Tesla gigacasting supplier Tooling & Equipment International, or TEI, has been reportedly bought by General Motors in a move that the legacy automaker hopes will help it catch up to the leader in EVs.
GM has reportedly bought TEI after the company helped Tesla pioneer gigacasting, the EV maker’s manufacturing strategy, to streamline automotive production in its factories and ramp production significantly over the past few years.
Tesla has also used gigacasting to make its vehicles safer in accidents.
According to a new report from Reuters, TEI was bought by GM and is looked at as “a key part of the U.S. automaker’s strategy to make up ground on Tesla.” This was according to four people who were familiar with the transaction.
TEI is especially pertinent in “sand casting techniques,” and according to a September report, Tesla was producing molds out of industrial sand with 3D printers, which could be tweaked and adjusted without presenting too much risk.
Now, Tesla is scrambling to find a new sand casting specialist, the report says, and will lean on other casting companies in Britain, Germany, and Japan, who will develop the molds that it will need to build millions of its $25,000 EV, which has been talked about a lot recently as CEO Elon Musk confirmed it would also be built in Germany.
Tesla is also considering an “in-house” role to cut its reliance on outside companies, which it has previously done as a cost-cutting strategy.
GM confirmed that it acquired TEI in a statement to Reuters:
“General Motors acquired Tooling & Equipment International (TEI) to bolster its portfolio of innovations and secure access to unique casting technology.”
If the move by GM is anything at all, it is a strategic one, as it will now get a first-hand look at how Tesla refined its manufacturing techniques to maximize production growth over the past few years.
Tesla has had the ability to keep up with demand for the Model 3 and Model Y through their ramp-up processes by refining manufacturing techniques and growing production on a quarter-over-quarter basis.
GM may be in a good spot to grow production of its EVs through this move, and taking a page out of the book of the EV leader could pay dividends.
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