Those already known as Gigapress, the foundry machines that Tesla uses to manufacture the large parts that make up the Model Y chassis, are about to be outgrown by a new addition. The new casting machine, the largest in the worldmanufactured by the Italian Idra commissioned by Tesla, will be in charge of creating the steel exoskeleton that forms the chassis and part of the bodywork of the Cybertruck.
In recent years, Tesla has been investing a lot of money and a lot of time in foundry technologies speed up the manufacturing process of their electric cars. Dedicated R&D programs have been based on the development of new alloys that allow to form larger castings which greatly simplify the assembly process. But another fundamental part of this investment is the machines that make these jobs possible.
The manufacturer purchased several units of what was at the time the largest foundry machine in the world. These Gigapresses, developed by the Italian group Idra, whose cost is multimillion, already work for Tesla. The first was installed at the Fremont factory and began operations in 2020. It was the first of its kind at the time, capable of developing a clamping pressure of 55,000 to 61,000 kN.
Thanks to these machines, Tesla is now able to produce the Model Y with a single-piece rear subframe, instead of the 70 required with previous procedures and machinery. With the new machines installed at the Austin Gigafactory in Texas, Tesla can build a Model Y with a single-piece front and rear subframe.
For the last week, Idra has been testing at its facilities a new Gigapress capable of developing more than 88,000 kN of pressure, which will be the largest machine of this type built to date in the world. During these tests it was rumored that this machine would be for the Californian manufacturer, given the existing commercial relationship between the two companies. The rumors have finally become reality with confirmation by the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, that this machine will be used for the manufacture of the Cybertruck.
When the electric pick-up was presented in public, Musk’s revelation of an innovative feature in the construction of this new electric vehicle was highly commented on. A stainless steel exoskeleton that would require a new level of casting ability. According to Tesla, “the Cybertruck is built with an outer shell developed to offer maximum durability and passenger protection. Starting with a nearly impenetrable exoskeleton, every component is designed for superior strength and toughness, from the Ultra-Hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel structural bodywork to the all-glass armoring.”
Initially, the company admitted that it would need to develop new manufacturing techniques to bring this vehicle into production. And sure enough, this giant new foundry machine is part of that plan.
Now all that is needed is for Tesla to complete the development of its electric pick-up that was presented in 2019 and that should have already entered production. The automaker has been delaying its schedule as it focuses on increasing Model Y manufacturing capacity. The latest date announced by the company for the start of production is something as generic as the year 2023. This new machine could represent a sign that this time Tesla could meet this forecast.