Ford and Hyundai Jump on Gigapress Tech, Copying Tesla
Idra, an Italian manufacturer specializing in aluminium casting machines and a supplier to Tesla, has expanded its customer base to include Ford, Hyundai, and an undisclosed European company, reports Reuters. The expansion comes as more automakers are exploring the use of ‘gigapresses’ in vehicle manufacturing.
Tesla has pioneered the use of massive casting machines, also known as ‘gigapresses’, to make large single pieces of vehicle underbodies. These gigapresses streamline production processes and even reduce the workload for robots. The front and rear underbodies cast by these machines are combined with battery packs to form a three-piece chassis for battery electric vehicles.
During an industry event at Idra’s plant in Travalgiato, near Brescia in northern Italy, a ‘gigapress 6,100’ with Ford branding was showcased. This machine produces a clamping force of over 6,000 tons and is currently undergoing testing. Another machine, the 9,000 model—Idra’s largest and newest—was also being tested at the facility. Although it didn’t have a client’s name on it, a source revealed that it would be shipped to Hyundai for research and development purposes.
The same source also disclosed that Idra is on the verge of signing a supply contract for two 9,000 presses with a premium European automaker, marking its first contract with a European group. “Six gigapresses are now emerging as the standard for an annual production of 500,000 vehicles,” the source added.
Idra has already shipped 14 presses to Tesla, including two 9,000 models for Tesla’s Cybertruck production in Austin, Texas. To date, Idra has signed orders for 25 presses, with 21 already produced and shipped, including to leading ‘Tier 1’ parts makers.