Tesla Inc. has started operating what is described as the “world’s largest" diecasting machine at its Tesla Factory manufacturing plant in Fremont, CA, a significant development in automaking as well as in metalforming. The new machine — called the OL 6100 CS giga press and built by IDRA Srl — measures 20 meters long by 5 meters high, and weighs 400 metric tons.
According to one report, the size of the new machine required Tesla to build it outside the plant and that it assembled a new structure adjacent to the Fremont plant to cover the OL 6100 CS.
Tesla plans to use the new press to produce two aluminum parts that will form the rear underbody of its Model Y electric crossover vehicle. The Model Y, in production since January, is designed with a rear underbody comprised of three parts, but fewer parts will require fewer production steps and occupy less space for machinery, materials and parts storage, handling, etc., as well as lower labor costs.
One report noted Tesla hopes ultimately to cast a single component for the Model Y underbody structure. For comparison, Tesla's Model 3 has a rear underbody assembly consisting of 70 parts.
The automaker and its CEO Elon Musk have previously raised the potential efficiencies of forming an entire automotive structure from a single casting.
The OL 6100 CS also may be seen as part of a trend toward larger diecasting machines to produce automotive components from unitized designs that achieve lightweight and structural goals.
The machine now in use at the California plant is one of two that Tesla has ordered from IDRA. The second will be installed at Tesla's Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai.