A recent flyover of Tesla’s Fremont production factory in Northern California has revealed the first looks at the all-too-elusive Giga Press as it was spotted in action. The Giga Press is a machine Tesla is installing at its manufacturing plants to increase production efficiency and improve vehicle build quality.
A flyover of the plant from YouTuber Gabeincal shows several portions of the Fremont factory, including offloading recently completed vehicles into haulers for customer delivery. Looking for clues that would confirm details of the rumored Model S and Model X refresh, Gabeincal stumbled upon something else: the Giga Press.
The “house-sized” casting machine was installed at Tesla’s Fremont Factory in August 2020, a project that was confirmed by Elon Musk in a Tweet with @WholeMarsBlog. “Will be amazing to see it in operation,” Musk wrote. Biggest casting machine ever made. Will make rear body in a single piece, including crash rails.” The machine is 64 feet long, 17 feet tall, and weighs 410 tons, according to IDRA, the machine’s manufacturer.
Tesla has long planned for the inclusion of new processes that will make manufacturing vehicles easier. It is the key to delivering 1 million vehicles with only a few production plants in operation in 2021, even though two more are expected to begin operation later this year.
The Giga Press is part of Tesla’s global plan to increase production efforts across its manufacturing facilities. It has already been installed in Giga Shanghai, where Model Y production has recently started, and in Giga Berlin, where the same vehicle will be prioritized when production begins later this year. Parts of the Giga Press have also arrived in Austin at Tesla’s Giga Texas facility. It is a major step in the right direction for Tesla as its EVs are ahead in technology and battery quality, but manufacturing density is where Tesla lacks.
Other car companies build 20 million vehicles a year, and Tesla is just a newcomer in the grand scheme of the automotive industry. In order to catch up on years of experience, Tesla has refined its focus to improving manufacturing. The Giga Press is a way for Tesla to build more vehicles using fewer parts, it will also cut down on overall production time, allowing the company to build more vehicles every year.
The inspiration for the Giga Press was the Hot Wheels version of Tesla’s EVs. Musk said that “Sandy (Munro) accurately pointed out, the rear of the Model 3 looks like a patchwork quilt. It’s not great…The current version of the Model Y has basically two big high-pressure die-cast aluminum castings that are joined. Later this year, we will transition a single piece casting that also integrates the two rear crash rails.”
As Tesla continues to battle production efficiencies in its mission to expand and scale production, the Giga Press operation in Fremont will revolutionize the manufacturing processes for its vehicles moving forward.
Check out Gabeincal’s video of the Fremont Giga Press in action below. It begins at 5:15 and lasts around a minute and a half.
H/t: @TeslaNY on Twitter