Besides helping bring electric vehicles into the mainstream, Tesla has influenced the auto industry in many ways, especially when it comes to car manufacturing.

Among the many processes the EV maker has developed to cut production costs and speed up manufacturing, giga casting is probably the first one that comes to mind.

Anyone can understand how big of a breakthrough this is simply by looking at the large pieces of vehicle underbodies churned out by the massive die-casting machines – the so-called Giga Presses – compared with the traditional way of assembling the same pieces from multiple small castings and components.

For example, the front and rear underbodies of the Model Y are combined with structural battery packs to form a three-piece chassis, which brings massive cost reductions and speeds up production.

Ford, Hyundai Said To Have Bought One Giga Press Each For R&D

Tesla has pioneered the use of giant casting machines with the help of Italian specialist IDRA Group, which makes the aluminum casting machines. But now, other automakers are following Tesla's lead by investing in giga casting, including Ford and Hyundai.

According to Reuters, the two major global automakers and an unnamed European company bought giga presses from IDRA Group.

During an industry event organized by IDRA on Tuesday and Wednesday, a "Giga Press 6,100" model with the Ford brand printed on it was being tested at the company's plant in Travalgiato, near Brescia, northern Italy.

 

The casting machine, which produces a clamping force of over 6,000 tons, will be shipped to the US to be installed in an R&D facility in the Detroit area. Ford will reportedly use it for testing and benchmarking ahead of introducing the presses for production vehicles.

Participants at the event also saw an even bigger press, the "Giga Press 9,000", which is IDRA's largest and newest model. The machine, which is the size of a small house or a tennis court, was being tested nearby, but it didn't have any branding on.

Still, according to a source close to the matter cited by Reuters, the Giga Press 9,000 will be shipped to Hyundai and will also be used initially R&D purposes only.

A Premium European Automaker Reportedly Bought Two Giga Presses

In addition to the two presses for Ford and Hyundai, the source said IDRA was also close to signing a supply contract for two 9,000 presses with a premium automaker in Europe, in what would be the company's first contract with a European group.

The company could be Volvo, according to unnamed sources who said the Swedish company owned by China's Geely has purchased two IDRA Giga Presses for its new plant in eastern Europe.

IDRA has so far signed orders for 25 presses, 21 of which have already been produced and shipped, including to leading "Tier 1" parts makers. The manufacturer is said to have shipped the majority of the presses made so far to Tesla – 14 of them, including two Giga Press 9,000 units for Cybertruck production at Giga Texas – according to sources and posts by Tesla on social media.

Reuters' source said six Giga Presses are now emerging as the standard for companies targeting annual production of 500,000 vehicles.

Besides the automakers mentioned above, China's Geely also uses giga casting for the Zeekr 009 electric MPV, as does General Motors for its flagship EV, the hand-built Cadillac Celestiq.

Toyota also announced plans to use the technique on its future EVs, and it's already perfecting it at its Miochi plant in Japan. The automaker highlighted the advantages of giga casting in a recent tech workshop, revealing that the rear section of the bZ4X SUV is currently made from 86 individual castings, compared to one giant cast for the car's entire back end in the future.

 
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