Tesla’s Robot Supplier Says “On-Time Model 3 Startup” Is “Attainable”
The world’s largest industrial robot manufacturer, Japanese company Fanuc, employs around 600 robots at the Tesla Fremont assembly plant. That number will increase soon with plans for Model 3 production. Fanuc America’s director of sales, Rob Kuphal, said:
(We) “will work as hard as we can to support an on-time Model 3 startup. It’s tight timing, but it’s attainable with a lot of work between now and then.”
However, most of the body line is constructed by robots, and a new body line set to be built by Japan-based Hokuto, hasn’t been built yet. Tomoyuki Mori of Hokuto assured:
“We understand what Elon is saying and are trying to do it right now.”
The Model 3 stamping line will also be a brand new addition to the Fremont factory and its construction is not yet underway.
Paint and general assembly shops are the only areas of the 5,000+ employee factory that are ready for the task. With the July 1 deadline only 10 months away, Elon Musk has made it repeatedly clear to all manufacturers, suppliers, and employees, that time is of the essence. He explained:
“I don’t expect us to be at full production on July 1. But I have to drive all suppliers and internal efforts to that date, knowing that some will fall short. And those that fall short will be cut out of the picture.”
Musk shocked the media and investors when he announced that he was pushing back his goal of increasing production to 500,000 cars by 2020. He now maintains that Tesla can make it happen by 2018. Currently, Tesla is on target to make about 80,000 cars this year. This is 30,000 ahead of last year’s numbers.
Peter Hochholdinger, Tesla’s vice president for vehicle production, is convinced that the Model 3 is a car that is designed for manufacturing ease. Peter’s vast experience at Audi is a huge asset to Tesla and the success of the Model 3’s rigorous timeline. He shared:
“We’re avoiding the production complexities of the Model X, and we’re doing more pre-assembly.”
Source: Yahoo! Finance