The US automotive group General Motors (GM) has acquired Tooling & Equipment International (TEI), a supplier to Tesla. TEI specializes in casting processes and has provided significant support to Tesla in recent years with its “Gigacast” technology.
TEI and others manufacture test molds for this technology. Using a digital model, 3D printers, known as binder jets, build a sand mold that can cast molten alloys. Large body parts such as the underbody are cast in one piece to save costs and time. According to insiders, TEI helped Tesla to develop the molds quickly and cost-effectively for the Model 3 and Model Y, for example.
GM has now purchased TEI in order to utilize its expertise as well. GM has been using casting processes in the Celestiq luxury model to date, but is planning to expand. Tesla must now look for a replacement for TEI in order not to lose its expertise in the Gigacast process.
Industry experts see the takeover as an important step for GM to catch up with Tesla in terms of manufacturing technologies. With its Gigacast process, Tesla is regarded as a leader in cost-efficient mass production.