Megacasting Revolutionizes Electric Auto Production

August 14, 2022
One of Tesla’s 8 Giga Presses

New cars like the Tesla Model 3, Maserati SUV, and Volvo EV depart from convention by building the cars atop just a few very large, very complex aluminum alloy castings. These bolt together to form the entire chassis, with front, center, and rear sections that replace, in Tesla’s case, 370 discrete parts that would need to be joined together to form the car’s chassis.

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Coal Gets Hot

July 6, 2022

An energy-starved world is turning to coal as natural-gas and oil shortages exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine lead countries back to the dirtiest fossil fuel. From the U.S. to Europe to China, the world’s largest economies are increasing coal purchases to ensure sufficient supplies of electricity, despite prior pledges by many countries to reduce their coal consumption to combat climate change.

“The global competition for coal—also now in short supply after years of declining investment in new mines and resources—has driven benchmark prices to new records this year,” reports The Wall Street Journal (July 5, 2022). The push is being led by Europe, which is boosting coal purchases to ensure it can keep power flowing to homes and factories after Russia cut gas supplies. Germany, which has promised to eliminate coal as a power source by 2030, is among the nations now importing more.

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Robots Pick Up More Work at Busy Factories

June 2, 2022

“Robots are turning up on more factory floors and assembly lines as companies struggle to hire enough workers to fill rising orders,” writes The Wall Street Journal (June 2, 2022). Orders for workplace robots in the U.S. climbed 22% last year to $1.6 billion.

Rising wages and worker shortages, compounded by increases in Covid-19-related absenteeism, are changing some manufacturers’ attitudes about robotics. “Before, you could throw people at a problem instead of finding a more elegant solution,” said the CEO of Delphon Industries. Delphon lost 40% of its production days during January when the coronavirus spread through its workforce. The disruption accelerated the company’s purchase of 3 additional robots earlier this year.

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