Over the last few years, Tesla has been heavily investing in casting and alloy technology to enable larger casted parts that have the capability to greatly simplify manufacturing.
The company acquired several units of the biggest casting machine in the world. These giant, multi-million dollar machines are developed by Idra. Tesla’s first Giga Press, which was installed at the Fremont factory, was put into operation in 2020. The machine was the first of its kind at the time and has a clamping force of 55,000 to 61,000 kilonewtons (5,600 to 6,200 tf).
Tesla has already been producing the Model Y with a single rear body piece that replaced 70 different parts in the vehicle.
The automaker took deliveries of several more giant casting machines at Gigafactory Texas, and Tesla has now started producing the Model Y at the plant with both front and rear single-piece casting.
Over the last few weeks, Idra has been teasing a new 9,000-pound Giga press that will take the prize as largest in the world. Considering Tesla’s relationship with Idra, it was rumored that the new machine (pictured below) would be for the automaker again.
Now, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the machine is going to be used for the Cybertruck body.
This is not surprising considering that Tesla already disclosed that the Cybertruck is going to be built using a stainless-steel exoskeleton body that was going to require a new level of casting capability.
Tesla wrote about the Cybertruck’s exoskeleton on its website:
“Cybertruck is built with an exterior shell made for ultimate durability and passenger protection. Starting with a nearly impenetrable exoskeleton, every component is designed for superior strength and endurance, from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin to Tesla armor glass.”
Early on, the company admitted that it was going to need to develop new manufacturing techniques in order to bring the vehicle to production. It looks like this giant new casting machine is part of that plan.
The Cybertruck was unveiled back in 2019. The electric pickup truck was already supposed to be in production, but the automaker delayed the program as it focused on growing Model Y production.
Now, the company is planning for production to start in 2023 for the Cybertruck. And, while there are doubts about Tesla sticking to this timeline, this new machine is a rare sign that the company is investing in deploying Cybertruck production.