Tesla’s Giga Press like Pratt’s Blohm machines? A qualitative analysis

Credits: Wikipedia

The Pratt & Whitney case study

Tesla’s Giga Press

  • The investment considerably reduces the number of parts to be pressed, thus reducing the associated management costs
  • The number of robots (about 300) required to weld the 70 components is reduced
  • This leads to a reduction in the footprint required for the warehouse and robots, no costs for testing the welded joints and a general reduction in the cost of production, but at the same time an improvement in the quality of the car body.
  • Cost reduction is probably one of Tesla’s main drivers, which aims at the mass diffusion of the electric car, making it increasingly accessible
  • We do not know if the Giga Press will be dedicated to a single mold or if it can be retooled and in how long. Certainly, in this sense Tesla will pay in terms of production flexibility and in the ability to react quickly to changes in demand
  • We do not know the reliability level of the Giga Press, but probably given its complexity it is reasonable to think that it is inferior to that of a robot. But compared to 300 robots?
  • We do not know how many maintenance workers there will be and what specific skills are required: they will certainly be more specialized than those required for welding robots
  • Compared to the Pratt case study, Tesla operates in a different market: higher volumes and minor product variations. However, the trend towards customized manufacturing will increasingly be a key competitive factor for the years to come
  • Nevertheless, the creation of standard platforms and the creation of product families in order to reuse the same components will play a fundamental role in the general cost / benefit analysis

Final Considerations

  • There is no concept better than another, if not according to the specific requirements, objectives and system constraints
  • Small and flexible isn’t always better than big and rigid, and viceversa isn’t always true
  • A highly efficient system with a different approach is achieved at the BMW plant in Munich, which we described in this article
  • It is necessary to have a medium-long term vision of one’s product portfolio in relation to one’s production system, and act accordingly
  • The decision should be made as far as possible in quantitative terms, with real data
  • In this sense, a discrete event simulation could provide a fundamental help in simulating the different scenarios according to the technological solutions indicated.

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