Tesla has wisely made arrangements to quieten all the critics crowing about its production capabilities – the company just obtained the patent for a giant machine that will create the entire body frame of a car in a single press. It’s called the Multi-Directional Unibody Casting Machine.
Tesla filed a patent for a casting machine that could help streamline production for future vehicle projects. The die-casting machine is likely to be part of several manufacturing improvements for its Model Y programme.
CEO Elon Musk has said Tesla is shifting to an aluminium casting design instead of stamped steel for the Model Y. Tesla’s patent is for a “Multi-Directional Unibody Casting Machine for a Vehicle Frame and Associated Methods.”
“When we get the big casting machine, it’ll go from 70 parts to 1 with a significant reduction in capital expenditure on all the robots to put those parts together,” Musk said in an interview last summer.
In the patent filing, Tesla said its new machine “may reduce costs associated with manufacturing including, but not limited to, factory operating costs, tooling costs, time, and other equipment and labor costs.” It also said the machine “may reduce a number of casting machines or actual castings required to cast a complete or substantially complete vehicle frame”
“In some embodiments, multiple portions of the vehicle frame may be integrally formed or casted (sic) without the need for further assembly and attachment (e.g., welding, rivets, etc.),” Tesla said in the filing. “This may reduce a number of castings and/or steps for manufacturing or casting a substantially complete vehicle frame.”
As evidenced in the patent schematics, it looks to be a large-scale press that will produce the car’s body in one go or at least in the minimum amount of time that should enable Tesla to increase its production numbers manifold, imagination is the limit.
Tesla applied for this patent last year and received official approval just recently. This is great news for Tesla’s future vehicle production efforts as 2020 should mark the beginning of production for the next-gen Roadster, Tesla Semi, and Model Y. Although looking at the patent files, it’s unclear which car from the existing and/or upcoming Tesla line-up will be first built using this giant casting machine.
The inventor of this machine mentioned in the patent document is Matthew Kenneth Kallas who appears to be a Tesla engineer.