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Tesla ditches robots in favor of the world's largest casting machine

Ukraine / Europe / Engineering

Eight house-sized Gigapress foundries will replace hundreds of robots at the American automaker's Gigafactory in Berlin.

Tesla ditches robots in favor of the world's largest casting machine

Tesla's first European car factory seeks to bring its CEO Elon Musk's vision of a completely different car assembly process to life.

Musk showed off a massive die-casting machine - the largest ever built - last month that will produce the rear end of the Model Y compact SUV as a single component.

A person familiar with Tesla's plans for Germany told reporters this week that the new Gigapress represents a step towards assembling cars from several large modules rather than many different parts. He noted that an aluminum casting machine built by the Italian foundry IDRA is about the size of a small house. And eight of these giants are heading to Tesla's new plant near Berlin.

They will replace hundreds of assembly robots that normally assemble dozens of parts for a car's rear chassis. Gigapress will allow Tesla to eliminate the rivets and welding that usually occurs when assembling smaller aluminum parts.

Tesla pointed out that the rear of the underbody of the car has already been reduced in two. And now the cars should take over the front of the car and other systems.

Musk's quest to reduce manufacturing complexity is driven by German automakers BMW, Mercedes and Audi facing pressure from their workers to maintain domestic assembly jobs that are threatened by the shift to electric vehicles that have fewer components than vehicles with internal combustion engines.

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