Tesla has so far had only one supplier for its Giga presses, Italy’s IDRA, but according to information from China, starting next year it will switch to a new manufacturer. Take this with a grain of salt for now as it is only a rumor, and even if true, it doesn’t necessarily mean IDRA will be dropped altogether – maybe the two companies will build different machines.
Bühler was actually approached by Tesla back in 2019 when the automaker had announced that it was looking for a 6,000-ton Giga press. The Swiss multinational plant equipment manufacturer turned down the offer then, but the fact that Bühler was considered three years ago does confirm that the two companies are in contact.
According to Chris Zheng, who is an EV industry watcher from China,
Tesla’s Giga press supplier will be replaced from Italy’s IDRA to Switzerland’s Bühler next year. The latter is also one of the world’s 6 largest die-casting giants. It rejected Tesla’s demand for a 6000t-level Giga press in 2019, but now their products offer better performance.
Interestingly, even though Bühler didn’t want to work with Tesla in 2019 (even though it was one of the first companies contacted), in November of 2021 it revealed its own 9,000-ton die casting machine, which Michael Cinelli, Product Manager Die Casting at Bühler, explained
Is able to inject over 200 kilograms of liquid aluminum into a die within milliseconds, thereby holding the die tight by applying a force of 92,000 kN to it. Imagine locking the die with the 9,000 tons of the Eiffel tower every single shot.
This does lend some credence to what Chris Zheng said, who when asked on Twitter where the source of his information was replied
The source comes from the employees of a Chinese car startup. In 2022 – 23 China will have a large number of models with integrated die castings in mass production, they analyze and benchmark Tesla, and they are smarter and more diligent than car companies in other countries.
Tesla is said to have at least 12 Giga presses today and it will need more of them as it continues looks to start building all its vehicles from fewer (and larger) cast pieces. The manufacturer has currently only used mega castings in the production Model Ys built at its Austin and Berlin plants; it takes under two minutes for each large casting to be created, so double that and that’s how long it takes Tesla to create a new Model Y shell.