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Regarding the June 2018 “tent” GA3/4 and other mfg issues

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by BenPrice, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. BenPrice

    BenPrice Member

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    I do not currently own a Tesla and intend to buy a AWD M3 next year if possible.

    I currently own an Audi RS3 and can not wait to switch to the Model 3, although I will be waiting to see what happens with tariffs (if Trump ups tariffs my auto value goes up substantially) before placing reservation. I will also find one to test drive (local STL store once it gets one, or Turo, or friend) before I make that decision, even before the reservation wait. I know this puts me on a wait, but this is my choice - in that meantime I’ll find a buyer for my RS3 - they’re rare in the Midwest of the US.

    Recently there has been so much misinformation on social media regarding the tented general assembly Elon recently tweeted.

    But moreover Tesla has had some substantial manufacturing issues. (Spoiler alert, literally every company does, that’s why I have a job rofl)

    I am an automation engineer who has experience in automotive, metalworking, engineered plastics, pharmaceutical and radioactive manufacturing. I have not worked for Tesla nor likely ever will - could never relocate to Cali/Reno.

    I have experience on every manufacturer of robotics, PLCs, work with countless integrators with their own reputations. My “specialty” is controls - I like designing user areas whether it be HMI’s, coding robotics to be user friendly, or literally just the arrangement of the workspace for the human.

    It really made me so mad the past few days reading all of the people commenting on Tesla’s manufacturing on social media that I get compelled to do this.

    If you all have any questions about this stuff - I’ll give you an unbiased, although not insider view.

    I cannot answer anything about paint or top level finances.
     
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  2. kengchang

    kengchang Member

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    What process/parts goes on in General Assembly phase?
     
  3. BenPrice

    BenPrice Member

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    I can not say exactly where Tesla draws the line, but in my experience:

    The vehicle chassis/frame is built, that is painted, then the grey area begins.

    The place where I spent the most time (ICE vehicles) had a large area for the drivetrain, then a large area for the interior, then a large area for “everything else”, and all three of those areas were called “final assembly” as a group. It was weird because if I were in a meeting and said the word “final assembly” somebody could think I was referring to the drivetrain or seating, but the supervisor for the “everything else” was the “Final Assembly Supervisor”.

    Everything was broken down to super specific levels and they all had numbers, so we would refer to “720” or whatever and that is how we would talk about a very specific portion of assembly - like one station.

    I’m guessing Elon/Tesla’s GA is the “everything else” part of above and not the “final assembly” term used by a previous manufacturer.

    I cannot say exactly what Elon/Tesla means when they reference their GA lines, but given the fact that it looks like they’re doing it in a tent, an educated guess would be: painted vehicle body, electrical harnesses run, dash and seats finished, drivetrain and battery mated - that arrives - then GA starts. Again, that is just a guess.

    From that point hundreds of small processes occur to turn that into something that can literally drive off at the end. I’d imagine that includes things like the large glass roof, elecrical components such as lights and sensors are installed and connected, then trunk/frunk finished, interior assemblies which aren’t the dash or seats, etc. All of that is staged and completed, the work is just literally fastening or glueing it to the car.
     
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  4. Moderatefan

    Moderatefan Member

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    Somehow I keep thinking this new line in a tent is specifically designated to the P/AWD production and might be totally independent from the current lines occupied with "First Production", i.e. just a scaling up of production w/ minimal impact to existing lines. Or maybe some minimal sharing of current capacities, such as paint station.
     
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  5. Cheburashka

    Cheburashka Member

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    Yes, pretty sure Musk said it's a separate line for P cars.
     
  6. Frank88

    Frank88 Banned

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    gos.jpg
     
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  7. Shankar N

    Shankar N Member

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    Hello BenPrice.

    Is it possible for Tesla to use this tent as a temporary building and move things back into the factory later?

    If the answer is yes, why did Tesla prefer to install a temporary structure instead of expanding the factory?
    If the answer is no, will Tesla be turning this structure into a permanent one in the future by upgrading it?

    Thanks for your time.
     
  8. BenPrice

    BenPrice Member

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    My guess is that this was the best of many options - to tent up this portion of the process at this point in time. How long that lasts...will get to that.

    I’d imagine there are 10+ stations on this line - and each of those requires 3 phase power, compressed air, and possibly other utilities - maybe cooling water - would depend on exactly what the processes require.

    To run all that utility is time consuming - workers on lifts in the way, upgrades to power distribution centers (which would require shutdown of power during the process), and then after the utility is run numerous vehicles, techs and engineers have to install the new line, validate it.

    When thinking about all of that and a real need to have minimal impact to vehicle production, it makes sense to find somewhere else to put the line.

    So onto the tent/“outdoor” nature:

    A major commercial refrigerator manufacturer (think everything stainless steel behind the bar at your favorite bar/eatery - you know the logo) has no climate control. None. Just some fans. (Bigassfans) And those were only semi-recently installed.

    These buildings get WARM - countless robotic work cells, welding cells, compressors, presses - that combined with a 100 degree summer day...

    Fans do not lower temperature in a closed system, they just give the “wind chill” effect. In order to actually lower the temperature you have to circulate out hot air.

    So before and after the fan installation, this organization just opens all the dock doors, all the roll up doors, the available windows. Its 100% identical to the tent at that point. In one case the roof is metal in the other the roof is a tarp (which was designed to be a roof).

    So I don’t think they need to do anything - I don’t think it changes the production environment from anything I’ve been in that is more permanent. Maybe they’ll build walls and a roof around that tent then remove it - that would be my guess if anything, but in reality, and based on the Cali climate, this could be a long term solution.

    Don’t have to thank me :p I’m still mad at some of the responses on social media that literally make no sense and are fueling some pretty dishonest statements about this.
     
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  9. ℬête Noire

    ℬête Noire Active Member

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    BenPrice

    Question: Is the "riding high", where there is what looks like an unnatural gap between the top of the wheels and the top of the wheel well, likely because the car body's bottom is resting on the track and being carried along the way? So the wheels drop down like that, the same way they do as you're jacking up the car to wheels.
     
  10. BenPrice

    BenPrice Member

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    I’d guess that the suspension is locked into place for production - kind of like a “remove before flight” pin found on aircraft to prevent things like landing gear from moving before you want them to - could link but just pop remove before flight pin into google images. Probably not a “pin” but some easy to install/remove device to hold the car at a fixed position.

    Otherwise the vehicle would have some movement up and down as it moves around assembly - the up and down of suspension - having it in a fixed position would be beneficial for robotics which just go to a point in space. Granted you can use lasers or cameras to adjust the position of robotics, but that adds complexity to the robotic tooling and coding, and if some simple device eliminates all that, would be substantial cost savings.

    Again, just a guess - EVs are unique because the weight arrangement of the vehicle is much different than that of an ICE. Also the vehicle could be supported by the undercarriage as you’ve suggested.

    I did check some google images of model 3’s in transit on trucks and they don’t look lifted like that, so whatever is causing this it doesn’t seem to make it to the truck.
     
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  11. a.void

    a.void Member

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    So no concerns that this open environment will introduce contaminates (dirt, dust, insects, moisture, etc) into the product?
    It doesn't sound like the best environment to manufacture a $78K vehicle to me.
     
  12. scaesare

    scaesare Well-Known Member

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    #12 scaesare, Jun 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
    Given the size of the former NUMMI plant that is now the Tesla factory, I had initially wondered a bit if the need add this additional tented line indicated that the overall throughput of each line wasn't expected to be improved to the point it was on par with ICE lines.

    For some reason I had thought that the plant previously had produced far more cars than Tesla was aiming to produce there, but it's actually the opposite if this Wikipedia article is correct:


    With the Model S/X production rate currently being something like 120K cars/yr, even the 5K/wk rate (~250K cars/yr) for the 3 puts them ahead of that average 6000/wk number the plant used to manage. And if they hit their planned 10k/wk rate for model 3, they'll be producing something like 620k cars/yr. That's closing in on 50% more cars being built their than ever was the case when it was a GM/Toyota facility.

    No wonder they need the tent.
     
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  13. ℬête Noire

    ℬête Noire Active Member

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    OR, it is a proof of concept test to get to start-of-production for Model Y quicker (and cheaper?). ;)
     
  14. Moderatefan

    Moderatefan Member

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    Musk said previously they don't have space in Fremont for neither Semi nor Y, so will need to look for something else. Would suck if Y comes out from the China factory...
     
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  15. ℬête Noire

    ℬête Noire Active Member

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    My thinking was a tent somewhere not-Fremont. Last I heard Tesla has an option on land adjacent to Giga 1, and Musk has said the plan is to have future Gigafactories combined car-battery operations, so it makes sense that adding vehicle production of some sort to Giga 1 is in the cards. The question is probably more-so which line(s) are going to end up built there.

    So they pour a new pad next to Giga 1, tie in temporary utilities, put a tent over a corner of it, bring up the initial production line there, and eventual finish a much larger building around it.

    EDIT: Although the Giga 1 building isn't yet to it's full planned footprint, itself.
     
  16. Shankar N

    Shankar N Member

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    Lol. Made in China - Y
     
  17. Shankar N

    Shankar N Member

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    You still deserve a thanks for taking your time to explain things to us.
     
  18. 0ptions

    0ptions Member

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    Most automotive plants are VERY dingy and dirty inside, especially in the body shop where all of the spot welding takes place. Outside weather, dirt, dust, etc. could be considered cleaner than what is inside of a automotive manufacturing plant.
    Sure, there are many well maintained areas in the Fremont plant where visitors are allowed, but not all. Tesla is actually one of the cleanest facilities any of our Installation Engineers have visited.

    I'm a controls engineer for one of Tesla's robotic suppliers.
     
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  19. BenPrice

    BenPrice Member

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    What you’re saying makes sense, but I do believe without any fanboyism, that there are no issues here

    In my experience if the process does not require a controlled environment then there is no controlled environment.

    For example, major plastics company was fully climate controlled. Only reason is the changes in temp/humidity (this was in New Orleans) would cause parts to be out of tolerance. So here, if a chiller went down, or a large dock door became stuck in the up position, for example, we’d still run production but QC would be more aggressive checking the product.

    Or where I am now - suuuuuuuper controlled environment - manufacturing radioactive medicine that is injected into humans for diagnostics. We halt all production for a million and one reasons. In 3 of my labs we monitor differential pressures at dozens of areas, temperatures and dozens of areas, and our environmental team monitors hundreds of locations each production run.

    But for final assembly of simple vehicle components, you aren’t introducing much risk, especially in a climate such as California. Of course things like the machine shop will/should be climate controlled to a point (cannot have minute expansion or contraction of precision equipment and expect tight tolerances) and the paint shop will certainly be tightly controlled...but the rest? Not too much.

    Without knowing every little step Tesla is performing on this line I couldn’t say that they will have 0 quality risk, (possibly risk to adhesives but that is purely speculative) but based on seeing so many open air warehouses and factories, so many places where the “air conditioning” is just sucking the outside air into the building and shooting the old warmer air out of exhaust in the ceiling, and the fact that the vehicle will be driven with the windows down, and parked outside, I see no reason that the end user would be effected by this decision.
     
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  20. BenPrice

    BenPrice Member

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    My favorite is when welding and trimming the weld occurs in the same cell.

    Spatter + chips/shavings + coolant.

    Then manufacturer calls and wants to know why their edges are no longer smooth - I’m thinking, as I head over, that something crashed or forktruck hit the cell and I’d have to reprogram, but then get there and 6 months of grease, coolant, shavings, and spatter have filled every crevice of all the fixtures, lol.

    Some things just will not be clean :)
     
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