Tesla Patents Massive Frame Casting Machine, Better Wiring Harness
Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself said the company was in “production hell” a few months back when it was trying to meet targets for Model 3 output. Tesla’s Fremont plant still has its hands full with Model 3, and will be doubly busy once the related Model Y crossover starts production there. But if the methods detailed in two patents recently discovered by Electrek come to fruition, manufacturing could get a whole lot easier.
Filed under the name “multi-directional unibody casting machine,” the first patent describes a body casting method that, in theory, could produce a unibody vehicle frame using a single machine. Typically, components are cast separately and assembled by plant workers or robots. The machine is comprised of a central hub surrounded by a number of ejector dies. When the ejector dies connect with the hub, a mold cavity is formed and molten metal is injected to form a portion of the frame. According to the patent description, this method could reduce build time, manufacturing and operating costs, and floor space needed.
The second patent covers a new wiring harness design that’s more rigid and thus easier for robots to handle. Currently, wiring harnesses have to be installed by hand. This design could speed up production and dramatically reduce labor costs, if implemented.
It’s unclear when Tesla plans to move to the production methods detailed in the patents, if ever, but clearly the company is thinking very hard about how it can streamline its manufacturing process.
Source: Electrek 1, 2
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