Tesla Acquires Automated Manufacturing Machinery Supplier PERBIX

NOV 7 2017 BY MARK KANE 25

Tesla has acquired PERBIX, a company that builds and services highly-automated, high-volume manufacturing machinery, and has also been a Tesla’s supplier for almost three years.

PERBIX — Delivering Excellence in Manufacturing and Engineering

PERBIX’s website already redirects to Tesla with a short description about the acquisition:

“With the acquisition of PERBIX, Tesla further advances its efforts to turn the factory itself into a product – to build the machine that makes the machine.

Founded in 1976, PERBIX, now a part of Tesla, designs, builds and services highly-automated, high-volume manufacturing machinery that will help Tesla accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

It is no secret that Tesla is in a hurry to increase the automated production of Model 3, and as we understand it, requires even more manpower than Grohmann Engineering (acquired a year ago) was able to provide.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 Production

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has clearly stated that there are problems with some robots/machinery assigned to the task of building the Model 3, but once that bottleneck is solved, production will be both fast and cheap.   When that happens however, is still an open question.

“With Model 3, either the machine works, or it doesn’t, or it’s limping along and we get short quite severely on output…”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About PERBIX via Linkedin:

PERBIX — Delivering Excellence in Manufacturing and Engineering For over 35 years, PERBIX has been a major supplier to the world’s top fortune 500 companies.

Founded in 1976 as Perbix Machine Company, we’ve grown from a build-to-print shop to a leading provider of comprehensive manufacturing and engineering services including complete design and fabrication of automation systems, build-to-print equipment, custom machining of components, and contract manufacturing services. Concentrating on creative, practical solutions and utilizing cutting edge technology, PERBIX provides unique, one-of-a-kind, automated machine solutions from concept through installation. We have put significant resources in place to deliver world class, high tech, automation solutions to our customers.

We focus on machine qualification and validation through stringent machine process and operation documentation. Data gathering, manufacturing communication, process control, and real time process performance analysis are expected and planned for in all of our machines. At PERBIX, process setup, calibration, and verification are built into each machine at the start of the design process. PERBIX is truly a complete machine supplier. PERBIX has a new 70,400 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility in Brooklyn Park, MN and has an install base of machines throughout the world.

source: Bloomberg

Categories: Tesla


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25 Comments on "Tesla Acquires Automated Manufacturing Machinery Supplier PERBIX"

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Another piece of the jigsaw !

I/we assume you mean Jigsaw *puzzle*, although I suppose there are some here who assume otherwise.

Article said: “Tesla CEO Elon Musk has clearly stated that there are problems with some robots/machinery assigned to the task of building the Model 3…”

The Tesla acquisition of PERBIX was not likely a result of the Model 3 “Production Hell” GF battery pact bottle neck that has been recently reportd to be resolved. Likely Tesla a long while ago had planned on acquiring a robotics maker… that sort of acquisition normally requires a long buyer’s “due-diligence” lead up period.

On the other hand… I would not be all that surprised to learn Elon Musk at his GF roof-top s’mores & whisky camp fire party spontaneously decided it necessary for Tesla to acquire PERBIX and ordered his guys to get it done ASAP with short form due-diligence.

… PERBIX widens the Tesla moat further!

If you dig your own hole and it fills with water, I suppose you could call it a moat. Tesla needs a drawbridge, stat, to cross it themselves.

It is fun to see all of the auto industry outsourcing come back to bite them. If this work was all done in house there would be no expertise to buy on the market!

Other automakers, like Chevy and BMW, manage to make electric cars on time without emergency acquisitions. Acquisitions rarely work due to cultural mismatches.

Other auto makers are not ramping up their production at ~50% per year, year after year. If they were, you can be sure they would be running their businesses differently.

Tesla’s annual automobile sales totals:
2012: 2650
2013: 22,300
2014: 31,655 (+41.95%)
2015: 50,580 (+59.8%)
2016: 76,230 (+50.7%)

Vertical integration tends to bite the company that does it. Vertical integration makes sense when it’s in areas that differentiates you from your competitors. These purchases by Tesla might make sense now, but as Tesla moves to more steady state operations having this extra weight isn’t needed. That’s why other manufactures have companies supply the equipment. If anything I think this shows Tesla doesn’t understand supply chain management and understand how to deliver to a plan. You can’t create an unrealistic plan, unrealistic volume in an unrealistic timeframe and then blame suppliers when you don’t get the expected outcome.

@theflew said: “Vertical integration tends to bite the company that does it. Vertical integration makes sense when it’s in areas that differentiates you from your competitors…”

Tesla has for a long while stated that Tesla intends to view the factory (including the machines that make the machines) as a specialized/optimized Tesla “product”. The cars that come out the end are a byproduct.

Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart

Apple is doing very well with a strategy of vertical integration around microprocessors, and SoC.

It’s not the right strategy in all cases but it may work very well in some cases.

Apple is a very good example. They design the processor, but Samsung and TSMC manufacture it.

Could Apple have their own chip fab. and keep it busy – sure. But, it wouldn’t give them a strategic advantage when there are many fabs. capable of doing it without Apple having large capital investments.

GO TESLA GO DESTROY DIRTY GAS GUZZLERS ALL Tesla haters can choke on ICE exhaust LOL

This is obviously a sign that Tesla’s Model 3 rollout was planned to perfection.

So I thought Tesla was supposed to be miles ahead of everyone in all this automation stuff. Why does God need a starship?

I hope Tesla doesn’t stick their neck out too far. If they continue to acquire companies and start new ones I think they can get too top-heavy and fall over. If Tesla fails all these other companies who are dragging their feet with a wait-and-see attitude will scrap their own EV programs. Tesla has to succeed, this little blue planet is depending on it.

Well, this is what you get with Elon. He has a long history of setting out to “do the impossible” and try to solve “himself” (not personally, but by hiring folks to do it) all of the problems he then encounters that were perhaps why people said it was impossible in the first place! In this case, it’s clear Elon concluded that making EVs cheaply enough depended on solving terribly inefficient manufacturing. Based on fundamental physics Elon couldn’t see any reason it shouldn’t be possible to manufacture at least ten times as fast and cheap in a given volume. This is maybe a hindrance in the short term. But it certainly is also huge opportunity. If Tesla works out a radically better way to manufacture they’ll not only have a fundamental advantage that is extremely hard to replicate for others in a long time, but they also would have know-how valuable far outside the car industry. But to reinvent “everything” is obviously a risky strategy. Musk knows that too, but seems to love the challenge. And so far, he’s mostly succeeded. Even the doors on the X, probably his most obvious miscall, haven’t ended up being scrapped (although they probably… Read more »

At Tesla’s 2016 Shareholders Meeting Elon Musk said:

“We realized that the true problem, the true difficulty, and where the greatest potential is – is building the machine that makes the machine. In other words, it’s building the factory. I’m really thinking of the factory like a product…

“When you think of a manufacturing facility, for a given size of factory, the output is going to be volume times density times velocity. If you look at our factory and say what is the density of useful to non-useful volume. It’s crazy low. It’s like 2 or 3 percent if you look volumetrically – not on a footprint basis…

“Then you look at velocity. What is a reasonable expectation for the exit velocity for the vehicle coming out of the factory. You might think that some of the most advanced car factories in the world are very good at making cars and they are maybe making a car every 25 seconds – that sounds fast, but actually, if you say the length of the car plus some buffer space is approximately 5 meters so it’s taking 25 seconds to move 5 meters…That’s 0.2 meter per second or not much faster than a tortoise.”



The problem is productivity at a car manufacture isn’t measured in meters. It’s measured in how many cars are produced in a given amount of time regardless of distance traveled. Musk can create a circular assemble line so the starting point and ending point are about the same so the net distance traveled approaches 0, thus infinite velocity.

@theflew, What you said there is totally nonsensical!

“Exit Velocity” has nothing to do with the distance traveled; it is a metric measuring the speed product is *exiting* the production line/

It was suppose to be nonsensical. Nobody cares about the speed something is exiting. It’s the number of units that exit that matters.

@theflew said: “Nobody cares about the speed something is exiting…”


Mike Eisner, President at Factory Success Technologies, LLC said:

“Elon Musk is right [reg exit velocity]–read how it affects your furniture factory (or footwear, cars, or any other manufacturing plant)…

“Moving your factory from tortoise speed to jackrabbit starts with a conversation. Contact us now to get started installing turbo chargers into your factory…”

source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/elon-musk-right-read-how-affects-your-furniture-factory-mike-eisner

What Theflew said is absolutely correct. If what Elon said was literally true (and it’s not), then you could substantially increase the output of a factory by greatly speeding up the lines or conveyors that move a car body or sub-assembly from one work station to another. Elon is usually excellent at explaining complex subjects simply, but here he really dropped the ball. What he was actually talking about was greatly increasing the speed at which the robotic arms and assembly machines work; to make them work at eye-blurring machine speed, rather than much slower human speed. What’s needed isn’t to make the assembly line literally move things down the line at a faster speed. What’s needed is for the thing being assembled (the battery pack, the car, whatever) to spend less time sitting still at an assembly station. Yes, that would result in a higher average speed if you consider the time it takes to move from the beginning to the end of the line. But to treat it as Elon suggested, as a pure physics problem, is oversimplifying things to the point of absurdity. Since Elon was talking about the volume of the space used for manufacturing, you… Read more »

@Pushmi-Pullyu said: “…What’s needed isn’t to make the assembly line literally move things down the line at a faster speed. What’s needed is for the thing being assembled (the battery pack, the car, whatever) to spend less time sitting still at an assembly station…”


Elon’s point which is correct (that somehow you and @theflew are having a difficult time grasping) is that if a totality of the components are being assembled more efficiently it will result in a higher exit speed of the completed item… that the exit speed is the ultimate speed assembly metric because it’s constrained by the least efficient production component be it JIT material management or the swing arm speed of a particular robot task. Also, you are conflating the production volumetric efficiency metric with the exit speed metric.

Tesla is shelling out some serious bread. Guess they are not all that near going bankrupt.
Makes sense though that you should hire or buy a company that knows better than you do.
Admitting you were wrong it the first step to doing things right.