Tesla giga casting gets its biggest supporter yet from legacy auto

Credit: Idea Group/YouTube

During Toyota’s announcement earlier this week, the veteran Japanese automaker announced that it was adopting “giga casting” systems for its upcoming electric vehicles. Similar to Tesla, Toyota intends to produce the car body from three main components in a modular structure, allowing for “significant component integration.”  

“On the manufacturing axis, the car body will be constructed from three main components in a new modular structure. Adopting giga casting will allow significant component integration, which contributes to the reduction of vehicle development costs and factory investment,” Toyota noted.

The use of giga casting was pioneered by Tesla with the Model Y crossover. It involves the use of house-sized machines that are able to produce aluminum parts that are significantly bigger than anything traditionally used in auto manufacturing. With the system in place, a piece such as the Model Y’s rear underbody could be made with one piece instead of dozens. 

This system, analysts have estimated, has likely helped Tesla achieve industry-leading profitability

In what appears to be yet another nod to Tesla’s futuristic factories, Toyota also stated that it plans to implement a “self-propelling” assembly line, where vehicles that are being produced would essentially drive themselves through the manufacturing process. That’s an ambitious goal, and one that would likely require a lot of investment from the automaker. 

While giga casting presents a lot of advantages, it also comes with its own set of challenges. The giga casting machines are extremely expensive, so they are great for companies like Tesla, which only produces a few models. For automakers like Toyota, which would likely offer a variety of next-generation electric cars, the investments required for giga casting would likely be more substantial. Vehicles made with giga casted parts are also expected to be more difficult to repair in the event of an accident.

Giga casting machines are produced by a number of companies, such as IDRA, which makes Tesla’s machines. IDRA has been a unit of China’s LK Industries since 2008. Other giga press makers include the Buhler Group, Shibaura Machine, Yizumi, and Haitian. 

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Tesla giga casting gets its biggest supporter yet from legacy auto
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