Does Tesla CEO Elon Musk's recent Model 3 production video point to inadequate welding processes?
We won't claim to be super knowledgeable about welding, but an automotive manufacturing consultant told Automotive News that there could be potential issues.
First of all, let's go back to the report from a few weeks ago. The Wall Street Journal reported that Tesla's Model 3 "production bottleneck" was likely due to the fact that the line itself wasn't fully operational. In fact, the publication suggested that Model 3 was probably still being built by hand.
to show Model 3 body panels being stamped in real time
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, posted the above video as proof that the line is up and running, however, it's running at 1/10th speed. There was no specific explanation as to why this is the case, aside from Musk's Instagram reply:
"It is slowed down right now to confirm build consistency and so that a person can stop the robots in time if something goes wrong."
Since then, the issues have redirected towards getting parts and the suppliers themselves. Nonetheless, Automotive News is reporting that the line may need to be this slow since Tesla is dealing with a brand-new welding process. Since the Model 3 uses a different combination of metals and metal strengths than the Model S and X (more steel specifically) it requires more spot welding and less adhesive and rivets.
Experts told Automotive News that this welding process is tricky and may be bogging Tesla down:
"There's a big difference there. They haven't been doing a lot of spot welding on the first two vehicles because they're all aluminum. The learning curve is pretty steep."
Agile Group automotive manufacturing consultant, Michael Tracy, shared:
"Resistance welding should make a little smoke, but when you see stuff popping out like that, that's called expulsion. It's symptomatic of weld spots getting too hot because they're poorly planned, or in this case, the metal not being pulled all the way together."
Check out the above video and let us know what you think, especially if you have some experience with welding and can agree or disagree with Tracy's observation and statement.
It seems that the popping and expulsion and lack of smoke are much the same in both the videos below. Perhaps Kia and Nissan execute poorly plan welding processes as well? Do you see anything different in the videos below?