Tesla strives to produce its cars with maximal efficiency and quality. That is why Tesla is constantly revising its manufacturing processes. One of the latest areas of focus is the vehicle body.
Model Y is the first application for which Tesla is using its 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. In summer 2019, 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.
The purpose of the design is to: “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.
On August 5, Tesmanian reported that Tesla’s Model Y giant casting machine was spotted at Fremont factory, California. Now, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is eagerly awaiting its activation:
This production method has a number of advantages, ranging from saving resources and time for production to improving vehicle performance. The unibody design will significantly reduce weight, resulting in better battery economy, better handling and driving comfort—and safer, as the entire body can better absorb energy forces in an accident.
The same single piece casting machine for Model Y will be installed in every Tesla factory, which will significantly improve the quality of Model Y, increase production speed, and reduce cost. This will enable Tesla to lower the prices of its vehicles and accelerate expansion to all automotive markets in the world.