Gigacasting: The hottest trend in car manufacturing
Gigacasting is all the rage in automotive manufacturing circles. And while Tesla has mainstreamed the term — involving enormous, high-pressure aluminum die casting machines that punch out vehicle chassis and bodies-in-white — the technology has largely caught on in mainland China. Now other automakers, including Toyota, are eyeing the process.
These massive gigacastings (also known as megacastings) carry huge initial startup costs, may have distortion issues in the metal, alter collision-repair capabilities, and require extensive end-of-line inspection scanning. And that is only after ordering a custom-built gargantuan piece of equipment, moving it into place, and figuring out how to efficiently work the temperamental processes. The cost-benefit analysis of gigacasting should be based on achieving a good-enough first-pass yield rate and maintaining a sufficient, yet not excessive, number of orders for the same part. When comparing gigacasting to conventional steel stamping or aluminum-stitching, S&P Global Mobility nonetheless assesses the unit price for a single-piece, gigacasted aluminum rear floor to be valid.
OEMs are looking towards gigacasting not as a component piece, but as a change to how their entire world functions. The reconfiguration of the dance played behind factory walls will forever change economies within automotive. Whether corner castings or single piece, whether gigacast or gigapress, a change to how vehicles come together is upon the industry. Nodal construction will replace linear, bottlenecks will arise and dissolve, and something altogether new will be born.
Geely and Baidu partnered to establish new EV company JIDU in 2021.
On August 9, Chinese automaker Geely and tech giant Baidu jointly established an automotive technology company with a registered capital of RMB 10 million ($1.38 million). Geely and Baidu’s wholly-owned subsidiaries hold 65% and 35% stakes in the new company, respectively. Currently, neither Geely nor Baidu has disclosed the development direction of their new joint venture, but the newly established company’s business scope comprises sales of new energy vehicles, operations of EV charging infrastructure, and sales of batteries and digital technology services according to the publicly available information on corporate data site Tianyancha