Tesla’s Enormous Die Casting Machine Is Like 3D Printing
What is the die casting machine and what does it do?
— ⚡️Tesla Owners Online (@Model3Owners) May 31, 2021
The die casting machine takes a special molten material that is proprietary to Tesla and forms it into the exact shape for the piece of the car Tesla needs. It's like "3D printing" the portion of the car as its formed into the exact shape that Tesla needs!
The die casting machine forces a molten metal alloy (a metal alloy Tesla created that is special for just Tesla) into a reusable mold. This mold is then opened and the now solidified piece is cooled and cleaned by robots and made ready for use. Quality checks are also performed on the solidified metal.
Each fresh piece from start to finish takes 1-2 minutes and equals about 1,000 castings a day per machine! It's basically making real-life full-sized cars just like a toy car is made! This video from 1965 is the same kind of concept!
Who makes the die casting machine?
The die casting machines are made by the Idra group in Italy. Idra was created in the 1940's and has evolved over time to create the Giga press that Tesla uses today.
This is a very special type of machine, but if Tesla gets enough cash reserves, I can see it buying the Idra group with its cash and exclusively using its Giga press and die casting machines.
How does the die casting machine give Tesla an advantage?
According to Foundry and Management Technology, Tesla contends that the new machine will "reduce build time, operation costs, costs of manufacturing, factory footprint, factory operating costs, tooling costs, and/or quantity of equipment."
Elon Musk has stated that its die casting machines will save 70 components glued together to form the same singular piece of a car. This is an amazing improvement and will save time, money, while increasing quality!
Essentially, Tesla is going to be able to make large portions of its cars with a single tub of molten (secret ingredient like steel that Tesla only created) that will form into exactly what it needs, saving the need for numerous robots and people to weld and put those pieces together.
What Tesla might do going forward with die casting
Going forward, I can see Tesla doing the following:
- Buying the Idra group as Tesla gets more cash in order to have full control over the casting
- Creating a $25,000 or less car that has the entire frame of the car created using a die casting machine. Basically – everything that doesn't need to be done separately will be done in one fell swoop
- Using the Giga press and die casting for the upcoming cyber truck
- Using an even bigger die casting machine that can create parts for a bus or its semi-trucks
- Automating more of the car assembly process such that the following occurs with robots and not humans
This is most of the process:
- The entire car frame is made from a single casting – would require some additional research to do it all at once and might require two presses at the same time.
- Put the flooring and interior of the car in
- Put in the seats
- Put on the tires and anything needed for the tires to go on
- Put in electrical wiring and any screens needed
- Put in the battery
- Put the outer frame and doors on
- Put on any touch-ups, paint, and logos
Could Tesla automate everything including the frame from the die cast machine? Could it start producing vehicle frames one by one in an assembly line that then just need tires put on, seats put in, the outer covering, electrical equipment weaved through it, etc.? I'm looking forward to seeing what Tesla does moving forward!
What do you think about Tesla's die casting machine? Will they eventually get to a point where they make the entire frame in 1 die cast and all they need is wheels, seats, the outer covering, and electrical equipment?
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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.