Tesla Gigafactory to Revolutionize Manufacturing Industry
When Tesla announced its plan in 2014 to build a battery factory that could reinvent American manufacturing, some were excited while others were skeptical.
“I thought it was a crazy idea,” Panasonic executive, Yoshi Yamada told Forbes of his company’s 1.6 billion dollar investment in the ambitious 5 billion dollar gigafactory project. It wasn’t so crazy after all, with hundreds of thousands of orders for Tesla’s Model 3 rolling in. The project is currently underway in Reno, Nevada and hopes to produce its first batteries using Panasonic’s lithium-ion cells in the next nine months.
Supply Chain Digest reported that Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, said, “We consider [the factory] to be a product. The factory itself is the machine that builds the machine. It actually deserves more attention from creative problem solving engineers than the product that it makes.”
The design of the factory was engineered from the product itself, backward to the technology needed to create it.
Other reported innovations include substantially increased production capabilities, perhaps as much as 10 times greater than current methods, and zero emissions.
Not only is this nearly 10 million square foot factory expected to produce enough batteries for 1.5 million Tesla cars a year by 2020, it plans to do so in an efficient and sustainable manner by utilizing solar and heat pump technologies.
According to Green Car Reports, the factory was opened for a tour to selected Tesla owners on July 29th, showcasing its cutting edge engineering.
Enclosed systems will recapture chemicals so that none will be released, eliminating the need for thermal oxidizers to control pollution. Tesla plans an energy savings of 80-90% over other methods of battery production, and even at 90% automation, will still employ 6500 workers.
There is still a lot work left to do. If the project is as successful as hoped, Tesla’s focus on clean, product-based production flow could change the course of manufacturing practices in America.