TRAVAGLIATO, Italy -- By replacing around 60 welded components with a single module, gigantic aluminum die casting machines made by companies including Tesla supplier Idra Group are helping automakers to simplify manufacturing and cut costs by up to 40 percent in some areas.
Tesla has pioneered the use of massive casting machines, also known as Giga Presses, to make large single pieces of vehicle underbodies, streamline production and reduce the work of even robots.
This has helped it become the most profitable battery electric-vehicle maker.
Critics say the process poses quality and flexibility risks, as a single flaw can compromise a whole module, and make fixing more difficult if something goes wrong. But with the industry struggling to preserve profit margins amid surging raw materials prices, automakers including Toyota, General Motors, Hyundai, Volvo Cars and Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio are turning to companies such as Idra for help.