the body is cast as a single piece, which is no casting of the size of complexity has never been done before. In fact, there isn't even anything that is on par with the two-piece casting for the Model Y. So, we're really pushing the envelope on vehicle structural, engineering, and manufacturing. I'm very excited about this approach as it allows us to reduce the weight of the cast and improve NVH. It's better in every way essentially," Musk said.
Installation for Tesla's first OL 6100 CS machine was scheduled for May 2020. According to Laurie Harbour, from Harbour Results Inc. manufacturing consultancy, Tesla could save costs and gain a significant amount of efficiency with the Giga Press.
"Even with a big cycle time, you eliminate all the labor to assemble pieces and subcomponents," she observed. "You're saving on automation cells; you're saving on people. It would be tough to put dollars to it, but think of multiple suppliers doing stampings, you could save maybe 20% on labor cost. And reduction in footprint is major. My guess is that it's a net-net efficiency gain," she said.
Based on various online reports, Tesla plans to install its bespoke IDRA Giga Press in the Fremont factory, Giga Shanghai, and Giga Berlin. The Fremont factory has already started manufacturing Model Y vehicles. Giga Shanghai and Giga Berlin are expected to start Model Y production in early 2021.Follow @PurplePanda88
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Ma. Claribelle Deveza
Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.