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Model S Factory Capacity?

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by tander, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. tander

    tander Member

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    #1 tander, Apr 10, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013
    Hello all,

    So I was just thinking about the factory capacity for the Model S. Obviously it seems like the media has been pretty obsessed with the monthly rate of production, and I have seen the National Geographic Megafactories video, and I understand that the factory has a lot of room to grow. However I have never actually heard if they have commented on the actual max. capacity the Model S production line as is is currently and was wondering if anyone else could point me toward a link or quote that indicates that. Are they running multiple shifts to get to 20k a year? After driving the S (and being very impressed) I am basically wondering what happens if demand for the Model S in 2014 grows quite a bit, will they have to build another production line, or would they just be running second or third shift.
     
  2. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Excellent question. We are still waiting on the Q1 quarterly report, but Tesla has announced that they did make profit and that production has increased beyond the 20K per year production goal. Only Tesla knows what their max capacity with the current line, as is, would be. Maybe it can be tweaked to increase it even more. Or perhaps they can have more working shifts to get the maximum out of the current line. Only they know and we will find out if and when they choose to increase it. To answer your question, if the demand is there then absolutely they can increase their production.

    They will need to build another production line for the Model X so another line is inevitable. The same will happen with the Gen III when they get around to that. The factory they are currently in is said to have a capacity of 500,000 cars per year. So Tesla has plenty of room to grow and become the company they want to be.
     
  3. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    The plan was always to have the S and X assembled on the same line. With full production of both to be 30k units per year or more.
    But the assembly line might not be their current bottleneck. It could be pressing/stamping. It could be battery or motor assembly. It could be a small piece of assembly that is paralleled and easily (or dificultly) expanded like the paint shop, or body welding.
    Or their production limits could be something stupid like parcel shelf suppliers or shipping receiving at the moment, where a couple fork trucks, or a new supplier could push them to 50k units per year.
    I honestly don't think there are major hurdles for Tesla to meet S and X demand. The cars are just expensive enough where Tesla has enough supply for now.
    sent from my winphone
     
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Toyota Said to Decide to Shut California Car Plant (Update1) - Bloomberg

     
  5. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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  6. Erleichda

    Erleichda Member

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    2 8 hour shifts at present for the lines, 5 or 6 days per week. Battery is the current bottleneck, running 24 hour shifts there. Don't know about supplier issues at present but tires, carbon fiber spoiler, rear facing seats, aluminum were all rumored to be issues a while back. Capacity of current line overall without expansion of factory is unknown, but X should run on the same line when the time is right. Looks like those stampers and the robot assembly can crank though! The human touch after assembly would be the slower part of the line. Nummi is HUGE though...
     
  7. tander

    tander Member

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    Thanks Erleichda, that was more what I was curious about. Is there a link somewhere to how many shifts they are running and the battery bottleneck? I understand that the factory grounds of course has lots of room for expansion. I am more interested in what is going on with just the Model S production line right now. For example (hypothetical) if they are at 20k a year right now with one shift five days a week, they could add a second shift and meet a doubled demand with little added cost.

    Sidenote: I'm in Portland too, starting to see Model S every few days now. Saw two in one day last week. Wonder how long we've got till it's an every day thing.
     
  8. rcc

    rcc Model S 85KW, VIN #2236

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    The physical plant is absolutely huge. They are currently using only a small amount of the plant for the manufacturing line and parts storage. Tesla could probably grow for a decade or more without outgrowing the Fremont factory.

    My recollection is they are running 2 shifts to hit 20K demand and could add a third shift to go higher w/o changing the line. It's also possible they could get a reasonable incremental increase in throughput by tuning their current line w/o adding significant cost. Depends on where and what the bottlenecks are. But my guess is that getting a ~50% boost probably requires another shift, major additions (e.g. with non-trival cost) to the line or another complete line at this point.
     
  9. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Thanks for the inside information. The goal was to get to a single 8 hour shift for 20K/year, so the human assembly sections are still running significantly slower than Elon's goal.

    If the battery's a bottleneck, then they have to redesign that production line first.

    I find it hard to believe aluminum itself would be a supply issue. I suppose Tesla buy it partly pre-manufactured, in rolls rather than ingots.... All the others are sort of obvious supplier issues.
     
  10. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Active Member

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    According to Gilbert Passin, Tesla manufacturing VP, the maximum capacity of the line is 100,000 cars per year. While he did not elaborate further, my assumption is that this rate is for 3 shifts, 7 days operation.

    This is consistent with another point of reference provided in National Geographic Mega Factories video on Tesla manufacturing plan. It shows a crew of final assembly workers training to achieve a 4 min 40 sec time of final assembly for the car. This works out to approximately 100 cars day/8 hr shift or 500 week/ 8 hr shift.

    Could you elaborate on the source and reliability of information that the line is currently working 2 8 hour shifts, while battery production is running “24 hour shifts”. If true this would indicate that unit production of the battery assembly is higher than the Model S production.

    It is hard to believe that Tesla would not match maximum capacity of the battery subassembly line to the capacity of Model S assembly line.
     
  11. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Wouldn't it have to be if they are also making batteries for Mercedes and Toyota?
     
  12. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Active Member

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    Drive trains for Toyota Rav4 EV are in production currently, but in very low volume. I do not think that this volume is sufficient to trigger additional shift for the battery production.

    The MB Series B EV is scheduled for production starting in 2014. Generally speaking, it is too early to produce drivetrains in any appreciable quantities for this car. As far as I know Tesla is not producing any other batteries for Daimler. I have not seen any information on planned production of MB Series B EV, but they sold between 2,000 and 3,000 series B (non EV) in Canada. Assuming that US market is about 6 to 7 times bigger, it is equivalent to annual sales of up to approximately 20,000 cars

    There could be very interesting implications if it is true that battery assembly area operates 24/7 as opposed to the car assembly line that operates two shifts, but I would really like to see where this information coming from before speculating further. Hopefully somebody would be able to shed light on this.
     
  13. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Well it dosen't actually say anything about the unit production of either. I could run one machine 1 hour a day if it ran 1000 units an hour, and run another machine 24/7 but it only makes 40 units per hour.

    And industrial design, and manufacturing process design, is tough. There will always be a 'bottleneck' in your production line. Picking the correct place for a bottleneck is a tricky job, and often counter intuitive. It could very well be appropriate that battery assembly is the bottleneck, and running close to 24/7. And in order to produce more vehicles the have to add another battery assembly station.
     
  14. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Active Member

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    The point I was making is that Tesla most definitely matched design capacity of battery assembly area with the one for car assembly. The actual production rates at any given point can surely be different, but 24/7 operation vs. 2x8 shifts is equivalent to a 50% difference. If information about 24/7 operation is accurate, it is more likely that not all battery packs leaving the battery assembly area end up in Model S.
     
  15. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    No you generally do NOT do this when designing a manufacturing plant. You design in a bottle neck, and then you size other pieces with excess capacity, and accumulation between devices. Some of your equipment will match but generally only one piece of your factory is limiting your production.
     
  16. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Active Member

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    I do not quite get the point. Is it that Tesla designed battery production area to produce 333 packs per 8 hour shift, while design capacity of vehicle assembly line was set at 500 cars per 8 hour shift?
     
  17. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    For a somewhat entertaining view on why read The Goal. It is old, and most of what is in it is now standard in manufacturing. But it mostly deals with the concept of differing production rates. It is a novel, but not a very good one. So somewhat entertaining.

    But in general if you want to produce 500 units per day you want this sort of production line, all number are units/day rate.

    600 -> 700 -> 550 -> 800 -> 600 -> 1000 -> 750
    You size only one piece of equipment to meet your rate. That is your 'bottle neck'. Choosing that part of your process is a little bit of a dark art. In filling applications it almost always ends up being your filler. Most of the time it is your most expensive/complex piece of equipment. And you obviously want a little overhead in its design speed. Only a hicup in your bottleneck will delay your total output.

    If you size something like this:

    550 -> 550 -> 550 -> 550 -> 550 -> 550 -> 550 -> 550 -> 550
    You will NOT get 550 units per day. What ends up happening is the first machine goes down for a minute it affects every down stream equipment. And each hicup in production makes a dent in your total rate. It is impossible to get reliable rates from this type of system. It is impossible to find systemic problems, or problem areas. And a hicup in any of your systems decreases your output rate.
     
  18. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Active Member

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    Ok, ElSupreme, we seem to talk about different things. You are making a point that individual pieces of manufacturing equipment are selected with spare capacity and/or redundancy to achieve the target production rate of 100 cars/shift. I absolutely agree with this general principle. This is somewhat peripheral to my point, though.

    We know that design production output of the Model S assembly line is 100 cars/shift.
    We also know that the current sustained plant output is 500 cars a week.

    If assembly line is operating more than one shift in a sustained mode, then not all inefficiencies are worked out, and their output is perhaps 50 cars/shift (half of the designed output rate - note that I am not talking about output rate of individual pieces of equipment here). Seems to be somewhat strange given that the plant is producing 100 cars a day for a while now - one would think that they would be closer to the as designed output per shift.

    If battery assembly line indeed is operating 24/7in sustained mode and producing only Model S packs, that means that they are managing to make only 33 packs per shift instead of 100. This scenario seems unlikely. Of course battery pack assembly line could be producing not just Model S packs, but battery packs for other cars, although that is questionable as well.

    That is why I think it is important to understand where is original information about how many shifts Model S assembly and battery pack assembly lines are operating, whether this is sustained operation or temporary ramp up to compensate for lost production, etc.
     
  19. Kaivball

    Kaivball Member

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    We love Herbys.... :)
     
  20. tander

    tander Member

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    Thanks Vgrin, I recall a lot of good tidbits from the Nat Geo video too, maybe I need to re-watch it. Is that where the 100,000 came from? If they are doing 2 8 hour shifts, then by your numbers they are hitting 1000 cars a week which would be exciting. I am guessing that the batteries could be bottlenecked due to orders from Mercedes or Toyota programs, or maybe having to adjust orders from Panasonic to meet higher demand.
     

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