Tesla files patent to die cast vehicle frame

Tesla filed a patent for a casting machine that could help streamline production for future vehicle projects. The diecasting machine is likely to be part of several manufacturing improvements for its Model Y program.

CEO Elon Musk has said Tesla is shifting to an aluminum casting design instead of stamped steel for the Model Y.

Tesla’s patent is for a “Multi-Directional Unibody Casting Machine for a Vehicle Frame and Associated Methods.”

“When we get the big casting machine, it’ll go from 70 parts to 1 with a significant reduction in capital expenditure on all the robots to put those parts together,” Musk said in an interview last summer.

In the patent filing, Tesla said its new machine “may reduce costs associated with manufacturing including, but not limited to, factory operating costs, tooling costs, time, and other equipment and labor costs.” It also said the machine “may reduce a number of casting machines or actual castings required to cast a complete or substantially complete vehicle frame”

“In some embodiments, multiple portions of the vehicle frame may be integrally formed or casted (sic) without the need for further assembly and attachment (e.g., welding, rivets, etc.),” Tesla said in the filing. “This may reduce a number of castings and/or steps for manufacturing or casting a substantially complete vehicle frame.”