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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Inside Tesla! Stamping the Model S [VIDEO]

A brief look behind the scenes of Model S production as Tesla count down the days to their first customer deliveries in the United States.


Tesla is one of the few companies in the world producing a steel-reinforced aluminum car. Aluminum reduces the overall weight of Model S to help maximize efficiency and range.

The Model S actually starts as a huge aluminum coil that weighs up to 9 tons. This coil is unfurled and fed into our Blanking Line that cuts the aluminum into large rectangles aptly called “blanks.”

Tesla's Press Line stamps the aluminum blanks into 3D parts using huge molds called “dies.” The large black and yellow dies weigh up to 40 tons and are design-specific to stamp each aluminum piece of Model S.

The hydraulic Press Line shown here enables Tesla to produce large panels of the car, like doors and hoods, in-house, rather than outsourcing this production. Our Press Line is the largest of its kind in North America and is capable of producing one part every six seconds.

State-of-the-art Kuka robots move aluminum blanks into the press, and then, using over one thousand tons of force, the blank is formed, trimmed and pierced. It’s very impressive to watch as flat aluminum blanks go in one side and shaped, paint-ready panels come out the other.

The video doesn’t do justice to the size and scale of the presses, but it does show how automation helps move parts through the process one step at a time.

Next Tuesday we’ll show how these newly pressed parts are assembled together. Suddenly parts that alone resemble doors, fenders, and body panels are joined together and become recognizable as Model S! It is the first step in the process where the car actually begins to take shape and it’s amazing to watch robots align and connect major sections of the car!

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