A recently-uploaded video has provided a rather fascinating glimpse at the assembly process of an IDRA “Giga Press” machine, which allows Tesla to produce single-piece casts for the Model Y. The short clip highlights the impressive and almost daunting size of the Giga Press itself, which Elon Musk has aptly described as comparable to the size of a small house.
So far, two Giga Press machines have been set up in the Fremont Factory, and they are so massive that they could not be installed inside the facility itself. Tesla has resorted to building a shed of sorts around the Giga Presses, protecting them from the elements. IDRA, the company that makes the Giga Presses, reportedly has 12 orders for the giant casting machine.
In true Tesla fashion, the Giga Press lives up to its name. The machine showcased in the video is Giga Press No. 3, and according to a report from Foundry Planet, it takes up to 24 flatbed trucks to transport the components of the massive 430-ton giant contraption. Its dimensions of 20m x 7.5m x 6m are also quite impressive.
It remains to be seen where Tesla intends to deploy Giga Press No. 3, though filings have indicated that the electric car maker is looking to use eight of them for Gigafactory Berlin. Considering that foundational work is already underway in the Giga Berlin complex for the massive machines, there seems to be a chance that Giga Press No. 3 may be the first of the eight that will be used in Tesla’s Germany-based factory.
Other Giga Press machines have been spotted in the Gigafactory Shanghai complex. Unlike the IDRA-branded unit that was featured in the recent video, however, the machines in China appear to be produced by LK Machinery, IDRA’s parent company. Gigafactory Shanghai’s Giga Presses were spotted during a factory tour earlier this year, with reports indicating that three units of the giant casting contraption have been installed by October 2020.
Interestingly enough, Elon Musk noted that the inspiration behind Tesla’s use of Giga Presses was the Hot Wheels versions of its electric cars. “As Sandy (Munro) accurately pointed out, the rear of the Model 3 looks like a patchwork quilt. It’s not great… The current version of the Model Y has basically two big high-pressure die-cast aluminum castings that are joined. Later this year, we will transition a single piece casting that also integrates the two rear crash rails,” Musk said.
Watch a video of how Tesla’s Giga Press No.3 machine is assembled in the video below.