Watch Robots Install Tesla Model 3 Seats, Dash, More – Video


The installation of the dash as mostly a single unit really is something worth watching.

Seat Install Underway

Concurrent with Tesla’s Q3 earning report last evening, the automaker released a video showing “general assembly” of the Tesla Model 3.

Editor’s Note:  YouTube friendly/extended video (with welding shots) below

What you’ll see in the video is fully automated install of the Model 3 seats, dash and sunroof glass.

The dash install, as an entire unit, is what really caught our attention.

The amount of automation in the production of the Tesla Model 3 does seem to be above industry norm, but Tesla is struggling mightily to get production levels up.

Indeed, the big new from last evening’s report and call was that production targets for the Model 3 were being pushed back some three months, which isn’t good news at all for reservation holders. However, it seems Tesla has worked out most of the early production kinks now, so hopefully the ramp up gets underway soon.

Dash Install On Model 3

Categories: Tesla, Videos


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34 Comments on "Watch Robots Install Tesla Model 3 Seats, Dash, More – Video"

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Anybody remember an InsideEVs article entitled “Hole In Roof Key To Mass Production Of Tesla Model 3?”

Well, watching all those welding machines inserting themselves into the interior of the Model 3 body in this video, I think that pro-Tesla blogger posting to Seeking Alpha had it right!

Go Tesla!

Funny, looking at the video I got the impression that the big hole in the roof is providing no help in production at all. They are still having to navigate all the large parts through the doors, so very little if anything is different from a normal production line.

I didn’t see anything going in through the roof. And we know the glass roof is optional so I can’t see how Tesla would have advantage to putting anything in through the roof. It just means two ways to do something, both of which have to fit within the allotted time so the line can operate.

Nothing new that new products are delayed. Look at Apple for one.

The important thing here is how the few that are getting out perform.

Production will ramp up.

“above industry norm” ??

I’ve seen the BMW i3 assembly video, the level of automation is just as stunning.

There are many parts of assembly for a car. The author of this story is writing about final assembly. That i3 video is about the assembly of some earlier subassemblies. There are other videos in that group, and they move down nearer to final assembly.

For example, in this video you can see the i3 dashboard being installed.

It involves humans, not just a robot, but it is installed in one piece and with the big “J hook” mechanism I spoke of below.

Subassembly production is more automated in general. Final assembly (and pressed metal finishing) are really the places where labor is still used a lot. This line uses more robots in final assembly than average, IMHO. And I’ve seen quite a few final assembly lines in my day, including the S/X line and the Prizm/Corolla line at NUMMI (i.e. the Tesla plant when it was GM/Toyota owned).

Have you considered that the i3 is also non-typical? And that it is also above the norm?

That appears to be pretty advanced. The material science research alone done for the i3 will pay back to BMW for years to come.

Ohhh, Tom… you just scratched a scab here. Remember when Munro and Associates did an RE report on the i3 and ALL the Teslacolytes said that Munro’s glowing praise for BMW’s work was nonsense? Clearly you don’t. For shame…

That does get annoying, but I bet they were this way before Tesla and will be that way with whatever new obsession they find.

I am not sure why this would be above any norm. of course there are factories which are older, not as hip, but there others which are as good or better.

I mean this is brand new line, why would anyone expect anything else?

Why would anybody complain about somebody characterizing a new assembly line as above the norm when the norm is older assembly lines?

Just because it is new doesn’t mean it isn’t above the norm compared to older assembly lines.

I’m not sure what you are trying to say. That somehow it shouldn’t count because it is new?

mxs, it isn’t even “above the norm”. Currently it’s below the norm (see: production rates) and at its best it will be the norm.

realistic, so you logic is that the Fremont factory assembly line isn’t above the norm, because there is a problem at the Gigafactory that is holding up production?

Wow, massive fail.

No, I merely don’t believe Musk. He has made stuff up all along the way in this project, just as he did during the year long trials of the Model 3, the “off the hook” sales of Powerwalls (which were to be in the hundreds of $M to more than a $B this year, BTW), and the very concept that ROOOObots were somehow new to the automotive world and that the Model 3 line (which henceforth will be named Norm) would dazzle us all.

You’ll see, just as you now see that unverified processes, improperly administered software development, and disdaining all the other standards of global automotive manufacture indeed make a mess.

Massive fail is a good descripton, though. It’s coming in spades out of Fremont. (Correction: it’s coming a few hundred per month. Fron Norm.)

All the videos I’ve ever seen of vehicle assembly show the dash being inserted as a single unit. The only difference is sometimes it’s either 100% automated or at the very least assisted.

From a welding standpoint that appears very slow.

Dashes have always been put in as a single unit for at least 30 years. The difference is, as you say, how it is put in. It used to be put in by two burly people a long time ago. Then the design was that there would be this long piece of tube steel on a swivel. The dash would be slid onto that and then rotated in through the door opening and the dash slid off that. This allowed all the wrangling of the dash to be done outside the car where there was more room to do it. After that the next way was they just basically took the bar off the swivel and made it attached to a big J hook attached above the assembly station so that it could be moved over to where the dashes are arriving and then move the entire dash into the car in one motion. A single person could do it then. This is an automation of that. It still has the hook but it’s a burly robot now. The dash isn’t going to seat perfectly due to tolerances so I think a person would still have to be involved, even… Read more »

… plus the two “burly” folks sliding it across then did many of the manual connections which are happening anyway a few feet down the line. The actual labor to do the module install is less than a minute, and fixturing is so good it is a low-effort activity now. GM still installs pickup dashes the old way but I think there are zero net people required for it.

If you watch the Tesla video above the robot doesn’t even try to seat the dash on its mounts. It’s basically holding it in place while humans then can push if off the arm onto the dash. Same in the BMW i3 video.

No humans removed, but you do get a more consistent process with less manual effort. And so fewer workplace injuries I’m sure.

Honestly, these videos are partly “dehumanized” by simply not showing the human part and instead cutting away after the robot has positioned the part. They’re showing what they have automated while hiding (a bit) what they haven’t.

I think it’s more telling the number of people standing around at 0:33. I count about seven.

If you look, they are watching the process. My guess is these were the first runs of this automation, and they were spectators.

Wow, a DASH installation done by ROOOOObots. This has never happened in the history of anything.

Except here on a MB A-Class in Rastatt in 2013 (start around 4:06)

Or many other boring old car manufacturers. You could even take a tour of the GM plant in Lordstown and see seats and dash installed by ROOOOObots on a Chevy Cruze as well. No NDA required. I’ve observed it myself. Of course it was visible without a strobe light, so I guess it’s not really an Alien Drednought or anything….

Musk is so completly full of crap it’s astonishing. More asonishing is that analysts, so-called auto journalists and starry eyed speculators fall for most of it.

I don’t think you understand the term “above industry norm”.

That doesn’t mean they are exclusively the only company doing it. Showing other companies doing it doesn’t disprove the statement.

Do I need to do a sentence diagram for you, and explain basic english language for you?

You hang in there, Nix. Your defense of the Faith impresses.

But anyway it’s not “above the norm”.

Love the close up in that video. So much pneumatics in robotic assembly lines. Wonder how much energy factories spend compressing air for this use?

While we’re at it, probably the rason Tesla hired the Audi guy (but liley didn’t listen to him) is their state-of-art factory bulding the Q5 and SQ5 in San José Chiapa:

But yeah it’s not really as cool. So there’s that. No execs camping on the roof…

You realize that the Audi guy they hired is in charge of the Fremont factory, and that the problem holding up manufacturing is in another state, and a completely different vendor was in charge of that part, right?

Is your goal here today to prove that you don’t know the difference between a contractor in Nevada, and Tesla employees in California? Because you are doing a really good job at that.

Of course it’s not Fremont, Nix. There couldn’t possibly be anything but smooth sailing there. Mmm hmmm. Oh: was it Musk who said that? Yeah…. I should know by now that Musk and his boys have this whole thing down. It’s just like I didn’t appreciate that Tesla doesn’t need to exercise PPAP processes, build off-tooling production intent test vehicles for months of road testing, apply SAE software V&V standards or all that other stupid, STUPID stuff done by other manufacturers (remember you putting me in my place over that: “there’s no legal requirement”?). I’m sure all the problems with process readiness, software rewrites, and cars that need seats, batteries and what not replaced are artifacts of superior thinking. Once again I just don’t appreciate that Musk is actually doing everything better than anyone else — he does move in mysterious ways. It’s just hard to see is all. Guess you need a strobe… I’m so sorry to have such a weak grasp of the industry compared to all y’all Muskies. I should just remember the ennobling view of where this was all headed a mere 4 months ago when Inside EVs, EVANNEX, and of course you acolytes reminded me… Read more »

Yawn. Old man rants at clouds.

Super cool with that background music.

When I visited the Jaguar factory in Birmingham UK twelve years ago. I saw the dash being installed into an XK. It was one pice and no one touched it. The XK is now out of production and replaced by the F-type to provide context.

Blasphemy, Gazz. You’re making that up.

I recall those items being installed by hand in other videos (GM, Nissan). Also note that the engine and dash are being installed at the same time.