One of the main merits Tesla has is trying to do things in a different way, even if it does not always do it right. It was the first company to conceive an electric car from the bottom up with the Model S. Confronted with the challenges “dinosaur stuff” pose, it created mega castings. The video above is the first official public display of the solution.
The only countries in which Tesla would still have a working PR department would be Norway and China. Not by chance, this video was originally posted by Tesla on Weibo, the Chinese competitor to Facebook and YouTube. Unfortunately, the official video is not embeddable and cannot be seen in the US.
The message on the original Weibo post is this:
“The 6000-ton giant die-casting machine integrates the Model Y rear structure into a single piece. The weight of the underbody is reduced, the welding process is simplified, and the complexity is simplified, thereby better improving the consistency of Model Y.”
What the video reveals at first is the high-pressure die casting machine being put together at Giga Shanghai. It seems to be called DCC 6000, and it may not seem like the OL 6100 made by IDRA Group, but that has an explanation.
The Chinese IDRA Group branch is called LK Machinery, and it is this company that produced the Giga Press used at Giga Shanghai. Its full name is DCC 6000 Impress-Plus, and there are three of them at the Chinese Tesla factory.
When one of these single-piece rear castings is ready, a robot moving on rails picks it up inside the die casting machine and places it in a sort of fixture, probably to measure if the cast part does not present any geometry issue.
After it is checked, the rear casting is placed in a metal frame that seems to slide with the help of a moving track. They are then stored. We have no idea if a robot places them on the storage shelves, but that probably requires human intervention.
The next thing we see is robots manipulating these rear castings and the Model Y body-in-white. It also seems to present a front single-piece casting, but the video clearly focuses only on the rear casting, so we can’t tell for sure. Considering the refreshed Model S and Model X have both these structures, the Chinese Model Y should also have them.
If Tesla is going to say anything about these mega castings, it will either be through an Elon Musk tweet or something in Chinese, shared on Weibo. Chinese readers, please warn us when anything new about that emerges.