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Ye olde factory tour

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by cinergi, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    Toured the factory today. This is the second time I've seen it. The first time was October 2011.

    Everyone's taking time off this week, so the factory wasn't running. There were a few folks around doing whatever (I'm guessing tuning/tweaking, plus I saw dies being shifted around (which is a time-consuming effort so a good time to do it), lights being changed, etc.) So I'll need a third visit to actually see it running :smile: but it did give Dan Myggen and myself an opportunity to see stuff we couldn't normally see (mostly 'cuz you'd be in the way of people or machinery). We also took the opportunity to go off the beaten path.

    Photos are still forbidden. Not sure how someone else here (I forget who) managed to get them. I mentioned it to someone in Tesla Comms and she was surprised :smile: -- not supposed to be any photos.

    It was impressive back then. It's quite a sight now. Massive quantities of a plethora of different parts everywhere. Massive stacks of stamped panels. I couldn't even begin to count how many. I'd be lucky to just count the number of containers holding 50 panels each. Just the number of bins, boxes, organizing things was really staggering.

    The robots have been busy reproducing. There's probably 10x more than last time I was there. The assembly line is long and thoughtfully-laid out. I can't imagine architecting that line. Smart cars, lifts, fixed lines, oh my!

    Saw some of the plastics area again. The dies for that stuff are just as impressive as the dies for the aluminum! Holy cow! Massive. I keep forgetting that a lot of the plastics in the car are made right there in the factory. Seeing the machinery that does it took it home. Pretty impressive to see the high quality stuff coming from those machines.

    Part of our walk included seeing where the power for the facility comes in.
    eek2.gif
    Imagine going to a major power switching station. Yeah, that. A 90kW supercharging load is a drop in the bucket for what's coming in there.

    There were dies for the aluminum stamping everywhere. Enormous. Some were being moved around when we were there. Dan and I were mesmerized watching the overhead crane (45-ton capacity) built into the facility's structure being manipulated to pick one up and move it around. You could feel the vibrations of the crane and cart through the floor. I almost had to pick our jaws up off the floor and keep ourselves moving on the tour or we'd just stand there and watch all day :smile:

    The break room is pretty cool. All kinds of food, drink, snacks in there -- on pretty much the honor system where you grab what you want, scan it through an automated device at the door and pay for it (cameras everywhere of course). Chocolate milk is free. Dan and I enjoyed some :smile:

    Oh, and rolls of aluminum. Lots of them. Various sizes and grades. Thick sheets! Yikes. Literally no way to manipulate that stuff sans machinery.

    I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff. I didn't do anything like look at VINs or whatever. I'll add more if I remember it ...

    My thanks to Tesla for the hospitality and amazing access to the factory (not just me -- everyone getting tours)!
     
  2. aronth5

    aronth5 Long Time Follower

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    Great stuff. Thanks for all the great videos. Just watched your factory delivery live stream. Very informative.
     
  3. NEWDL

    NEWDL R#350 R#1323 Sig23 8136

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    Dan is the absolute best! I'm glad you got to tour with him.
     
  4. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    #4 sp4rk, Jan 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
    Sounds like an oxymoron? What do you mean by honor system if they pay for it?

    I misread honor for free. DOH. :) Wake up sp4rk!
     
  5. jerry33

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

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    Means that no one will stop you if you just walk out without paying.
     
  6. HFh

    HFh Member

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    The honor system refers to paying for what you take without something or someone there forcing you to do so.
     
  7. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Sounds like you got to see quite a bit with the factory in slow-down mode over the holidays. We kept clear of the break room - mfg personnel were in there taking a break and while we looked and waved, we didn't join the break activity. :) I would have loved to see the cranes moving the equipment - but I would have hated to lose out on see that same equipment stamping out body parts. So I guess it all evens out.

    No paint room for any of us -- that's locked down tight. It's such a sensitive area that Tesla tests diff body lotions/sprays/etc and gives the paint room employees a list of allowable stuff. Airborne molecules may react with the paint.

    Was the Motor Trend award still sitting on the desk in the bull pen? That was pretty cool to see up close and personal. And it was cool that it was out in the open where all the personnel could pick it up and know they were helping to build something special.
     
  8. Zzzz...

    Zzzz... Member

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    Could you(or anyone who been there) estimate how many cars are on assembly line? Just assembly, not body in white /paint shop etc.

    By knowing number of cars on assembly line and production rate it would be possible to estimate how long it would take to assemble Model S :smile:
     
  9. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Interesting thought, but I wouldn't want to hazard a guess. There are so many variables.
     
  10. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    Yup! At the desk where Elon sits (with the rest of the manufacturing staff).
     
  11. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    doug told me I couldn't take it.
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Has that stopped you in the past?
     
  13. rcc

    rcc Model S 85KW, VIN #2236

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    I wound up taking two factory tours: met Elon, GB and JB on one tour. And a second tour a few days later when my car was ready.

    The MT award was on Elon's desk on the first tour and in the greeting area on the second tour. I got a picture taken of me holding the MT award on the second tour. And a pic of Elon handing me a key fob on the first tour. The folks at Tesla are really nice :).

    And yes, the factory's awesome. Massive crates of auto parts everywhere you look. Huge numbers of very very heavy dies stacked up. They dies have their weight painted on the sides for the crane operators. I didn't count but I bet it was typical to see 2-4 dies stacked with total weight of the stack more than 3 tons.

    Something I was stunned by: every aluminum body panel is given a look over & sanding/smoothing by a human being. I don't know if that's typical of auto manufacturing lines but it's what they were doing there. Think of that - every exterior panel on your S was hand-sanded.
     
  14. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I'm sure I'm going a little off-topic, but it doesn't seem worthy of a new thread of its own yet...

    Is the Tesla Model S the first vehicle capable of displaying an image of its own Motor Trend award on a "stock" display?

    Perhaps this should go in the "firsts" thread.
     
  15. flybob08

    flybob08 Member

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    How did you arrange the tour? Can anyone go to see their car in production? That would be an exciting change from prior ICE vehicles!!
     
  16. htsai14752

    htsai14752 Member

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    +1 I want to get a tour of the factory also and be able to drive my car home at the end of the tour
     
  17. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    If you do factory delivery (easy 'nuff if you live in Cali .. not something you want to do otherwise, because you pay CA sales tax AND your local state tax (if any)).
    My tour was pretty much the result of having been a Roadster owner, the connections I have, and other stuff I won't get into.
     
  18. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    You can usually find someone here on the forum who is taking factory delivery & ask if you can join in.

    Tesla has arranged for tours for people for a number of reasons - a school group, etc. If you don't know anyone at Tesla (yet), talk to your local store manager to see how something might be arranged. It's definitely worth doing.
     
  19. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Oh go on, we have time....:wink:
     

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