Why Tesla is Counting on "GIGA PRESS"
The Revolutionary 3D Printing Technology from Italy
3 October 2022
- GIGA PRESS is one of the most advanced 3D printing technologies from Idra Group, Italy. It has transformed the automotive industry with high-speed casting, forming, and automatically welding body chassis while reducing production costs.
- Tesla is relying on GIGA PRESS in their production of new electric vehicles to increase competitiveness and support the growth of the global EV market.
- It is compatible with Industry 4.0’s objective towards Carbon Neutral.
- 3D printing is going strong due to many positive factors. For example, the ability to cater to customers’ custom designs and on-demand production, efficiency optimization and cost reduction, shorter production time, as well as the promotion and investment from governments around the world.
GIGA PRESS is the world's first 3D printing press or die-casting unit produced by Idra Group, Italy. It is unique because it is the largest high-pressure die casting machine in the world with gripping forces of 55,000 to 61,000 kN, each unit weighs 410–430 tons and has the potential to produce 40-45 chassis in just one hour. Alternatively, it can produce up to 1,000 chassis daily. It is truly a revolution in the automotive industry because it reduces both production and assembly time. Also, it corresponds with the current eco-conscious trend since there is less waste, up to 50% less energy consumption than other casting machines from Idra Group, has a long service life, and is very easy to look after.
“GIGA PRESS presented many engineering challenges that our teams had to solve step by step during the R&D process. It took more than two years to succeed,” said Idra Group’s general manager Riccardo Ferrario in a video posted on the company's YouTube channel.
“The most important new technology is the newly patented injection system designed by our team of experienced and skilled engineers. This allows us to fill the mold by filling approximately 100 kg of aluminum into the mold cavity in as little as 60 to 100 milliseconds.”
“Idra Group is ready to transform the entire automotive industry by shifting from traditional stamping to automatic casting, forming and welding. Our ultimate goal for GIGA PRESS is to streamline the automotive production so it becomes more efficient and truly sustainable,” he said.
With this world-changing innovation, even the famous electric car maker Tesla could not overlook GIGA PRESS. Tesla has used this innovation to cast most of the parts of their new EV models because Idra’s casting machine is the world’s largest and most suitable for Tesla’s requirements. Tesla has bought several of the world's largest casting machines, each worth millions of US dollars. The first machine was installed at Tesla’s factory in Fremont which started operations in 2020, and has enabled Tesla to produce Model Y with just one rear piece instead of 70 pieces. This results in a huge reduction in production costs. Later, Tesla installed several giant die-casting machines in its Gigafactory in Texas, and has since begun manufacturing a one-piece casting, front and rear piece for Model Y.
“Each front and back piece casting has replaced 70 pieces of various parts traditionally made from different materials that must be securely fastened and sealed. Tesla started with a molded rear structure, and followed by the front casting and battery pack. When assembled, this technology has eliminated 370 parts,” said Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk.
Not too long ago, Tesla has contracted Idra Group for a larger and more challenging task to produce chassis for Tesla's Cybertruck pickup truck which is scheduled to be introduced to the market by 2023. With its stainless steel exterior, a GIGA PRESS with a different casting ability is required.
Because the Cybertruck is built with a highly impenetrable outer structure and is made for maximum durability as well as passenger protection, every component is designed to be stronger and more durable than conventional pickup trucks. This is reflected in the cold-rolled Ultra-Hard 30X stainless steel chassis and the Tesla armor glass.
“This gigantic machine will be used for the manufacture of chassis components of large automobiles such as pickup trucks, lightweight electric vehicles and SUVs, which are a real milestone in the automotive industry,” added the General Manager of Idra Group.
However, although Tesla currently has 12 GIGA PRESS machines from Idra Group, it is not counting on a single supplier. Instead, it is looking for different innovations, so it was reported that in 2023 Tesla will add a new giant foundry maker as its new supplier. At the moment, it is in talks with Swiss entrepreneur Bühler which it has been in contact with since 2019.
According to the research from Market and Markets, the global 3D printing market is valued at approximately XXX USD million in 2021 and is expected to increase to USD 47.95 million by 2026, or an average growth rate of 22.5% during the forecast period. The main factor comes from the ease of development of customized products according to customer requirements, and the ability to reduce production costs and production time while increasing productivity. These factors also include increasing investment by the governments in 3D printing projects by promoting the development and funding of educational institutions, research centers and research and technology organizations to explore further opportunities from 3D printing technology. For example, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have already implemented national programs to promote university-level 3D printing research projects which drive technological advances. At the same time, the emergence of startups that provide 3D printing services with different advantages and innovations in 3D printing from giant companies have attracted more and more industrialists and governments around the world to pay close attention to this technology.
This speedy growth is contributed by the advancement of technology in the automotive industry, health care (including medical orthopedics and dentistry), and aerospace and space exploration.
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