On Jan. 22, Guangdong Hongtu Technology held a signing ceremony for the partnership for a 12,000-ton super die-casting unit with XPeng Inc. (“XPeng” or the “Company”, NYSE: XPEV, HKEX: 9868. HK) and the offline of China’s first 6,800-ton chassis integrated structural parts.
Pin Jiang, Xpeng’s vice president, has also attended this event. He spoke about how this event symbolises the major advancement for Guangdong Hongtu in the field of one-piece die-casting.
Guangdong Hongtu suggested that it entered the supply chain system of Xpeng last December. Both will be cooperating in the development of technology in one-piece components in the future.
Xpeng is expected to upgrade its manufacturing process to a higher level via this collaboration.
Comparison between Xpeng and Tesla’s die-casting technology
Tesla is the first car company that has used one-piece die-casting in its car manufacturing process.
Tesla’s one-piece die-casting part is one that consists of the backseats, container of batteries, and fuel bottles.
- Tesla used a heat treatment immunised aluminium alloy as raw material for the car body. This material has a relatively low boiling point and makes large automotive die castings less costly. They acquired a patent for this material.
- Tesla’s production method is able to shorten the time and cost of production.
- However, there may exist concerns about the quality of the product, as it is relatively more difficult to be controlled than completing parts of the cars separately.
- Also, there will be high maintenance costs for products of this method.
- The die-casting unit Tesla used is at 6000 tons. provided by L.K. Technology.
While Xpeng has not publicly acknowledged plans related to die-cast manufacturing technology before, it is planning to catch up Tesla’s achievement in this area.
- The 12,000-ton die-casting unit Xpeng adopted is twice the size of Tesla’s current gigapress machines currently used in EV manufacturing.
- The adoption of this manufacturing technology could be a major game-changer for any Chinese automaker beyond Tesla looking to use it.
Changes brought to Xpeng for transforming into one-piece die casting
- Conventional manufacturing methods weld, stamp, and glue a number of parts collectively.
- In contrast, die casting uses a giant module to build the whole structure in one step.
- Eliminating lots of the steps often related to automobile meetings may end up in important value financial savings and lighter vehicles.
- Die casting is also expected to provide better dimensional accuracy to the product.
- One-piece die-casting can also help reduce the weight of the model by using lighter aluminium alloys. Thus, costs will be saved significantly.