High Pressure Die Casting Tesla Model Y - Rear Underbody as a Single-Piece Casting
In an episode of the podcast "Third Row Tesla" Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked about a new casting process and explained how it brings advantages for the production of the model Y.
„The current version of Model Y has basically two big high pressure die cast aluminum castings that are joined and there’s still a bunch of other bits that are attached. Later this year, we’ll transition to the rear underbody being a single-piece casting that also integrates the rear crash rails“, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated in the 14th episode of the podcast "Third Row Tesla". In response to the positively surprised reactions of his discussion partners in the podcast explained Musk: "It gets better - the current castings, because you’ve got to interface with so many different things, we have to CNC-machine the interfaces and there’s a bunch of things that have to be joined; they have datums on them and that kind of thing. The single-piece casting has no CNC machining.” However, according to Musk, it took several iterations to get there.
One of the big advantages of the new one-piece casting design is a 30% reduction in the size of the body shop, Musk says. He also stated that the process could probably be transferred to the production of model 3 in about 2 years. The site SAE International quotes Laurie Harbour, president at Harbour Results Inc. manufacturing consultancy as saying: „Even with a big cycle time, you eliminate all the labor to assemble pieces and subcomponents. 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.”
Watch the whole podcast here:
According to Musk, the one-piece casting design requires a large casting machine, which is about the size of an house. SAE International reports that the giant casting machine is the Idra Group's "Giga Press". According to them, Tesla is the first customer for Idra's OL6100 CS (with improved locking force for the special Tesla casting), which is intended for installation at the company's plants in Fremont, California and Shanghai, China.