"All electric cars will look like this in the future," said Tesla boss Elon Musk now and presented the largest die-cast part in the world at "Tesla Battery Day 2020". He wants to manufacture the entire vehicle body of his upcoming models from a few and later from just a single die-cast part. To do this, the company needs highly qualified engineers. Aalen University also trains students in the die casting process.
"Die-cast parts made of aluminum and magnesium light metals will also be used in the Tesla of the future," says Prof. Dr. Lothar Kallien, head of the foundry laboratory at Aalen University. The die casting process as a technology for the future in automotive engineering is practically taught in the foundry laboratory in the bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering / production and management and in the master's degree in lightweight construction and is used in various research projects.
A car body currently consists of up to 100 parts, which are put together after casting in a cost-intensive and energy-intensive process. Tesla's new construction method is intended to reduce the effort and production costs of its vehicles immensely. The US automaker wants to manufacture models like the new Model Y with its “Unibody Casting Machine”, the largest die-casting machine in the world, from just a handful of parts. Tesla has developed a new type of aluminum alloy that can be processed without the use of heat, according to Musk. As the final step, the process is to produce a body from a single piece, the “Tesla unibody”.
Well-trained specialists and managers are required for this. The foundry laboratory at Aalen University prepares engineers precisely for the requirements of future-oriented companies like Tesla. In the area of research, the focus in the foundry laboratory is on the die-casting of aluminum and magnesium light metals. “The die casting process is the fastest way from the liquid melt to the finished part. In our laboratory alone there are three die casting machines available for teaching and research projects, ”explains Professor Kallien. Foundry technology is integrated into the mechanical engineering / production and management studies at Aalen University. This course combines mechanical engineering fundamentals such as technical mechanics, construction and materials science with modern production technologies such as foundry technology. Particular emphasis is placed on a broad education: in the laboratories, students learn all the classic casting processes from sand casting to die casting processes for aluminum and magnesium light metals. In new CAD laboratories, the self-cast components are simulated by the students using state-of-the-art software and optimized in terms of casting technology.