Assembly Line

Carat Megacasting Solution in the Spotlight

Toyota Outlines Future Production Processes

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Austin Weber

🔖 Topics: Gigacasting

🏭 Vertical: Automotive

🏢 Organizations: Toyota, Honsha Associates

The new strategy is rooted in the basic principles of the Toyota Production System (TPS), which includes a willingness to do things “for the benefit of someone other than yourself” and a “human-centered” approach to manufacturing. “What caught my attention the most was seeing see the famous genchi genbutsu (real place, real facts) now being done via video,” notes Obara. “Toyota engineers designed a vest to hold a camera, so remote people would not need to be on site to see it all.”

Toyota’s next-generation EVs will be built upon a new modular structure in which car bodies are divided into three sections: front, center and rear. The center section will house solid-state batteries, which offer faster charging and longer range than conventional batteries. Giga-casting is one of the new production technologies that will make these modular structures possible. Currently, the rear section of the Toyota bZ4X EV is made with 86 sheet metal parts and 33 press processes.

“Whereas a typical changeover might take 24 hours and require a large crane, giga-casting molds, which weigh more than 100 tons, leads to even greater time loss,” says Shingo. “Our new approach to giga casting divides molds into two types: general-purpose molds that remain mounted on the machinery and specialized molds whose shape differs by car model. During a replacement, only the compact specialized molds detach themselves automatically from the general-purpose molds.” With these just-in-time mold changes—replacing only what is needed, when it is needed, in the quantity needed—Toyota is aiming to bring lead times down to 20 minutes or less.

Read more at Assembly

Why Tesla’s Cybertruck Is So Hard To Manufacture

GM snatches key Tesla gigacasting supplier TEI

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition, Gigacasting

🏢 Organizations: General Motors, Tooling Equipment International

For years, a little-known company called Tooling & Equipment International (TEI) has helped Tesla push back the frontiers of “gigacasting”, the process it pioneered to cast large body parts for cars in one piece to save time and money. Until 2023, that is. TEI is now part of General Motors after agreeing a deal that may have flown under the radar but is a key part of the U.S. automaker’s strategy to make up ground on Tesla, four people familiar with the transaction said.

By snapping up a specialist in sand casting techniques that accelerated the development of Tesla’s gigacasting molds and allowed it to cast more complex components, GM has jump-started its own push to make cars more cheaply and efficiently at a time when Tesla is racing to roll out a $25,000 EV, the people said.

With TEI gone, Tesla is leaning more heavily on three other casting specialists it has used in Britain, Germany and Japan to develop the huge molds needed for the millions of cheaper EVs it plans to make in the coming decade, the four people said.

Read more at Reuters

Toyota takes on Tesla’s gigacasting in battle for carmaking’s future

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: David Keohane, Kana Inagaki, Peter Campbell

🔖 Topics: Gigacasting, Facility Design

🏭 Vertical: Automotive

🏢 Organizations: Tesla

Some car executives and analysts expect Tesla’s process — which Musk calls “gigacasting” — to set a new benchmark for building vehicles, replacing the vaunted Toyota Production System based on just-in-time manufacturing efficiency. The way Tesla is making cars “is quickly moving to become an industry standard”, said one senior executive at a European automaker.

For the moment, Toyota says it wants more than half of its 2030 sales target to be made up of EVs using its new modular architecture, which allows it to produce multiple different models, that share key components, on the same platforms. Yuzawa said: “Gigacasting is going to reshape the whole underbody supply chain network.”

Read more at Financial Times

Why Sandy is Captivated By Castings: IDRA Conference Recap

Gigacasting: The hottest trend in car manufacturing

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Edwin Pope, Mengyin Tao

🔖 Topics: Gigacasting, Megacasting

🏭 Vertical: Automotive

🏢 Organizations: Tesla, IDRA Group, NIO, Geely

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.

Read more at SP Global Mobility Blog