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What is the best way to build a car?

Discussion in 'Tesla, Inc.' started by AudubonB, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

    Mar 24, 2013
    I've been pondering a number of posts scattered around a variety of threads in different sub-forums of TMC, all of which deal with the Models S, X and 3 assembly lines, and many of which discuss, hypothesize or fantasize features of robotic vs human assembly, Mr. Musk's "factory as Alien Dreadnought", and so forth.

    As with most items, there is a great likelihood this Grandmaster of Multidimensional Chess/Go long since has First Principled his way into the correct answer to my thread-head's question, but I've started the thread in order to learn your best ideas.

    As for me, I hearkened to some lines an experienced builder once put forth regarding a certain structure we were critiquing. He said "That's the Russian School of Construction: First put up the building and later carve out the basement and set the foundation".

    He wasn't being complimentary....

    Now, aren't most cars built à la Russian School, however? That is, first put together the shell (whether body-on-frame or unibody), and second, emplace the interior: wiring harnesses and everything that becomes the cabin?

    In a robotic assembly, mightn't it make sense to fabricate some structure that is the interior, close to complete other than the various harnesses' final connectors, and then build the vehicle's exterior structure around that?

    • would be a far simpler task to emplace harnesses
    • would obviate the tortuous procedure of installing dashboards, seats &c inside a pre-created exterior
    • welding of structural members becomes somewhat more challenging with that Alcantara liner already in place....
    • Paint shop: As presently set up, whether spray, dip or some combination, it's performed only on the bare metal of the gutless vehicle. An interesting task to do before either frame or sheetmetal is unified.
    But one can make the same argument about current techniques. Existing methodology truly is akin to one of those carved ivory balls surrounding carved ivory balls surrounding carved ivory balls: elegant to look at, horrendous to create.
  2. mblakele

    mblakele pre-jackpot member

    Mar 7, 2016
    SF Bay Area
    I'd try to borrow techniques from highly-optimized manufacturing lines: smartphones, tablets, and laptops for example. These products don't have to propel themselves down the road at speed or sit outdoors in rain and snow, which makes a difference. But they are cheap to manufacture, and robust enough for their intended use. Some of the techniques they embody might be useful for transportation.

    Painting the "body in white" seems like an awkwardness in the current process. Could the panels be finished separately? I'm thinking of the finishes on iPhones, especially the latest generation. Any two iPhones or MacBooks with the same finish look identical to my eye.

    Tesla already uses some epoxy in place of welds or rivets. Maybe that could be extended to completely replace welding? Would that help with the painting problem?

    Instead of running wiring through the car, what about printing circuits directly onto the structural parts? I'm not sure how you'd make connections between parts, but I have a few ideas that might be worth investigating. Or what about replacing bundles of wires with cables prefabricated to connect specific components?

    Getting seats and liners into the car after it's almost complete seems inefficient. Maybe there's a better way, but it's roughly the same technique we use for housebuilding. Things like carpet and paint don't go in until the walls and roof are up. Phones are different: the most common soft furnishing is a case that can be changed anytime.
  3. PtG62901

    PtG62901 Member

    Jul 29, 2016
    Carbondale, IL
  4. 3Victoria

    3Victoria Active Member

    May 8, 2016
    Victoria, British Columbia
    Well, one solution to wiring harnesses is less wiring. Using CAN bus cables between intelligent subunits makes sense. A HUD reduces dashboard wiring immensely.

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