Tooling & Equipment International (TEI), a Michigan-based sand casting specialist, substantially aided the Musk-led company in its early adoption of this innovative car production process.
The unnamed sources disclosed that TEI struck a purchase deal with General Motors, officially making it part of the American automaker’s business.
“For years, a little-known company called Tooling & Equipment International (TEI) has helped Tesla push back the frontiers of “gigacasting,” the process it pioneered to cast large body parts for cars in one piece to save time and money.
Until 2023, that is. TEI is now part of General Motors after agreeing a deal that may have flown under the radar but is a key part of the U.S. automaker’s strategy to make up ground on Tesla, four people familiar with the transaction said.”Reuters
The move can significantly aid GM to produce more affordable and efficient electric cars amid Tesla’s efforts to launch a $25,000 model.
For context, gigacasting enabled Tesla to cast huge body components for its electric cars in just one piece to save production costs and time.
“Bringing TEI into the GM enterprise builds on decades of the company’s own casting experience and provides a competitive advantage with strategic castings for future low volume products like the Cadillac Celestiq.”General Motors
Teslarati asserted that TEI is an expert in “sand casting techniques,” which Tesla utilizes to build the necessary molds for the ground-breaking gigacasting process.
TEI claims to lead in the global casting industry, particularly in prototype design, engineering, and production.
The Michigan-based company also boasts that its innovations in “CAD-CAM software, 3-D sand printing, low pressure casting, CNC machining, and validation technologies” enable it to develop the casting technologies in utmost quality.
It reportedly started supplying Tesla around 2017 to build the Model Y’s body part through the rapid prototyping process using sand casting. Since then, it has been involved in the production of the Model 3, Cybertruck, and the Semi.
Effect on Tesla
According to the sources, GM’s acquisition of TEI prompted Tesla to rely on its three other casting suppliers in Britain, Germany, and Japan. These casting specialists will be responsible for producing the enormous molds necessary to produce millions of low-cost models Tesla plans to launch in the coming decade.
In addition, they also noted that Tesla is now racing to replace TEI with another potential sand-casting partner. The Musk-led company is also reported to be considering honing such critical expertise internally to reduce its dependence on gigacasting tech suppliers.
As Chief Executive Elon Musk previously stated, gigacasting is a crucial part of Tesla’s “unboxed” production technique that will supposedly cut manufacturing costs by 50%.
Interestingly, Electrek noted that the news occurred just after Tesla’s announcement of a new breakthrough with “industrial sand with 3D printers” that can eventually support the production of the entire car body in a single part. Although GM’s move appears as a knock on Tesla’s strategy, it remains vague if it will really adversely affect its schedule for the launch of its new cheaper models.
In contrast, it offers GM a major edge that will allow it to learn Tesla’s ways to maximize EV production growth in the past years.