General Motors Corp. has acquired Tooling & Equipment International, a Livonia, MI, developer and manufacturer of casting molds and tooling, as well as prototypes and low-volume production castings. Details of the transaction have not been announced, though a Reuters report estimated the acquisition price to be in the range of $80 million to $100 million.
TEI became a part of GM's Global Manufacturing division as of July 1. It’s expected to remain a wholly owned subsidiary operating independently from the parent company.
Tooling & Equipment International designs and produces tooling for gravity and low-pressure sand casting molds, cold-box and hot-box coremaking, and lost-foam casting production. It emphasizes its experience in designing molds and core boxes for high-volume manufacturing of automotive castings, including tooling for cylinder head, cylinder block, driveline, chassis and suspension castings.
For GM, the significance of the takeover may be TEI’s role as a producer of large-dimension mold tooling, and specifically as a supplier to Tesla Inc. for its “gigacasting” high-pressure diecasting operations: the EV manufacturer has pioneered the use of HPDC to produce large automotive chassis structures to reduce vehicle assembly time and costs.
While high-pressure diecasting has grown in the past decade to be a preferred process for high-volume production of structural and drivetrain castings, Tesla’s implementation of gigacasting has emerged as a decisive factor in minimizing production time and lowering costs.
TEI’s expertise in tooling for gigacasting may support GM’s future vehicle assembly capabilities, and possibly benefit the corporation as other automakers adopt the same emerging process technology.
"General Motors acquired Tooling & Equipment International (TEI) to bolster its portfolio of innovations and secure access to unique casting technology," according to a GM statement provided to Reuters. “Bringing TEI into the GM enterprise builds on decades of the company's own casting experience and provides a competitive advantage with strategic castings for future low volume products like the Cadillac Celestiq."
The Celestiq is an all-electric luxury vehicle that Cadillac will begin delivering in 2024.
TEI has worked with Tesla as one of the suppliers of prototype molds and production tooling for its in-house casting operation, reportedly for the Model Y and Model 3 passenger cars, Cybertruck pickup, and Semi truck product lines.
TEI also has developed castings for General Motors, including for the Cadillac Celestiq. Reportedly, GM entered into a long-term, guaranteed contact with TEI for that project, which led to a new casting line at the Livonia operation.
A 59.5-lb aluminum casting produced by TEI for the Cadillac Celestiq, and measuring 58.5x22.5x33.3 inches, combining the chassis’ rear rail, shock tower, and wheel well, was named the American Foundry Society’s Casting of the Year for 2023.